The Hennig-Schara Gambit

I briefly touched on the Hennig-Schara Gambit in my last post (an opening named after two players).

But after I reviewed it, I thought it might be a fascinating subject to share. So here are some surprising opening moves for you, the good reader.

The gambit starts with the moves, 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4. White gets an early advantage while Black develops. The game can easily enter lines where tactics and unclear continuations come into play.

Basically, with the c-file and d-file open, Black’s dream position would be one that he would castle queenside and have the enemy king stuck in the center. This obviously cannot happen in all games as can White castle kingside and Black often has a problem developing his b8-bishop, necessary for him to castle queenside.

But before going over the main lines, let’s first take a look at well-known trap that many Black players fall into, especially in speed chess.

Fidlow-I. Mayer
Berlin, 1950
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.dxe6 dxc3?

6.exf7+ Ke7 7.fxg8=N+! Rxg8 8.Bg5+ 1-0

Instead of 5…dxc3? Black should have responded with 5…Bxe6 and gain a tiny, minute advantage.

Zeljko Mackovsek-FM Sergey Trussevich
Josipa Ipavca Memorial
Sentjur, Slovenia, Sept. 14 2011
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.dxe6 Bxe6 6.Ne4 Nf6 7.Nxf6+ Qxf6 8.Nf3 Nc6 9.g3 Bc5 10.Bg2 O-O 11.O-O Rfe8 12.Bg5 Qg6 13.a3 h6 14.Bf4 Rad8 15.Ne1 Bg4 16.Bf3 Bh3 17.Bg2 Bg4 18.Bf3 Bxf3 19.Nxf3 d3 20.exd3 Rxd3 21.Nd2 Nd4 22.Qb1 Ne2+ 23.Kh1 Nxf4 24.Qc1 Qc6+ 25.f3 Re2 0-1

Which leaves White with taking the pawn. He can either take it immediately with 5.Qxd4 or the move after with 5.Qa4+ Bd7 (played to disrupt Black’s development and close the d-file, at least for the moment).

White’s first plan, 5.Qxd4 is an obvious move. Black’s response is overwhelmingly in favor of 5…Nc6, if only because 5…Nf6 fails.

Marshall-Howard
Sylvan Beach, 1904
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nf6?! 6.e4 exd5 7.exd5 Be6 8.Bb5+ Bd7 9.d6 Nc6 10.Qd3 Be6 11.Bf4 a6 12.Bxc6+ bxc6 13.Nf3 Qb6 14.O-O Rd8 15.Rfe1 Nh5 16.Rad1 Qb7 17.Be5 Nf6 18.Bxf6 Rxd6 19.Nd4 gxf6 20.Ne4 c5 21.Nxd6+ Bxd6 22.Nxe6 1-0

And White almost has to play, after 5.Qxd4 Nc6, the move 6.Qd1, as 6.Qa4 fails spectacularly.

Rejfir-Menchik
Maribor, 1934
1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d4 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qa4 exd5 7.Nf3 Bc5 8.Qb5 Qd6 9.g3 Nf6 10.Bg5 Ne4 11.Nxe4 dxe4 12.Nd2 O-O 13.Nxe4 Bb4+ 14.Bd2 Bxd2+ 15.Nxd2 Nd4 16.Qc4 Be6 17.Ne4 Qb6 18.Qd3 Rac8 19.Nc3 Qxb2 20.Rb1 Qxc3+ 0-1

R. Q. Martin-Radoicic
New York Open 1967
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qa4 exd5 7.Nf3 d4 8.Nb5 Bd7! 9.a3 Rc8 10.Nbxd4


10…Bb4+!! 11.Kd1 Nxd4 12.Qxb4 Nc2 13.Qe4+ Be6+ 0-1

And now with the moves 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd1, a tabiya has been reached, with chances for both sides.

