Chess Openings: Learn NOT to Play the Squirrel Variation!

Chess Openings: Learn NOT to Play the Squirrel Variation!

The Alekhine’s Defense is one of the best chess openings for black against e4. Usually, in similar fashion to the Black Knights’ Tango, we swing our g8 knight to the queenside of the board. In doing this, we allow white to form a huge pawn center, but then we aggressively go after that center. This is how the normal Alekhine’s Defense is played. However, there is also a “Squirrel Variation” which is a name which well suits the variation. The Squirrel Variation starts off with the following moves:

1. e4 Nf6 (Alekhine’s Defense.)
2. e5 Nd5 (So far, so good.)
3. c4 Nf4 (We are officially playing chess like a squirrel.)

By playing this move, we allow white to chase our knight around as it goes in circles, allowing white to gain a huge advantage in the center. Is this good chess opening strategy? The answer is an astounding no! In chess, there are 4 rules (or steps) of the opening which you should generally follow.

1. Put a pawn in the center.
2. Castle.
3. Connect the rooks (let them see each other).
4. Put the rooks on an open file and/or directed towards the opponent’s king or queen.

Notice here how it does not say we should move the same piece five times in the first six moves! In fact, we should limit the amount one of our pieces moves whenever possible. We should look to develop our pieces fast, following good chess opening moves, chess opening ideas, and chess opening principles.

Needless to say, the Squirrel Variation is not a good chess opening for black. If this is so, why on earth are we covering it on our YouTube chess channel? Well first off, we usually post top tier chess openings for white and top tier chess openings for black. We share openings that have had success at the Grandmaster level, and can help players get some quick and easy wins. However, every once in awhile, it is fun to go over a terrible chess opening with a fun name. Specifically, this video adds to our series on animal chess openings in which we have covered the Crab Opening, Fried Fox Defense, Hippopotamus Defense, Giraffe Attack, Elephant Gambit, Bird’s Opening, Orangutan Opening, Lizard Attack, Whale Variation, etc. It’s not only fun to go over openings like this, but can help you improve in showing you what NOT to do. Sometimes it’s good to cover what is not good chess opening moves, chess opening tricks, chess opening traps, chess opening ideas, chess opening strategy, and chess opening theory because it can help you avoid making these same mistakes in games.

Finally, the Squirrel Variation is not a top tier chess opening, but if you can beat a friend with it, that’s some serious bragging rights! Your friend will have just lost a chess game to a squirrel. We hope you enjoy learning how NOT to play the Squirrel Variation!

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  1. A lot of times the pawns black is trying to attack it's ok to just let them take it gambit style to open the positon

  2. I think it is a great option for 3|2 blitz games. But theorically bad or not, I welcome and I thank you for widening our knowledge of chess openings. Much obligued.

  3. Can I finally complete my animal repertoire!!! Alongside the Fried Fox, Orangutan, the Crab, The Bird’s, and the Hippo. I can finally unleash my spirit beast on the world of chess with the Squirrel opening!!!

  4. Hey Solomon , I really want to see a video about 10 openings for Black against e4. Many people like playing e4 and it is difficult for me to find an opening for black against e4. I would really appreciate it!! Love your vids!! Keep it up!!

  5. This thumbnail 👌 saw your community question before this! 😆

  6. What on earth! You did it again Solomon! XD
    Thanks to be honest here, another youtuber would have said black is crushing!!
    An opening I see interesting is the Phoenix Colle but won't read a book about it 🙂

  7. Its late black to develope the other

  8. 1. e4 Nf3 2. e5. Ng8 is the Brooklyn Variation of the Alekhine that GM Joel Benjamin played a few times. That could be The Turtle! This looks like a fun one. Good to play after I bore opponents with a few Philidors.
    Keep 'em guessing. Thanks, Solomon.

  9. You don’t tell me what to do Solomon!! If I want to play the squirrel I will and you can’t tell me any different. You need to watch yourself…

  10. Just found your channel, new player here, a lot of other channels have a lot of energy haha and this is more laid back, I like the hippo defense and am learning the sodium attack, traditional openings and what not bored me to death, but with these unpredictable ones, my opposition doesn't know what to do

  11. This is a good black defence because it forces white to overcommit pawns that can be attacked in the middlegame.

  12. Now I have to play this opening till I'm 800

  13. At 5:32, after h6xg7, Bxg7; Bd3 doesn't Black lose his Rook's pawn no matter what? Okay, I thought again and did a little more analysis about the position after …h6 (getting diverted by some of the interesting complexities if White plays too hard for the attack) but I still think Black loses a pawn; …h6; then Qg4, and if …Ng6, then BxN, PxB; QxP+, but if …Bf8, then Rh5 followed by Qh3 and the black pawn on the h file is lost. Addendum: it occurs to me that before playing h6xg7, White should probably stabilize his center with either b3 or even c5 before launching his flank attack.

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