Dr.Dave's Adventures with the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit

Table of Contents 
  1. Exeter Chess Club: My adventures with the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit
  2. Introduction
  3. Summary of lessons:
  4. Dave Regis 0-1 Unes Hassim
      1. BDG Vienna Defence
          1. CRITICAL POSITION: White needs to come up with an attacking plan.
        1. Lessons:
  5. Dave Regis 1-0 Volker Drueke
      1. BDG Bogolyubov Defence
          1. CRITICAL POSITION: Quite right! Now what is White to do?
        1. Lessons:
  6. Dave Regis 1-0 Kevin Kent
      1. BDG Vienna Defence
          1. CRITICAL POSITION: Black has an advanced protected passed Pawn, but needs to find a way of making use of it - or else he will be driven back. I spent a long time analysing this move, because if a planned finesse at move 21 doesn't work, this is the place to repair it.
        1. Lessons:
  7. Volker Drueke 0-1 Dave Regis
      1. BDG Euwe Defence
          1. CRITICAL POSITION 1: That's a funny little move by Black: can you see what the idea is?
          2. CRITICAL POSITION 2: You're nearly on your own here: there is only one recorded game, where White won in twenty moves after 16. Rxf6. What do you do?
        1. Lessons:
  8. Unes Hassim 1/2-1/2 Dave Regis
      1. BDG Langeheinecke Defence
          1. CRITICAL POSITION: Should Black go solid or try to force the issue here?
          2. CRITICAL POSITION: can you find a way to hold the line?
        1. Lessons:
        2. Lessons:
  9. Kevin Kent (0-1) Dave Regis
      1. BDG Bogolyubov Defence
          1. This is the first CRITICAL POSITION. White has an apparent opportunity to win back the Pawn, but Harding thinks this gives Black slightly the better position.
          2. Another CRITICAL POSITION: White has a straightforward plan of Ng5, Bxg7, Rxf6 and Qxh7 against routine tries by Black. So Black must both avoid this idea and make sure nothing worse awaits him.
        1. Lessons:

Exeter Chess Club: My adventures with the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit

Introduction

If you haven't met this spendid opening before, do check out Tom Purser's BDG World magazine for games, variations, stories and a chance to meet the characters of the BDG community.

  The opening is named for Blackmar, who described the gambit 1. d4 d5 2. e4 dxe4 3. f3 , and for Diemer, who improved the line by avoiding the defence 3...e5, suggesting and practicing instead 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. f3 [4...e5 e.g. 5. d5].

  I have a book and a database on the BDG, and in each White scores about 80%! This must be too good to be true, I thought (and it is), but certainly worth a look. So, I entered Tom Purser's BDG e-mail theme tournament to find out more about this opening, which survives despite the scepticism. Here are my games in a preliminary section (BDG-P01, 1997) [where, for the record I used Andres Valverde's cracking little ECTOOL programme to keep track of the games.].

One key line I didn't get to try was the Teichmann Defence, 5...Bg4. During the tournament I played the BDG in blitz against an IM, and guess what he came straight back with? Anyhow, here's how the games went. I won't get into the opening theory too much, apart from noting known or speculative alternatives, and will concentrate on what I thought were the critical moments of the games. When he knew I was planning this session, Pete Lane e-mailed me the following quote:
'It should also be noted that there are openings where I feel the chances for theoretical rebirth are extremely poor. An obvious example is the Blackmar-Diemar Gambit: 1.d4 d5 2.e4. Sacrificing a prime central pawn for a tempo in the face of a healthy, solid Black position cannot be sound.' -- MEDNIS
There is of course, LOMBARDY'S Defence to Mednis' System:
"At amateur level, all openings are sound."
I remain like Mednis a sceptic about the theoretical status of the line, but no player from a country where also lives Mike Basman can possibly dismiss the practical chances afforded by unorthodox lines.

  Anyhow, I enjoyed the games, and I learned not just about the BDG but some general lessons as well. Check out the games from the links above.


