Fried Liver Attack

by admin on May 26, 2020

Fried Liver Attack

The Fried Liver Attack is definitely one of the most aggressive openings in the game of chess. Initially it leads to a loss of material, but later on it can be gained back by appropriate play. This opening is also called the Fegatello Attack. In Italian, fegatello translates to ‘dead as a piece of meat’. The Fried Liver Attack is a variation of the Italian game that is a common opening. It is a favourite among players looking for an early checkmate supported by aggressive play. Under the Encyclopedia of chess openings (ECO) it is categorized as C57. The Fried liver attack is such a prominent and effective opening in the game that we dedicated an entire article to this. By the end of this article, we hope to have inspired you enough to try it out on your own.

Below, we have some of the mind-boggling statistics of the Fried Liver Attack!

Fried Liver Attack Statistics

I am sure after going through that pie chart, you are very interested in learning about the fried liver attack. Before we move onto the attack and its depiction, we urge you to go through the theory well and be thorough with it. This is because, as deadly as this attack is, one wrong move could spell disaster. Further in the article, we will learn a superb counter to this attack as well that has the opposite effect.


Fried Liver Attack

The moves involved in this opening are

  1. e4 e5
  2. Nf3 Nc6
  3. Bc4 Nf6
  4. Ng5 d5
  5. exd5 Nxd5
  6. Nxf7


As you can see from the gif, white ends up sacrificing a knight in exchange for a pawn. This might seem like a foolish move to a chess engine. They often categorize this move as a blunder. But this is the foundation of the fried liver attack. If seen closely, the knight threatens to capture the Black Queen as well as the Black Rook. Neither of which are able to attack the White Knight. Only the Black King is able to capture the White Knight and should ideally do so.

Once that is done, the White Queen will move into f3 and check the Black King. Keep in mind that the White Bishop is threatening to capture the Black Knight on d5. In order to save this, there is only one square that the Black King may move to and this is the e6 square. This is the most probable line of play and also the first variation that we will learn.

Mainline Variation

This is the best course of action for White at this point of time. All other alternatives will result in a loss of material and eventually a checkmate. Thus if White is able to execute the fried liver attack, this is the most promising line for white to play.

Mainline Variation

The moves continue as follows

  1. Nxf7 Kxf7 
  2. Qf3+ Ke6 
  3. Nc3 Nb4 
  4. a3 Nxc2+ 
  5. Kd1 Nxa1 
  6. Nxd5

As we can see, White continues to mount pressure on the d5 square threatening to capture the Black knight that is pinned to the King.

To learn more about the pin in chess, check out our article below:

Even though, Black does well by attacking White’s Queenside and eventually capturing the White Rook, it is not fruitful. This is because the Black Knight will eventually be captured and it is just trapped inside White territory. Also, White begins attacking by capturing the Black Knight. This move achieves two things. Firstly, it attempts to neutralize the material imbalance between both players. Secondly, it threatens a quick checkmate with three versatile pieces attacking the king. As you can see, the game is gradually slipping away from the hands of black.

Can this be avoided? Yes! Here is the version of the counter-attack that has an equally devastating result for white.

Traxler Counter Gambit

Ther Traxler Counter Gambit is perhaps the best chance that Black has to strike back at White before things get out of control. The highlight of this gambit is that instead of advancing the pawn on d5, black gets its bishop out of the way to c5. This way it is eyeing the White pawn on f2.

Traxler Counter Gambit

The moves involved in this counter gambit are:

  1. Ng5 Bc5
  2. Nxf7 Bxf2+
  3. Kxf2 Nxe4+
  4. Ke3 Qh4
  5. Nxh8 Qf4+
  6. Ke2 Qf2+
  7. Kd3 Nb4+
  8. Kxe4 Qf4#

As we can see in the gif above, black manages to reverse this gambit and sacrifice its bishop for an advantageous position. So much so that it is able to checkmate white in the next few moves. It is difficult to imagine such a fierce attack flipped to checkmate the other player. Such is the magic of the game of chess that the impossible becomes possible!

Further Reading 1:

Further Reading 2: