Saturday, 22 June 2013

The path least travelled

At the sake of repeating myself, I once again find myself looking at what would be the earliest opening novelty in a game of chess. Obviously 1 move novelties for White are out, as every opening move has been played at least twice. However I managed to find at least one game where Black has played a unique move on move 1. I started with the assumption that 1.h4 might be the least popular opening move and saw what replies were made to that. There have been 14 different replies, but 1. ... h6 has only been played once. But before you go delving into what this means for modern opening theory, it looks as though the game was a contrived effort as a draw was agreed after 10 moves.

Sikiric,Kemal - Chlaifer,Roman [A00]
Ruhrgebiet-ch U20 GER, 1994

1.h4 h6 2.g4 g5 3.h5 f5 4.f3 f4 5.e4 e5 6.d4 d6 7.d5 c5 8.c4 b5 9.b3 b4 10.a4 a5  ½-½

A barrier of pawns has been constructed across the board, and the players decided that was enough.

Interestingly if you do have to face 1.h4 you may want to try 1. ... a6 as a reply. Not because it is any good, but simply because no one else has played it yet.

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