Two recent tactical shorts

Earlier this week I won two interesting, and quite fun, games.

Oh! – before I go on, I’ve got to mention that I won both games on the same day. I found two resignations on my cell phone when I woke up. Nice way to start the day!

My opponent likes to keep the position closed. So a gambit is the way to go!

Escalante (2020)-“PaulKaspar” (1907)
USCF Internal Championship, Spring 2020 (Round 4)
chess.com, Oct.-Nov. 2021

1.e4 c6 (The Caro-Kann, usually a safe response to 1.e4.) 2.d4 d5 3.f3 (The gambit is known as the Fantasy variation. Not only is it tactical, but there are many unexplored paths.) 3…e6 4.Nc3 dxe4 5.fxe4 Bb4 6.Bd3 Ne7?! (Black also has 6…Qxd4 7.Bd2 Nd7 8.Nf3 Qd6!? But I was willing to try this line as White has some open lines to play with.) 7.a3 Ba5 8.Nf3 Nd7 9.O-O O-O (Better is 9…O-O. The text move closes all attacking chances by Black. And White’s attack is still brewing.) 10.e5! c5?


11.Bxh7+! (Black loses quickly after 11…Kxh7 12.Ng5+ Kg6 13.Qg4 f5 14.Qg3. His best, which only loses, is 11…Kh8 12.Ng5 Nxe5 13.Be3.) 1-0

Earlier this year I self-published 2000 Sozin Miniatures (3rd Edition) and 2000 Dragon Miniatures. I concluded, and stated in both books, that Black wastes time and can easily run into problems if he combines these two (separate) openings.

Escalante (2008)-“Tacktickle” (2111)
USCF Internal Championship, Spring 2020 (Round 4)
chess.com, Oct.-Nov. 2021

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 (OK – this is the Najdorf) 6.Bc4 (And this move makes this game into a Sozin Najdorf. Which doesn’t last long as Black attempts to make it into a main line Dragon.) 6…g6?! (This Najdorf Sozin-Dragon hybrid can cause Black to be on the defensive very quickly.) 7.Bb3 Bg7 8.Be3 O-O 9.f3 Nbd7 10.Qd2 (White continues to develop as if this game was a pure Dragon setup, a perfectly good response to the hybrid.) 10…Qc7 11.O-O-O Ne5 12.Bh6 Nc4? (Black has better with the counter-intuitive 12…Nc6, which at least keeps his center flexible.) 13.Bxc4 Bxh6 14.Qxh6 Qxc4 15.h4! (Opening up Black’s position by creating a pawn storm; a well-known thematic idea in the Dragon.) 15…Bd7 (> 15…Rc8) 16.h5! (The pawn now enters Black’s territory.) 15…Bc6 17.g4! Rfc8 18.g5 Nxh5 (This might be Black’s best move, but it runs into another thematic idea in the Dragon.)



19.Rxh5! gxh5 20.Nf5 1-0

Nameless gambit?

There is an opening, or rather a gambit, that appears to have no name. Yet, this series of moves is well-known among most chess players. But no matter what you may call it, Black doesn’t do that well.

Let’s look at it.

1.e4 b6

Now known as a Owen’s Defence, this move seeks to avoid main lines after 1.d4 and 1.e4. But as you will soon see, there are main lines that arise from 1.e4 b6 as well. And one of those lines is the gambit.

2.d4 Bb7

White takes advantage of the opportunity to take the center.

3.Bd3!?

Usual move here is 3.Nc3 e6 with similarities to a Nimzo-Queen’s Indian hybrid.

Before we get to the gambit line, let’s look at some tamer, and safer, Black lines.

Eliska Richtrova (2355)-Ewa Nagrocka (2145)
Wuppertal, Women’s, 1990
1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 b6 3.e4 Bb7 4.Bd3 Bd6 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.O-O Bxc3 7.bxc3 Ne7 8.c4 O-O 9.Bb2 d6 10.Rb1 Nd7 11.Ng5 h6 12.Nh3 e5 13.f4 exd4 14.Bxd4 Nc6 15.Bc3 Qh4 16.Rf3 Nc5 17.Rg3 g6 18.Qd2 Rae8 19.Nf2 Ne6 20.Ng4 f6 21.f5 Ned4 22.Nxh6+ Kg7 23.Rxg6+ Kh7 24.Ng4 1-0

Zbigniew Gorecki (2005)-Augusto Caruso (2286)
Padova Open, Dec. 2 2000
1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 b6 4.e4 Bb7 5.Bd3 d5!?
(By far, the most common response is 5…e6. The text move is an attempt to throw White off his game by introducing a less common move. It works in this game.) 6.cxd5 exd5 7.Qb3 Nxe4 8.Nxe4 dxe4 9.Bc4 Qe7 10.Bd2 Nc6 11.Bc3 O-O-O 12.Ne2 Qg5 13.O-O e3 14.f4 Qg4 15.h3 Qh5 16.Bxf7 Qxe2 17.Rae1 Qd3 18.Qe6+ Kb8 19.Rxe3 Nxd4 20.Qe5 Qc2 21.Rf2 Qf5 22.Bh5 Qxe5 23.fxe5 Bc5 24.b4 Nf5 0-1

Daniel Ludwig (2338)-FM Miles Ardaman (2356)
U.S. Masters, 2006
Hendersonville, NC, 2006
1.e4 b6 5.Nc3 Nxd3+ 6.Qxd3 e6 7.O-O-O Ne7 8.d5 d6 9.Qc4 e5 10.Nb5 Kd7 11.f4 a6 12.Nc3 exf4 13.Bxf4 Ng6 14.Bg3 Qg5+ 15.Kb1 h5 16.Nf3 Qg4 17.Rd4 h4 18.e5 Qxf3 19.gxf3 hxg3 20.e6+ fxe6 21.dxe6+ Kd8 22.Qe2 Rh6 23.Rg4 Ne5 24.Rxg3 Rxe6 25.Re1 Rf6 26.Ne4 Rf5 27.Rg5 Rf7 28.Rxe5 dxe5 29.Ng5 Re7 30.Qd3+ Rd7 31.Qf5 Bd6 32.Nf7+ Ke8 33.Nxe5 Re7 34.Qh5+ Kd8 35.Nf7+ Kd7 36.Qg4+ 1-0

But now Black unleashes his gambit:

3…f5

Black stakes a claim in the center and has the possible threat of …fxe4

White can decline the f-pawn of course.

Schelli-Andrae
corres. 1985
1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 f5 4.Nc3 Nf6! 5.Qe2 e6 6.f3
(As it turns out, slow and quiet moves do not work in this variation. Better is 6.Bd2 with the idea of O-O-O, as the kingside is rapidly becoming a mess.) 6…fxe4 7.Bxe4 Nxe4 8.Nxe4 Be7 9.Nh3 O-O 10.Nhf2 Nc6 11.O-O Nxd4 12.Qd3 Nf5 13.Bd2 d5 14.Nc3 a5 15.Rfe1 Ba6! 0-1

Zolnierowicz-Zvara
Prague 1990
1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 f5 4.f3 e5?!
(The start of a bad plan.) 5.dxe5 fxe4 6.fxe4 Bxe4?! (Black was hoping for 7. Bxe4? Qh4+ 8. Kf1 Qxe4. White avoids this problematic check with a simple developing move.) 7.Nf3 Bxd3 8.Qxd3 Bc5 9.Nc3 Nc6 10.Bg5 Be7 11.Bxe7 Ngxe7 12.O-O-O Ng6 13.e6 O-O 14.exd7 Kh8 15.Qe4 Na5 16.Rhe1 Qf6 17.Qxa8 1-0

Owosina-Khamdanov
Moscow Ol.
Russia, 1994

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 f5 4.Qe2 Nf6 5.Nd2 (5.e5!?) 5…g6 6.Ngf3 fxe4 7.Nxe4 Bg7 8.Bg5 O-O 9.O-O-O Nc6 10.c3 Kh8 11.h4 Nh5 12.Qe3 Qe8 13.g4 Qf7 14.gxh5 Qxf3 15.hxg6 d5 16.Nd2 Qxe3 17.fxe3 e5 18.gxh7 Na5 19.Rhf1 c5 20.dxc5 bxc5 21.e4 c4 22.Be2 d4 23.Rxf8+ Rxf8 24.Rf1 d3 25.Rxf8+ Bxf8 26.Bg4 Kxh7 27.Bf5+ Kg7 28.Be6 Ba6 29.Bd5 Bb5 30.Be3 Kg6 31.Bxa7 Bh6 32.Bb6 Nc6 33.Kd1 Kh5 34.Bxc4 Bxc4 35.Nxc4 Kxh4 36.a4 Kg4 37.a5 Kf3 38.a6 Kxe4 39.a7 Nxa7 40.Bxa7 Kd5 41.Be3 Bf8 42.Nd2 Be7 43.c4+ Kc6 44.Ne4 Bb4 45.Bd2 Bc5 46.b4 Bd4 1-0 (Black can’t stop Kc1, Kb1, Ka2, Kb3, etc.)

4.exf5

This move lets Black spear the h1-rook. But this move is probably the best for White. Things now get very interesting.

Black cannot immediately take the g-pawn as he loses quickly.

Here is the game that popularized White’s response to Black’s gambit.

Greco-N.N.
Rome 1620?

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 f5 4.exf5 (White is willing to give up his rook to get the king.) 4…Bxg2 5.Qh5+ g6 6.fxg6 Nf6 (This is a huge error. Black has to play 6…Bg7 7.gxh7+ Kf8 8.hxg8=Q+ Kxg8 and while White’s rook may fall, Black has to worry about his very exposed king. Amusing by the way, is 6.fxg6 e5? 7.g7+ Ke7 8.Qxe5+ Kf7 9.gxh8=N#) 7.gxh7+ (White is now willing to give up his queen for the forced mate. King safety is more important than safety for the rook or queen, and even both. Note: While 7.g7+ Nxh5 8.gxh8=Q Bxh1 9.Qxh7 would eventually win, the text move is faster, and fast attacks are always better for winning the game (less mistakes possible) and for one’s own ego.) 7…Nxh5 8.Bg6mate 1-0

So Black must do something other than to immediately take the g2-pawn or the h1-Rook. In fact, he can never the rook (due to the tempi needed to take the rook and the fact that his king ends up being a target). And probably can’t ever take the g2-pawn either.

Here is why he can never take the rook:

Hecker-Roos
Dusseldorf, 1935

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 f5 4.exf5 Bxg2 5.Qh5+ g6 6.fxg6 Bg7 7.gxh7+ Kf8 8.hxg8=Q+ Kxg8 9.Qg5 Bxh1 10.f3 Rxh2 11.Qd5+ e6 12.Qxa8 Qh4+ 13.Kd1 Qf2 14.Qxb8+ Kf7 15.Ne2 Bxf3 16.Kd2 Bxd4 (16…Qxd4 17.Qe8+ Kxe8 18.Ke1 Rh1+ 19.Ng1 Qxg1+ 20.Bf1 Qxf1+ 21.Kd2 Qe2#) 17.Bg6+ (17.c3 Be3+ 18.Kc2 Bxe2 19.Bg6+ Kg7 20.Bd2 Bxd2 21.Nxd2) 17…Kg7 (18.Qg8+ Kxg8 19.Bh7+ Kxh7 20.Kd3 Qxe2+ 21.Kxd4 c5+ 22.Kc3 Qxc2#) 0-1

Zakeralo-Drevoricev, 1955
1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 f5 4.exf5 Bxg2 5.Qh5+ g6 6.fxg6 Bg7 7.gxh7+ Kf8 8.hxg8=Q+ Kxg8 9.Qg5 Bxh1 10.f3 Rxh2 11.Qd5+ e6 12.Qxa8 Qh4+ 13.Kd1 Qf2 14.Qxb8+ Kf7 15.Ne2 Bxf3 16.Nc3 Qf1+ 17.Kd2 Bh6mate 0-1

Standler-Muhin
corres. 1973
1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 f5 4.exf5 Bxg2 5.Qh5+ g6 6.fxg6 Bg7 7.gxh7+ Kf8 8.hxg8=Q+ Rxg8 9.Nf3 Bxh1 10.Ng5 Qe8 11.Nh7mate 0-1
(similar to the Greco game above.)

