Some gambits are good for a surprise value only. Or they are thought to be simple enough to defend; no prior research is necessary to find a win.
But what if you really had to defend such a gambit? You never seen it before, you never analyzed it, but there it is, over the board and your clock has been started. You have a feeling that you should be able to beat it. But your clock is still ticking and you know you just have win this game, if for nothing except one’s own pride.
The Lolli Gambit is one of those gambits. You just know there is a defence. But what is the strategy? What are the moves?
I call it the Lousy Lolli. I originally called it that as it seems to be lousy for White. But if Black doesn’t find the right moves, then it can easily become very lousy for him.
According to Wikipeida, Giambattista Lolli (1698 – 4 June 1769) was an Italian chess player and one of the most important chess theoreticians of his time.
Let’s first define the gambit:
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+. White has sacrificed a piece in a position that resembles the Muzio. But he sacrifices his bishop too early.
Obviously Black can decline the gambit. But he has lost a pawn, cannot castle, and his king is misplaced. White has at least a “+/-”.
Ioan Panait (1680)-Silvia Poenariu
Deva Team Tournament, 1999
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+ Ke7 6.Bxg8 Rxg8 7.O-O gxf3 8.Qxf3 Bh6 9.Nc3 c6 10.d4 Qf8 11.e5 d5 12.exd6+ Kxd6 13.Ne4+ Kc7 14.Qh5 Qg7 15.Rf2 Bg4 16.Qxh6 Qxh6 17.Bxf4+ Qxf4 18.Rxf4 Be6 19.Nf6 Rh8 20.Re1 Bxa2? (Black has to try 20…Bc8 or 20…Bd7) 21.b3! +/- h6 22.Ra1 Bxb3 23.cxb3 Na6 24.Ng4 h5 25.Rf7+ Kb6 26.Ne5 Rhd8 1-0
So Black is forced to take the offered bishop. Now the natural 6.Ne5+, causing further disruption of Black’s defensive plans, is almost automatically played. White played 6.O-O in the following game, winning mainly, and possibly only, because of Black’s greed.
William Wallace Young-Frank Marshall
15 Board Simul
Bordentown, NJ, Apr. 28 1913
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.O-O gxf3? 7.Qxf3 Qf6 8.d4 Qxd4+ 9.Be3 Qf6 10.Nc3 Ne7 11.Bxf4 d6 12.Qh5+ Kg7 13.Bh6+ 1-0
So let’s get back to 6.Ne5+, White’s best continuation.
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Ne5+ Ke6 7.Qxg4+ Kxe5 8.Qf5+ Kd6 9.d4 Bg7 10.Bxf4+ Ke7 11.Bg5+ Bf6 12.e5 Bxg5 13.Qxg5+ Ke8 14.Qh5+ Ke7 15.O-O Qe8 16.Qg5+ Ke6 17.Rf6+ Nxf6 18.Qxf6+ Kd5 19.Nc3+ Kxd4 20.Qf4+ Kc5 21.b4+ Kc6 22.Qc4+ Kb6 23.Na4mate 1-0
George B. Spencer-N.N.
Minneapolis Chess Club, 1893
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Ne5+ Ke6 7.Qxg4+ Kxe5 8.d4+ Kxd4 9.b4 Bxb4+ 10.c3+ Bxc3+ 11.Nxc3 Kxc3
12.Bb2+! Kxb2 (If Black was to play 12…Kd3!?, then White would castle queenside to continue the attack.) 13.Qe2+ Kxa1 14.O-Omate 1-0
By now, you have probably figured out that 6…Ke6? puts the Black in the way of further harm. The alternate move, 6…Ke8 makes White’s mating efforts much hard as Black can now put his pieces in front of his king, instead of behind him where they become mere spectators.
