Durkin Opening

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Durkin Opening
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
a3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
Named afterRobert T. Durkin
Synonym(s)Durkin Attack
Sodium Attack

The Durkin Opening (also known as the Durkin Attack or the Sodium Attack) is a rarely played chess opening that consists of the following move:

1. Na3

The Durkin Opening is named for Robert T. Durkin (1923–2014) of New Jersey. The name "Sodium Attack" comes from the algebraic notation 1.Na3, as Na is the chemical symbol for the element sodium. Similarly, the Amar Opening (1.Nh3) is sometimes referred to as the "Ammonia Opening". White may follow up by playing c4,[1] e.g. 1...d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nxc4.


This development of the queen's knight does little to utilize White's advantage of the first move. On a3 the knight does not control central squares, and White would have to move this knight again (e.g., to c2 or c4) for it to follow common rules such as controlling the center. Angus Dunnington suggests that combining this with a gradual central expansion should give White a reasonable position.[2]


  • Durkin Gambit (1.Na3 e5 2.Nc4 Nc6 3. e4 f5)

See also[edit]



  • Benjamin, Joel; Schiller, Eric (1987). "Durkin Attack". Unorthodox Openings. Macmillan Publishing Company. pp. 103–04. ISBN 0-02-016590-0.
  • Dunnington, Angus (2000). Winning Unorthodox Openings. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-285-4.
  • Durkin, Robert (1959). N-QR3!, a new opening: the Durkin attack.
  • Hooper, David; Whyld, Kenneth (1996) [1992]. "Durkin Opening". The Oxford Companion to Chess (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 117. ISBN 0-19-280049-3.
  • Kasparov, Gary; Keene, Raymond (1982). Batsford Chess Openings. American Chess Promotions. ISBN 0-7134-2112-6.
  • Schiller, Eric (2002). Unorthodox Chess Openings (Second ed.). Cardoza Publishing. p. 454. ISBN 1-58042-072-9.