Is the Jaenisch/Schliemann Gambit being played or it has become out of fashion?

PS: I am a club player (FIDE ~1800) and occasionally use it to success.

  • 1
    You want to know if it's still being used by club players, or you want to know if it's still being played by grandmasters? I guess the former, because I don't believe there ever was a time when it was fashionable among grandmasters. Anyway, it works just fine for us club players.
    – bof
    Jan 24, 2018 at 3:55

2 Answers 2


It depends what level you're talking about. At the top level with super GMs, it's more or less out of fashion in serious games. They either choose the Berlin or some other main line (like the Closed Spanish).

In the -2000 section though, it's still a viable opening. If you know it well enough then it's a good weapon to catch your opponents off guard. I would recommend learning another line to play against the Spanish though, so that you can alternate between it and the Jaenisch. If someone were to spend a serious amount of time preparing for you, they could cause some problems. If you have multiple lines though, it makes preparation much more difficult.

I looked up the Jaenisch's stats in the Mega Database, and it actually stores fairly well. White only scores slightly over 50%, and this is a normal stat for most main lines. Also, some top level guys have played it before (Aronian, Radjabov, Carlsen, Ivanchuk). While they don't play it regularly, it's still a testimony to the viability of the Jaenisch.

  • In 2014 Carlsen played it against a player he outrated by 300 points and managed a draw. They reached a very strange position in which there were three isolated e pawns (two for white, one for black), four rooks were left and no other pieces, and both kings and all four rooks were on their starting squares. lichess.org/IaFeLMhT#27 Jan 24, 2018 at 11:37
  • FWIW, I played the Schliemann regularly for two seasons in a fairly high-level league competition (Master/Expert) and it was a huge success, particularly if you count the number of regular e4 players who felt scared enough to play something else. After two seasons, however, they started to prepare better, so I moved to something else. I could have hung in by upping my own preparation, but that was too much hard work. I still play it occasionally, but I choose the occasion and choose the opponent carefully.
    – Philip Roe
    Jan 24, 2018 at 18:44
  • @bof Fixed. I meant to say overall score, but it's hard to articulate what I mean without the word "wins". Jan 25, 2018 at 8:33
  • @Philip Roe I've also found that at the Master level playing sharp (while slightly dubious) openings can be successful. The key to having constant success is learning 5+ such openings, so that your opponents are unable to do any deep preparation for you. There's also a huge psychological edge you get - your opponent believes they can't predict what you'll do, so they become demoralized. Jan 28, 2018 at 8:57
  • @inertial Ignorance. Yes, Thats a good approach. It may not take you to the top but it allows you to have a lot of fun at your chosen level!
    – Philip Roe
    Jan 28, 2018 at 18:41

I'm not sure how many times it needs to be played by players of what caliber in what period of time to be considered "in fashion", but chess.com's database shows one game in 2017 where this was played and both players were rated over 2500. For 2016 it shows ten such games, including several 2700-level games.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.