|Barnes Opening (also called Gedult´s Opening) is a chess opening where White opens with 1.f3.|
Of the twenty possible legal first moves, 1.f3 is considered to be the worst one. The move does attack a central square, e4, but if this is the summit of White´s ambition in the center, which it should not be, 1.d3, the Mieses Opening is a better way. 1.f3 does nothing for development, indeed it actually hinders White´s development because it robs the knight from the f3 square. In addition 1.f3 weakens the king´s position needlessly.
Since 1.f3 is a poor move, it is not played often. Nonetheless, it is probably not the rarest opening move. Some players play this move, somewhat arrogantly, as a way of saying something like "I can play anything against you". After 1.f3 e5 some players even continue with the nonsensical 2.Kf2. One example of this was Simon Williams against Martin Simons in the last round of the British championship tournament in 1999 where Williams had nothing to play for.
Refutation of 1.f3 is not an easy task. Black can easily secure an advantage by advancing his central pawns, grabbing control of the centre, and rapidly developing his pieces. However, converting this to a win is tougher, and in most games featuring 1.f3, White "wakes up" and starts playing sensibly after a few moves.
Barnes Opening can lead to Fool´s mate, 1.f3 e5 2.g4 Qh4 mate. Of all of White´s legal moves on his second move, only one allows mate in one, while another, 2.h3, allows mate in two.
Since 1.f3 is a highly irregular opening move, the Encyclopedia of Chess Openings classifies Barnes Opening as A00.
The opening is named after Thomas Wilson Barnes (1825-1874), an English player who had an impressive eight wins over Paul Morphy, including one game where Barnes answered 1.e4 with 1...f6.