Smyslov-Aramanovic
Moscow Ch., 1945
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd1 exd5 7.Qxd5 Be6 8.Qxd8+ Rxd8 9.e3 Nb4 10.Bb5+ Ke7 11.Ke2 Nc2 12.Rb1 a6 13.Ba4 Bc4+ 14.Kf3 Ne1+ 15.Kg3 Rd6 16.f4 Rg6+ 17.Kf2 Nd3+ 18.Kf3 Ne1+ 1/2-1/2

Smyslov-Estrin
Chigorin Memorial
Leningrad, 1951
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd1 exd5 7.Qxd5 Be6 8.Qxd8+ Rxd8 9.e3 Nb4 10.Bb5+ Ke7 11.Kf1 Nf6 12.Nf3 Nc2 13.Rb1 Bf5 14.Bd2 g5 15.Rc1 h6 16.e4 Nxe4 17.Rxc2 Nd6 18.Nd4 Nxb5 19.Nxf5+ Kf6 20.Nxb5 Kxf5 21.Ke2 1-0

J. Breytenbach-M. O’Sullivan
South Africa 1982
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd1 exd5 7.e3 Nf6 8.Nf3 Bc5 9.Bb5 O-O 10.h3 a6 11.Ba4 Qd6 12.O-O b5 13.Bc2 Be6 14.b3 Rad8 15.Bb2 d4 16.exd4 Nxd4 17.Ne4 Nxe4 18.Bxe4 f5 19.Nxd4 fxe4 20.Nc2 Bxf2+ 21.Kh1 Qg3 22.Qh5 Rd5! 23.Qe2 Bxh3 24.Qxe4 Bxg2+! 0-1
(25.Qxg2 Rh5+)

Thompson (2189)-Jepson (2412)
Copenhagen Open
Denmark, 2001
1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d4 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd1 exd5 7.e3 Nf6 8.Nf3 Bb4 9.Bd3 O-O 10.O-O Bg4 11.Nb5 Qb6 12.a3 Be7 13.Nc3 Bxf3 14.Qxf3 Ne5 15.Qe2 Rfd8 16.Bc2 Rac8 17.Bf5 Rc6 18.e4 Qa6 19.Qxa6 Rxa6 20.Nxd5 Nxd5 21.exd5 Rxd5 22.Be4 Rd7 23.Bf4 Bf6 24.Rfe1 Ng6 25.Bxg6 hxg6 26.Re8+ Kh7 27.Be5 Rd2 28.Rb1 Re2 29.f4 Rc6 30.Rf1 Rcc2 31.Rf3 Rxg2+ 32.Kf1 Rxh2 0-1

Bayram (2308)-Essing (2253)
European Ch.
Batumi, Georgia, 2002
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd1 exd5 7.e3 Nf6 8.Nf3 Bb4 9.Be2 Ne4 10.Bd2 Bxc3 11.Bxc3 Nxc3 12.bxc3 O-O 13.O-O Be6 14.Nd4 Na5 15.f4 Qf6 16.Qe1 Bf5 17.Nxf5 Qxf5 18.Rd1 Rfe8 19.Bd3 Qe6 20.Rf3 f5 21.Qh4 g6 22.h3 Rac8 23.g4 Rxc3 24.gxf5 gxf5 25.Kh2 Kh8 26.Rg3 Rc7 27.Rdg1 Qf7 28.Qg5 Rcc8 29.Bxf5 Rcd8 30.Rg4 1-0

One line which we DO NOT recommend for White is: 6.Qd1 exd5 7.Qxd5 Bd7 8.Nf3 Nf6 9.Qd1 Bc5 10.e3? Qe7 11.a3 O-O-O 12.Be2? Bh3!

The following games demonstrate the reasons why.

Dr. A. A. Mengarini-M. Radoicic
Third Forum Open
New York, 1967
[Hans Kmoch, “Games from Recent Events”, Chess Review, July 1967]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd1 exd5 7.Qxd5 Bd7 8.Nf3 Nf6 9.Qd1 Bc5 10.e3 Qe7 11.a3
(11.Be2 is urgent.) 11…O-O-O 12.Be2 (Now White returns the Pawn for no obvious reason. 12.Bd2 is indicated. White has a difficult job then but does after the text move also.) 12…Bh3 13.Qc2 Bxg2 14.Rg1 Bxf3 15.Qf5+ Kb8 16.Qxf3 Ne5 17.Qf5 g6 18.Qc2 Rd7 19.b4 Bb6 20.Bb2 Rc8 21.Rd1 Rdc7 22.Qb3

22…Bxe3!! (This brilliant breakthrough destroys whatever dreams of safety White has.) 23.fxe3 (On 23.Nb5, Black probably continues with 23…Bxf2+ 24.Kxf2 Ne4+) 23…Nf3+! 24.Bxf3 (Or 24.Kf2 Rxc3! 25.Bxc3 Rxc3 26.Qxc3 Ne4+, etc.) 24…Qxe3+ 25.Be2 (White has nothing better.) 25…Qxg1+ 26.Kd2 Qg5+ 27.Kc2 (Or 27.Ke1 Qh4+ 28.Kd2 Rxc3! or 28.Kf1 Qh3+ 29.Ke1 Ne4 30.Rd3 Qh4+ with a winning attack.) 27…Ne4 28.Rd3 Rxc3+! 29.Bxc3 Rxc3+! 30.Rxc3 Qd2+ 0-1

Eric Marathee (2068)-Herve Daurelle (2230)
Paris Ch.
France, July 24 1999
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nc6 8.a3 Nf6 9.Qd1 Bc5 10.e3 Qe7 11.Be2 O-O-O 12.Nf3 Bh3 13.Qb3
(13.Qa4 may be the only move here – RME.) 13…Bxg2 14.Rg1 Bxf3 15.Bxf3 Ne5 16.Bh1 Rhe8 17.Na4 Nd3+ 18.Ke2 Ne4 19.Bxe4 Qxe4 20.Bd2 Nf4+ 21.Ke1 Qf3 22.Qd1 Nd3+ 0-1

White has better luck with 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 as Black’s counter attack is slowed down by his bishop on d7.

Bill Wall-P. McKone
Palo Alto, CA, 1989
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Nf3 Nf6 8.Bg5 Nc6 9.Qe3+ Be6 10.O-O-O Be7 11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.Qh6 Qc7 13.e4 Nb4 14.Kb1 O-O-O 15.Nd4 dxe4 16.Be2 Rxd4 17.Rxd4 Bxa2+ 18.Nxa2 Qc2+ 19.Ka1 Nxa2 20.Rc4+ 1-0

A main line goes 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nf6. Now the question is, “Can White take the b7-pawn?” The answer is yes. But it’s not recommended.

C. Ford-P. Herbers
CalChess Ch.
Stade, CA, 1994
[The reason not to grab the “b” pawn.]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nf6 8.Qxb7?


7…Nc6 9.e3 Nb4 10.Bb5 Nc2+ 11.Kf1 Nxa1 12.Bxd7+ Nxd7 13.Qe4+ Be7 14.Qb1 Ne5 15.Qxa1 Rc8 16.Nge2 Qd3 17.Qb1 Rxc3 0-1

