A few posts ago I wrote about From’s Gambit (see “From England, with Love.”)
The research needed for that article helped this one. I finally got to play a From’s Gambit. And while the game is not perfect, it was a lot of fun to play.
chess.com, July 15 2020
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e3
(Most popular, after 5.e3 is 5…Ng4 with lines progressing with 6.Qe2 Nc6 7.Nc3.)
[A slightly passive move. 6.Bb5 should be considered. Here are four games illustrating that White’s play does not have to be limited to the kingside.
Thematic Tournament, 1961
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e3 Nc6 6.Bb5 Bd7 7.d3 Qe7 8.Nc3 O-O-O 9.Bd2 Ng4 10.Qe2 Nb4 11.Bxd7+ Rxd7 12.O-O-O f5 13.h3 Nf6 14.Nd4 g6 15.a3 Nbd5 16.Nxd5 Nxd5 17.c4 Nf6 18.Bc3 Re8 19.Nc2 Nh5 20.Qf3 Bg3 21.Rd2 c5 22.Rhd1 Qe6 23.Kb1 Kb8 24.Re2 Be5 25.Bxe5+ Qxe5 26.g4 fxg4 27.hxg4 Nf6 28.Rf2 Re6 29.d4 Qg5 30.dxc5 Qxc5 31.Qf4+ Kc8 32.Nd4 Red6 33.g5 Ne8 34.Rc1 Re7 35.Rc3 a6 36.Qg4+ Kb8 37.Rf8 Ka7 38.b4 Qc7 39.Kb2 Rd8 40.Rf4 Ng7 41.c5 Nh5 42.b5 Qxf4 43.b6+ Kb8 44.exf4 Rxd4 45.c6 bxc6 46.Rxc6 Re8 47.Qg1 Rd5 48.Qc1 Ng3 49.Re6 Rc8 50.Re8 1-0
[Gambit Revue, 2/1991]
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e3 Nc6 6.Bb5! (A new idea.) 6…O-O (6…Bd7 should be preferred and 7.O-O O-O 8.Nc3 a6 9.Bxc6 Bxc6 10.d3 Re8 11.a4 although and here White has a clear advantage.) 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.O-O Re8 9.Nc3 Bg4 10.Qe1 Rb8 11.d3 Qe7 12.e4 Bxf3 13.gxf3! (The natural 13.Rxf3 would be a serious mistake because of 13…Be5! with full domination by Black.) 13…Nh5 (13…Be5 Now gives nothing. 14.f4 Bd4+ 15.Kh1 with a better position for White.) 14.f4 f5 15.e5 Bc5+ 16.Kh1 Qf7 17.Qe2 Bd4 18.Qf3 Bxc3 (18…Re6 19.Ne2? Bxb2? 20.Rb1 +-) 19.bxc3 Qd5 20.c4 Qxf3+ 21.Rxf3 g6 22.Ba3 Kf7 23.d4 Red8 24.Rd1 Ke6 25.Bc1 Rb1 26.Rfd3 Ra1 27.d5+ Kf7 28.Be3 Rxa2 29.dxc6 Rxd3 30.cxd3 Re2 31.Bc1 Ng7 32.d4 Rc2 33.d5 Rxc4 34.e6+ Kg8 35.Be3 Ne8 36.Bxa7 Kf8 37.Bd4 Ke7 38.Be5 Nd6 39.Re1 Ra4 40.Bxd6+ cxd6 41.Rb1 1-0.
Vladimir Malaniuk (2600)-Roman Ovetchkin (2475)
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e3 Nc6 6.Bb5 O-O 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.O-O c5 9.b3 Ne4 10.Bb2 f5 11.Na3 Bb7 12.Nc4 Qe7 13.d3 Ng5 14.Nxg5 Qxg5 15.Qd2 Rae8 16.Rae1 Re6 17.e4 f4 18.Rf3 Rh6 19.Nxd6 cxd6 20.Rg3 1-0
Claude Oger (19970-Xavier Lebrun (2205)
Elancourt Open, Apr. 22 2006
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e3 Nc6 6.Bb5 O-O 7.Nc3 Bg4 8.Be2 Re8 9.O-O Qe7 10.Kh1 Rad8 11.a3 Nh5 12.Qe1 Ne5 13.d4 Ng6 14.Qf2 Nf6 15.Bd2 c6 16.Bd3 Bc8 17.h3 Nh5 18.Ne2 Bb8 19.Rg1 Nf6 20.Nc3 c5 21.Rae1 a6 22.Ne2 b5 23.c3 Bb7 24.Nf4 Ne4 25.Bxe4 Qxe4 26.Ng5 Qf5 27.h4 Nxf4 28.exf4 h6 29.Nh3 Qxh3mate 0-1.]
(Black could obviously try 7…O-O but I usually like to castle to the opposite side of my opponent – it opens more possibilities to attacking their castled king. R. Norman-M.Varner, corres., 1991 continued with 6…O-O 7.O-O Be6 8.Nc3 Nd7 9.b3 Nde5 10.Ne4 Nxf3+ 11.Bxf3 Bd5 12.Bb2 Bxe4 13.Bxe4 Qh4 14.Rf4 Bxf4 15.exf4 Qxf4 16.d3 Rad8 17.Qe1 Rfe8 18.Qc3 Nd4 19.Re1 Kh8 20.Bc1 Qxc1 21.Rxc1 Ne2+ 22.Kf1 Nxc3 23.Bf3 c6 24.a3 g6 …0-1.)
7.O-O h5 8.Nh4?! (8…c4!?) 8…Be6 9.Rxf6? (This might work if Black was forced to play 9…gxf6? and now either 10.Bxh5 or 10.d4. But even then Black has the advantage.) 9…Qxf6 10.g3 g5 11.Ng2 h4 12.g4 h3 13.Ne1 Qe5 (>13…O-O-O! which will save Black a tempo or two.) 14.Nf3 Qf6 15.Nc3 Bxg4 16.Ne4 Qf5 (>16…Qg6!) 17.Nexg5? (This can’t be good. Much better is 17.Nxd6+ cxd6 and White rids himself of an annoying bishop. The text move, moreover, freely opens the g-file to Black’s rooks without him having to work for it.)
17…O-O-O?! (A reasonable move. But not the best. Black should immediately use the open file that was freely given to him with 17…Bxf3 18.Bxf3 Qxg5+ or 18.Nxf3 Qg4+.) 18.Qf1 Bxf3 (A move best described as better late than never.) 19.Nxf3 Rhg8+ 20.Kh1 Rg2 21.Bd3 Qg4 22.Ng1?? Rxh2mate 0-1