Parham Attack: Wayward Queen Attack (C20)

Parham Attack, also known as The Wayward Queen Attack, is a chess opening characterized by the moves:

1. e4 e5 2. Qh5

Bernard Parham, the first master-level player known to have advocated this line, also advocates early development of the queen in other positions, as in his favored line as White against the Sicilian Defence, 1.e4 c5 2.Qh5?! Parham has long advocated the use of early queen development in chess opening play. Although rebuked as being untenable by the mainstream chess world, Parham has popularized this chess style under the banner of so-called matrix principles. Much like Richard Réti and World Chess Champion Alexander Alekhine pioneered the hypermodern chess play, Parham argues that chess ideas which seem strange today may be playable in the future.

The Wayward Queen Attack violates a conventional opening principle by developing the queen too early, subjecting it to Attack (although it is relatively safe after retreating to f3). Nonetheless, the opening causes Black some problems. Left to his own devices, Black would probably develop with ...Nf6, ...Bc5, and ...Nc6. The Wayward Queen Attack hinders this by forcing Black (unless he wants to sacrifice a pawn) to first defend the e-pawn (usually with 2...Nc6), then after 3.Bc4 to either play 3...g6 (virtually committing Black to fianchettoing his king bishop), 3...Qe7 (blocking the bishop), or 3...Qf6 (taking away the knight's best square.

Despite its amateurish appearance, the Wayward Queen Attack was played in two grandmaster (GM) tournament games in 2005. U.S. Champion Hikaru Nakamura played it as White against Indian GM Krishnan Sasikiran at the May 2005 Sigeman Tournament in Copenhagen/Malmö, Denmark. Nakamura got a reasonable position out of the opening but lost the game due to a mistake made in the middlegame. He later wrote on the Internet, "I do believe that 2.Qh5 is a playable move, in fact I had a very good position in the game, and was close to winning if I had in fact played 23.e5."

The previous month, Nakamura had played 2.Qh5 against GM Nikola Mitkov at the April 2005 HB Global Chess Challenge in Minneapolis. The game ended in a draw after 55 moves.


King's Pawn Game (includes Alapin's Opening, Lopez Opening, Napoleon Opening, Portuguese Opening)

C20 King's Pawn Game (includes Alapin's Opening, Lopez Opening, Napoleon Opening, Portuguese Opening)

 1.e4 e5

 Study Games for Eco Code C20