Kapitaniak-Mino
Romania, 1976

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 f5 4.exf5 Bxg2 5.Qh5+ g6 6.fxg6 Bg7 7.gxh7+ Kf8 8.Nf3! Bxh1 9.Ne5 Bxe5 10.dxe5 Bd5 11.hxg8=Q+ Kxg8 12.Qg6+ Kf8 13.Bh6+ Rxh6 14.Qxh6+ Kf7 15.Bg6+ Ke6 16.Bh5+ Kxe5 17.f4+ Kf5 18.Qg5+ Ke4 19.Qe5# 1-0

Waller-Wurditsch
Austria Ch., 1977

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 f5 4.exf5 Bxg2 5.Qh5+ g6 6.fxg6 Bg7 7.gxh7+ Kf8 8.Nf3 Nf6 9.Qg6! Bxh1 10.Bh6 Rxh7 11.Ng5 Bxh6 12.Nxh7+ Nxh7 13.Qxh6+ Kf7 14.Qxh7+ Ke6 15.Qh6+ Kd5 (15…Kf7 16.Bg6+ Ke6 17.Be4+ Kf7 18.Qh7+ Kf8 19.Bg6 Bd5 20.Qh8+ Bg8 21.Qh6#) 16.Nc3+ Kxd4 17.Qe3mate 1-0

Jennings-Diebert
Columbus, 1979

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 f5 4.exf5 Bxg2 5.Qh5+ g6 6.fxg6 Bg7 7.gxh7+ Kf8 8.Nf3 Nf6 9.Qg6 Bxh1 10.Bh6 Rxh7 11.Ng5 Bxh6 12.Nxh7+ Nxh7 13.Qxh6+ Kf7 14.Bg6+ Ke6 15.Bxh7+ Kd5 16.Nc3+ Kc4 (16…Kxd4 17.Qe3+ Kc4 18.b3#) 17.Bd3+ Kxd4 18.Qe3mate 1-0

What happens if Black was to take the f3-knight instead of the h1-rook? The short answer is that it is better as Black loses at a slower pace.

Carlsson-Frausing
Denmark, 1977

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 f5 4.exf5 Bxg2 5.Qh5+ g6 6.fxg6 Bg7 7.gxh7+ Kf8 8.Nf3 Nf6 9.Qg6 Bxf3 10.Rg1 Rxh7 11.Qg3 Be4 12.Bxe4 Nxe4 13.Qf3+ Kg8 14.Qxe4 d5 (14…Nc6?! 15.Bf4 +-) 15.Qe6+ Kh8 16.Nc3 +- (16.Bg5? Qd7! ; 16.Rg2 Qd7 17.c3 e5) 16…Qd7 17.Qxd5 Qxd5 18.Nxd5 Nc6 19.c3 e5 20.Nxc7 Rc8 21.d5 +- Rxc7 22.dxc6 Rxh2 23.Be3 Rxc6 24.O-O-O Rc7 25.Rd8+ Kh7 26.Rgd1 Rh4 27.R8d7 Rhc4 28.Kc2 Kg8 29.R1d5 Kf8 30.Rxc7 Rxc7 31.b3 Ke7 32.c4 Ke6 33.a4 Bf8 34.a5 Bc5 35.axb6 axb6 36.Kc3 Rf7 37.b4 Bd4+ 38.Bxd4 exd4+ 39.Kxd4 Rf4+ 40.Kd3 Rf3+ 41.Ke4 Rf6 42.Rb5 Kd7 43.f4 Kc6 44.Rg5 Re6+ 45.Kf5 Re1 46.Rg6+ Kc7 47.b5 Rc1 48.Rc6+ Kd7 49.Kf6 Rh1 50.f5 Rh4 51.Kg7 Rg4+ 52.Kf7 Rf4 53.f6 Rh4 54.Kg7 Rg4+ 55.Kf8 Rf4 56.f7 Rg4 57.Rxb6 Rxc4 58.Rg6 Rf4 59.Kg8 Ke7 60.Rg2 1-0

Kolenbrander-Perrenet
corres.
Netherlands, 1979

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 f5 4.exf5 Bxg2 5.Qh5+ g6 6.fxg6 Bg7 7.gxh7+ Kf8 8.Nf3 Nf6 9.Qg6 Bxf3 10.Rg1 Rxh7 11.Qg3 Be4 12.Bxe4 Nxe4 13.Qf3+ Nf6 14.Qxa8 d5 15.Nc3 c6 16.Bf4 Nfd7 17.O-O-O e5 18.dxe5 Qc7 19.Rxg7 Kxg7 20.Nxd5 cxd5 21.Qxd5 Nf8 22.Rg1+ 1-0

Well, If Black can’t take the h1-rook, or the f3-knight, can he at least take the g2-pawn? Black must play this move to gain any material for the attack that is about to commence on his side of the board, so he is virtually forced to play into this variation with the queen check.

Maybe Black can play 4…Nf6 and wait a tempo or two before snagging the g2-pawn. Can that win the game for him? I don’t know, but with the games on hand, I wouldn’t count on it.

Ploder-Daikeler
corres., 1986

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 f5 4.exf5 Nf6 5.Nf3 e6 6.fxe6 dxe6 7.Qe2 Qe7 8.Bg5 Nbd7 9.O-O O-O-O 10.Ne5 g6 11.Ba6 Kb8 12.Bxb7 Kxb7 13.Nxd7 Rxd7 14.Qf3+ Rd5 15.Bxf6 Qb4 16.Nc3 Qxb2 17.Nxd5 exd5 18.Qxd5+ Ka6 19.Rab1 Qxc2 20.Rfc1 Qf5 21.Qc4+ 1-0

“TrustHim”-“MikeMinaev”
VOG Chess

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 f5 4.exf5 Nf6 5.Be2 Bxg2 6.Bh5+ g6 7.fxg6 Bg7 8.gxh7+ Nxh5 9.Qxh5+ Kf8 10.Qf5+ Bf6 11.Bh6+ Kf7 12.Qh5+ Ke6 13.Qg4+ Kd6 14.Bf4+ e5 15.Bxe5+ Bxe5 16.dxe5+ Kxe5 17.f4+ Kd6 18.Qg6+ Kc5 19.b4+ Kxb4 20.Qxg2 Qh4+ 21.Kd1 Nc6 22.Qd5 Qf6 23.Ne2 Qxa1 24.a3+ Qxa3 25.Nxa3 Kxa3 26.Qb3mate 1-0

Turner-Moreland, 1993
1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 f5 4.exf5 Nf6 5.Be2 e6 6.Bh5+ Ke7 7.Bf3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 d5 9.Qe2 Qd7 10.Nf3 c5 11.dxc5 bxc5 12.Ng5 Nc6 13.Nxe6 Kf7 14.Ng5+ Kg8 15.Qe6+ Qxe6+ 16.fxe6 Nd4 17.Na3 Nxe6 18.O-O Nd4 19.Re1 Re8 20.Rxe8 Nxe8 21.c3 Ne2+ 22.Kf1 Nxc1 23.Rxc1 Nd6 24.Rd1 d4 25.cxd4 cxd4 26.Rxd4 Be7 27.Rd5 h6 28.Nf3 1-0

Ariel Mordetzki-Andres De La Torre (1692)
Marcel Duchamp Open
Montevideo, Feb. 12 2017

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 f5 4.exf5 Nf6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.O-O Bd5 (At this point Black has white squared holes in his position that will prove hard to cover.) 8.c4 Bf7!? 9.Nc3 c6 10.Qa4 Qc7 11.Qa6 Qc8 12.Qxc8+ Rxc8 13.Rfe1 g6 14.fxg6 hxg6 15.Bf4 Kd8 16.Ng5 Bg8 17.Bxg6 Bxc4 18.Bf7! +- Nh5 19.Bxc4 Nxf4 20.Nf7+ Kc7 21.Nxh8 Bg7 22.g3 Nh3+ 23.Kg2 Rxh8 24.Rxe7 Bf8 25.Re8 Nf6 26.Rxf8 Rxf8 27.Kxh3 Rh8+ 28.Kg2 1-0

Bishop’s Gambit Anyone?

Sometimes I dabble in the King’s Gambit. Most of the time Black simply takes the f4-pawn. And White continuous with 3.Nf3 and heads off into much analyzed lines.

But what is wrong with 3.Bc4, the Bishop’s Gambit? It turns out that most White players fear 3…Qh4+ 4.Kf1, and White can’t castle. And his King sits uncomfortably in the center.

Oh, by the way, both 4.Ke2 and 4.g3 fail miserably. Here is a sample game.

Hornby-Ford
CompuServe, 1994
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 Bc4 Qh4+ 4.g3 fxg3 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Qf3+ Nf6 7.hxg3 Qxe4+ 8.Qxe4 Nxe4 9.Nf3 Nxg3 10.Rh3 Ne4 11.d3 Nf6 12.Nc3 Nc6 13.Bd2 d5 14.Ng5+ Kg8 15.Rh4 h6 16.Nh3 Bxh3 17.Rxh3 Re8+ 18.Kf1 Bc5 19.Ne2 Ng4 20.b4 Nxb4 21.Bxb4 Bxb4 22.Rb1 Bc5 23.Rxb7 Bb6 24.Nc3 Ne3+ 25.Ke2 Nc4+ 26.Kd1 Nd6 0-1

So White is left with 4.Kf1.

Now what does Black do? Well, Black can go wrong very quickly. Here are some games to show the point.

Jaenisch-Kieseritzky
corres., 1838
[A game slightly on the bizarre side.]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 c5 5.Nc3 Ne7 6.Nf3 Qh5 7.Nb5 d5 8.Nc7+ Kd8 9.Nxd5 Nxd5 10.Bxd5 Kc7 11.d4 g5 12.h4 Bg4 13.c3 Kc8 14.Kf2 Bxf3 15.gxf3 Nc6 16.Qa4 Nd8 17.Bd2 Bd6 18.Rag1 gxh4 19.Rg4 h3 20.e5 Bc7 21.Bxf4 a6?! 22.Kg3 (If Black follows through with his plan then White wins with 22…b5 23.Qc2 Ra7 24.Rxh3) 1-0

B. Malyutin-P. Milyukov
Odessa, 1918
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 f3? 5.Nxf3 Qxe4 6.Bxf7+! Kd8 7.Kf2 Nh6?! 8.Re1 Qxe1+ 9.Qxe1 Nxf7 10.d4 Bd6?! 11.Ng5! Nh6 12.Qe4! Rf8+ 13.Kg1 c5?! 14.Nxh7 Re8 15.Bg5+ Be7 16.Re1 Ng8 17.d5 d6 18.Nf8!? Bd7 19.Qf4! Nf6 20.Ng6 Nxd5 21.Qxd6 Bxg5 22.Rxe8+ Kxe8 23.Qf8mate 1-0

Zaharchenko-Usachyi
USSR, 1970
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 c6?! (Perhaps too soon to play this move.) 5.d4 g5 6.Qf3 Nf6 7.g3 Qh5 8.e5 d5 9.Qxh5 Nxh5 10.Be2 g4 11.gxf4 Rg8 12.Nc3 Bh6 13.Nh3 Na6 14.a3 Nc7 15.Ng5 Bf5 16.Bd3 Bxd3+ 17.cxd3 Ne6 18.Rg1 Nxd4 19.Rxg4 Nb3 20.Rb1 Nxc1 21.Rxc1 Nxf4 22.Nxh7 O-O-O 23.Nf6 Rxg4 24.Nxg4 Nxd3 25.Rd1 Nxb2 26.Nxh6 Nxd1 27.Nxd1 Kd7 28.Nf2 Rf8 29.Nd3 Ke6 30.Nc5+ Ke7 31.Nf5+ Kd8 32.e6 Kc7 33.e7 Re8 34.Nxb7 Kxb7 35.Nd6+ Kc7 36.Nxe8+ Kd7 37.Nd6 Kxe7 38.Nc8+ Kd7 39.Nxa7 1-0

A special case: after 4.Kf1, 4…Bc5 is not good due to 5.d4. Here are some games showing why this is so.

