When you play 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 and then you bang out 3.c4 in a big fat hurry, you crack me up.

You’re a poseur.

So aggressive, this hostile pawn push! So unbalanced! So forceful!

Yes, sure. The reason I laugh is that I know the followup will be 3…Nb6 4.d4 d6 5.exd6. This is a curious fact but it’s true, at least on FICS blitz chess: People who play 3.c4 QUICKLY almost always veer off into the Exchange Variation. Nice enough line, but worthy of a big macho piece-grind? Gimme a break.

People who are going to play gutsy stuff like the 4 Pawn Attack or the Chase Variation usually play 3.c4 much more slowly. Those folks seem to be taking a second to summon up some actual courage, rather than a one-move faux demonstration.


10 thoughts on “Poseurs

  1. I sort of like the line 1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. c4 Nb6 4. c5. White’s spatial edge allows for fairly easy development. Eventually black will have an extra trump card in the backward white d pawn, but ya know, the gods put the middlegame before the endgame.

  2. Actually, I shoudl have read you line closer. 1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. c4 Nb4 (not Nb6) 4. a3. Just go for space.

  3. Back when I played the Alekhine, everybody played the exchange variation. It must be in all the e4 repertoire books or something.

  4. There is a surprising amount of “stuff” conveyed by a chess player’s hands when they move the pieces. I’ve gotten actually *angry* (internally; I’m not generally demonstrative that way) with opponents before because of the way they handled the pieces. Not so much in speed – – there everything is half joke anyway. But in a real game, if someone makes a point of doing something like screwing a pawn petulantly into the board, it is unlikley I will ever be able to tolerate that person. Slamming the pieces around like I’m some kind of fish (which I am, sure, but come on), unworthy to even sit at the board with…ug.

    Once again, in speed or during analysis, comical flourishes are all good. But in a real game, excessive piece move drama carries a heavy vibe of disrespect with me.

  5. I had a weird incident a couple of years ago. My opponent, in mutual time pressure, kept putting each piece WAY off center as he moved it to a new square. This messes me up – it’s a pattern recognition game, ain’t it? – so after he made each move I would say “adjust” and center the piece. So after a few rounds like this, he says of my adjusts, “That’s irritating.”

  6. Several years ago, I played against a young lady during a weekend Swiss. She was amazingly pretty and petite, and she dressed (um, shall we say) very strategically. During the game she usually she crossed her arms in such a way as to provide extra lift and cleavage. When she moved a piece past the fifth rank, she stood up a bit, and leaned over so I had to pretend not to look down her shirt. To this day I remember the smell of her perfume, the way her lips would glisten, her soft almost angelic skin (hey, we shook hands – twice!). And I swore I wouldn’t let her evil, naughty, wicked scheming break me down! I summoned every ounce of strength I had to focus on the game. After a 5 hour struggle, she blundered in time trouble, leaving me with a book draw. Considering that she was higher rated by 400 points, and that I needed to be doused with tranquilizers after the round, that’s really not bad.

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