Let’s look at a few games with the idea of seeing additional opening themes and tactical possibilities. Black can win if he can sidestep the complications. And if he can’t …
Murcey De Villette – Maubuisson
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Ne5+ Ke8 7.Qxg4 (The most common continuation. White needs to continue his attack and maybe win some material back. This move does both.) 7…Nf6 8.Qxf4 d6 9.Nc4 Qe7 10.Nc3 Nc6 11.O-O Bg7 12.d3 Rf8 13.Qg5 Be6 14.Ne3 Kd7 15.Bd2
(Black needs to either tuck his king in the queenside with 15…Rae8 and 16…Kc8 or try to simplify the board. He can’t do the first as he doesn’t have enough tempi. But his alternate plan is possible and probably even good. 15…Ng4! is his best move.) 15…Rae8?! 16.Ncd5 Bxd5 17.exd5 Ne5 18.Nf5 Qf7 19.Nxg7 Re7 20.Qf5+ Kd8 21.Ne6+ Ke8 22.Nxf8 Kxf8 23.Qxf6 1-0
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Ne5+ Ke8 7.Qxg4 Nf6 8.Qxf4 d6 9.Nf3 Nc6 10.d4 Qe7 11.O-O Bd7 12.e5 dxe5 13.dxe5 Nd5 14.Qe4 Be6 15.Bg5 Qc5+ 16.Kh1 Ncb4 17.c4 Nb6 18.b3 Be7 19.Nd4 Bg8 20.Bxe7 Qxe7 21.Nf5 Qd7 22.Qh4 Rd8 23.Qf6! (with the idea of Ng7+) 1-0
von Heydebrand und der Lasa-Nielsen Govert
Copenhagen, Feb. 19 1869
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Ne5+ Ke8 7.Qxg4 Nf6 8.Qxf4 d6 9.O-O Bg7 10.Nf3 Nc6 11.d4 Bg4 12.Be3 Ne7 13.Nc3 Qd7 14.e5 Nfd5 15.Qg5 Nxe3 16.Qxe3 d5 17.Ng5 Be6 18.Qf3 h5 19.Nb5 Bf5 20.c4 Bh6 21.e6! Qc6 22.Nf7 Rh7 23.Ne5 Qb6 24.Nd7 1-0
Canterbury, England, June 1903
[Based on the tactical ending, there is a good chance this game was played blindfolded. But I am unable to confirm this.]
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Ne5+ Ke8 7.Qxg4 Qf6 (The less aggressive, but stronger, move is 7…Nf6. Now White has a growing advantage.) 8.d4 Bh6 9.O-O Qg7 10.Qh5+! +- Ke7 11.Bxf4 Bxf4 12.Rxf4 Nf6 13.Qh4 d6 14.Nc3 c6 15.Raf1 Rf8 16.Nf7 Rxf7 17.e5 dxe5 18.dxe5 Nd7 19.exf6+ Nxf6
20.Ne4! Be6 21.Nxf6 Kf8 22.Nxh7+ Kg8 23.Rxf7 Bxf7 24.Nf6+ Kf8 25.Qb4+ 1-0
S. Shaw-P. Sokol
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Ne5+ Ke8 7.Qxg4 Nf6 8.Qxf4 d6 9.Nc4 Rg8 10.O-O Be7 11.d4 Rg4 12.Qh6?! (Perhaps a little too aggressive. Better is 12.Qe2, with about an equal game.) 12…Rg6 13.Qh4 Qd7 14.Ne3 Qh3 15.Qf4 Qh5 16.Nc3 Nc6 17.Ncd5 Nxd4 18.Qf2
18…Ne2+ 0-1 (White rightfully resigns due to 19.Kh1 Qxh2+!!)