“weiran” (1775)-“mrjoker” (1778)
Blitz Game
ICC, September 6, 2008
[The reason not to grab the “b” pawn, part 2. Louis Morin is presumably “mrjoker”.]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nf6 8.Qxb7 Nc6 9.Bf4 Nb4 10.O-O-O
(10.Rc1! was much better.) 10…Rc8 11.Kb1 Rxc3 (A little too fancy. I saw 11…Bf5+! 12.e4, but simply missed 12…Qxd1+! 13.Nxd1 Bxe4+.) 12.bxc3 (I was expecting 12.Rxd7. Even with the help of Fritz I cannot find anything better than a perpetual check after 12…Qa5 13.a3 Qf5+ 14.e4 Nxe4 15.Ka1 Nc2+ 16.Ka2 Rc5 17.Bb5 Nc3+ 18.bxc3 Nb4+ 19.axb4 Qc2+ etc.) 12…Bf5+ 13.Kb2 Qxd1 14.Qb8+ Kd7 15.Qxa7+ Kc6 16.Qc7+ Kb5 17.c4+ (Again it seems as if a perpetual check should be the logical outcome after 17.Qb7+ Kc4 18.e4+ Qxf1 19.Nf3 Nd3+ 20.Kc2 Nb4+ 21.cxb4 Qd3+ 22.Kc1 Qc3+ 23.Kd1 Nxe4 24.Nd2+ Nxd2 25.Qxf7+ Kd3 26.Qxf5+ Ne4 27.Qh3+ etc.) 17…Ka6 (Sorry, no more checks.) 18.Kc3 Qc2+ 19.Kd4 Qb2+ 20.Ke3 Qc3mate 0-1

White’s best is to ignore the offered pawn.

Neuman (247)-Kasper (1948)
Marienbad Open
Marianske Lazne, Czech Republic, Jan. 15 2011
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nf6 8.Qb3 Bc5 9.Nf3 Bc6 10.Bg5 O-O 11.e3 h6 12.Rd1 Qe7 13.Bh4 g5 14.Bg3 Ne4 15.Nxe4 Bxe4 16.Bd3 Bb4+ 17.Ke2 Nc6 18.Bxe4 Qxe4 19.Qd3 Qe6 20.Qb3 g4 21.Nd4 Qxb3 22.Nxb3 Rad8 23.a3 Be7 24.Rxd8 Rxd8 25.Rd1 Bf6 26.Rxd8+ Nxd8 27.Nd4 Kg7 28.Kd3 Kg6 29.b3 Be7 30.a4 h5 31.Ke4 Bb4 32.Kd5 1-0

Jorczik-S. Buecker (2345)
Staufer Open
Germany, Jan. 5 2010
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nf6 8.Qd1 Bc5 9.Nf3 O-O 10.e3 Nc6 11.Be2 Qe7 12.O-O Rfd8 13.a3 a6 14.Bd2 b5 15.b4 Bd6 16.Qc2 Rab8 17.Rfd1 Rb6 18.Be1 Bg4 19.g3 Rc8 20.Rac1 h5 21.Ng5 g6 22.Bxg4 hxg4 23.Nge4 Nxe4 24.Nd5 Qe5 25.Nxb6 Rc7 26.Nd5 Ng5 27.Nxc7 Ne7 28.Ne8 Nf5 29.Nxd6 Nxd6 30.Rxd6 Qxd6 31.Qc8+ Kh7 32.Qxg4 Qd5 33.Qh4+ Kg7 34.Qd4+ 1-0

So Black usually plays 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nc6, and after 8.Qd1, another tabiya is reached. Let these be a starting point for your analysis!

Vasja Pirc-Alexander Alekhine
Bled, 1931
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nc6 8.Bg5 Nf6 9.Qd2 h6 10.Bxf6 Qxf6 11.e3 O-O-O 12.O-O-O Bg4 13.Nd5 Rxd5 14.Qxd5 Ba3 15.Qb3 Bxd1 16.Qxa3 Qxf2 17.Qd3 Bg4 18.Nf3 Bxf3 19.Qf5+ Kb8 20.Qxf3 Qe1+ 0-1
(21.Kc2 Rc8 22.Qg3+ Ne5+ 23.Kb3 Qd1+ 24.Ka3 Rc5 25.b4 Rc3+)

