18 Bizarre Chess Openings Named After Animals

I spent hours compiling a list of all the chess openings named after animals. Today I share with you 18 of the most oddly named ones!

Timestamps:
0:00 – Intro
0:44 – lichess database explanation
1:34 – Kangaroo Defense (as black against d4)
2:51 – Scorpion-Horus Gambit (as white against Caro-Kann)
4:00 – Fried Fox Defense (as black)
4:47 – Chameleon Variation (as white against Sicilian)
5:46 – Lobster Gambit (as white against Latvian Gambit)
6:45 – Double Duck Formation (as black against d4/f4)
7:40 – Gibbon Gambit (as white against Grunfeld Defense)
9:19 – Dodo Variation (as white against King’s Gambit Accepted)
10:14 – Tortoise Opening (as white against e5)
11:34 – Vulture Defense (as black against d4)
13:31 – Horsefly Gambit (as white against Mexican Defense)
15:24 – Snail Variation (as black against d4)
16:22 – Mosquito Gambit (as black against d4)
16:55 – Porcupine Variation (as white against f5)
18:19 – Penguin Variation (as white against d5)
19:17 – Mongoose Variation (as black against e4)
20:50 – Monkey’s Bum (as white against Modern)
22:44 – Hippopotamus Defense (as black)
25:18 – Part 2 (Animal Opening Traps) Coming Next!

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124 Comments

  1. Fried Fox Defense = Bongcloud Opening 2

  2. I play the Fried Fox defense quite often. I was quite unhappy to see it being in the ‘bad’ tier list….

  3. Was hoping you showed the Snake Benoni, one of my main openings with great results

  4. Missed Giraffe attack (in Vienna – 1.e4 e5, 2.Nc3 Bc5, 3.Qg4 Qf6? and so on), which is very deadly and trappy opening I won many games with. Giraffe kicks ass…

  5. I have heard the hippopotamus is actually a good reliable system. I wonder what reasoning was behind naming each of these openings after an animal ????

  6. Kangaroo Defense can easily transpose into Nimzo-Indian after Nc3 Nf6. I and my friends like to jokingly call it "Accelerated Nimzo-Indian Defense". :)))

  7. basically Acceptable openings are just "Meh!" oppenings!

  8. Didn’t include the colle system – Yusupovs, zukertorts and homophonic farm dogs everywhere are outraged!

  9. The win percentages for black and white can be ignored. Maybe low rating players mostly win with black and high rated players mostly win with white. I would check the database instead and see how it worked out for other players.

  10. Missed the great snake variation of The English opening. Would give it a good.

  11. Can't wait to see if Dragon makes the list…

  12. I'm a caro player and I've never seen the Skorpion-Horus Gambit and honestly it might really catch someone off guard. If you really want to take a caro player out of prep or you wanna put pressure in a faster time control it might be a really powerful weapon if you study it thoroughly. (Usually I'd recommend something like the fantasy variation f3, but a lot of caro player know about that already so the surprise value might not be that high these days.)

  13. There's also The Whale, the English, but with knight to C3 as the second move.

  14. "I spent hours "
    That is very much appreciated, great video as always, Nelson.

  15. The last one in my language is called the rat's defence))

  16. I would love have known why they're named what they're named

  17. Amazing the number of openings with such names lol

  18. I believe the intention behind the penguin is to give black the lead so you can react to his moves. A zeitzug very early in the game so to say.

  19. These are interesting. I'd like to see you play some of these against opponents and see what discoveries you make.

  20. Indian Defence: Gibbins-Wiedenhagen Gambit, Maltese Falcon
    1.d4 Nf6 2.g4 Nxg4 3.f3 Nf6 4.e4

  21. Looking forward to Orangutan gambit pls

  22. Now I need to play the double duck formation…. very few things in the world will make me happier than "bore my opponent to death"

  23. you forgot the whale and hiphopanonymous egg because still an animal cracker

  24. thats why it was named tortoise opening, just slows doen your development

  25. I once played the duck without knowing it,
    The funny thing it ended with a draw because we played 50 moves without any capture.
    I didn't know that.

  26. I love the vids about wacky openings. Although I want the vast majority of my attention on a few openings, I do want to have all the wacky ones in mind to bust out on some occasion

  27. How about the Whale where you go e4 and your opponent goes e5 and then you play c4? I don't know why it is called the Whale, but I think it is called the Whale because you are spewing your pawns out like how a whale spews water out.

  28. Is there any publicly available way to contact you?

  29. Did your voice fast forward when naming the openings ?

  30. I love playing the lion defense as black! (1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nbd7)

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