Sometimes the best way to get the sense of an opening variation is to choose a player, and play through a series of games that he has played with it. Below, we look at several games played by ndrwgn in 2013 against a selection of opponents.
ndrwgn - balahap
standard, FICS, 2013
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+
4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Qh4
This is Black's strongest response to 6.d4, yet it is not well known. Of 1,0331 relevant games in The Database, only 214 (16%) show 6...Qh4.
As a personal example, Bill Wall has played 6.d4 16 times, and faced 6...Qh4 on only 4 occasions. To be fair he was "only" 3-1 against the "best" move, while he was 12 - 0 against alternatives.
See the early "A Pie-in-the-Face Variation" and the recent "Going All Henry Joseph Blackburne" for additional information.
The best move in a tricky position. ndrwgn had trouble with 7.dxc5 on several occasions: 7...Qxe4+ 8.Be3 Qxg2 (8... Nf6 9.O-O Rf8 10.Nc3 Qg4 11.Nd5 Qxd1 12.Raxd1 Nxd5 13.Rxd5 Nc4 14.Bd4 c6 15.Rg5 g6 16.f4 d5 17.cxd6 Nxd6 18.Bc5 Nf5 19.Bxf8 Kxf8 20.g4 Ne3 21.Re1 Nxg4 22.Rd1 Bf5 23.c3 Re8 24. h3 Ne3 25.Re1 Bxh3 26.Re5 Rxe5 27.fxe5 Nf5 28.Kh2 Bg4 29.Rf1 Ke7 30.Rf4 h5 31.Kg1 Ke6 32.Re4 Bf3 33.Re3 Nxe3 White resigned, ndrwgn - chesslayman, FICS, 2013) 9.Qh5+ Ng6 10.Rf1 Nf6 11.Qf5 d5 (11...d6 12.Qd3 dxc5 13.Nc3 Qf3 14.Bxc5 Re8+ 15.Kd2 Bg4 16.Rae1 Red8 17.Bd4 Qf4+ 18.Re3 Rxd4 White resigned, ndrwgn - balahap, FICS, 2013) 12. Nc3 Bxf5 White resigned, ndrwgn - balahap, FICS, 2013.
ndrwgn was able to outplay his opponent in a 7.Be3 game: 7...Bb4+ 8.c3 Qxe4 9.Qb3+ Kg6 10.Nd2 Qxg2? (10...Nd3+!) 11.O-O-O Nd3+ 12.Kb1 Bxc3 13.bxc3 d5 14.Rhg1 Qg4 15.Rxg4+ Bxg4 16.Rg1 h5 17.Qxd5 Re8 18.h3 Nf6 19.Qg5+ Kf7 20.hxg4 Re6 21.Nc4 hxg4 22.Ne5+ Nxe5 23.dxe5 Rh5 24.Qf4 Rhxe5 25.Rxg4 a5 26.Bd4 Re1+ 27.Kc2 R6e2+ 28.Kd3 Re4 29.Qxe4 Nxe4 30.Rxe4 Rd1+ 31.Ke2 Ra1 32.Rf4+ Ke6 33.Re4+ Kf7 34.Rf4+ Ke6 35.Bxg7 Rxa2+ 36.Kd3 a4 37.Rf6+ Ke7 38.Rf4 a3 39.Ra4 b5 40.Ra7 Rxf2 41.Rxc7+ Kd6 42.Ra7 a2 43.Bd4 Rh2 44.c4 Rh3+ 45.Kc2 Rh2+ 46.Kb3 Rh3+ 47.Kb4 bxc4 48.Rxa2 Kd5 49.Bc3 Rd3 50.Ra5+ Ke4 51.Kxc4 Black resigned, ndrwgn - lattakiaaa, FICS, 2013,
Again, this move is best - keep the attack going. Black had less success after 7...Bd6 8.dxe5 Bxe5 9.f4 (9.Qd5+!) 9...Bd4+ 10.Qxd4 Nf6 11.e5 Ng4 12.h3 Re8 13.hxg4 Qxg4 14.Qd5+ Qe6 15.Qe4 d5 16.Qxh7 Qb6+ 17.Rf2 Be6 18.Nc3 Rh8 19.Qd3 c6 20.f5 Rh5 21.fxe6+ Kxe6 22.Qg6+ Kxe5 23.Qxh5+ Kd4 24.Qg4+ Ke5 25.Bf4+ Kf6 26.Be3+ Black resigned, ndrwgn - vepara, FICS, 2013.
8. h3 Bd6
Not quite as good as 8...Bb6, although then Black still has to be careful: 9.hxg4 Nh6 10.Qf3+ Kg8 11.Bxh6 Qxh6 12.Qb3+ Kf8 13.c3 d6 14.Nd2 Bxg4 15.Rae1 Be6 16.d5 Bg4 17.Nc4 Qg6 18.Ne3 h5 19.f3 Bh3 20.Qc2 Qg5 21.Kh2 Bxe3 22.gxh3 Bf4+ 23.Kh1 Qg3 24.Qg2 Qxg2+ 25.Kxg2 h4 26.Rg1 g5 27.c4 Ke7 28.b4 a5 29.b5 Kf6 30.a4 Ke5 31.Re2 Kd4 32.Rd1+ Kxc4 33.Rc2+ Kb3 34.Rxc7 Rhc8 35.Rxb7 Rc2+ 36.Kf1 Rh2 37.Rb1+ Kxa4 38.Kg1 Rc2 39.b6 Rac8 40.Kf1 Rc1+ 41.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 42.Ke2 Rb1 43.Kd3 Rb3+ 44.Kc2 Rxf3 45.Rc7 Rxh3 46.b7 Rb3 47.Rc4+ Ka3 48.Rc3 Rxc3+ 49.Kxc3 h3 50.b8=Q h2 51.Qb3 checkmate, ndrwgn - balahap, FICS, 2013.
Probably best is 9.Qxg4, which still leaves Black better. Instead, 9.Qf3+ N4f6 10.e5 Be7 11.exf6 Nxf6 12.Nc3 Rf8 13.Nd5 Bd6 14.Re1 Kg8 15.Nxf6+ Qxf6 16.Qd5+ Kh8 17.Bg5 Qxf2+ 18.Kh1 Qg3 did not work, in ndrwgn - MRKumar, standard, FICS, 2013
Nonetheless, Black's plan in the current game - return a piece for two pawns - accidentally becomes over-generous, and the game shifts in White's favor.
9...Nxe5 10.dxe5 Bxe5 11.Qd5+ Kf8 12.Qxe5 d6
A trap that Black falls into by grabbing the wrong pawn.
White should have simply retreated his Queen with 13.Qc3 and a small edge.
Black should now grab the h-pawn for a slight edge.
13...Qxf2+ 14.Rxf2+ Black resigned
The check gives White time to save his Queen.