N. Lelen-K. Marzec
Los Angeles, 1991
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Ne5+ Ke8 7.Qxg4 Nf6 8.Qxf4 d6 9.Nf3 Qe7 10.Nc3 Nc6 11.O-O Rg8 12.Nd5 Nxd5 13.exd5 Rg4 14.Qxg4 Bxg4 15.Re1 Ne5 16.Nxe5 dxe5 17.d4 Kd7 18.dxe5 Qc5+ 19.Be3 Qxd5 20.h3 Bc5 21.hxg4 Bxe3+ 22.Rxe3 Qc5 23.Re1 Re8 24.Kh2 Qxc2 25.e6+ Kc8 26.R1e2 Qg6 27.e7 Qxg4 28.Rf3 Rxe7 29.Rxe7 Qh4+ 0-1
Firas Al Hantouli (2200)-Khaled
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Ne5+ Ke8 7.Qxg4 Nf6 8.Qxf4 d6 9.Nf3 Qe7 10.Nc3 Nbd7 11.O-O Kd8 12.d4 b6 13.e5 Ne8 14.Qe4 Rb8 15.Bg5 Ndf6 16.exf6 Qxe4 17.f7+ Qe7 18.Bxe7+ Bxe7 19.Nd5 c6 20.Nxe7 Kxe7 21.Rae1+ Kd8 22.Ng5 Rf8 23.fxe8=Q+ Rxe8 24.Rxe8+ Kxe8 (and 25.Nxh7) 1-0
Juerg Gruber-Ioan Avram
Pizol Open, 1997
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Ne5+ Ke8 7.Qxg4 Nf6 8.Qxf4 d6 9.Nf3 Bg7 10.O-O Ng4 11.h3 Rf8 12.Qg3 Be5 13.Nxe5 Rxf1+ 14.Kxf1 Nxe5 15.Qg8+ Kd7 16.Qxh7+ Kc6 17.Qg7 b6 18.d4 Ba6+ 19.Kg1 Ned7 20.Qf7 Nf6 21.Bg5 Nbd7 22.Nc3 Qe8 23.Qb3 Rc8 24.Re1 Qg8 25.Qa4+ Kb7 26.Bxf6 Nxf6 27.b4 Qc4 28.Ne2 Nxe4 29.c3 Nxc3 30.Nxc3 Qxc3 31.Qd1 Qxb4 32.Qf3+ Kb8 33.Qd5 0-1
Nikolai Nasikan-Vitaliy Pasemko
Kiev, Dec. 28 2004
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Ne5+ Ke8 7.Qxg4 Nf6 8.Qxf4 d6 9.Nf3 Bg7 10.O-O Kf8 11.d4 Kg8 12.e5 dxe5 13.dxe5 Nd5 14.Qg3 h6 15.c4 Nb6 16.b3 Nc6 17.Bb2 Be6 18.Nc3 Bxc4 19.Rad1 Qe7 20.bxc4 Nxc4 21.Nd5 Qc5+ 22.Kh1 Nxb2 23.Nf6+ Kf7 24.Nd7 Qe7 25.Nh4+ Ke8 26.Qg6+ Kd8 27.Nb6+ Nxd1 28.Rxd1+ Qd6 29.Rxd6+ cxd6 30.Qxd6+ Ke8 31.Nxa8 Bxe5 32.Nc7+ Kf7 33.Qe6+ Kg7 34.Nf5+ Kf8 35.Qe8mate 1-0
Fahad A. Al Turky (1903)-Abdulrahman A. Masrahi (1863)
World Rapid Ch.
St. Petersburg, Dec. 26 2018
[Black defends accurately, picks up more material, and the concludes with a fine sacrifice. A Black player’s dream!]
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Ne5+ Ke8 7.Qxg4 Nf6 8.Qxf4 d6 9.Nf3 Qe7 10.O-O Bg7 11.Nc3 Rf8! (The right ratio of defence and attacking possibilities.) 12.Qh4 Bg4 13.e5 Bxf3 14.Rxf3 dxe5 15.d3 Nbd7 16.Bg5 Qc5+ 17.Be3 Qd6 18.Raf1 c6 19.Bg5 Qd4+ 20.Qxd4 exd4 21.Re1+ Kf7 22.Ne4 Kg8! (If the king can’t find refuge on the queenside, then he should go to the kingside!) 23.Nd6 Nd5 24.Rg3 Kh8 25.a3 Be5 26.Rxe5 Nxe5 27.b3 Nf7 28.Nxb7 Nxg5 29.Rxg5 Rae8 30.h3 Rg8 31.Rf5
31…Rxg2+! 32.Kh1 (32.Kxg2 Ne3+) 32…Rxc2 0-1