Greco-N.N., 1620
[Greco]
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Bc5 5.d4 Bb6 6.Nf3 Qe7 7.Bxf4 Qxe4 8.Bxf7+ Kf8 9.Bg3 Nh6 10.Nc3 Qe7 11.Bb3 c6 12.Qd3 d5 13.Re1 Qf6 14.Bh4 Qg6 15.Be7+ Kg8 16.Qxg6 hxg6 17.Nxd5 cxd5 18.Bxd5+ Kh7
(18…Nf7 19.Ng5 Rh5 20.Bxf7+ Kh8 21.Bxg6 Rh4 22.Nf7+ Kg8 23.Bxh4 +-) 19.Ng5mate 1-0

Greco-N.N., 1620
[Greco]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Bc5 5.d4 Bb6 6.Nf3 Qe7 7.Bxf4 Qxe4 8.Bxf7+ Kf8 9.Bg3 Nh6 10.Nc3 Qe7 11.Bb3 c6 12.Qd3 d5 13.Re1 Qf7 14.Bd6+ Kg8 15.Re7 Qf6 16.Nxd5 Qxd6 [16…cxd5 17.Bxd5+ Kf8 (17…Nf7 18.Re8#) 18.Rf7+ Ke8 19.Rxf6 gxf6 20.Qe3+ Kd8 21.Qe7#] 17.Nf6+ Kf8 18.Re8mate 1-0

Harrwitz-Anderssen
Match, Breslau, 1848

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Bc5 5.d4 Bb6 6.Nf3 Qe7 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.e5 Nh5 9.Nd5 Qd8 10.g4 fxg3 11.Bg5 f6 12.exf6 gxf6 13.Ne5 O-O 14.Qxh5 fxg5+ 15.Nf6+ Kg7 16.Qxh7+ Kxf6 17.Ng4mate 1-0

P. Morphy-A. Morphy
New Orleans, 1848

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Bc5 5.d4 Bb6 6.Nf3 Qe7 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.Qd3 c6 9.Bxf4 d5 10.exd5 O-O 11.d6 Qd8 12.Re1 Re8 13.Ng5 Rxe1+ 14.Kxe1 Qe8+ 15.Kd2 Be6 16.Re1 Nbd7 17.Nxe6 fxe6 18.Rxe6 1-0

Black does better with moves like 3…Nf6, 3…Nc6, 3…d6, and 3…d5.

But even with the better moves, Black can find himself in trouble.

GM Fischer-GM Evans
US Ch.
New York, Nov. 16 1963
[Fischer, “Exclusive Commentary on Round Two”, Chess Life and Review, Jan. 1964]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 [I knew that my opponent had some prepared line (since he usually plays the Sicilian) but felt that he would be unfamiliar with the King’s Gambit. Besides, I’d made up my mind to play it in this tournament anyway.] 2…exf4 3.Bc4 [Better than 3.Nf3 which is practically refuted by 3…d6 (see my analysis in the American Chess Quarterly.)] 3…Qh4+ (Turning it into an old-fashioned slugfest. The moderns frown on this move and prefer to fight in the center with 3…Nf6 4.Nc3 c6, etc.) 4.Kf1 d6? [Evans said this game would set chess back a hundred years. He didn’t know how right he was! The defense he chooses was also played by LaBourdonnais against MacDonnell (20th Match Game, 1834) which continued 5.d4 Bg4 6.Qd3 Nc6 7.Bxf7+? Kxf7 8.Qb3+ Kg6 9.Qxb7 Nxd4 10.Qxa8 f3 with a winning attack. More usual is 4…g5 (or d5) 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.d4 Ne7 7.Nf3 Qh5 8.h4 h6 and it’s a hard game.] 5.Nc3? [Returning the compliment. It’s natural that White should want to save the juicy tempo (5.Nf3!) and I make the same mistake as MacDonnell by delaying this move.] 5…Be6! (I overlooked this move. Now Black has a choice of where to put his Queen once she’s attacked.) 6.Qe2 c6 7.Nf3 (Inaccurate. Having made the mistake of delaying this move once, White should hold off a while longer and play 7.d4, which does not permit Black’s Queen to retreat to e7 without relinquishing his “f” pawn.) 7…Qe7 (If 7…Qh5 8.Nd5! Now, however, Black has time to consolidate his king’s position.) 8.d4 Bxc4 9.Qxc4 g5 (Despite White’s strong center and great lead in development, Black’s position is not easy to crack. If 10.h4 g4 11.Ne1 Bh6, etc.) 10.e5 d5 [During the game I thought Black’s best defense was 10…dxe5 11.Nxe5 (11.dxe5 Nd7 12.Ne4 Nxe5 13.Nxe5 Qxe5 14.Bd2 is unclear) 11…Nd7 12.h4 Nxe5 13.dxe5 Qxe5 14.hxg5 O-O-O 15.Bxf4 Qf5 with equality.] 11.Qd3 [11.Nxd5 cxd5 12.Qc8+ Qd8 13.Qxb7 Nd7 is unsound. (14.Nxg5? Rb8). Now the threat is simply 11.Qf5.] 11…Na6 12.Ne2 (Not 12.Qf5 Nh6 13.Qxg5 Qxg5 14.Nxg5 Nb4 15.Bxf4 Nxc2 16.Rd1 Nf5 and Black wins.) 12…Nb4 (12…f6 loses 13.Qf5 Bg7 14.exf6 Bxf6 15.Bxf4! gxf4 16.Nxf4 with a winning attack. It is important to repel White’s queen from its present diagonal.) 13.Qd1 O-O-O (Very complicated, and possibly better, is 13.c3 which leads to a more active defense.) 14.c3 Na6 15.h4 g4 16.Nh2! h5 (Better was 16…f3 17.gxf3 gxf3 18.Nxf3 f6 although White’s king is quite safe and Black lags in development. Also to be considered was 16…Qxh4 17.Nxf4! g3 18.Qg4+ Qxg4 19.Nxg4 with a powerful ending.) 17.Nxf4


17…Qxh4? [The losing move. Relatively best is 17…Kb8 (preventing Nxh5!) but his game is already bad.] 18.Kg1 (Black apparently underestimated the strength of this move. He has no adequate defense now to the twin threats of 19.Nxg4 and Nf1.) 18…Nh6 (The only way to avoid outright material loss. Black originally intended 18…Bh6 but 19.Nf1 followed by Rxh5 stands him up.) 19.Nf1 Qe7 20.Nxh5 Rg8 (Black already knew he was lost and was shaking his head in amazement at how quickly White’s dead pieces had sprung to life.) 21.Nfg3 Rg6 22.Nf4 Rg5 (If 22…Rg8 23.Nxd5, etc.) 23.Be3 Nc7 (The last hope. 23…f6 is answered by 24.Qd2 fxe5 25.Nxd5, winning a full rook.) 24.Qd2 Rg8 25.Nfe2 (This piquant retreat wins a piece, putting a clear end to black’s agony.) 25…f6 (Black is still hoping for a miracle.) 26.exf6 Qxf6 27.Bxh6 Bd6 28.Rf1 Qe6 29.Bf4 Rde8 30.Rh6 Bxf4 31.Qxf4 Qe7 32.Rf6 (Tripling on the Bishop file.)



32…Ne6 33.Qe5 Ng5 34.Qxe7 Rxe7 35.Rf8+ (Trading down to skin and bones.) 35…Rxf8 36.Rxf8+ 1-0

Westerinen (2420)-Moen (2325)
Gausdal Zt., 1985
[Pliester, NIC 3/18159]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Nc6!? 5.d4 d6 N (5…g5) 6.Nf3 Qh6 (6…Bg4 7.c3 +/=) 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.e5 dxe5 (8…Nh5? 9.Nd5 Ng3+ 10.Kg1 +-) 9.dxe5 Nh5 10.Nd5 Bd7 11.Nxc7+?! [11.g4! Bxg4 (11…Ng3+ 12.Kg2 Nxh1 13.Bxf4 Qg6 14.Nxc7+ Kd8 15.e6! +- ; 11…Bc5!? 12.Nxc7+ Ke7 13.Bxf7! +-) 12.Nxc7+ Ke7 13.b3 Bd7 (13…Nxe5 14.Ba3+ Kf6 15.Nd5+ +-) 14.e6 fxe6 15.Ba3+ Kd8 16.Nxe6+ Ke8 17.Nxf8 Rxf8 18.Bxf8 Bh3+ 19.Kf2 Kxf8 20.Qd5 Qf6 21.Rhe1 Ne7 22.Rxe7! +-] 11…Kd8 12.Nxa8 Ng3+ 13.Ke1 Nxh1 14.Bxf7 Kc8 15.Qd5 Nb4 =/+ 16.Qc4+ (16.Qa5 Qc6 17.Nd4 Nxc2+ 18.Nxc2 Qxc2 19.e6 Qe4+ 20.Kf1 Qc4+ -+) 16…Qc6 17.Nd4 (17.e6? Nxc2+! 18.Kd2 Bb4+ -+) 17…Qxc4 18.Bxc4 Bc5 19.a3 Nc6 20.Nf3 Re8 21.Bxf4 g5 22.Nxg5 Nxe5 23.Be2 Ng6 24.Nc7 Rxe2+! 25.Kxe2 Nxf4+ 26.Kf3 Bd6 27.Rxh1 h5?? (27…Bc6+ 28.Kf2 Kxc7 29.Nxh7 Nh3+! -/+) 28.g3 Bc6+ 29.Ne4 Nh3 30.Nb5! +- (30.Ne6? Kd7! -/+) 30…Ng5+ 31.Ke3 Bc5+ 32.Nxc5 Bxh1 33.Nxa7+ Kc7 34.h4 Nf7 35.Ne6+ Kd6 36.Nf4 Ke5 37.Nxh5 Kf5 38.Nf4 Kg4 39.Ne2 Nd6 40.b3 1-0

Weiss-Brasket
Minnesota Masters Cup Invitational, 1989

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 d5 5.exd5 Nf6 (Black has to be careful after 5…f3? The game can easily continue with 6.Bb5+ c6 7.Nxf3 Qh5 8.Qe2+ Be7 9.dxc6 Nxc6 10.Ne5 Qf5+ 11.Ke1 Qxc2 12.Nc3 Bd7 13.Nxc6 Bxc6 14.Bd3, and the Black Queen is trapped.) 6.Qe2+ Be7 7.Nf3 Qh5 8.Nc3 a6 9.d3 b5 10.Bb3 g5 11.Bd2 Kf8 12.d6 Bxd6 13.Ne4 g4 14.Nxf6 Qg6 15.Bc3 gxf3 16.Qe8+ Kg7 17.Ng4+ f6 18.Bxf6+ Qxf6 19.Nxf6 fxg2+ 20.Kxg2 Bb7+ 21.Kh3 Rxe8 22.Nxe8+ Kf8 23.Nxd6 cxd6 24.Rhg1 1-0

