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Amar Opening

Amar Opening
a b c d e f g h
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Moves 1.Nh3
Origin Charles Amar, Paris, 1930s
Named after Charles Amar
Parent Irregular chess opening
Synonym(s) Paris Opening
Drunken Knight Opening
Ammonia Opening

The Amar Opening (also known as Paris Opening, Drunken Knight Opening, or Ammonia Opening) is a chess opening defined by the move:

1. Nh3

This opening is sometimes known as the Ammonia Opening, since NH3 is the chemical formula for ammonia. The Parisian amateur Charles Amar played it in the 1930s. It was probably named by Tartakower who used both names for this opening, although the chess author Tim Harding has jokingly suggested that "Amar" is an acronym for "Absolutely mad and ridiculous" (Winter 1996, p. 89).

Since 1.Nh3 is considered an irregular opening, it is classified under the A00 code in the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings.


Like the Durkin Opening, White develops a knight to a rim square without having much reason to do so, and such a development is quite awkward. (One of Siegbert Tarrasch's proverbs is "A knight on the rim is dim".) Nevertheless, developing the king's knight prepares kingside castling, and therefore 1.Nh3 is a more common move than 1.Na3.

Black's most common reply is 1...d5 which threatens 2...Bxh3, ruining White's kingside pawn structure. White usually plays 2.g3 to prevent this, and Black can then take a grip of the center with 2...e5.

Named variations

There are several named variations in the Amar Opening. The most well known one is known as the Paris Gambit: 1.Nh3 d5 2.g3 e5 3.f4? Bxh3 4.Bxh3 exf4. In the Paris Gambit, White allows Black a firm grip on the center, and also gives up material. Therefore, the gambit is considered dubious. The only named variation in the Paris Gambit is the Grant Gambit: 5.0-0 fxg3 6.hxg3. This variation was first played by Savielly Tartakower against Andor Lilienthal in Paris, 1933.

There is also one named subvariation in the 1...e5 variation, known as the Krazy Kat: 1.Nh3 e5 2.f3 d5 3.Nf2.