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Chess World Online Chess Forum - The Thermo-nuclear game

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  The Thermo-nuclear game


Chess rating: 1658

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United Kingdom
Give chess goodie
Wed Oct 11 2017 6:49PM | MsgID: 19777349

The Thermo-Nuclear Game
This is not so much a specific opening as a way of playing the opening of your choice. Often, it resembles the Smith-Morra variation of the Sicilian, or the Danish Gambit; but not necessarily.
The underlying principles are as follows:
1. Give up a pawn or even two, in the opening, in return for seizing the developmental initiative. It’s even helpful to have some pawns out of the way; Bishops and the Queen, in particular, can become fully active and involved in the game without the need to take time moving them, if the clutter of central pawns is thinned out. Likewise, when you have moved all your knights and Bishops and the King forward, your Queen and the Rooks have the back rank clear and are fully involved as potential threats – without the trouble of spending development moves on them.
2. If the opponent declines to take your pawn offering, then continue to throw pawns and pieces out into the centre as fast as possible, taking up as much space as you can.
3. If an opposing piece appears, harass it mercilessly whilst bringing out new pieces of your own. If you can bring out your pieces whilst the opponent moves the same one twice or three times, you’re that far ahead. It doesn’t really matter where they go so long as they are out and active (subject of course to common-sense principles of placing pieces where they are defended, when possible).
4. Against any knight which appears, place pawns and bishop sight-lines so as to make it a bad piece; a really bad opposition piece is as good as you being a piece up. Once you have buried an opposition piece where it cannot move, stifled by its own pawns or with every available square covered, don’t disturb it. Play on the other side of the board. Similarly, if the opponent is slow developing one side of the board, leaving a Bishop-Knight-Rook trio locked away unused, keep him really busy on the other side of the board – even if you’re not ready to mount a real attack yet – and you’re playing with three pieces more than he has.
5. Place Bishops as a pair, with good potential sight-lines. They can be behind your own pawns only so long as those pawns are not blockaded; if they become blocked, move the Bishop. Never exchange a Bishop for an opposition Knight unless you have to. Bishops really ARE better than knights, even on a crowded board.
6. Never exchange ANYTHING unless you have a clear and necessary reason to do so. The more pieces you can have, active and threatening, the better. Never simplify until you’re massively ahead.
7. THE KEY PRINCIPLE: don’t castle unless you have to. Keep the King in the centre, advancing one or two ranks so as to clear the back rank for rook and queen mobility. Thus the King becomes an extra reinforcing piece, helping provide cover for your knights, bishops and pawns which dominate the centre. You are using the King as an extra piece; you are avoiding tying up a rook or knight and bishop in providing protection for the cowardly King in the corner; and you are freeing the pawns on either wing as storm troops when the time comes to blow the opponent’s position open. This gives you the equivalent of at least two extra pieces. If in addition you have succeeded in giving your opponent one badly-placed piece during the early stages of development, you should now have three more active pieces than your opponent. Who would not expect to win, given those odds?
8. As the storm begins to break, you should have a superiority of active pieces developing into a critical mass which cannot be resisted. At this point, your opponent’s pawns become valuable shields, because once blockaded they cannot move and your opponent cannot take them. Since you gave up a pawn or two in the opening, you have fewer pawns which can be used against you in this way.
9. Your attack will come:
a. against the opposition King if you can see any weakness; or
b. on the side away from opposition buried pieces better left undisturbed; or
c. on the side away from wherever he’s placed his Queen; or
d. if his Queen is in a crowded place, attack that instead, even at the expense of several pieces of your own.
10. As a general principle, keep your own Queen in reserve, uncommitted to the defence of pieces or pawns, free to move but not engaged until you can see a devastating forcing tactic. If your Queen is free and loose, your opponent’s calculations are going to need to be far more complex. Maybe move it about to squares with good sight-lines, to keep him guessing. The threat is greater than the deed, and the threat posed by the Queen is greater than any other piece. After the critical mass is achieved and the time for explosion has arrived, the Queen needs to be left as the survivor, picking over the ruins and finishing off any last pockets of resistance. Your King, of course, is already centralised and active; more time saved in the endgame.

An illustrative position:

... Ah: can't work out how to get a board position printed here. Sorry, I'm thick.

In the illustration you can't see: he’s just played g3. I’m a pawn down, as usual; the knight on f7 has trekked around from c6-d8 and is on its way to g5. His knight on b3 is hopeless and the knight on h4 only defends g2. My Bishop on a6 has been eying the rook on f1 for three moves now, but I’m not taking it – all it would do is give up my active Bishop in return for developing his useless a1 Rook when it recaptures. The Bishop will come to b7 shortly, but I don’t want to do that until we are good and ready in case it encourages him to block the centre with d5.
I have only been able to try this against weak players, of course, because that’s all I am myself. Against players of ChessWorld 2300+ rating, I simply get picked apart, dissected, destroyed, by their far superior tactical and calculating skills. What I’d love to see is what a strong player can do with these principles.