V. Ivanchuk (2716)-Nikolic (2648)
5th IECC Playoff Final
Antalya, Turkey, May 30 2004
[Tim McGrew, The Gambit Cartel]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ [This check must have been one of the first defensive ideas explored in the Bishop’s Gambit. Emmanuel Lasker recommended it for black in Common Sense in Chess, and even Fred Reinfeld, who revised the openings analysis for the 1946 edition (which practically no one has – the Dover edition on your shelf is a reprint of the 1917 edition), retains 3…Qh4+ as the recommended line.] 4.Kf1 (The king is not nearly as exposed here as he would be on e2, and Black’s queen may herself be harassed by Nf3. In fact, Ivanchuk achieves a powerful position here without a great deal of difficulty.) 4…d6 [Here Lasker (and Reinfeld) both recommend 4…d5 Bxd5 5.g5. Oddly, I can find hardly any games in this formerly popular line between 1929 and 1989. But then van den Doel won a droll game with it (by transposition: 3…d5 4.Bxd5 Qh4+ etc.) in 18 moves at Cappelle la Grande 2001. Someone ought to investigate this.] 5.d4 Be6 6.Qd3 Nf6 7.Nf3 (The anticipated strike at the queen.) 7…Qg4 8.Nc3 Be7 9.h3 Qg6 10.Bxf4 (I have to admit that White’s centralization here is impressive. Ivanchuk is also setting a little trap – at this level of play, really more of a joke for the players to share, though such a joke could easily turn fatal for someone unable to evaluate the end of a tactical sequence accurately.) 10…O-O (Nikolic politely declines the bait. 10…Bxc4 11.Qxc4 Nxe4? looks merely messy at first glance, but after 12.Qxc7! Black has no way to recover his balance.) 11.Re1 (Black’s position could not be said to be bad, but because of White’s grip on the center it is difficult for him to find an effective plan. He decides to go shopping for the perfect exchange of minor pieces, but meanwhile his queenside is sleeping.) 11…Nh5 12.Bh2 Ng3+?! (In hindsight this looks like the turning point of the game.) 13.Bxg3 Qxg3 14.Ne2! Qg6 15.Nf4 (White has repositioned his knight to a very effective square without any loss of time.) 15…Qh6 16.g3 (We now come to a puzzling set of moves where White allows Black to swap on c4 and Black declines to do it. I had thought that the idea was 16.Nxe6 fxe6 17.Qb3. But perhaps Chucky saw what Deep Fritz 7 suggests: after 17…Nc6 18.Bxe6+ Kh8 White’s advantage is evaporating because Black threatens to take on d4.) 16…Nd7 17.Kg2 Nb6? (But this is pretty clearly an error. 17…Bxc4 18.Qxc4 c6 still looks like a reasonable way for Black to hold the balance, though White’s position is a bit more pleasant to play.) 18.Bxe6 fxe6 19.Rhf1 (19.Qb3 would provoke the same exchange sacrifice we see in the game.) 19…c5 20.d5 Rxf4 (This doesn’t quite work, but it is instructive for us lesser mortals to see even the near misses of the super-GMs because it teaches us to consider ideas we might never have thought of. Black was under pressure in any event since White was threatening to sink a knight into e6, so it is hard to suggest really good alternatives.) 21.gxf4 Qxf4 22.dxe6 Rf8 23.b4!? (When someone figures out how super-grandmasters come up with moves like this, please let me know! Until then, my best guess is that it is intended to clear the d4-square, e.g. 23…cxb4 24.Nd4 when the f-file is very useful and the knight has bright prospects on f5.) 23…Rf6 24.Qb5 Rxe6 25.bxc5 Bh4? [Now the roof caves in. 25…dxc5 26.Qe8+ (26.Nd4!? Qg5+ 27.Kh1 Qh5 28.Qb3 c4 29.Qf3 +/-) 26…Qf8 27.Qxf8+ Bxf8 28.e5 looks like a longish but winning ending.] 26.Nxh4 Qxh4 27.Qb3 (Neatly pinning the rook and defending h3 laterally.) 27…d5 28.cxb6 1-0

Escalante (1949)-“klaxcek2” (1771)
King’s Bishop Gambit Thematic, Round 2
chess.com, Sept. 2021

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Nf6 5.Nf3 Qh5 6.Nc3 d6 7.d4 g5 8.h4 h6 9.e5 Ng4 10.Qe1 (10.Qe2!?) 10…Be7?! (Black has to chance 10…Kd8) 11.Nd5! (White is practically winning after his move.) 11…Kd8



12.Nxe7! Kxe7 13.exd6+ (White has a good position. But as White will have trouble attacking the king from open lines of the center, 13.Kg1, with the idea of hxg5, is probably better.) 13…Kxd6?? (13…Kf8 is Black’s only chance. Then White should continue with 14.Kg1.) 14.Ne5 Be6 15.Qb4+ (Mate is coming.) 1-0

Does this mean that Black cannot win against the Bishop’s Gambit? Of course not. But it’s not as easy as it might seem.

Swiderski-Teichmann
Vienna, 1903
[Fletcher, Gambits Accepted – A Survey of Opening Sacrifices, 1954]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 d5 4.Bxd5 Qh4+ 5.Kf1 g5 6.g3 Qh6! 7.d4 c6 8.Bb3? (All subsequent trouble could have been avoided if White had played 8.Bc4, with a continuation such as; 8…Nf6 9.Nc3 Bh3+ 10.Nxh3 Qxh3+ 11.Kg1 fxg3 12.Bf1.) 8…Nf6 9.Nc3 Bh3+ 10.Ke1 Bg2 11.e5 Nfd7 12.h4 Bxh1 13.Nh3 Be7 14.Qg4 gxh4 15.Bxf4 Qg6 16.Qe2 Nb6 17.a4 hxg3 18.Kd2 Bd5 19.Bxd5 cxd5 20.Rg1 Nc6 21.Nb5 Rc8 22.c3 Nc4+ 23.Kc1 N6a5 24.Qd1 Qb6 25.Qg4 Nb3+ 26.Kb1 Qg6+ 0-1

Capablanca-Beckman
Philadelphia, 1924
[This game was probably a simul.]
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 d5 5.Bxd5 g5 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.d4 Ne7 8.g3 fxg3 9.Kg2 Nxd5 10.hxg3 Nxc3 11.bxc3 Qxe4+ 12.Nf3 Bg4 13.Re1 Bxf3+ 14.Qxf3 Qxe1 15.Bxg5 Qe6 16.d5 Qe5 17.Bf4 Qe7 18.Qd3 Nd7 19.d6 cxd6 20.Bxd6 Qe6 21.Kf2 O-O-O 22.Re1



22…Ne5! (23.Bxe5 Rxd3 24.Bxg7 Rd2+ 25.Kf1 Qh3+) 0-1

Nietsche-Faktor
Chicago, 1942
[Chernev, 1000 Best Short Games of Chess, #191]
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 g5 5.Nf3 Qh5 6.h4 d5 7.Bxd5 Nf6 8.Nc3 Nc6 9.Bxc6+ bxc6 10.d4 Ba6+ 11.Kg1 g4 12.Ne5 Qxe5! 13.dxe5 Bc5+ (14.Kh2 g3+ 15.Kh3 Bc8+ 16.Qg4 Bxg4#) 0-1

A. Miller-Curdo
Central N.E. Fall Open
Leominster, MA Nov. 11 1972
[John Curdo, “Chess Caviar”, #32 1982]
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 d5 5.Bxd5 Nf6 6.Nf3 Qh5 7.Nc3 Bb4 8.Ne2 (Curdo gives this move a “?”. But I think it’s more of a “?!” – RME) 8…Nxd5 9.exd5 g5 10.c3?! (RME) 10…Bd6 11.Qa4+ Kf8 12.Qd4 Rg8 13.Qf6 g4 14.Qd8+ Kg7? (What is wrong with 14..Bd7 – RME.) 15.Qg5+ Qxg5 16.Nxg5 Bf5 17.h3 Bd3 0-1 (18…Re8 or 18..h6)

Jaroslav Netusil (1990)-Miroslav Honcu (1890)
Czech Team Boys Ch., 2001

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 d6 5.d4 g5 6.Nc3 Ne7 7.Nf3 Qh5 8.Kg1?! (8.Rg1 with the idea of h4.) 8…g4! 9.Ne1 f3! (And now Black has a very advanced pawn.) 10.g3?! (10.Nd3! is better.) 10…Rg8 11.Nd3 Bh6 12.Nf4 Bxf4 13.Bxf4 Ng6 (13…Be6 is an alternative.) 14.Be3 c6 15.b4 Nd7 16.b5 Nb6 17.Bd3 Be6 18.Qf1 d5 19.Kf2 (Better is 19.Re1 to bring the rook into play.) 19…O-O-O 20.a4 dxe4 21.Nxe4 Nd5 22.Bd2 f5 23.Ng5 Nf8 24.Qc1 f4 25.Nxe6 Nxe6 26.bxc6 Qh3 27.cxb7+ Kb8 28.Qf1 Qg2+ 29.Qxg2 fxg2 30.Rhe1? (White should play 30.Kxg2! and if 30…f3+, then 31.Kf2 and the White king is perfectly safe.) 30…Nxd4 31.Kxg2 Nf3 32.Red1 Nxd2 33.Rxd2 Ne3+ 34.Kf2 Nxc2 35.Rc1 fxg3+ 36.Kxg3 Nb4 37.Rc8+ Rxc8 38.bxc8=Q+ 1/2-1/2

Here are some sample lines that you might want to research before playing this version of the King’s Gambit. There are many more unknown or unclear lines than the usual (and over-used – in my opinion) 3.Nf3 lines. Use these lines to start your exploration. You might discover something new to your arsenal.

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1

4.Kf1 Qe7
4.Kf1 Ne7
4.Kf1 Nc6
4.Kf1 Nc6 5.Nf3
4.Kf1 Nf6
4.Kf1 Nf6 5.Nf3 Qh5 6.Nc3
4.Kf1 Bc5 5.d4 Bb6
4.Kf1 d6
4.Kf1 d6 5.d4
4.Kf1 d6 5.d4 Bg4 6.Nf3 g5
4.Kf1 d6 5.d4 Be6
4.Kf1 d6 5.d4 g5
4.Kf1 d6 5.Nf3 Qh5
4.Kf1 g5
4.Kf1 g5 5.Nc3 Bg7
4.Kf1 d5
4.Kf1 d5 5.exd5
4.Kf1 d5 5.exd5 Bd6
4.Kf1 d5 5.Bxd5
4.Kf1 d5 5.Bxd5 g5 6.Nf3 Qh5
4.Kf1 d5 5.Bxd5 g5 6.Nc3
4.Kf1 d5 5.Bxd5 g5 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.d4 Ne7

Exploring a Gambit

Recently I was going over an old collection of some 1990s games.

I found this little-known gambit in the French. The opening moves were 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4, and now instead of 4.Nxe4 (the Rubinstein), White plays 4.f3. This tempts Black to play 4…exf3 5.Nxf3, and White has an extra developing move for the pawn.

I could not find a name for this gambit. So, I made one up. And in keeping with convention of naming openings that feature an early f3 and allowing Black to take the pawn apparently for free, I decided to name it, “The French Fantasy Variation”. Or FFV for short.

The first two games presented are the first two I found with these opening moves.

Beesley-Lynn
Auckland Open, 1999

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.Be3 Nf6 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 e6 9.Bd3 Bb4 10.O-O Bxc3 11.bxc3 Qd5 12.Qg3 Nbd7 13.c4 Qa5 14.Qxg7 Rg8 15.Qh6 Ke7 16.c5 Qc3 17.Rab1 b5 18.Rb3 Qa5 19.Bg5 Rxg5 20.Qxg5 Rg8 21.Qf4 Kd8 22.Qh4 Qd2 23.Qf2 Qg5 24.Ra3 Nd5 25.Rxa7 Rg7 26.Be4 N7f6 27.Bxd5 Nxd5 28.Rxf7 Rg6 29.Rf3 b4 30.Kh2 h5 31.Rg3 Qxg3+ 32.Qxg3 Rxg3 33.Kxg3 Ne3 34.Re1 h4+ 35.Kf2 Nxc2 36.Rxe6 Kc7 37.Re4 Na3 38.Rxh4 Nb5 39.d5 cxd5 40.Rxb4 Nc3 41.Ke3 Nxa2 42.Rb6 Nc3 43.Rd6 1-0

Stracy-Gibson
Auckland Open, 1999
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.Be3 Nf6 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 e6 9.Bd3 Bb4 10.O-O Bxc3 11.bxc3 Qd5 12.Qg3 Nbd7 13.c4 Qa5 14.Qxg7 Rg8 15.Qh6 Ke7 16.c5 Qc3 17.Rab1 b5 18.Rb3 Qa5 19.Bg5 Rxg5 20.Qxg5 Rg8 21.Qf4 Kd8 22.Qh4 Qd2 23.Qf2 Qg5 24.Ra3 Nd5 25.Rxa7 Rg7 26.Be4 N7f6 27.Bxd5 Nxd5 28.Rxf7 Rg6 29.Rf3 b4 30.Kh2 h5 31.Rg3 Qxg3+ 32.Qxg3 Rxg3 33.Kxg3 Ne3 34.Re1 h4+ 35.Kf2 Nxc2 36.Rxe6 Kc7 37.Re4 Na3 38.Rxh4 Nb5 39.d5 cxd5 40.Rxb4 Nc3 41.Ke3 Nxa2 42.Rb6 Nc3 43.Rd6 1-0

These games show some promise for the FFV! I am excited so far! Do these New Zealanders know something about chess opening that most other players don’t? I had to look up some more games, just to make sure that this opening, while definitely exciting, is also somewhat sound. I don’t want any negative surprises hitting me while playing this in an OTB or online tournament.

