The Fried Liver Attack is a well-known and aggressive opening in chess that can catch unprepared opponents off guard. It is a tactical weapon used by white to try to gain a quick advantage over black. In this article, we will discuss the basics of the Fried Liver Attack, its variations, and how to defend against it.
What’s in the name? The Italian dish “Fegatelli” is pork liver sliced up, wrapped in fat netting and cooked over a fire. Allegedly, there is a resemblance with the black king being wrapped in White’s mating net. That’s why the opening is also named the Fegatello Attack.
Anyway, the Fried Liver is one of the oldest documented chess traps, as it’s been known for many centuries. The earliest known example being a game played by Giulio Cesare Polerio, an Italian chess player and theoretician, before 1606.
1. e4 e5 2. ♘f3 ♞c6 3. ♗c4 ♞f6 4. ♘g5 d5 5. exd5 ♞xd5?!
Inexperienced players usually expect the follow-up 6. ♗xd5 ♛xd5 that would actually give Black a nice positional advantage. But White has a much sharper response to strike with:
White sacrifices the knight to expose the black king and start a dangerous attack with other pieces. Black’s only viable option is to accept the gambit and take the knight. Any attempt to launch a counterattack would only end with a material loss. For instance: 6. … ♛h4 (Attacks the bishop but leaves the knight unguarded.) 7. ♗xd5 ♝c5 (Threatens to checkmate at f2.) 8. O-O! ♜f8 9. ♗xc6+ bxc6 10. ♘xe5 ♜xf2 11. ♔h1 ♝e6 12. ♘f3 ♜xf1+ 13. ♕xf1 and White is up a knight and a pawn in a very solid position.
6. … ♚xf7 7. ♕f3+
This double strike (see the diagram above) is the point of the previous sacrifice. Black has several options to answer that, and not every player will find the only right move 7. … ♚e6!, as it’s not exactly intuitive, particularly in fast games (blitz, bullet). Let’s see what happens when Black falls into the trap:
7. … ♚g8?? 8. ♕xd5+ ♛xd5 9. ♗xd5+ ♝e6 10. ♗xe6#
And this is the “fried liver”. The black king is wrapped in White’s mating net.
You can navigate through the moves of the following game to see other possibilities for Black:
The Fried Liver Attack can be a powerful weapon if Black is not familiar with it, as it can quickly put them on the defensive and make it difficult to recover. However, it can also be risky for White, as Black can defend against the attack with accurate play and gain a material advantage. Therefore, it is important for both sides to know the tactics and strategies involved in the Fried Liver Attack.