The Scotch Opening isn’t played a lot at the elite level, which is a bit surprising as it is often effective, as in the following game.

Garry Kasparov’s recent success using the Scotch opening during the Ultimate Blitz Challenge in St. Louis could inspire more players to give it a try, as happened in 1990 following his World Championship match with Anatoly Karpov

Kryvoruchko, Y. vs. Almasi, Z.
51st Capablanca Mem Elite | Varadero CUB | Round 8.1 | 17 Jun 2016 | ECO: C45 | 1-0
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nxc6!
5. Nc3 This is pretty common nowadays and entirely toothless.
5... Bb4  )
5... bxc6 6. e5 Qe7 7. Qe2 Nd5 8. c4 Ba6
8... Nb6 Is the most common move.  )
9. Nd2 Nb4?! I don't like this move, nor do I understand it.
9... g6 Is simple and strong.  )
10. Nf3 White already has a nice edge, but it was not the opening of this game that made the strong impression on me.
10... c5 11. g3
11. a3 Would likely transpose to the game  )
11... Qe6 12. a3 Nc6 The computer thinks Black is better at this point. This is utter nonsense Blacks structure is weakened, his king will have a hard time finding a home, and he has no real counterplay.
13. Bd2 O-O-O 14. O-O-O g6 15. Bg5 Be7 16. Bxe7 Qxe7 17. Qe3! White starts a strong sequence of moves that leaves Black in terrible shape. The pawn on c5 is the target.
17... Rhe8 18. Rd5! d6 19. Bh3+ Kb8 20. Qb3+ Bb7 Superficially, this position does not look terribly dangerous Black. In reality, he is in big trouble.
21. Re1! Threatening exd6
21... Qf8 22. Bg2! And the laser is coming online on the long diagonal. White is more than happy to sacrifice the exchange.
22... Na5? Black greedily goes for the material, but this will be his undoing.
22... a6 At a high depth the engine suggests this move, but it fails to equalize entirely.
23. exd6 Rxd6 24. Rxd6 cxd6 25. Qb6  )
22... f6? This is met with a nasty refutation:
23. Nd4! Na5 24. Nc6+! Nxc6 25. Rxc5 And Black is in big trouble  )
23. Qa4! Bxd5 24. cxd5 Nb7 It looks like Black is safe for the moment, but White's pieces are ready to strike. He starts by improving his worse positioned piece.
25. Bf1! dxe5?
25... Rxe5 The engine claims this is best, and Black can carry on, though he will be suffering.
26. Nxe5 dxe5 27. Rxe5  )
26. Bb5! White installs the bishop on c6 to stop any Black pieces from swinging to b6 via d6
26. Ba6 Qd6! and Qb6 will hold the fort  )
26... e4
26... c4 27. Bxe8 Qxe8 28. Qxc4 Was not much better  )
27. Bc6! Ka8 28. Re3! exf3 29. Qb5 And Black had seen enough. A fine victory from Kryvoruchko


Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 7 in the country. He is a professional player and recipient of the Samford Fellowship in 2013, the most prestigious award in the United States for young chess players. He is at @GMShanky on Twitter and is also on Facebook.