index 2008
Letter #27 -  2008

Sub:    Sodium Attack
Date:   07/01/2008 12:07:17 AM EDT


Do you know the history behind the Sodium Attack (1. Na3)?


Dear viewer,

The Sodium Attack also known as Durkin's Attack, or the Durkin opening, is a very rarely played Chess opening beginning with the move 1. Na3 and belongs to the irregular Chess openings (ECO A00).

This awkward development of the Queen's Knight does little to utilize White's advantage of the first move. From a3 the Knight does not influence the center or possess much activity.

It is likely that White will move this Knight again soon, perhaps by playing c4 and either recapturing on c4 (e.g. 1...d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nxc4) or playing Nc2.

If this is White's plan, it is probably stronger to play c4 on the first move (the English opening). As such, this opening is probably most valuable as a way to avoid opening preparation.

This opening is named for Robert Durkin (1923-?) of New Jersey. The name “Sodium Attack” comes from the algebraic notation 1. Na3, as Na is the chemical symbol for the element Sodium.

The Durkin opening has several named variations. Durkin's gambit is characterized by 1... e5 2. Nc4 Nc6 3. e4 f5. The Celadon variation continues 1... e5 2. d3 Bxa3 3. bxa3 d5 4. e3 c5 5. Rb1.

Source: Wikipedia

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