During my quest I found that Black can also do well. More troubling is that I didn’t find too many Master level games with this opening. Now it could be that 4.f3 was hardly played as there was very little theory on it, or the Master lever players didn’t think it was a great, or even a good, gambit to play. Of course, one way of deciding is to analyze it for oneself, namely me!

Let’s look at several games in which Black did well.

Sebastian Gramlich (2080)-Holger Rasch (2259)
Rhein Main Open
Bad Homburg, Germany, June 10 2004

1.d4 d5 2.e4 e6 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Nf6 6.Bd3 c5 7.O-O cxd4 8.Ne4 Nc6 9.Nfg5 Be7 10.Bd2 h6 11.Nxf7 Kxf7 12.Qh5+ Kg8 13.Nxf6+ Bxf6 14.Rxf6 gxf6 15.Qg6+ Kf8 16.Rf1 f5 17.Bxf5 Ke7 18.Re1 Qg8 19.Qh5 Bd7 20.Qh4+ Kd6 21.Bf4+ Kc5 22.Bd3 a6 23.Bc7 Qg5 24.b4+ Kxb4 25.c3+ Kxc3 26.Qh3 Kb4 27.Bb6 Qd2 28.Rb1+ Ka3 29.Bc4+ Qe3+ 30.Qxe3+ dxe3 31.Bc5+ Ka4 32.Rb3 Nb4 33.Rxb4+ Ka5 34.a3 b5 35.Bxe3 Rac8 36.Be2 Bc6 37.g3 Bd5 38.Bd2 Kb6 39.a4 Rc2 40.Rd4 Kc5 0-1

Frits Bakkes-P. Borman (2214)
Nova Open
Haarlem, Netherlands, July 2 2004

1.d4 d5 2.e4 e6 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Nf6 6.Bc4 Be7 7.Bf4 O-O 8.Ne5 Nbd7 9.Qf3 Nb6 10.Bd3 Nbd5 11.Nxd5 Qxd5 12.Qg3 b6 13.O-O-O Qxa2 14.Nc6 Bd6 15.Bxd6 cxd6 16.Qxd6 Bb7 17.Nb4 Qa1+ 18.Kd2 Qa5 19.c3 Qg5+ 20.Kc2 Qxg2+ 21.Kb3 Rfd8 22.Qf4 Qg4 23.Qxg4 Nxg4 24.Rhg1 Nxh2 25.d5 Nf3 26.Rg3 Ne5 27.dxe6 fxe6 28.Rdg1 g6 29.Be2 a5 30.Nc2 a4+ 31.Ka3 Bd5 32.Re3 Nc4+ 33.Bxc4 Bxc4 34.Nd4 Rd6 35.Rge1 Kg7 36.Kb4 b5 37.Re5 h5 38.Rg1 Kh7 39.Reg5 Bd3 40.Nxb5 Bxb5 41.Kxb5 Rd5+ 42.Rxd5 exd5 43.Rd1 Rb8+ 44.Ka5 Rxb2 45.Rxd5 Kh6 46.c4 h4 47.c5 g5 48.c6 Rc2 49.Kb5 Rb2+ 50.Kc5 Kh5 51.Kd6 Rb6 52.Rc5 h3 53.Kc7 Rxc6+ 54.Kxc6 Kh4 55.Kd5 h2 56.Ke5 h1=Q 0-1

In the first two games Black played 5…Bg4 and lost both. In the second set of two, Black played 5…Nf6, and won both.

Does this mean Black’s 5th move determine the outcome of the game? Probably not. But such a decision is rendered academic as Black has a much better 4th move, namely 4.Bb4.

This move develops a piece, pins a knight, bring Black one move closer to castling, and still leaves White with a weakened kingside pawn structure.

And White must be careful. 5.fxe4? can lead to an immediate disaster.

Irfan Redzepovic (2115)-Hartmut Riedel (2230)
Landesliga N Bayern 95/96
Germany, 1996

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.f3 Bb4 5.fxe4? Qh4+ 6.g3 Qxe4+ 7.Kf2 Bxc3 8.bxc3 Qxh1 9.Nf3 Bd7 10.Ba3 Nf6 11.Qd3 Ng4+ 12.Ke2 Nxh2 0-1

And even with best moves, White should still lose.

Jan Hennig-Gerhard Zach
Stuttgart Ch. B
Germany, 2004
1.d4 d5 2.e4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3 dxe4 5.fxe4 Qh4+ 6.g3 Qxe4+ 7.Qe2 Qxh1 8.Nf3 Bxc3+?!
(Black can increase his pressure on White’s exposed King and unorganized pieces with 8…b6! If 9.Qb5+, then 9…c6 10.Qxb4 Qxf3.) 9.bxc3 Nf6 10.Ba3 (White wants to castle queenside and then play Bg2, trapping the black queen.) 10…b6 11.O-O-O Bb7 (Ba6!) 12.Bg2 Bxf3? (Ba6! would still do the trick!) 13.Bxf3 Qxd1+ 14.Qxd1 +- c6 15.Qh1 Kd7 16.c4 Rc8 17.g4 h6 18.h4 g5 19.hxg5 hxg5 20.Qh6 Ne8 21.Qf8 Kc7 22.Qxf7+ Nd7 23.Qxe6 Ng7 24.Qxc6+ Kd8 25.Qd6 Ne8 26.Qe7+ Kc7 27.d5 1-0

White of course, does not have to play 5…fxe4. But other moves result in other problems for White.

Hagen Oettinger (2151)-Filip Daniel Goldstern (2391)
Seefeld Open
Austria, Sept. 12 1999
1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.f3 Bb4 5.Be3 Nf6 6.a3 Nd5 7.Qd2 Bxc3 8.bxc3 exf3 9.Nxf3 c6 10.c4 Nxe3 11.Qxe3 Qa5+ 12.Nd2 Nd7 13.Bd3 c5 14.d5 Qc3 15.Rd1 Qe5 16.Qxe5 Nxe5 17.Ne4 b6 18.O-O Ke7 19.Ng5 f6 20.Be4 Rb8 21.Nf3 Nxc4 22.Rfe1 e5 23.Nh4 Nd6 24.a4 Bd7 25.Ra1 c4 26.g3 Rbc8 27.c3 Rc5 28.Ng2 f5 29.Bf3 Kf6 0-1

Tim McGrew (1221)-Ron Gore (1598)
Michigan Amateur Open
Kalamazoo, Oct. 23 2004

1.d4 d5 2.e4 e6 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.f3 Bb4 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Nf6 7.Bg5?! h6 8.Bxf6 Qxf6 9.fxe4 Qh4+ 10.Kd2 Qxe4 11.Nf3 O-O 12.Bd3 Qf4+ 13.Ke2 Nc6 14.Rf1 Qd6 15.Kf2 b6 16.Kg1 Bb7 17.Qe1 Ne7 18.Qe3 Bxf3 19.Rxf3 Nd5 20.Qd2 Rad8 21.Rg3 Qf4 22.Qe1 c5 23.Rf3 Qc7 24.Qe4 g6 25.Qe1 cxd4 26.cxd4 Ne7 27.Qh4 Qc3 28.Raf1 Qxd4+ 29.Qf2 Qxf2+ 30.R3xf2 Kg7 31.Rf4 Nf5 32.R1f3 Rd4 33.Rxd4 Nxd4 34.Rf4 e5 35.Re4 f6 36.Kf2 Rc8 37.Rg4 f5 38.Rg3 e4 39.Be2 Nxe2 40.Kxe2 Rxc2+ 41.Kd1 Rc5 42.Re3 Kf6 43.Kd2 Ke5 44.Rh3 h5 45.Rg3 Rc6 46.Rb3 f4 47.Rb5+ Rc5 48.Rb3 Kd4 49.Rb4+ Rc4 50.Rb1 e3+ 51.Ke2 Rc2+ 52.Kf1 e2+ 53.Ke1 Kd3 54.Rb3+ Rc3 55.Rb1 Rxa3 56.Kf2 Kc2 57.Re1 Re3 58.g3 g5


0-1

Dominic Klingher (1829)-George Stoleriu (2227)
European Youth Ch., Boys U14
Porec, Croatia, Sept. 21 2015

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.f3 Bb4 5.Be3 Nf6 6.a3 Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 Nd5 8.Qd2 b6 9.Bg5 f6 10.fxe4 fxg5 11.exd5 exd5 12.Nf3 g4 13.Ne5 O-O 14.c4 Ba6 15.cxd5 Qxd5 16.Nxg4 Qe4+ 17.Ne3 Re8 18.Bxa6 Nxa6 19.Kf2 Rad8 20.c3 Nc5 21.Rad1 Qf4+ 22.Ke2 Qg4+ 23.Kf1 Rxe3 0-1

Now I probably would not play this gambit in an OTB or online tournament. But speed chess, well, that’s another story!

Game Collecting

Most players create a collection of full and partial games for their own pleasure or study.

Themes include favorite games of a famous player, beloved openings, offbeat or unusual mating patterns, miniatures, tactical sacrifices, positional considerations, pawn endings, rook endings, and even games they have played.

Players have been collecting games at least since Greco, who published his games sometime after 1500. He covered openings and spectacular wins in the opening, and claimed to have played all the games in his collection (but the modern opinion is that he simply copied at least some of the games from other collections and made an anthology of them).

Players have made their collections from index cards. This works well if you are deciding whether a new move in an opening is worth analyzing. You write down a game with the new move on an index card. Repeat. And keep going.

When you have collected enough index cards with the new move, you can place them on a table, organize them, and then play over the games on the cards. This is a flexible method as you can easily discard a game and substitute another card that you think will be a better study.

When done, organize the cards by any criteria you want, and then attach a rubber band around them and they are ready to use again.

Index cards are also good if you want to collect all the games of a players. When a new game is played, all you have to do is copy the newest game on a card and you are ready to add it to your collection. It also easy find out what he is most likely to do when he has to face your pet Najdorf variation.

Chess players have also created scrapbooks full of interesting and helpful games, problems, analyses, and the like from newspapers, magazines, and even old books.

This makes such collections much easier to travel and can hold more information than index cards.

For those players who can write also small, small note pads have been used to write down games and the occasional study or problem. Usually, you would meet them at tournaments, and they would be collecting games for publication. But this method was (and is) not meant to be long-lasting. Instead, the reporter, editor, or fellow chess player would transfer the game and notes to a more permanent medium.

But with the almighty laptop (and the Internet), it is now far easier to create a collection, make it a more-or-less a continuing collection and update it at one’s leisure.

The most common method of game collection in the Internet age is to use a PGN generator. PGN is short for Portable Game Notation, it is what the computer uses to display the moves of a game, and it looks like this:

[Event “?”]
[Site “Kiev”]
[Date “1954.??.??”]
[White “Kutsenok”]
[Black “Akimov”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “C35”]
[PlyCount “30”]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 Be7 4.Bc4 Nf6 $1 5.e5 Ng4 6.O-O d5 7.Bb3 $2 Nc6 8.d4 g5 9.h3 $2 h5 $1 10.hxg4 hxg4 11.Nh2 g3 12.Ng4 Rh4 13.Nf6+ Bxf6 14.exf6 Qxf6 15.Re1+ Kf8 0-1 {Black kingside pawns threaten to advance.}

A few notes here. The computer will translate a “$1” as an “!” and a “$2”as a “?”. Any notes in a { } will allow you to read the note when you play over the game on a computer, and a ply is exactly ½ of a move. Hence, this game is 15 moves, and the ply is 30. The game is from Clarke’s 100 Soviet Miniatures.

The big drawback of this method is that you need a computer to play, study, or simply enjoy the game. And in the case of electrical power going down, you can be out of luck.

With the rise of on-line publishing, players can also upload and print books of their favorite games, players, openings, and ideas on the game. This can be expensive (on-line printers need to make their profit), but it is rather easy to add new games and ideas, and even change one’s own annotations as fast as you can type.

Which is an important skill when writing anything on the Internet, social sites, and even a blog.

And now a game from Tal’s Tactical Treatment of an opponent. Maybe this is something you can add to your collection.

