Classical Night – September 7th, 2023

Ten players came out for Classical Chess Night on Thursday, September 7th. USCF rated, totally free!


Go to our Events Page to catch the next one, and all the other events we put on down in Des Moines, WA!

Classical Chess Night - Des Moines
Classical Chess Night – Des Moines

September Events are Up!

Click the Events Page in the menu to see what we have to offer – both unrated and USCF rated as well!

Note: A ton of Washington Chess Federation Events have been added to NWChess – take a look at them here:

Special mention to the Veteran’s Day Open on November 11th!

Veteran's Day Open - Seattle Chess
Veteran’s Day Open – Seattle Chess

Event Updated for August 17th!

Rapid Quads now posted to the Events Page – always check back on Monday evenings for the current week! Thanks!

Chess Openings

Dominate the Board with the Sicilian Defense for Black

Greetings, fellow chess enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving into one of the most beloved and respected defenses in all of chess – the Sicilian Defense. Primarily employed against 1.e4, this approach offers Black dynamic counterattacking chances and a myriad of strategic plans.

Why the Sicilian Defense?

The Sicilian Defense is a versatile and aggressive choice, capable of generating rich middlegame positions. But what makes it so universally admired?

Unbalanced Positions

The Sicilian Defense leads to unbalanced positions, which can be more difficult for your opponent to navigate. This imbalance often translates to exciting games and higher chances of winning as Black.

Counterattacking Potential

The Sicilian Defense provides Black with strong counterattacking potential. Instead of passively responding to White’s threats, Black gets ample opportunities to seize the initiative.

Variety of Structures

The Sicilian Defense can lead to a variety of pawn structures, each with unique strategic ideas. This versatility can keep your opponents guessing and out of their comfort zone.

Sicilian Defense: Key Moves and Concepts

The Sicilian Defense kicks off with:

  1. e4 c5

Let’s explore some critical lines and variations within the Sicilian Defense, focusing on the Open Sicilian:

The Open Sicilian

The Open Sicilian arises after:

  1. Nf3 (White develops a knight, preparing to control the center with d2-d4) followed by… d6 (Black bolsters the e5 square and prepares to develop the knight to f6)
  2. d4 (White pushes the d-pawn, challenging Black’s setup)

From here, we delve into a couple of significant subvariations:

The Scheveningen Variation

Named after a Dutch seaside town, the Scheveningen Variation is characterized by a flexible pawn structure for Black. After 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6, Black maintains a compact structure, preparing to launch counterattacks once White reveals their plans.

The Najdorf Variation

The Najdorf Variation is one of the most respected and widely played lines in the Sicilian Defense. It begins as 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6. The a6 move is multifunctional: it prepares for a potential b5 advance, helps control the b5 square, and adds some robustness to Black’s pawn structure.

Digging Deeper into the Sicilian Defense

To help you expand your knowledge of the Sicilian Defense, I recommend these engaging YouTube videos:


ChessNetwork’s “Sicilian Defense” Series: A comprehensive exploration of the Sicilian Defense, packed with instructive games and commentary. Watch it here.

Hanging Pawns’ “Sicilian Scheveningen” Guide: Get to know this crucial subvariation with practical examples and clear explanations. Find it here.

thechesswebsite’s “Sicilian Najdorf” Guide: Gain an in-depth understanding of this revered variation, complete with key strategic ideas. Check it out here.

Conclusion: Mastering the Sicilian Defense

The Sicilian Defense is a powerful weapon in any chess player’s arsenal. Its rich positional play and counterattacking opportunities make it an exciting and formidable response to 1.e4. With practice and a solid understanding of its key lines and strategies, you can confidently command the board with the Sicilian Defense. Stay tuned for our next post, where we’ll dive deeper into the fascinating world of the Sicilian Dragon variation!

Chess Openings

Embrace the Boldness: Mastering the Evans Gambit for White

For those ready to embrace boldness in their chess strategy, today’s focus will surely spark your interest. We’re looking at the exciting and aggressive Evans Gambit – a daring opening that can catch Black off guard and give White a potent attacking edge.

Why the Evans Gambit?

The Evans Gambit is a sharp, tactical opening that sends a clear message to your opponent: You’re ready to fight. But why should you consider this brazen approach?

Early Initiative

Firstly, the Evans Gambit hands White the initiative right from the get-go. The offering of a pawn in the opening phases disrupts Black’s plans and forces them to make decisions under pressure.

Development and Control

Secondly, it helps White with rapid piece development and central control. By sacrificing a pawn, White gets to build a strong center and launch an early assault on Black’s position.

Element of Surprise

Lastly, it packs the element of surprise. Many players are less familiar with this gambit, which means you may catch them off guard, potentially leading to early advantages.

Evans Gambit: Key Moves and Concepts

Here are the fundamental move sequences of the Evans Gambit:

  1. e4 e5
  2. Nf3 Nc6
  3. Bc4 Bc5
  4. b4!

The aim of 4.b4 is to disrupt Black’s solid structure and accelerate White’s piece development. Let’s break it down a little further:


The move 4.b4, the starting point of the Evans Gambit, seeks to disrupt Black’s piece coordination early on. This pawn sacrifice targets the bishop on c5, inviting it to take the pawn. If Black accepts the gambit with 4…Bxb4, then White plays 5.c3, luring the bishop to move again and wasting Black’s time.

Rapid Development

The primary goal of the Evans Gambit is rapid development. After 5.c3, Black usually moves the bishop to a5 or e7, after which White can play 6.d4. This leads to quick central control and allows White to develop the knight to d2, and then to f1 and g3 or e3.

Key Variations

Within the Evans Gambit, there are key variations to be aware of:

Evans Gambit Accepted: Here, Black accepts the pawn sacrifice with 4…Bxb4. After 5.c3, if the bishop retreats to a5 (5…Ba5), it can be followed by 6.d4 exd4 7.O-O leading to a powerful center and faster piece development for White.

Evans Gambit Declined: In this line, Black declines the pawn sacrifice with 4…Be7 or 4…Bd6. Though this seems safer, it allows White to gain space with 5.c3 and 6.d4.

Compromised Defense: Sometimes, Black might try to hold onto the pawn with 5…Be7 or 5…d6. However, this could lead to a compromised position after 6.d4 exd4 7.Qb3.

Remember, understanding the reasoning behind the moves is more crucial than move memorization itself. And while the Evans Gambit is an aggressive opening, it’s essential to remain aware of your king’s safety and not to rush the attack.


ChessNetwork’s “Evans Gambit” YouTube Series: An engaging series offering in-depth commentary and analysis. Watch it here.

Hanging Pawns’ “Evans Gambit” Video Guide: This video provides an easy-to-understand overview and solid tips. Find it here.

Conclusion: The Thrill of the Evans Gambit

The Evans Gambit is a thrilling addition to any chess player’s opening repertoire, offering the chance to seize the initiative early and put your opponent on the backfoot. Understanding its core principles will allow you to execute this audacious gambit with confidence and flair.

In our next blog post, we will break down the most common responses to the Evans Gambit and how to handle them. Until then, keep honing your skills, embrace the boldness, and let your pieces dance across the board. Checkmate awaits!