[Variant "From Position"]
[FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w - - 0 0"]
[Title ""]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 Ng4!?

What I know is that Kasparov popularized the variant (around 1998 according to LiChess). But then, it came on the board already in Wahls-Reddmann (Hamburg ch 1987). I have no megabases to check but I'm fairly sure that I haven't "invented" Ng4. Can somebody look up the first occurence in some megabase? (Very obviously, this doesn't exclude some "patzer" playing it before even that "accidentally" and not getting credit because megabases concentrate on GMs, but so there.)

1 Answer 1


Searched in Mega Database 2019.

The very first occurence I found was a game played in January 1970 between players Nemlioglu, Ahmet Fahri - Hausner, Ivan in an event called Niemeyer U21-08 Final B. White played Qd2 after Ng4 so assume it was not a master level game
Ivan Hausner is an IM (since 1979) and had 2360 in 1976 according to Chessbase profile

The next occurence in October 1970 was the game Robert Byrne - Walter Browne. Both 2 strong GMs.
Also found the game on chessgames

       [FEN ""]
       [White "Robert Byrne"]
       [Black "Walter Browne"]

       1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 Ng4 7. Bg5 Nc6 8. Qd2 Qb6 9. Nb3 e6 10. h3 Nge5 11. f4 Ng6 12. f5 Nge5 13. Be2 Bd7 14. Be3 Qc7 15. O-O Na5 16. fxe6 fxe6 17. Nxa5 Qxa5 18. Rad1 Be7 19. Kh1 Rc8 20. a3 Rc6 21. Bh5+ g6 22. Be2 Nf7 23. Bg4 h5 24. Bf3 Ne5 25. Be2 g5 26. Bxg5 Nc4 27. Qd4 e5 28. Qf2 Bxg5 29. Qf7+ Kd8 30. Bxc4 Be7 31. Qg7 Re8 32. Bf7 Rf8 33. Nd5 1-0
  • The latter game definitely counts...although Black subsequently ruined his position without any help from White :-) Constantly avoiding h6, Na5 went against my instinct, and Nc4 plus e5 - Nf3 still was only -1P - completely went belly up. Would be an interesting follow up to ask if this disaster let Ng4 disappear for a while. Aug 7, 2022 at 8:03

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