Follow diplomacyworld on Twitter Follow diplomacyworld on Facebook 



Rebuttal to the Illyrian Opening

by Edi Birsan

from Diplomacy World #1


In November 1971, Hoosier Archives published the Lepanto Opening which started a mad craze to name and create new valuable openings for the various countries.  Following in that tradition, we have had the Baltic Opening, the Ionian Gaunt­let, the Churchill Opening and a host of the more popular and classical opening moves.  Each one outlines in careful steps the various ways to go about a specific national or personal objective in the best style given a certain set of diplomatic relations.


With the appearance of the Illyrian Opening, we see the craze going past its usefulness and disintegrating to a naming fest.


The diplomatic relations for this opening rested on the early Italian-Austrian alliance in 1901-02 with the agreement that Italy was to use the convoy to Syria or the Lepanto Opening to take doom the Turks.  The Italians are convinced that they must stab the Austrian in 1902 (spring) for whatever reason he holds dear to his heart.


The proposed moves were then, Spring 1902: Italy -- F Nap-Ion, F Ion-Adr, A Tun H and A Ven-­Tri.  It is assumed that Venice will sail unopposed into Trieste.


I hold that this is a less than optimum stab and that the "correct" or maxi-stab would be to substitute: A Tun-Alb, F Ion C A Tun-Alb, A Ven-Tri, F Nap-Apu. This leaves the Italian player in a much stronger tactical position than the suggested moves by Lipton and gives the Italian player an offensive position from which he has the option to make supported attacks against either Serbia or Greece.


These attacks, or potential attacks, on Ser­bia and Greece give the Italian player greater flexibility in dealing with both Turkey and Russia, a diplomatic position one does not have in the more defensive stance brought on by the move to the Adriatic.


One of the critical things to remember in all stabs, and one can see this in the above example, is that a stab is an offensive move and you must not take a defensive position on the initial thrust if it is to be an effective demoralizing blow.  The stab, to be ideal, must hit initially and then continue to threaten and take further centers in the next move to keep the enemy reeling from the blows and forcing him to use a defensive stand rather than a counterattack.  This will gain you diplomatic leverage and the elimination of your target.  And that’s what a stab is all about anyway.