Suppose white gets the following opening:

[FEN ""]
1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bc4 Nf6
4. Ng5 d5
5. exd5 Na5

This is what I call Fried Liver Refuted, instead of Nxd5 we get instead Na5. From this position does white have some tricky continuation? By tricky I mean some sharp snappy line with some traps in it. It seems like after Na5 white runs out of tricks, but is this true? Some tricks in this position would be really fun to implement; most players only study this line up to this point because it is preached that Na5 is the best move for black and after it white runs out of punches, so a couple of tricks would most likely find black with is guard down.

  • 2
    try d3. It's almost as good as Bb5 but most people don't know much about it. Black players will have no idea what's going on, while you will have stuff prepared. Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 11:24
  • @CognisMantis This is interesting! Do you have some tricky, trappy lines prepared to share in an answer?
    – Noumeno
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 11:27
  • 4
    Why does White need to have a "tricky" continuation? What would be wrong about a good, solid continuation that gives them a small advantage?
    – David
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 11:59
  • 1
    @David Nothing wrong with that! But I am not interested in studying it for the moment. I want to know some traps in this position, if there are any.
    – Noumeno
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 12:02
  • That's great, but then we shouldn't say the Fried Liver is "refuted" by this variation. It just happen to not have that many known tricks
    – David
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 13:53

3 Answers 3


I believe you should go for 9.h4 in the main line:

[FEN ""]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Na5 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 8.Bd3 Nd5 9.h4

White is trying to keep his pieces on active squares at all costs.

There is a lot of complexity here, e.g. in the line 9...h6 10.Qh5 Qf6 11.Nh7!? Rxh7 12.Bxh7 g6 (don't play 11.Nxf7 hoping for 11...Qxf7 12.Bg6, black has 11...Nf4).

The line 9...Nf4 10.Bf1 h6 11.Nf3 Bd6 12.d4 exd4 13.Qxd4 Ne6 is not as tricky, but white has a pawn and Stockfish says white is a little bit better, which is all you can hope for these days.

In both cases, preparation will help, as there are no normal moves in positions like this. And that's the only kind of "tricks" that are available here I think.

  • Note that as Black I go for 8...Ng4 which leads to further complications. Though 8...Nd5 seems to be more popular.
    – koedem
    Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 9:32

I mean, this is the main line and for a reason. But I would be very surprised if most people's repertoire ended here, this is where it begins. The line goes 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 And now White has a number of options. In all of them White stays up a pawn however Black gets some counter play. (and there isn't a great line to give back that pawn for initiative, not much to play for tricks) The two main moves are 8.Be2 and 8.Bd3. The line might continue 8.Be2 h6 9.Nf3 e4 10.Ne5 and Black will keep some lead in development and try to attack.

The idea of the other move then is to gain access to the e4 square, if 8.Bd3 h6 9.Ne4. However this move blocks the d pawn so White will need to move that bishop again at a later time. Both of these lines can be very complicated and sharp so White has to be careful.

  • So in practice your answer is no, there aren't tricky continuations, are you sure about this or are you just stating what you know about this opening? Have you analyzed this position with an engine or this is just what you think about it from experience?
    – Noumeno
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 11:17
  • 3
    @Noumeno: does it matter? There exist books full of computer checked analysis on this position. It's the main line in an extremely heavy analyzed variation. People can give a couple of paragraphs about it without having done work themselves... Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 11:22
  • Although 8.Qf3 and 6.d3 should also be mentioned, they are other important lines (that also lead to a positions where white has the pawn(s) and black has the tricks, that is the nature of 4.Ng5). Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 11:23
  • 1
    There are no good tricky continuations, I am sure about that. There may be dubious ones. Yes, 8.Qf3 is a move but it's not as good for White as the two bishop moves. Some beginners also play 8.Ba4 but that's just a bad move after the same 8...h6 9.Nf3 e4 and now 10.Ne5 Qd4 would be good for Black.
    – koedem
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 11:29
  • 3
    As for my sources, I played this opening with both colours for basically my whole chess life and probably spent many hundred hours analyzing it with various engines over the years.
    – koedem
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 11:32

5....na5 is inferior and certainly no refutation of the fried liver.

Not going to tell you the correct move to win with black. Leaving that as an exercise to the student who will probably look it up or might find it by running an engine.

  • 5
    It is remarkable how wrong one can be with so few lines of text; 5...Na5 is by no means inferior to any other fifth move for black, and there is absolutely no way for black to force an advantage, let alone a win, against the Fried Liver.
    – Scounged
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 19:43
  • 1
    Pretty cringe... "Leaving that as an exercise to the student"... Jeez man
    – Noumeno
    Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 10:10
  • 1
    You must explain why Na5 is an inferior move. Several of us, knows that black gets iniciative with this move. Also, Dan Heismann recomended it in a CD that published about the Two Nights Defence.
    – djnavas
    Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 13:22

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