GM Tal-Kennedy
World Student Ch.
Varna, 1958

[Minev, “Digging into the Most Notorious Bulletin”, Inside Chess, Sept. 5, 1994]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Ne7 7.Qg4 cxd4 8.Bd3 (Tal’s favorite continuation throughout his career and one that theory still gives as “unclear”.) 8…Nbc6?! (The immediate 8…Qa5 9.Ne2 is critical … After the text, White has no problems with his e5-pawn.) 9.Nf3 Bd7 (If now 9…Qa5, then 10.O-O.) 10.cxd4 Qc7 11.O-O O-O-O 12.a4 f5 13.Qxg7 h5 14.Qg5 Rdg8 15.Qd2 Na5 16.Ba3 Nec6 17.Bd6 Qd8 18.Qc3 Be8 19.Rab1 Rg7 20.Bb4 h4 21.Bxa5 Qxa5 22.Qxa5 Nxa5 23.Rfe1 h3 24.g3 Nc4 25.Bxc4 dxc4 26.d5! f4 27.Re4! exd5 28.Rxf4 Bxa4 29.Nd4 Re7 30.Rf5 Kc7 31.f4 Rd8 32.Rf6 Bd7 33.Rd6! b5 34.Rxd5 a6 35.f5 Rf8 36.Rf1 Bc8 37.f6 Rd7? 38.Ne6+ 1-0

When Two is Not Enough

Every player values his queen. And there is little wonder why. It is the most powerful piece of the game and with it, sometimes by itself, quickly mate the opposition. Take a look at Scholar’s Mate (1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Qf3 Nd4 4.Qxf7#), Fool’s Mate (1.f4 e5 2.g4 Qh4#), even a trap in the Petrov (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 Nxe4 4.Qe2 Nf6 5.Nc6+).

It stands to reason that a player would welcome another queen joining his ranks. Even more so if the opponent fails to do the same. Imagine the possibilities!

But chess is not so simple. A second queen does not automatically confer or guarantee victory.

Let’s look at some opening examples.

Littlewood-Andrews
England 1981
[D22]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bg4 5.Bxc4 e6 6.h3 Bh5 7.Nc3 a6 8.O-O Nbd7 9.e4 e5 10.g4 exd4 11.gxh5 dxc3 12.e5 cxb2 13.exf6 bxa1=Q 14.Bxf7+! Kxf7 15.Qd5+ Ke8 16.f7+ Ke7 17.Re1+ Ne5 18.Bg5mate 1-0

Sprenger (2199)-Danner (2369)
Austrian Ch., 2002
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Nc6 8.e5 h6 9.Bh4 Nxd4 10.exf6 Nf5 11.fxg7 Qxh4+ 12.g3 Nxg3


13.gxh8=Q Ne4+ 14.Ke2 Qf2+ 15.Kd3 Nc5+ 16.Kc4 b5+ 17.Nxb5 axb5+ 18.Kc3 b4+ 19.Kc4 d5+ 20.Kb5 Bd7+ 0-1

So, what happened? Well, in both cases, the promoted queen finds herself in a corner on the board. A corner, as you probably know, is a square in which the queen has less moves, less mobility, and less power than existing on the side or in the center of the board.

And since the promotion occurred in the opening, there are many pieces on the board that block or hinders the movement of the newly born queen.

The side with the extra queen usually has to spend an extra tempo or two to get the brand-new queen into play.

All of which subtracts from usually positive aspect of an additional queen.

Let’s take a look at two other games.

The first shows a White king under tremendous pressure from Black’s knight, passed pawn, and sole queen. It also shows how fond some players have for their multiple queens, and an unwillingness to give one of them up.

Chigorin-Blackburne
Vienna, 1898
1.e4 e6 2.Qe2!?
(Chigorin is credited with coming up with this move. Its main goal is to harass Black’s development as the queen on e2 can easily be put into play on either side of the board.) 2…b6 (2…c5 is an alternate move.) 3.Nc3 Bb7 4.Nh3 Nc6 5.d3 g6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Qd2 Bxg5 8.Nxg5 Qe7 9.f4 O-O-O 10.O-O-O f6 11.Nf3 Nh6 12.d4 d5 13.e5 f5 14.Bb5 a6 15.Be2 Nf7 16.h3 h5 17.Rhg1 Rdg8 18.g3 Kb8 19.Kb1 Ka7 20.Ka1 Nb8 21.Rb1 Nd7 22.b4 b5 23.a4 c6 24.Qc1 Ra8 25.a5 Rag8 26.Na2 g5 27.Qe3 Nf8 28.Nc1 h4 29.gxh4 gxf4 30.Qf2 Rxg1 31.Qxg1 Rh6 32.Nd3 Ng6 33.h5 Nh4 34.Nxh4 Qxh4 35.Qg7 f3 36.Bxf3 Qxd4+ 37.Rb2 Nd6 38.Qxh6 Nc4 39.Qf4 Qc3 40.h6 c5 41.h7 cxb4 42.h8=Q b3! (Counterplay!) 43.Qf8 bxc2 44.Qc5+ Ka8

45.Qfd4?? [Chigorin himself analyzed his blunder. White wins after 45.Qfxc4! bxc4 (45…dxc4 46.Qc8+) 46.Qb4 Qxb4 47.Rxb4 cxd3 48.Kb2. 45.Qc1 +-.] 45…Qxa5+ 0-1

The second one demonstrates how a queen in the corner can still be more of a spectator on the corner than a contributing member, even in an endgame. And how an Initiative can trump the extra material.

WFM Natalya Tsodikova (2196)-FM Jon Jacobs (2200)
Mechanics Institute vs. Marshall match
chess.com, Oct. 15 2019
[GM Nick de Firmian. “Mechanics’ Versus Marshall”, CL, Jan. 2020]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 g6 3.b3 Bg7 4.Bb2 0-0 5.Bg2 d5 6.0-0 c5 7.c4 d4 8.b4 Nc6 9.bxc5 e5 10.d3 Nd7 11.Nfd2 Nxc5 12.Ba3 Qa5 13.Ne4 Nxe4!? (An interesting Exchange sacrifice for the initiative. Black has active pieces for the material and dark square play.) 14.Bxf8 Bxf8?! (Even stronger was 14….Nxf2! 15.Rxf2 Bxf8. The weakness of e3 would add to Black’s compensation for the Exchange.) 15.Bxe4 Qc7 16.Nd2 a5 17.Bg2 f5 18.a3 a4 19.Qc2 Bc5 20.Rfb1 Qe7 21.Qb2 Ra6 22.Qc1 Kg7 23.Rb5 Na7 24.Rb2 Nc6 25.Raa2 g5 26.Rb1 Kg6 27.Rb5 Na7 28.Rbb2 Nc6 29.g4?! (White goes for the win! This was a hard-fought match and the players go all out, yet the position now becomes very sharp.) 29….Bxa3 30.gxf5+ (Bad is 30.Rxa3 Qxa3 since 31.Rb6 is not check.) 30….Bxf5 31.Ne4? Bxb2 32.Qxb2 Qb4 33.Qc1 h6 34.Ng3 a3 35.Nxf5 Kxf5 36.Be4+ Kf6 (Black is winning on the queenside, but his king is unsafe on the opposite wing. Natalya quickly switches fronts.) 37.Qf1! Kg7 38.Qh3 Ne7 39.Qd7 Kf6 40.Qxb7 Rb6?! (Here Jon misses his best chance. He should play for the endgame where his king is safe. 40….Qxb7! 41.Bxb7 Rb6 42.Be4 Rb3 is difficult for White, e.g. 43.Kf1 Ke6 44.Ke1 Kd6 45.Kd2 Kc5 46.Kc2 Kb4 with full control of the board.) 41.Qa8!? Qb1+ 42.Kg2 Qxa2 43.Qf8+ Ke6 44.Qxh6+ Kd7 45.Qxb6 Qb2 46.Qa7+ Ke8 47.Qa4+ Kf8 48.Qd7?! (Best was 48.Qa8+ Kf7 49.Qa7 a2 50.Bd5+ Kf6 51.Qa6+ Kg7 52.Qa7 Kf8 53.Qa8+ Kg7 54.Qa7 forcing the draw.) 48….a2 49.Bd5 Nxd5 (Black still has winning chances after 49….Qb6.) 50.cxd5 a1=Q

51.Qd8+ Kf7 52.Qd7+ Kf6 53.Qe6+ Kg7 54.Qe7+ Kg6 55.Qe6+ Kg7 56.Qe7+ Kg6 57.Qe6+ Kh5 58.Qh3+ Kg6 (Black is a whole queen up, but his king cannot escape the checks.) 59.Qe6+ 1/2-1/2

Team Vote Chess

Chess.com offers a feature known as Team Vote Chess. This is where your club or team can compete against another team in a single game. All members are allowed to vote and encouraged to share their thoughts and analyses.

It can be humbling finding out that a move you thought might be brilliant is torn apart by your own team members. But that is infinitely better than having your opponent tear it apart.

Anyway, the games are usually sociable and fun.

Here are two games featuring one of my favorite openings.

“The Atheists”-“Paradise Chess Club”
Team Vote Chess
chess.com, 2021
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 Nbd7 8.Bg5 Qb6 9.Be3 Qc7 10.Qd2 Be7 11.Bxe6 fxe6 12.Nxe6 Qc4
(The best move for Black in this position.) 13.Nxg7+ Kf7 14.Nf5 Nxe4 15.Nxe4 Qxe4 16.Nxe7 Qxe7 17.O-O-O Ne5 18.Bg5 Qe6 19.Rhe1 Qxa2? [Better are 19…Re8 or 19…Rg8 when White must play accurately to keep whatever advantage he still may have. 19…Qg6? is bad as White regains the attack after 20.Qd5+ Be6 (not 20…Qe6? 21.Qxd6 Qxd6 22.Rxd6 Nc4 23.Re7+) 21.Qxb7+.] 20.Qf4+ Ke8

21.Rxe5+! +- dxe5 (Nothing saves Black. If he instead tries 21…Kd7, then 22.Re7+ Kc6 23.Qxd6+ Kb5 24.Re5+ Ka4 25.Rd4+ Qc4 26.b3 is mate.) 22.Rd8mate 1-0

“Chess Unlimited”-”LIVE WIRE”
Team Vote Chess
http://www.chess.com, Aug. 20 2012-Jan. 2 2013
[I was the team captain for LIVE WIRE. We had excellent analysists and contributors for the game. Most enjoyable was seeing our analysis grow from +/- to +- , and then from a +- to a forced mate.]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.O-O b5 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.Re1 Be7 10.f4 O-O 11.e5 (This move loses at least a pawn. And probably much more.) 11…dxe5 12.fxe5 (To keep his losses to a minimum White has to play 12.Nf3.) 12…Qxd4+ 13.Kh1 (A bit of a crossroad here. Black is certainly winning What to do now? At first glance, it looks like 13…Ng4 with the idea of 14…Nf2+, with a smothered mate coming seems attractive. Even the knight is protected by the queen on d4. Of course, nothing is protecting the queen and White wins after 13…Ng4? 14.Bxh7+ Kxh7 15.Qxd4. So this idea was quickly and rightfully dismissed. 13…Qg4 is better since after the trade of queens Black is still ahead a piece and still winning. But 13…Qh4!! is the best. Take a look at the following moves.) 13…Qh4 14.exf6 Bd6!! (The team foresaw this position. White is suddenly finding he doesn’t have any good moves. 15.g3 is illegal. Both 15.Ne4 and 15.Be4 immediately lose to 15…Qxh2#. And 15.Bxh7+ fails to 15…Kxh7! 16.Qxd6 Qxe1+ -+. We thought we accounted for all possible moves.) 15.Re5? (But we didn’t see this one! Never mind, it’s a blunder.) 15…Bxe5 16.Qg1 gxf6 (With the idea of 17…Kh8 and 18…Rg8.) 17.Be3 Kh8 18.Rf1 Rg8 19.Rf2 Nd7! (To bring the last rook into play.) 20.Ne2

20…Rxg2!! 21.Rxg2 Rg8 22.Ng3 Rxg3 0-1

The “Lesser” Bishop Gambit?

Most chess players know the moves leading to the Bishop Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4). But how many of them know the moves leading to the “Lesser” Bishop Gambit?

Well, the moves are 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2. The main ideas seem to be preventing Black from checking on the e-file and placing the bishop on a square where it could not be easily taken or exchanged.

It seems strange that a player who would play a risky, tactically filled, opening, would want to play conservatively so soon in the game.

