How to Play Chess Like an Animal

Ever want to play chess like a gorilla? A bird? A wolf? Guess what! You can! There’s a chess opening called the Orangutan. It starts 1. b4 for white. It’s a nontraditional opening with an animal name. The Bird is another chess opening with an animal name (although it is actually just named after a man named bird.) It starts 1. f4. It is also a fairly nontraditional opening although it is played quite often at high levels of tournament chess. There are many chess openings named after animals.

Five time Colorado state chess champion, life-master Brian Wall and I are the co-authors of  a colorful, illustrated children’s chess book called How to Play Chess Like an Animal. Animal chess openings are fun for kids to learn. We got the idea to write this book when we were both teaching chess in after school chess programs in Denver, Colorado. Brian used to get the kids all excited about chess by teaching them to play the Elephant Gambit. First he would tell these young kindergardeners and first graders to get up and swing their arm like an elephant trunk. Then he would teach them to make a sound like an elephant. Then he would teach them the Elephant Gambit. To see more about chess animal openings you can click on the link. Meanwhile, keep playing chess and don’t forget to have fun!


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