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Two Knights (C56)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 d4 exd4 5 O-O Nxe4

Number of games in database: 992
Years covered: 1859 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 31.9%
   Black wins 36.5%
   Draws 31.7%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Rudolf Maric  9 games
Nicolas Rossolimo  8 games
Joerg Blauert  7 games
Harmen Jonkman  7 games
A Medina Garcia  5 games
Michele Godena  4 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Morphy vs Schrufer, 1859
Teichmann vs Allies, 1905
V Sokolov vs Rusnikov, 1966
Euwe vs Reti, 1920
Reti vs Lasker, 1908
Spielmann vs Reti, 1913
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 page 1 of 40; games 1-25 of 992  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. A Schlieper vs B Suhle  0-1271859Bad Godesberg mC56 Two Knights
2. Morphy vs Schrufer 1-0241859ParisC56 Two Knights
3. S Urusov vs A Petrov 0-1481859MatchC56 Two Knights
4. Kolisch vs S Urusov 1-03618621C56 Two Knights
5. J Watkinson vs G Tegeler  1-0221865Huddersfield - Bradford mC56 Two Knights
6. O Michaelis vs H D Smith 1-0131869Michaelis - SmithC56 Two Knights
7. C E Ranken vs A Rowley  1-0121871Challenge CupC56 Two Knights
8. J De Soyres vs W Parratt  0-12218731st Oxford - Cambridge Varsity mC56 Two Knights
9. J Halford vs W Wayte  0-12318745th CCA CongressC56 Two Knights
10. Blackburne vs Heap  1-0281877Blindfold simul, 8bC56 Two Knights
11. N Gedalia vs A Ettlinger 1-0451880USA-05.Congress-BC56 Two Knights
12. D Starbuck vs A Ettlinger 1-0141882ChicagoC56 Two Knights
13. Chigorin vs Alapin 1-0201885UnknownC56 Two Knights
14. F Riemann vs M Bier 1-04618854th DSB Congress, HamburgC56 Two Knights
15. L Benima vs D van Foreest  1-0231886DCA Congress 14thC56 Two Knights
16. L Benima vs J Pinedo  0-1211887DCA Congress 15thC56 Two Knights
17. J Pinedo vs A Prange  1-0381889Amsterdam-BC56 Two Knights
18. O Fick vs Showalter  0-15518914th USCA Congress, LexingtonC56 Two Knights
19. Prince Dadian vs M Bitcham 1-0201892ZugdidiC56 Two Knights
20. W Pollock vs S Langleben / F Colson 1-0191893Consultation simul, 5bC56 Two Knights
21. A van Foreest vs Olland  1-0211893DCA Congress 21stC56 Two Knights
22. W Meiners vs Olland  1-0531895DCA Congress 23rdC56 Two Knights
23. Schiffers vs Chigorin 1-0201895HastingsC56 Two Knights
24. D G Baird vs Halprin  ½-½571898ViennaC56 Two Knights
25. P Alewijn Faure vs R Schortinghuis 1-0211899NED corrC56 Two Knights
 page 1 of 40; games 1-25 of 992  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-19-03  PVS: I know there a couple of Two Knights Defence aficionados out there, and some people with Fritz. Can anyone provide a continuation for white here? 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.Re1 d5 7.Bxd5 Qxd5 8.Nc3 Qa5 9.Nxe4 Be7 10.Bg5 O-O In my game with Sylvester I was surprised by 10… O-O. Opening Explorer states that there are no games in the database with those opening moves. The only game in the database through white's move ten, Svetlana Deriabkina vs Darja Zhidkikh, 2001 continued 10…Qb4. There are 183 games which follow our game through white's move nine, 181 of them continue 9…Be6.
Aug-19-03  bunti: fritz is working on it.
Aug-20-03  PVS: Thank you bunti, I appreciate it.
Aug-20-03  bunti: Here is what Fritz 8 provided as the best continuation for both sides after which Fritz says the position is equal (=0.19). 11. Bg5xe7 Nc6e7 12. Nf3xd4 Qa5b6 13. Ne4c3 Ne7c6 14. Nd4xc6 Qb6xc6. Let me know if your opponent deviates from this move order and i will have fritz do it again.
Aug-20-03  PVS: It was I who deviated. I did play 11. Bxe7 and Sylvester answered 11...Nxe7, but I then played 12. Qxd4.
Aug-20-03  Shadout Mapes: I've analyzed 10...O-O in my own preperation of the Two Knights, and I came up with the Fritz line up to 12.Nxd4, with my conclusion that white stood just fine, with the threat of Nf6+ (which I see Fritz took care of with Qb6), and it looks like the game is level.

<PVS> Who won the game?

