Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

Vernon Dilworth
Number of games in database: 5
Years covered: 1941 to 1977
Overall record: +3 -2 =0 (60.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

Most played openings
C82 Ruy Lopez, Open (3 games)

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Vernon Dilworth
Search Google for Vernon Dilworth

(born Sep-16-1916, died Oct-09-2004, 88 years old) United Kingdom

[what is this?]

The Dilworth Variation (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4 6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 8. dxe5 Be6 9. c3 Bc5 10. Nbd2 O-O 11. Bc2 Nxf2), one of the best-scoring lines for Black in the Ruy Lopez, is named for him.

Last updated: 2021-08-11 19:54:12

 page 1 of 1; 5 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Estelles vs V Dilworth 0-1241941corrC82 Ruy Lopez, Open
2. E A Greig vs V Dilworth  0-1281945corrC82 Ruy Lopez, Open
3. B Thorpe vs V Dilworth 0-1221946corrC82 Ruy Lopez, Open
4. P J Waters vs V Dilworth  1-0451971North Devon OpenC81 Ruy Lopez, Open, Howell Attack
5. Arkell vs V Dilworth  1-0521977CNP Grand Hotel BirminghamC46 Three Knights
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Dilworth wins | Dilworth loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-13-12  wordfunph: Dilworth Attack: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4

here's an excerpt from the book How to Play the Dilworth Attack by Eric Schiller..

<The Dilworth Attack is one of the most interesting variations of the Spanish Game. Black gives up a bishop and knight for a rook and one or two pawns, and then launches an attack against the White King. If White plays correctly, then a rich and complex endgame arises. From Black’s point of view, this has great practical advantages. After all, anyone who plays the Dilworth regularly as Black is going to have much more experience with the particular endgame strategies and tactics which are part of the Dilworth environment. Theory already considers those endgames to be about equal, and the added advantage of experience really gives Black a significant advantage. In addition, the experience of playing these endgames is instructive, and the lessons learned can be applied in other endgame situations. Therefore the Dilworth, with both attacking chances and endgame strategy, is an ideal opening for the aspiring chessplayer as well as the professional player. Among the top players who play the opening as Black are Open Spanish Guru Artur Yusupov, Eugene Torre and mega-theoreticial Lev Polugayevsky (in rare excursions outside Sicilian territory). And how has the opening held up against superstars? Well, look at the dismal results Bobby Fischer, Boris Spassky and Nigel Short have as White!

Vernon Dilworth popularized the opening in the 1940’s in England, and now these lines bear his name.>

rest in peace, master Vernon Dilworth..

Apr-07-14  offramp: VD LOL!
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: The only trouble with the Dilworth is that White can easily circumvent it if he wishes by playing 9.Be3 Be7 10.c3, a bit of subterfuge often seen nowadays.
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <wordfunph> 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 is the Open Variation of the Ruy Lopez (I'm a traditionalist; I hate the moniker "Spanish Game"). Opening Explorer has 2,795 games that arrived at this position with the first game in 1854, much earlier than Vernon Dilworth was born. I wouldn't be surprised if 5...Nxe4 was Black's response the first time that 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 was played.

The proper Dilworth Attack does not start until 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 0-0 11.Bc2 <Nxf2>. Opening Explorer has 87 games with this line and the results exactly even; White wins 37.9% of the time, Black wins 37.9% of the time, and 24.1% were draws. And the earliest game in the database is from 1870 so, as is usually the case, the idea was not originally Dilworth's, although it is rightly named after him since he championed it and made it widely known. Here is an early game with two rather well known players: Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1943. Theory says that Black should play 13...Bxf2+ rather than Botvinnik's 13...Qxf6 since after 13...Qxf6 14.Qf1 White gets a slightly better game, and this may have been the game that resulted in that opinion. And, BTW, this seems to be Smyslov's first ever win over Botvinnik.

I'm surprised that the Dilworth Attack is not more popular. Like with the Marshall Attack, Black gets the initiative for only a small material investment since White's B+N are usually better than Black's R+P, at least in the middlegame. Once the endgame is reached it's another story, since Black's 2R+P can often overcome White's B+N+R. So I would think that, unless White blunders and allows a winning Black attack in the middlegame, Black's best approach should be to exchange pieces and try to reach an endgame where the reduced pieces and possible additional open files may allow Black's R+P to overcome White's B+N.

Apr-07-14  GumboGambit: The Dilworth Attack is much more popular with Black than White. Hence, White tends to steer clear of it.
Apr-25-14  john barleycorn: Dilworth had one particular way to continue his attack. Since I cannot find it here in the opening explorer it goes:

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4 6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 8. dxe5 Be6 9. c3 Bc5 10. Nbd2 O-O 11. Bc2 Nxf2

which constitutes the Dilworth variant.

Now, 15.Kg1 to take the king out of the f-file and 15....Rae8 for continued development of black are often played.

Dilworth in a couple of his correspondence games went for 15....g5.

15.Kg1 g5 16.Qe1 g4 17.Qh4 Bf5 is recommended play as


b.)17.Qh4 seeks relief through exchanges. 17.Ng5 looks tempting but after 17....Qxg5? the trap works 18.Qxe6 Kh8 19.Ne4 Qg6 20.Qxd5 as in Primakov vs. Uvarov, correspondence game 1984)

c.)15.Kg1 g5 16.Qe1 Rae8? is inconsistent

Apr-25-14  paavoh: Seems that Yusupov had this in his repertoire in 1990's winning Ljubojevic, Short and drawing Leko. Not a bad feat at all.
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: Part of the popularity of the Dilworth Attack is Black's relative success with it. For the Dilworth proper, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bc2 Nxf2

click for larger view

Opening Explorer has 88 games with White winning 38.6% of the games, Black winning 37.5% of the games, and 23.0% draws. The 365chess masters database has 39 games with this position with White winning 17.9% of the games, Black winning 25.6% of the games, and 56.4% draws (the complete database has 244 games with 29.1% White wins, 40.2% Black wins, and 30.7% draws).

I'm not sure for the reason for the large discrepancy, particularly at the master level, but the Dilworth typically results in an unbalanced endgame, B+N vs. R+P or vs. R+2P where technique is essential, and maybe at the master level good technique favors Black.

There are several other ways besides 9.Be3 to avoid the Dilworth, with 9.Nbd2, 9.Qe2, and 9.a4 being the most popular. Opening Explorer shows worse results for Black after each of those moves than after 9.c3 (27.7% Black wins); 14.8% (9.Nbd2), 22.5% (9.Qe2), and 7.7% (9.a4). The 365Chess database has similar results; 13.8% Black wins in the master database after 9.Nb2 (28.8% in the complete database), 15.2% Black wins in the master database after 9.Qe2 (20.8% in the complete database), and 6.7% Black wins in the master database after 9.a4 (26.6% in the complete database).

So avoiding the Dilworth by White seems to be a statistically wise decision. Glen Fear in his book "Open Ruy Lopez" has 11 pages addressing the Dilworth.

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific player only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

Spot an error? Please suggest your correction and help us eliminate database mistakes!
Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2021, Chessgames Services LLC