As most of you know, I love going through old chess books and magazines to find interesting openings, forgotten gambits and unique insights into this grand game.

I found this nameless gambit from an old publication.

The opening emerges from the Fingerslip variation of the Winawer. The term “Fingerslip” refers to the accidental touching or moving the c1-bishop instead of the normal 4.e5, which lays claim to the center and allows more freedom for White’s pieces. But in today’s Internet chess games, esp. in blitz (5 minutes) and bullet (1 minute) games, it perhaps might be more appropriate to call it the Mouseslip variation of the Winawer.

Let’s now take a look at this nameless gambit and it’s attractions for White.

E. Saarepere-L.H. Searle
CCLA Class I-III, #27 Tourney
Australia, 1948
[Annotator “CCLA Record May 1949”]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd2 dxe4 (Safer to decline the gambit pawn by 4…Ne7 when White does best to transpose into normal channels by 5.e5 etc.) 5.Qg4 Qxd4 6.Nf3! (This powerful knight move changes everything. It develops a piece. It cannot be taken. It threatened the enemy queen. It has the power and ability to easily travel to many other squares. And finally, it produces chaos on the chess board. Notes by RME, that’s me!) 6…Qf6 (Spielmann recommended 6…Nf6 and if 7.Qf4 e5, but surely 7.Qxg7 gives White an advantage.) 7.O-O-O (Accent on development!) 7…Nh6? (Not 7…exf3? 8.Bg5! The plausible 7…Nc6 also fails, e.g. 8.Bb5 Bd7 9.Nxe4 Bxd2+ 10.Rxd2 Qg6 11.Qxg6 hxg6 12.Rhd1 O-O-O 13.Bxc6 bxc6 14.Ne5 winning. However 7…Bd7 appears to give Black a satisfactory game.) 8.Qxe4 Qe7 9.g4 Nc6 10.Ba6! (At first sight, this pseudo-sacrifice looks rather meretricious, but actually it is very effective because it forces Black to castle k-side where his king can be easily attacked.) 10…Bxc3 11.Bxc3

11…f5 (The immediate 11…O-O is not much better, e.g. 12.Bd3 f5 13.gxf5 Nxf5 14.Rhg1 g6 15.h4 with a strong mating attack.) 12.gxf5 Nxf5 13.Bb5 O-O 14.Rhg1 g6 15.Bxc6 [After 15.Bxc6 White gave the conditional, if 15…bxc6 16.Ne5 and Black is helpless, e.g. 16…Nd6 (16…Qe8 17.Ng4!) 17.Nxg6 Nxe4 18.Nxe7+ Kf7 19.Rg7+ Ke8 20.Nxc6 and mate next move.] 1-0

This quick victory is not an isolated case. Here are some additional quickies from the same time period.

Europe, 1948

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd2 dxe4 5.Qg4 Qxd4 6.Nf3 Qf6 7.Qxe4 Nc6 8.Bb5 Nge7 9.Qxb4 +/- Bd7 10.Bxc6 Bxc6 11.Bg5 Qg6 12.Qxe7mate 1-0

Ronald Schwarz-Labau
Germany, 1948
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd2 dxe4 5.Qg4 Qxd4 6.Nf3 Qf6 7.O-O-O Nc6 8.Qxe4 Nh6 9.Bg5! Qg6? 10.Qxc6+! bxc6 11.Rd8mate 1-0

Boris Kostić-M. Brueder
Ljubljana, 1938

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd2 dxe4 5.Qg4 Qxd4 6.Nf3 Qf6 7.Qxe4 Qe7 8.O-O-O Nf6 9.Qh4 Nc6 10.g4 Bd7 11.g5 Ng8 12.Bg2 +/- Qf8 13.Nb5 O-O-O 14.Nxa7+ Nxa7 15.Bxb4 Ne7 16.Ne5 Qe8 17.Nxd7 Rxd7 18.Rxd7 Qxd7 19.Rd1 Nf5 20.Qe4 Qb5 21.a4 Qa6 22.b3 Nc6 23.Bc3 Qb6 24.Qf4 h6 25.h4 hxg5 26.hxg5 Rh4 27.Qd2 Ncd4 28.f4 c5 29.Rh1 Rxh1+ 30.Bxh1 Qd6 31.Kb2 e5 32.Qg2 Qe7 33.fxe5 Kb8 34.Bd2 c4 35.Qd5 cxb3 36.cxb3 Nc6 37.Bf4 Qe6 38.Qxe6 fxe6 39.Bxc6 bxc6 40.Kc3 Ne7 41.Kc4 Ng6 42.Bg3 Kc7 43.b4 Nf8 44.Bf2 g6 45.b5 Nd7 46.Bd4 Kb7 47.a5 Kc7 48.a6 1-0

Even in later decades Black can easily find himself in a lost position in a hurry.

