Kadas Opening starts with 1.h4. You will rarely see this in any serious games because it is completely against the opening theory. The move is basically passing the initiative to black.
Drawbacks of 1.h4
On the other hand, this move breaks three fundamental opening principles.
- It doesn’t control any central squares. Therefore, it allows the black to take control of the center with the move of his choice. Black can choose e5, d5, Nf6 or even 1…c5
- It doesn’t help in developing any piece. Unlike the central pawns, move 1.h4 doesn’t open up any of White’s pieces.
- It weakens the kingside, where the king will mostly go after castling. 1.h4 leaves g4,g3 squares weak. And the pawn h4 itself can come under attack easily.
Because of these 3 major downsides, this opening is not recommended for white. Also, there are no real benefits of 1.h4.
White can only play 1.h4 to confuse the opponent and make him choose his response. If you are used to memorizing openings, you will become uneasy against threats like h5-h6.
So, in this post, we will look at some ways black can play against 1.h4. Here are some sample lines.
1.h4 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3. h5 h6
With move 3…h6, black chooses to block the h pawn and make it a target of attack. After 4.e3 c5 5.c3 Bg4 6.Be2 Bxe2 7.Qxe2 e6 black has a slightly better game.
White’s good bishop is exchanged for black’s bad bishop and the h5 pawn will need constant protection. Black is also ahead in development.
After 1.h4 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.h5, black can also play 3…c5 4.e3 Nc6, immediately attacking the center.
And here, white can’t really play 5.Nf3 because of 5…Bg4!, winning the h5 pawn. Another drawback of h4! The g4 square becomes weak and can be occupied by black’s bishop.
And lastly, a move like 4.h6 is not something to worry about.
Black can just ignore the h pawn, and continue his development with either 4…Nc6 or 4…cxd4. A sample line can go 4…cxd4 5.hxg7 Bxg7 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.Nxd4 e5 8.Nb3 Nc6 and black is slightly better.
It may look like black’s h pawn got isolated and kingside became weak. But look at black’s pieces! Every minor piece is developed with e5 and d5 pawns controlling the full center. White will have difficult time developing his pieces on good squares.
Although 1.h4 is a bad move objectively, don’t underestimate its psychological impact. When you know that white has played a bad move, you may feel that it is your responsibility to punish him. Then, if you are not able to get a better position out of opening, it can lead you to doubt your ability as a chess player. But remember that chess is not that easy and one bad move doesn’t win the game!
Black gets only a slightly better position with many dynamic imbalances created by h5-h6-hxg7. So black has to be careful for long term.
Although I don’t recommend playing 1.h4 in serious games, you should try to play against 1.h4 with black pieces for practice games. It can help deepen your understanding of how one odd move can affect the subsequent play.