Fried Liver Attack – The Ultimate Guide

Fried Liver Attack - The Ultimate GuideEvery beginner should know the Fried Liver Attack. It’s not only one of the most fascinating and common openings frequently played in scholastic chess, but also a strong opening weapon used by grandmasters from time to time.

For this reason, the following article is designed to provide you with all you need to know about the Fried Liver Attack in a nutshell.

If you’re a beginner (rated below 1300 Elo) and know the Fried Liver Attack, you’ll score countless of quick and easy wins right out of the opening. Moreover, by playing the Fried Liver Attack, you’ll also get familiar with plenty of key concepts in chess which are essential for any aspiring club player, such as making dynamic sacrifices, knowing how to play with the initiative, the art of attack, defense and a lot more.

Let’s dive right into this opening.

What Is The Fried Liver Attack? 

Fried Liver Attack - The Ultimate GuideThe Fried Liver Attack is an aggressive chess opening for White which starts out of the Italian Game. After the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 (see the position on the right), Black has a choice. The two main moves are 3…Bc5 or 3…Nf6.

Most beginner players go for the move 3…Nf6 (The Two Knights Defense) which is a sound and solid move for Black.

Fried Liver Attack - The Ultimate GuideHowever, Black has to be aware of the fact that the move 3…Nf6 allows White to play the move 4.Ng5! (see the diagram on the left). Most beginner players don’t know what to do after this move. This knight move targets the vulnerable f7-square in Black’s camp.

White immediately threatens to capture on f7, either with the knight or the bishop, and to collect material.

The best move for Black in this position is the move 4…d5! (We’ll warn you of the Traxler Counter Attack, a devilish countergambit for Black which arises after the move 4…Bc5!? You can find other articles on our website where we explain what White has to do here).

Fried Liver Attack - The Ultimate GuideSpeaking from experience, it should also be noted that many beginner players don’t play the correct moves 4…d5 and 4…Bc5. Instead, they go for poor moves like 4…Qe7?, 4…h6? or 4…Rg8? All these moves immediately lead to a lost position for Black.

Black’s best move is 5…Na5 (although 5…b5!? and 5…Nd4!? are also playable). But beginners will almost always play 5…Nxd5?!, which allows the crushing Fried Liver Attack with 6.Nxf7! (see the position on the right).

Fried Liver Attack - The Ultimate GuideWhite’s idea is to answer 6…Kxf7 with 7.Qf3+. The queen joins the game with a double attack on the knight on d5 and Black’s king. This check more or less forces Black to play 7…Ke6 (the only way to defend the Nd5). Black’s king is in a horrible position now!

White has a great attack after 8.Nc3, followed by a later d2-d4!, as the Black king has no pawn-shelter.

So, the Fried Liver Attack can only be played if Black isn’t careful enough. But, again speaking from experience, that will be the case in 9 out of 10 games. It is one of the most aggressive openings from White as you will be sacrificing one of your minor pieces very early in the game. The Black king will be forced into the middle of the board and will be in great danger during the whole game.

Now, as we are familiar with the starting opening moves, we should dive a bit deeper. Despite all enthusiasm, we should not forget that White has sacrificed a whole piece and the position doesn’t win itself.

Unfortunately, we see plenty of beginner chess players who overconfidently go for the Fried Liver Attack, but have only learned the first few moves! When they have to make the first move on their own, they have no idea what to do and often come up with bad moves. In these cases, Black soon manages to consolidate his position and makes his extra piece count.

For this reason, it’s essential to be familiar with the key attacking ideas and typical patterns whenever you play an opening in which you voluntarily sacrifice material.

The Fried Liver Attack – A Historical Game 

To start with, let’s go for a little journey through time and take a look at this inspirational game:

More than 150 years ago, in the Romantic Era of Chess, players like Lionel Kieseritzky, who most probably (and sadly) is best best-known nowadays for losing the “Immortal Game” to Adolf Anderssen in 1851, used the Fried Liver Attack to crush their opponents before the games really started:

Kieseritzky, Lionel – Loewenthal, Johann Jacob, London 1851

Why Play The Fried Liver Attack?

  • A Solid Opening Trap

Opening traps are the easiest way to win in a flashy and quick way. However, you shouldn’t play to only trick your opponent! If you are a one-trick chess player, then your opponent only needs to avoid the trap, and then you won’t know what to do!

That’s the reason why, if you want to trap your opponent, you need to study tricky openings with a solid background. The Fried Liver Attack is one of these aggressive chess openings. If you study the Fried Liver Attack in depth, you will have lot of bait with which to confuse your opponent, and a good knowledge of typical ideas if your opponent evades them.

  • Defending Is Harder Than Attacking

As we’ve seen, Black has to play accurate defensive moves against the Fried Liver Attack in order to survive the first 15 moves. In chess, attacking is easier than defending. When you’re attacking, you can mostly focus on your own ideas and plans.

When you’re defending, you always have to react to your opponent’s moves and ideas. This is what makes defending a lot harder than attacking – you can’t really focus on your own ideas, but have to pay a lot more attention to your opponent’s intentions. It’s key to notice that the defensive skills of most club players are very weak. Therefore, it makes sense to play an attacking opening.

The Fried Liver Attack – Chess Opening Analysis For Beginners

In this section of the article, we provide you with deep analysis (backed up by the strongest cloud engines available) of all the key lines you need to know when you want to play the Fried Liver Attack with White.

Remember: It’s key to know how to convert your compensation into something concrete. Unless you’re Mikhail Tal, you can’t just sacrifice material without any concrete ideas and hope thatyoure compensation might be enough.

Fried Liver Attack – Conclusion

The Fried Liver Attack is a chess opening which starts from the Italian Game and occurs after the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5, allowing the powerful 6.Nxf7! After this theoretical sacrifice, White has a crushing attack as the Black King gets very exposed.

The Fried Liver Attack is played by thousands of beginner players around the globe. We hope that the deep analysis in this article will give you all the necessary weapons to sacrifice the knight with confidence. We assure you that you will have all the fun while Black will desperately try to find one defensive move after another.

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2 comments on “Fried Liver Attack – The Ultimate Guide

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for the article. Sorry if this question is dim but in the Shirov game you linked, white seems to win without any apparent explanation as to why; they are not even in check. Could you please explain?

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