Named after Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais, possibly the strongest player in the early 19th century, this opening is defined by the following moves:
1. e4 e6 2. f4
Essentially, this variant is completely viable, although the standard move 2. d4 poses more challenges for Black’s game. Opting for 2. f4 takes us back to the chess strategies of the nineteenth century, where modern chess understanding began to develop. The fundamental concept is straightforward: after 2. … d5, White plays 3. e5!, aiming to gain control of the center and create more space for their pieces. In essence, it shares similarities with the popular Advance Variation (2. d4 d5 3. e5), but with the advantage that White prevents Black from immediately countering the d4 pawn.
What can the database say about La Bourdonnais Variation? Let’s take a look:
The second example illustrates how the variant ought not to be played, particularly when White fails to take heed of the vulnerable diagonal from e1 to h4.
And finally, a game of grandmasters.