I was watching Daniel Naroditsky's speedrun on YouTube and in his 1870 video (https://youtu.be/3UqPa5eV2e0?t=987) his opponent (rated 1889, playing black) played a very bizarre opening by pushing almost all his pawns before developing any of his pieces. It appears to be someone trolling, but they seemed (to me) to play a really good middlegame/endgame. Is this considered a serious opening, or does it seem like more of a joke opening? Or was it a trap that throws lots of players off?

[White "SenseiDanya"]
[Black "ions26"]
[FEN ""]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d6 3. Nc3 e6 4. Nf3 a6 5. Bd3 h6 6. O-O b6 7. Be3 Bb7
  • If this is a trap you definitely didn't fall for it
    – David
    Commented Jan 8, 2021 at 11:44
  • 1
    And concerning the Hippo, here is a protip from a player who was annoyed by this multiple times, even by ~2400 players: Do not, I repeat NOT castle lightly. The success of the black strategy critically hinges on whether you can rip open lines in the center. If that happens, he's busted (unless he can castle in the last moment, but then you have at least solid space and development advantage). If it remains closed because he can simply answer e.g. e5 with d5 and vice versa, you will be zergrushed on the king side without decent counterplay. Commented Jan 8, 2021 at 12:09
  • @HaukeReddmann: White castled at the usual pace in the opening in question, and it is sound according to Stockfish 10+.
    – user21820
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 10:33
  • @user21820: It is sound iff you know what you are doing, which I take for granted when Stockfish plays. :-) It can end up as a nightmare if you don't - you scratch your head, asking, what did I do wrong? Easy: counter a wing attack in the center, old adage. And if you can't, oops... Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 20:03
  • And BTW, I could post a ton of hippos here where Black always fell into the same trap: playing c5 just to attack the centre. Followed by e5, Ne4, Nd6+ and resign. Some never learn :P Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 20:05

2 Answers 2


Stockfish 10+ (depth 20) disagrees with the other answer, because it thinks that White's opening here is sound and evaluates the final position as +1.4. I would be very interested to see anyone play as Black starting from that position and beat Stockfish 10+. If nobody can, how can one consider White to have played badly?


Not a joke.

White often is careless and lets black break the center to win a pawn and have an advantage.

White did not play well at all in the given diagram.

When someone plays an opening like that I invariably win because I will have better development, more space, and only need to be sure that I can break without getting the pawns locked up too much.

Sometimes that takes a sacrifice of a pawn or even a piece but with the space and development and better mobility I come out ahead

  • 1
    You must have meant to say that Black didn't play well, not white. White is a GM and is playing pretty standard moves to get a strong center. Black is playing a semi-trollish opening. Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 0:05

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