Nevertheless, we have this gambit.

So, let’s do a little research into it.

Black has several ways of responding to 3.Be2.

At the start, 3…Nf6 might seem to be a reasonable move. After all, it develops a piece and makes it easier for Black to castle. But after 4.e5, it is White that gains the advantage.

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 Nf6 4.e5

John Shaw-IM Peter Wells
London, 1993
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 Nf6 4.Nc3 d5 5.e5 Ne4 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.d3 Nxc3 8.bxc3 d4 9.O-O dxc3 10.d4 Bg4 11.Bb5 Qd5 12.Bxc6+ bxc6 13.Bxf4 c5 14.Be3 Rd8 15.dxc5 Bxc5 16.Qe1 Qc4 17.Rb1 O-O 18.Rb3 Bxf3 19.Rxc3 Qg4 20.Rxf3 Bb4 21.Rg3

21…Rd1 0-1

Philippe Jaulin-Frederic Coudray
Avoine Open, 1996
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 Nf6 4.e5 Ne4 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.d3
(A move that is often overlooked.) 6…Ng5 7.Bxf4 Nxf3+ 8.Bxf3 d6 9.Bxc6+ bxc6 10.O-O (Even better is 10.Qf3! as White gains a tempo or two.) 10…dxe5 11.Bxe5 Bd6? 12.Bxg7! Qh4 13.Qe2+ [Black’s best is 13…Be6. (not 13…Kd7? 14.Rxf7+). But even stronger is 13.Qe1+! as 13..Qxe1 14.Rxe1+ is check and the White’s has the attack and the material advantage.] 1-0

Black also has 3…Qh4+. And like in the Bishop Gambit, the White is dislodged from a good hiding square. The downside, again copying from the Bishop Gambit, is the Black queen is slightly out of play and facing all of White’s pieces on her own.

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 Qh4+ 4.Kf1

HITECH-REBEL
World Computer Ch., 1986
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.e5 Bxc3 7.dxc3 Ng8 8.Nf3 Qh6 9.Qd4 g5 10.h4 Nc6 11.Qe4 Qg6 12.Nxg5 Qxe4 13.Nxe4 f3 14.gxf3 Nxe5 15.Bf4 d6 16.Re1 Bd7 17.Bc4 Kf8 18.Bxe5 dxe5 19.Nc5 Bc6 20.Rxe5 Rd8 21.Kf2 Nf6 22.Rf5 Rd2+ 23.Ke3 Rd6 24.Ne4 Bxe4 25.fxe4 Rg8 26.e5 Rc6 27.exf6 1-0

T. Winterbach-F. Llane
South Africa Open, 1986
[Gluckman, “Levitt Triumphs in 1986 Oude Meester S. A. Open”, The South African Chess Player, May/June 1986, pg. 73]
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Nc6 5.d4 d6 6.Nc3 g5 7.Nf3 Qh6 8.Nd5 Kd8 9.h4 f6 10.g3 Qg6 11.Qd3 fxg3 12.hxg5 fxg5 13.Nxg5 g2+ 14.Kxg2 h6 15.Qf3 Nge7 16.Kf1 Be6?? 17.Nf4 +-
(and White won in 28)

Herter-Klenk
Wurttenburg League 1987
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Bc5 5.d4 Bb6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Nd5 g5 8.Nf3 Qh6 9.h4 c6 10.Nxb6 axb6 11.Nxg5 Qf6 12.Bh5 Nh6 13.e5 dxe5 14.Ne4 Qe7 15.dxe5 Qxe5 16.Nd6+ Ke7 17.Nxc8+ Rxc8 18.Qf3 Ra4 19.g3 Qb5+ 20.Kg2 Qd5 21.Re1+ Kf8 22.Bxf4 Qxf3+ 23.Bxf3 Ng8 24.Rad1 Rxa2 25.Bg4 Re8 26.Bd6+ 1-0

Fegan (1872)-Lazarevic (1416)
Southend Open, Apr. 21 2000
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qe7 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.d3 d6 8.Bxf4 Qd8 9.d4 Be7 10.d5 Nb8 11.h3 Nh5 12.Bh2 f5 13.Nd4 Nf6 14.exf5 O-O 15.Kf2 c5 16.Ne6 Bxe6 17.dxe6 Nc6 18.Rf1 a6 19.Kg1 b5 20.Nd5 Nxd5 21.Qxd5 Qc7 22.Qxc5 dxc5 23.Bxc7 Nd4 24.Bf3 Rac8 25.Bh2 c4 26.Be4 Bf6 27.c3 Nc6 28.Bd5 Kh8 29.a4 1-0

Klaus Bolding (2309)-Bruno Wagner (1943) X25
Rhone Open
Lyon, Apr. 27 2003
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qf6 6.Nc3 Bc5 7.Nd5 Qd6 8.d4 Bb6 9.Bxf4 Qg6 10.Bxc7 Qxe4 11.Nxb6 axb6 12.Bd3 Qe6 13.Qd2 Nge7 14.Re1 Qxa2 15.Qg5
(Even after 15…O-O White wins with 16.Bxh7+ Kxh7 17.Qh5+ Kg8 18.Ng5 +-) 1-0

3…f5 does amazing well.

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 f5

Mr. H. Jones & Sir Geo. Newnes – Blackburne
Manchester, England, Nov. 1878
[Blackburne, “Blackburne’s Chess Games”, #159]
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 f5 5.Qe2 Nc6 6.Nf3 Qh5 7.Nc3 Kd8 8.Bxg8 Rxg8 9.Nd5 Bd6
(An unnatural-looking move but necessary to defend the Gambit Pawn.) 10.d4 fxe4 11.Qxe4 Re8 12.Nxf4 Qg4 13.Ne5 (The Allies have nothing better; their position is hopeless.)


13…Nxe5 14.dxe5 Bxe5 15.Qf3 d6 16.Qxg4 Bxg4 17.Nd5 Kd7 18.c3 Re6 19.Bd2 Rf8+ 20.Kg1 Be2 21.Re1 Bc4 22.Ne3 Bd3 23.g3 Be4 24.Ng2 d5 25.Rf1 Rxf1+ 26.Kxf1 Rf6+ 27.Kg1 d4 0-1

Mr. Sutton-Blackburne
Simpson’s Chess Divan
London, 1884
[Blackburne, “Blackburne’s Chess Games”, #176]
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 f5
(Although a favorite defence of mine I do not recommend it to the young amateur.) 5.Nc3 (Qe2 is stronger.) 5…Nf6 6.d3 g5 7.Nf3 Qh5 8.h4 h6 9.Kg1 g4 10.Ne5 Rh7 11.Ne2 (An attack on the Queen persistently followed up in White’s succeeding play.) 11…fxe4 12.Bxf4 Qf5 13.Qc1 d5 14.Bb3 Nbd7 15.Ng3 Bc5+ 16.Kh2 Nxe5 17.Nxf5 (Now White has attained his object, but the fruit is of the Dead Sea.) 17…g3+ 18.Bxg3 (Any other move is equally fatal.) 18…Neg4+ 19.Kh3 Ne3 20.Bf4 Bxf5+ 21.Kh2 Neg4+ 22.Kh3 Nf2+ 23.Kh2 N6g4+ 24.Kg1 Nxd3+ 25.Kf1 Nxc1 26.Rxc1 O-O-O 0-1

Bird-Zukertort
London, 1896?
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 f5 4.e5 d6 5.exd6 Qh4+ 6.Kf1 Bxd6 7.d4 Ne7 8.Nf3 Qf6 9.c4 c6 10.c5 Bc7 11.Nc3 Be6 12.h4 Nd7 13.Qa4 h6 14.Bd2 g5 15.d5 Nxd5 16.Nxd5 Bxd5 17.Bc3 Ne5 18.Qd4 O-O-O 19.Qa4 Kb8 20.Rh3 g4 21.Nxe5 Bxe5 22.Bxe5+ Qxe5 23.Ra3 Bxg2+ 24.Kxg2 Qxe2+ 25.Kg1 a6 26.Qxf4+ Ka8 27.Re3 Qxb2 28.Rf1 Rd2 0-1

Mieses-Maroczy
Vienna 1903
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 f5 4.e5 d6 5.d4 dxe5 6.dxe5 Qh4+ 7.Kf1 Bc5 8.Nh3 Be3 9.Nc3 Be6 10.Nd5 Bxd5 11.Qxd5 Nc6 12.Bc4 Qe7 13.Nxf4 Rd8 14.Bxe3 Rxd5 15.Nxd5 Qh4 16.Nxc7+ Kd7 17.Bxg8 Rxg8 18.Nd5 Qc4+ 19.Kf2 Qxc2+ 20.Kg3 h5 21.Rhd1 h4+ 22.Kh3 Ke6 23.Nc7+ Kf7 24.Rd7+ Kg6 25.Nd5 f4 26.Nxf4+ Kh7 27.g4 Qe4 28.Nd5 Qf3+ 29.Kxh4 Nxe5 0-1

Crowl-C. Purdy
corres.
Australia, 1946/8
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 f5 4.exf5 Qh4+ 5.Kf1 d5 6.Nc3 c6 7.d4 Bd6 8.Bd3 Ne7 9.Qe2 O-O 10.Nf3 Qf6 11.g4 fxg3 12.Bg5 Qf7 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.Qxe7 Bxe7 15.Re1 Bd6 16.Kg2 gxh2 17.Nh4 Nd7 18.Ne2 Nf6 19.Ng3 Ng4 20.Rhf1 Bd7 21.Kh3 h1=Q+ 22.Nxh1 Nh6 23.Kg2 Rf7 24.Re5 Re7 25.f6 Bxe5 26.fxe7 Bxd4 27.Rf8+ Rxf8 28.Bxh7+ Kf7 29.exf8=Q+ Kxf8 30.c3 Bf6 31.Ng6+ Kf7 32.Nf2 Bf5 33.Nh8+ Ke6 34.Ng6 Kd6 35.Kf3 Bb1 36.a3 Kc5 37.Ke2 Bf5 38.Nf8 Kc4 39.Bxf5 Nxf5 40.Kd2 Kb3 41.Kc1 d4 42.cxd4 Bxd4 43.Nd3 g5 44.Ne6 g4 0-1

Thoeng-Hector
Antwerp 1994
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 f5 4.exf5 Qh4+ 5.Kf1 d5 6.Nc3 c6 7.d4 Bxf5 8.Nf3 Qh6 9.Bd3 Bxd3+ 10.Qxd3 Bd6 11.h4 Ne7 12.g4 Nd7 13.Bd2 O-O-O 14.Re1 Qf6 15.h5 h6 16.Rh2 g6 17.hxg6 Qxg6 18.Qxg6 Nxg6 19.Re6 Ndf8 20.Rf6 Be7 21.Rf7 Ne6 22.Na4 Rde8 23.b4 Rhf8 24.Rxf8 Bxf8 25.b5 Ng5 26.Nxg5 hxg5 27.bxc6 bxc6 28.Rh5 Be7 29.Rh6 Rg8 30.Nb2 c5 31.dxc5 Bxc5 32.Nd3 Bd4 33.Nb4 Ne5 34.Nxd5 Rd8 35.Ne7+ Kb7 36.Nf5 Bc5 37.Rh7+ 0-1

But perhaps the best response is 3…d5, aggressively opening up more lines for an attack. White meets this best with 4.exd5 Nf6, and usually 5.Nf3.