M. Fenollar Jorda (2129)-Jo Molina (2341)
Mislata Open
Spain, Aug. 27 2009
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nc6 8.Bg5 Be7 9.Bxe7 Ngxe7 10.Qd3 O-O 11.O-O-O Qa5 12.Qxd7 Rad8 13.Qg4 Nb4 14.Rd3 Nxa2+ 15.Nxa2 Qxa2 16.Nh3 Rc8+ 17.Kd2 Qxb2+ 18.Ke3 Ng6 19.f4 Qb6+ 20.Kf3 Qf6 21.Qg5 Qc6+ 22.Kg3 Rfe8 23.e3 Qc1 24.Kf3 Rc3 25.Rxc3 Qxc3 26.Bb5 Qxe3+ 27.Kg4 Rc8 1-0

Kashlinskaya (2288)-Solovjova (2275)
Russian Women’s Cup
St. Petersburg, Nov. 4 2009
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nc6 8.Bg5 Nf6 9.Qd2 h6 10.Qe3+ Be6 11.Rd1 Qe7 12.Bxf6 Qxf6 13.Nd5 Bb4+ 14.Nxb4 Nxb4 15.Qd2 Nxa2 16.Nf3 O-O 17.e3 Bb3 18.Ra1 Rad8 19.Nd4 Rfe8 20.Be2 a5 21.O-O b6 22.Bf3 Nb4 23.Rfc1 Qg6 24.Rc7 Nc2 25.Rxc2 Bxc2 26.Qxc2 Qxc2 27.Nxc2 Rd2 28.Nd4 Rxb2 29.g3 Re5 30.Nc6 Rc5 31.h4 Rcc2 32.Rd1 g6 33.Rd7 Rxf2 34.Bd5 Rfd2 35.Bxf7+ Kf8 36.Rxd2 Rxd2 37.Bb3 Rb2 38.Ba4 b5 0-1

Voloshin (2411)-Koziak (2484)
Niki Open
Nachod, Czech Republic, July 8 2011
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nc6 8.Bg5 Nf6 9.Qd2 h6 10.Bh4 g5 11.Bg3 Bb4 12.f3 Qa5 13.e4 Rd8 14.Bd3 Be6 15.Nh3 Bc4 16.Nf2 Bc5 17.Nd5 Qxd2+ 18.Kxd2 Nxd5 19.exd5 Bxd5 20.Rhe1+ Kf8 21.Ke2 f5 22.Rac1 Bb6 23.Rxc6 Bxc6 24.Bxf5 Bb5+ 25.Bd3 Bxd3+ 26.Nxd3 Rh7 27.Nf2 Bxf2 28.Bxf2 Rc7 29.Bxa7 Rc2+ 30.Kf1 Rdd2 31.b4 Rxg2 32.a4 Rxh2 33.Bc5+ Rxc5 34.bxc5 Rh1+ 0-1

GM Karpov-IM J. Hector
Haninge, 1990
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nc6 8.e3 Nf6 9.Qb3 Bc5 10.Nf3 O-O 11.Be2 Be6 12.Qa4 Qc7 13.O-O Rad8 14.Bd2 Ng4 15.Rfd1 Bd6 16.g3 Qe7 17.Be1 f5 18.Nd5 Qf7 19.Ng5 Qh5 20.h4 Bc8 21.Nf4 Bxf4 22.Rxd8 Nxd8 23.Qxf4 Nc6 24.Qc7 1-0

K. Strand – H. Sabel
corres.
Norway vs. Finland, 1990
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nc6 8.e3 Nf6 9.Qb3 Bc5 10.Nf3 Qe7 11.a3 O-O-O 12.Qc2 Kb8 13.Be2 g5 14.b4 g4 15.Nh4 Bb6 16.Bb2 h5 17.O-O-O Rc8 18.Nf5 Bxf5 19.Qxf5 a5 20.b5 Nb4 21.Kb1 Rc5 22.Qf4+ Bc7 23.axb4 Bxf4 24.bxc5 Be5 25.Na4 Bxb2 26.Nxb2 Ne4 27.Rc1 Nxf2 28.Rhe1 Rc8 29.e4 Rxc5 30.Rxc5 Qxc5 31.Bc4 Qb4 0-1

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