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Ware Opening

Ware 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.a4
Named after Preston Ware
Parent Irregular chess opening
Synonym(s) Meadow Hay Opening

The Ware Opening (or Meadow Hay Opening) is an uncommon chess opening for White beginning with the move:

1. a4

It is named after U.S. chess player Preston Ware, who often played uncommon openings. The Ware is considered an irregular opening, so it is classified under the A00 code in the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings.

Opening idea

The Ware Opening attacks the b5-square and prepares to bring the a1-rook into the game. The b5-square is non-essential and if Black plays 1...e5, the f8-bishop prevents the development of the white rook for the moment. The reply 1...e5 also gains space for Black in the center, a typical objective of most openings but one completely ignored by the Ware Opening. Noting all this, the Ware Opening is normally seen played only by players completely new to chess.

An experienced player using the Ware Opening will usually meet a response of 1...d5 or 1...e5 with 2.d4 or 2.e4, respectively, since a reversed Scandinavian or Englund Gambit would be unsound here. At some later point the move a5 will be played, followed by Ra4 (as Ra3?? invites ...Bxa3 Nxa3 with a definite advantage for Black).

In the 2012 World Blitz Championship, 1.a4 was employed as a little joke by Magnus Carlsen against Teimour Radjabov, who during the blitz championship two years earlier had told him "Everyone is getting tired. You might as well start with 1.a4 and you can still beat them." The game soon turned into a sort of Four Knights Game where Carlsen finally prevailed.


There are several named variations of the Ware Opening. The best known of these are:

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