I often play the following variation with black when I play blitz. Somehow it refuses the known lines of the Spanish.
It looks like that black is going to be destroyed but almost always I win when I play this opening.

[FEN ""]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O b5 6.Bb3 Be7 7.Re1 O-O 8.c3 Nxe4!?   

The main idea is that IF white accepts the sacrifice, he/she is going to suffer a pawn storm who will paralyze the queen side.
Almost always (I mean over 95% of the times) the game continuous like this:

  [FEN ""]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O b5 6.Bb3 Be7 7.Re1 O-O 8.c3 Nxe4!? 9.Rxe4 d5 10.Re1 e4 11.Nd4 Ne5   

And after this continuation, black has strong attack.
I really liked the idea that I found something different to play when I am facing the Spanish (By the way, is 8... Nxe4 a "new" idea?), but I think it is possible to get crushed in a game which is not blitz.
So my question is:

Is 8...Nxe4 a move which gives black something good in general?

  • No it's not good. Sacrificing a piece for a pawn should give you a much more dangerous attack. Commented Sep 28, 2019 at 23:59

4 Answers 4


The sacrifice is quite dubious. Besides the answers with 10.Nxe5, 10. Rxe5 is simply two knights for a rook and there is no attack for Black.


This is really a question for the engines, but it's hard to believe that Black has enough compensation here for his creatively sacrificed material. White could also return a fraction of the material with

10 Nxe5!? dxe4 11 Nxc6 Qd6 12 Nxe7+ Qxe7 13 d4

and be just up B+N for R; or return a bit more material in your main line with 12 Qh5 followed by 13 Nc6!? which seems to end up with White having an extra pawn, which is a bigger advantage than White normally gets from this opening.

  • 1
    I appreciate your answer prof. Elkies. I did not know you played chess actually. Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 18:52

As other already pointed out, black doesn't have enough compensation and white can even give back some material to have an easy game.

But even in the last line where you keep the material and black plays Ne5, you can play d3 to free yourself up, and black cant really capture that pawn, at least not right away due to:

[FEN "r1bq1rk1/2p1bppp/p7/1p1pn3/3Np3/1BP5/PP1P1PPP/RNBQR1K1 w - - 2 12"]

1. d3 (1... exd3 2. Rxe5) Nxd3 2. Nc6 Qd6 3. Nxe7+ Qxe7 4. Qxd3
  • 1
    @matthew liu already suggested 12 d3. Black doesn't have to take immediately but can play 12 . . . c5 first. White can still choose this time to return the piece for several pawns (13 dxe4), or try to counter-counterattack with 13 Bf4. Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 17:07
  • @NoamD.Elkies Very true, as i stated "at least not right away". In fact the game gets very sharp with tons of tactics all around, but never as cramped as it looked initially.
    – Isac
    Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 17:10

I think black is totally lost here, after d5, Nxe5 seems to be winning easily for white.

Even in your position, after f4 and Nc6 and taking on e7, white seems to be up a piece for no compensation.

  • 2
    careful with this last line: 12 f4 Nd3 13 Nc6 Bc5+ is the kind of thing Black wants to happen. Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 21:17
  • I see, I missed that. I think d3 should be fine then. Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 21:48

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