R. Potzschmann-Schroder
East Germany, 1960

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd2 dxe4 5.Qg4 Qxd4 6.Nf3 Nh6 7.Qf4 e5 8.Qg5 exf3 9.O-O-O fxg2 10.Bxg2 Nf5 11.Nb5 Qb6

12.Qd8+! Kxd8 13.Bg5+ Ke8 14.Rd8mate 1-0

Carlos G. De la Cruz Sanchez (2259)-Michele Mollero (2179)
Bali Open A
Benidorm, Spain, Nov. 23 2003

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd2 dxe4 5.Qg4 Qxd4 6.Nf3 Nh6 7.Qxe6+ Bxe6 8.Nxd4 Bd7 9.O-O-O Nf5 10.Nxf5 Bxf5 11.Nd5 Bd6 12.Bb4 Bxb4 13.Nxc7+ Ke7 14.Nd5+ Kd8 15.Nxb4+ Nd7 16.Bb5 Rc8 17.Rd4 Ke7 18.Nd5+ Kd6 19.Ne3+ Kc5 20.Rd5+ 1-0

So why, isn’t this gambit with 6.Nf3, played more often? Probably it’s due that many White players eschew wild combinations, tactile melees, and chaos, confusion, and unknowns on the chessboard. This is exactly where Black can also win.

See below.

Eric Schiller-IM Thomas Welin
Iceland Open
Reykjavik, 1986

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd2 dxe4 5.Qg4 Qxd4 6.Nf3 Nh6 7.Qxe6+ Bxe6 8.Nxd4 Bd7 9.Nxe4 Bxd2+ 10.Nxd2 Nc6 11.Nxc6 Bxc6 12.O-O-O O-O-O 13.Be2 Bxg2 14.Rhg1 Bh3 15.Rxg7 Bf5 16.Rg5 Bg6 17.Nc4 Rxd1+ 18.Bxd1 Rd8 19.Ra5 Rd4 20.Ne5 Rf4 21.Rxa7 Kb8 22.Ra3 Rxf2 23.Nd7+ Kc8 24.Nc5 c6 25.h4 Rh2 26.Ra4 Nf5 27.Rb4 Ne3 28.Ne4 c5 29.Ra4 Kb8 30.Nc3 Nxd1 0-1

Draz Dragicevic-E. Can
World Jr. Ch.
Gaziantep, Turkey, Aug. 10 2008

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd2 dxe4 5.Qg4 Qxd4 6.Nf3 Nh6 7.Qf4 e5 8.Nxe5 Bd6 9.Nf3 Bxf4 10.Nxd4 Be5 11.Nb3 Ng4 12.Nxe4 Bxb2 13.Rb1 Be5 14.f4 Bd6 15.Nxd6+ cxd6 16.Be2 Nc6 17.h3 Nf6 18.Bf3 O-O 19.O-O Rb8 20.Bc3 Bf5 21.Nd4 Nxd4 22.Bxd4 b6 23.Rb2 Rbc8 24.c3 Rfe8 25.Rd1 Nd7 26.a4 Nc5 27.a5 bxa5 28.Rb5 a4 29.Bxc5 Rxc5 30.Rxc5 dxc5 31.Rd5 a3 32.Rd1 Rb8 33.Kf2 Bb1 34.Rd7 a6 35.Ra7 Bd3 36.Bd5 h5 37.Ke3 Bb5 38.Rxf7 Kh8 39.Ba2 Re8+ 40.Kf3 Re2 41.Rf8+ Kh7 42.Bg8+ Kh6 43.Rd8 g6 44.Rd7 Bxd7 45.Kxe2 c4 46.Bxc4 Bb5 47.Kd2 Bxc4 48.Kc2 h4 0-1

Many White players prefer to have a definite advantage, no matter how small, coming out of the opening rather than relying on tactics and confusion.

The move 6.O-O-O certainly gives White this option. Not only does the king have some amount of protection, but as the d4-pawn is gone, the d-file is now open for White and the Black queen is in the line of fire.

We will cover 6.O-O-O next week.

Solution to last week’s puzzle. Here is the complete game.

J. Dziel-S. Gorkiewicz
Poland 1990/2

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 Ne7 6.Qg4 O-O 7.Bg5 Qd7 8.Bd3 Nbc6 9.h4 Nf5 10.Bf6 Nce7 11.h5 Kh8

12.Qxg7+!! Nxg7 13.h6 Ng6 [13…Rg8 14.hxg7+ Rxg7 15.Rxh7+ Kg8 16.Rxg7+ Kf8 (16…Kh8? 17.Rg5#) 17.Nf3 Qc6 18.Kd2 with the idea of Rh1 +-] 14.hxg7+ Kg8 15.Rxh7 Kxh7 16.gxf8=Q 1-0

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