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 (5.Nf3)

Tartakower-Capablanca
New York 1924
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.c4 c6 6.d4 Bb4+ 7.Kf1?! (7.Bd2) cxd5 8.Bxf4 dxc4 9.Bxb8 Nd5 10.Kf2 Rxb8 11.Bxc4 O-O 12.Nf3 Nf6 13.Nc3 b5 14.Bd3 Ng4+ 15.Kg1 Bb7
16.Bf5?! (White’s king needs some breathing room and a chance for activating his rook. He can do both, and even attack a piece, with 16…h3!) 16…Bxc3 17.bxc3 Ne3 18.Bxh7+ Kh8 (Even after 18…Kxh7? 19.Qd3+ Kg8 21.Qxe3 Black still has the advantage due to his more secured king.) 19.Qd3 Bxf3 20.gxf3 Nd5 21.Be4 Nf4 22.Qd2 Qh4 23.Kf1 f5 24.Bc6 Rf6 25.d5 Rd8 26.Rd1 Rxc6 27.dxc6 Rxd2 (Even Capablanca is known to make mistakes as Black does even better with 27…Qh3+ 28.Kf2 Qg2+. ) 28.Rxd2 Ne6 29.Rd6 Qc4+ 30.Kg2 Qe2+ 0-1

Shapiro-Devorak
corres., 1947
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Qh4+ 5.Kf1 Nf6 6.c4 g5 7.Nf3 Qh6 8.d4 Ne4 9.Kg1 g4 10.Ne5 Qh4 11.Qf1 f3


(If 12.gxf3, then 12…gxf3 13.Nxf3 Rg8+ is painful. Even after the better 13.Bxf3 Rg8+ 14.Bg2 Bh3! 15.Qxf7+ Kd8 White is still lost. And 12.Bd1? f2+ is even worse.) 0-1

Norman Littlewood-Levente Lengyel
Hastings, 1963
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Ne7 5.Bf3 Nxd5 6.Ne2 Be7 7.O-O O-O 8.c4 Nf6 9.d4 g5 10.Nbc3 Kh8 11.b4 Nbd7 12.Bb2 Re8 13.d5 Ne5 14.Ne4 Nxe4 15.Bxe4 Bf6 16.Nxf4 gxf4 17.Qh5 Ng6 18.Rxf4 Bxb2 19.Rxf7 Bd4+ 20.Kh1 Bg7 21.Bxg6 h6 22.Rxg7 Kxg7 23.Bxe8 Qf6 24.Re1 Bf5 25.Rf1 Bg6 26.Qd1 Qc3 27.Bxg6 1-0

J. Meyer-Dickson
corres. 1983
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bd6 6.c4 c6 7.d4 Bb4+ 8.Nbd2 O-O 9.O-O cxd5 10.c5 Ba5 11.Nb3 Bc7 12.Ne1 Re8 13.Bxf4 Qe7 14.Nc1 Bxf4 15.Rxf4 Qe3+ 16.Rf2 Ne4 17.Ned3 Nxf2 18.Nxf2 Nc6 0-1

Biaux-Buj
corres. 1984?
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Nf3 Be7 6.O-O O-O 7.c4 Ne8 8.d4 g5 9.Bd3 Ng7 10.Qc2 f5 11.Nc3 Bf6 12.c5 Nd7 13.Re1 g4 14.Ne5 Bxe5 15.dxe5 Nxc5 16.Bxf4 Nxd3 17.Qxd3 c6 18.Rad1 cxd5 19.Nxd5 Be6 20.Nf6+ Kh8 21.Qg3 Qe7 22.Qh4 Ne8 23.Bg5 Qf7 24.Bh6 Nxf6 25.Bxf8 Ne4 26.Bh6 Qg6 27.Rd8+ Rxd8 28.Qxd8+ Bg8 29.Qf8 Qb6+ 30.Re3 1-0

Mark F. Bruere (2250)-J.M. Vaassen
corres., WT/M/GT/284
ICCF, 1990
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Nf3 c6 6.dxc6 Nxc6 7.d4 Bd6 8.O-O
(Castling seems to be overdone in the King’s Gambit Accepted. Better is 8.c4 claiming a stake in the center and still holding the possibility of castling on either side.) 8…O-O 9.c4 Bg4 10.Nc3 Rc8 11.Nb5 Bb8 12.b3 (12.d5!? needs to be investigated.) 12..a6 13.Na3?! (13..Nc3) 13…Re8 14.Nc2 Qc7 15.Bb2 Ba7 16.Kh1 Ne7 17.d5? (Opening attacking lines where Black is the only one who profits. And it also drops a pawn.) 17…Nexd5! 18.cxd5 Qxc2 19.Bxf6 Rxe2 20.Bd4 Bxf3! 0-1

Muth-Janson
Hessen 1991
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Bd6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.c4 c6 7.dxc6 Nxc6 8.d4 O-O 9.O-O Bg4 10.Nc3 Nh5 11.Ne5 Bxe2 12.Qxe2 Qh4 13.Nf3 Qg4 14.Nd5 Rfe8 15.Qd3 Re6 16.h3 Qg3 17.Bd2 Rg6 18.Ne1 Qxd3 19.Nxd3 Nxd4 20.N3xf4 Nxf4 21.Nxf4 Rf6 22.Rae1 Bxf4 23.Rxf4 Rxf4 24.Bxf4 Nc6 1/2-1/2

Shaw-Mannion
Scottish Ch. 1993
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bd6 6.O-O O-O 7.Nc3 c6 8.d4 Nxd5 9.Nxd5 cxd5 10.Ne5 f6 11.Nd3 g5 12.c3 Be6 13.Bf3 Nc6 14.Bd2 Qd7 15.b4 Kh8 16.Qb3 Qf7 17.Rae1 Rfe8 18.a4 Rad8 19.Rf2 g4 20.Bd1 f3 21.Bf4 Bf5 22.Rxe8+ Qxe8 23.Bxd6 Bxd3 0-1

C. Sánchez-A. Alexander
IECC 2000
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bd6 6.c4 O-O 7.d4 b6 8.Ne5 c5 9.dxc6 Qc7
(9…Ne4, threatening, …Qh4+ is a possibility.) 10.Bxf4 Nxc6 11.Nc3 a6 12.Nxc6 (12.Bf3!?) 12…Qxc6 13.Bxd6 Qxd6 14.O-O Bb7 15.d5 Rae8 16.Qd2 Ne4 (> 16…c5.) 17.Nxe4 Rxe4 18.Bd3 Rh4? (Black is having problems and he needs to play 18…Re5. The text is simply a waste of time.) 19.g3 Rd4 20.Bxh7+ 1-0

Georg Schweiger (2187)-Martin Markl X25
Regionalliga SO
Bayern, 2000
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Be2 d5 4.exd5 Qh4+ 5.Kf1 Qd8 6.d4 Nf6 7.c4 c6 8. dxc6 Nxc6 9.d5 Ne5 10.Bxf4 Ng6 11.Be3 Bd6 12.Nc3 O-O 13.Qd2 Re8 14.Re1 Bf5 15.Nf3 Ng4 16.Bd3 Qd7 17.Nd1 Re7 18.Qc2 Bxd3+ 19.Qxd3 Rae8 20.Bd2 Rxe1+ 21.Bxe1 Nf4 22.Qd4 Qe7 23.Qd2 Bb4 24.Qxf4 Qxe1+ 25.Nxe1 Rxe1mate 0-1

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

Where do the Names of the Openings Come From?

Sometimes the opening is named after the pieces. The King’s Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4), the Queen’s Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4), the Two Knights Defence (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6), the Three Knights Defence (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6), the Four Knights Opening (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6), the Bishop Opening (1.e4 e5 2.Bc4), and the Bishop Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4).

Pawns are featured in the Two Knights Variation of the Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3), the Three Pawns Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 Be7 4.Bc4 Bh4+ 5.g3 fxg3 6.O-O), and the Four Pawns Variation in the King’s Indian Defence (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4) and the Four Pawns Attack in the Alekhine’s Defence (1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.f4).

Escalante-“Krazy1234”
Smart Phone Game, July-Aug., 2016
1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.f4 g5!?
(Too aggressive – more like reckless.) 6.d5 gxf4 7.Bxf4 Bf5 8.Nf3 h6 9.Nh4 e6 (9…Bh7 10.e6 fxe6 11.dxe6 Qc8 12.Be2 Qxe6 13.O-O Nxc4 14.Bg4) 10.Nxf5 exf5 11.Bd3 Rg8 12.O-O N8d7 13.e6 Nf6 14.exf7+ Kxf7 15.Bxf5 (+/-, but now almost winning.) 15…Nxc4 16.Be6+ Kg7 17.Qc1! Rh8 18.Qxc4 Be7 19.Nc3 Nh5 20.Be3 Rf8 21.Qg4+ Bg5 22.h4 Nf6 23.Bd4

1-0 (White has a piece, two pins, and all the attacking chances; Black has nothing.)

But this, the opening names – not the opening play – can get boring.

So …

Some openings are named after the first person who was successful with the opening moves. Others are named after a player or student of the game who first published the analysis.

Opening names such as Alekhine’s Defence (1.e4 Nf6), Fischer’s Defence in the King’s Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 and now 3…d6 instead of the usual 3…g5), Larsen’s Opening (1.b3), the Ruy Lopez (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 Bb5), the Marshall Attack (a variation of the Ruy Lopez going 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 O-O 8.c3 d5), the Albin Counter- Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5), Anderssen’s Opening (1.a3), the Najdorf (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6), and the Benko Gambit (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5).

And that’s just for starters.

We also have the Smith-Morra (1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 – actually named after two players), the Caro-Kann (1. e4 c6, another opening named after two players), the von Hennig-Schara Gambit (yet another opening named after two players):

Anton Schara-Ernst Gruenfeld
Vienna 1918
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd1 exd5 7.Qxd5 Bd6 8.Bg5 Nge7 9.Qd2 f6 10.Bh4 Qb6! 11.Nf3
(11 Qxd6? Qxb2) 11…Bb4 12.e3 Bf5 13.Bc4 Na5 14.Bd3 Rd8 15.Nd4 Nac6 16.Nxf5? Nxf5 17.Bg3 Nxg3 18.hxg3 Ne5 19.Bb5+ Qxb5 0-1.

The Greco-Counter Gambit, by the way, is named after Greco who the first known person to write about the openings. The opening moves are 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5!?. And the opening is also known as the Latvian Gambit.

This is a good time to segue into another area where chess openings are named after not just one or two players, but after a group of localized players who studied and popularized these openings. Not only do we have the Latvian, but also the Budapest (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5), the French (1.e4 e6), and the English (1.c4).

Making things interesting is that some openings are named after cities and countries. We have the Catalan (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3), the Saragossa (1.c3), the Italian (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4), the Berlin Defence (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6), the Vienna (1.e4 e5 2.Nc3), and the London (1.d4 Nf6 and White will play an early .Bf4).

Openings are also named after animals. Most players know of the Dragon (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 and Black will soon play …g6, …Bg7, and usually …Nf6).

GM Jaan Ehlvest (2532)-Margeir Petursson (2513) X25
Puhajarve Rapid
Estonia, Nov. 25 2016
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.O-O Nc6 8.Nb3 O-O 9.Re1 a6 10.Bg5 b5 11.Bf1 Bb7 12.Qd2 Re8 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Ne5 15.a4 Nc4 16.Bxc4 bxc4 17.Na5 c3 18.Nxb7 cxd2 19.Nxd8 dxe1=Q+


0-1

And some might even know the Chameleon (1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nce2, and now White can continue with the Closed Sicilian with .d3 and .g3, or the Open Sicilian with .d4 cxd4 .Nxd4).

But how many players are familiar with the Elephant Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5), the Orangutan (1.b4), the Pterodactyl Variation (1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.e4 c5 5.Nf3 Qa5), or the Vulture Defence (1.d4 c5 2.d5 Nf6 3.c4 Ne4)?

Some players would mistakenly add the Bird (1.f4). But this opening was named after the English player, Henry Edward Bird (1830–1908).

But there are some opening names that are mysterious.

For example, the opening moves 1.d4 Nf6 are collectively known as the Indian Defences, such as the King’s Indian Defence, the Queen’s Indian, the Nimzo-Indian, the Old Indian. But why? We don’t know either.

And who knows where the Fried Liver Attack (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Nxf7)? It is said that Black, playing this variation, is dead as a piece of fried liver But, why Fried Liver and not, say, Fried Chicken or even Fried Zucchini? Surely, more people know what chicken and zucchini than Fried Liver? Maybe Fried Liver is less desirable or digestible? And Black is surely not dead after taking the knight on f7 – there are ways for him to fight on, and even to win. Ok, back to tropic.

We also have the Benoni (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5). Where did that name come from and how did it become popular? We know the latter comes from “a Hebrew term meaning “son of my sorrow” (cf. Genesis 35:18) – the name of an 1825 book by Aaron Reinganum about several defenses against the King’s Gambit and the Queen’s Gambit”, as least according to Wikipedia. But why and how did it become popular if it concerns itself with the Queen’s Gambit?

Finally, we have the Halloween Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nxe5), where it is said that this gambit is scary. We agree – but to which side?