Oct-31-06  WarmasterKron: A game of mine recently continued 6.Re1 d5 7.Bxd5! Qxd5 8.Nc3 Qe6!? 9.Rxe4 dxc3 10.Rxe6+ Bxe6, giving black rook, knight and pawn for the queen, though the c3-pawn is difficult to defend (this reasoning lead me to delay the recapture with 11.b3).
Premium Chessgames Member
  WTHarvey: Here's some traps n zaps in C56 miniatures:
Feb-20-09  FiveofSwords: <Shadout Mapes> That position is not equal. It doesnt matter what the computer says. If both players are human and white is reasonably good with tactics then white has an enormous advantage in that position. White controls the open center files and he has 2 knights right there in the very center of the board. This is not insignificant. It may be a potentially temporary advantage that black could possibly diffuse with very accurate play. But to play that accurately black would have to be, well, a computer. Dont play the 2 knights as a computer, this is all you really learn from the evaluation of that position.
Feb-20-09  MaxxLange: <FiveOfSwords> your eval assumes that Black has less than real strong grandmaster defensive skills? White also will not find the most exact attacking moves that a computer finds!

these romantic openings disappeared with the improving defensive technique, after all...mostly they analyzed to draw by repitition or something, in the pre-computer area. Practical players used the Ruy, not crazy lines in the Italian Game

Feb-20-09  chessman95: Black has a better winning percentage??? Why in the world would anyone play a gambit like this??? (I guess I do play the Fried Liver Attack)
Mar-06-09  FiveofSwords: this is not the italian game. By the way if you take a practical glance at the berlin defense of the ruy lopez you then it might illuminate your judgement of the 'difference' between these openings and their approach. Speaking of grandmaster defensive many grandmasters have you outplayed in the typical endgame arising from the marshall gambit? Im telling you, a grandmaster is going to feel a lot more comfortable there, than here.
Mar-06-09  Marmot PFL: <FiveofSwords> Maybe you are playing too defensively. The Two Knights is really more of a counterattack and black should not hesitate to return material to seize the initiative or reach a good ending.
Mar-06-09  FiveofSwords: This isnt really a gambit by the way, at least not usually. White is taking the pawn on d4 and d7 soon if black plays the line currently known to be best. White typically obtains a fairly nice lead in development in a wide open position, but black's position appears free from permenant weakness and the symetrical pawn structure makes it hard for white to get anything tangible. Furthermore, black has a huge number of playable lines(starting with the 5 or 6 reasonable places to put his queen)-unlike white, which means some exhaustive opening preperation favors black some. White should draw fairly easily if he wants, but most people of course prefer trying to win with white, and its hard to judge in this opening when you have gone too far. The % here seems a little wrong by modern standards...the line simply isnt played much these days and I think if you remove the older games you will see the draw % dramatically increase to something like 60-70%, but white probably still winning very slightly more often. This isnt a very wise opening to play if you dont have excellent endgame technique and if you cant deal with drawing a white.- a much more practical try for a win would be playing something a little more romantic and less practical such as playing 5 e5 or 4 Ng5
Mar-07-09  FiveofSwords: <marmot PFL> well heh i dunno i dont have a problem in this line with either color. But I think that if you find yourself making a move that is purely defensive, or purely offensive, then something is very wrong and you are in trouble. Optimally every move should have elements of both.
Mar-07-09  Marmot PFL: <a much more practical try for a win would be playing something a little more romantic and less practical such as playing 5 e5 or 4 Ng5>

I always found those moves harder to meet than 5 0-0 Nxe4 6 Re1 d5 7 Bxd5 Qxd5 8 Nc3 Qa5 (Qh5) 9 Nxe4 Be6 which tends more toward early equality. if black needs to win though than he is probably glad to see 4 Ng5.

Jul-17-09  muwatalli: as a white player who enjoys the max lange attack i enjoy getting there through 1 e4 e5 2 nf3 nc6 3 bc4 nf6 4 0-0 bc5 5 d4! rather than allowing my opponent to get a normally easy equality(through the anti-lange).

the only other way to take the pawn (with the bishop) leads to more interesting and less explored play after 5... Bxd4 6 Nxd4 Nxd4 7 f4 d6 8 fxe5 fxe5 white has an open f column and serious attacking chances. and there is a sacrifice line which appears rather often and is great fun to play after 9 bg5 bg4 10 Bxf7! kxf7 11 Qxg4 Nxc2 12 Qh5+! white has a winning game with precise play.

Jul-17-09  blacksburg: that's why the knowledgable black player who wants to avoid the max lange will play 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.O-O <Nxe4> and follow up with a quick ...d5 with instant equality!

4...Bc5 should not be played by a Two Knights player.

Jul-17-09  muwatalli: after Nxe4 white can have a good game if he transposes to the boden gambit i think with 5. Nc3

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