Summary of lessons:

  1. play with a plan: plausible or visually appealing moves are not good enough, OTB or CC
  2. Playing by analogy is OK but notice the differences.
  3. you can accept a gambit Pawn and win
  4. "Don't believe all you read" and
  5. "Look before you leap!"
  6. Play good moves, not good-looking ones.
  7. Don't drift, waiting for your opponent to build up: hit back when you can!
  8. Don't panic! You must search for an answer to your opponent's threats. Juniors are sometimes very worried by opponent's king's-side attacks, and go into a hedgehog posture, and it's the posture that kills them. I sometimes say, oh, don't worry about that, they're only threatening mate.
  9. Fight back! You must not drift when you are worse, you must fight a way to create problems, and think seriously about our opponent's counters.
  10. "Don't believe what you read!" (again)
  11. Passive play is difficult; Mednis calls it "awaiting the undertaker"
  12. Maybe it's really true, the only way to refute a gambit is to accept it!
  13. Long aside...
  14. Don't hope, don't fear: analyse and find out!

Dave Regis 0-1 Unes Hassim

My first game did not proceed quite the way it goes in the Books. White's attack doesn't get started and the counterattack was rapid and lethal.

BDG Vienna Defence

1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 Bf5

  Black aims to pick up the Pe4 without developing the Ng1.

5.fxe4

  [5.g4!? I tried in my other match with this defence. Several of the games rapidly slid out of the gambit accepted (which surprised me, as this must be the real test of the line) so I played the text move which turns the game back into a gambit again!]

5...Nxe4 6.Qf3 Nxc3 7.bxc3 Qc8 8.Bc4

  [8.Bd3! 1-0 Leisebein P-Kneipp G/DDR/M\927 1989 (20 moves) "very good for White" - Theo. Hommeles.;

  8.Rb1 1-0 Dahlen-Alfredson/Stockholm 1963 (16);

  8.Ba3 1/2-1/2 Evers,L-Cramling,Pia/Essen-Simultanveranstaltung (+24,=6,-5) 1987 (55);

  8.Bb5+ 1/2-1/2 Cody P-Burk D/corr ESMT 1988/9 (01) 1989 (25)]

8...e6

  [8...c6 1-0 Zechiel David-Brodersen BF/corr Golden Knights SFs 1982 (41);

  8...g6 1-0 Schmidt H-Wolfram R/corres-GT 118 1983 (19);

  8...Bg6 1-0 Peilen M-Koons C/ESMT prelim 1988 (21)]

9.Nh3

  [9.Ne2!? untested 9...Be7 (9...c6 10.0-0 Nd7 11.h4 Nb6? 12.Bd../em> Lane 12...Qd7 13.Bxf5 exf5 14.Qxf5 Qxf5 15.Rxf5 Bd6=) 10.Ng3 Bxc2 (10...Bg6) ;

  9.Rb1 As played by Diemer himself in two short wins e.g. 1-0 Diemer Emil-Stehle/Schwenningen 1937 (18). It seemed to me the Rook would be better placed immediately on the King's-side without exposing itself to later discomfort after ...Bxc2, but what do I know.;

  9.g4 0-1 Laengl-Varga Z/Nuernberg (3-6) 1989 (28)]

9...Bd6

  [9...Nd7 1-0 Sammet-Bachmann/Biel cc 1952 (24);

  9...Be7 1/2-1/2 Voelker James-Echert Doug/Crestwood March Rapids 1992 (32) 10.Qg3]

10.0-0

  [10.g4 Bxc2 (10...Bg6 11.Ng5 h6) 11.0-0 0-0 12.Ng5 Bg6 13.d5 e5]

10...0-0

  [Now this next one was encouraging: 10...Nd7 11.Ng5 0-0 (11...h6? 12.Nxf7) 12.g4 Bg6 13.h4 Nf6 14.h5 Bxc2 15.h6 Be7 16.hxg7 Kxg7 17.Bd3 Bxd3 18.Qxd3 Rh8 19.Qf3 Qg8 20.Ba3 Nd5 21.Bxe7 Nxe7 22.Nxe6+ 1-0 Diemer Emil-Synave H/SMX Ghent 1956: after Ng5 White's position looked great!]

 

-------------------
|rnq+-rk+|
|ppp-+ppp|
|-+-bp+-+|
|+-+-+b+-|
|-+BP-+-+|
|+-P-+Q+N|
|P+P+-+PP|
|R-B-+RK-|
-------------------

CRITICAL POSITION: White needs to come up with an attacking plan.
11.Ng5?!

  In this position, rather an aimless swing. Playing by analogy is OK but notice the differences.

  [11.g4!? Bxc2 (11...Bg6) ;

  11.d5!? c6! 12.Ng5 cxd5 13.Bxd5 Bxc2 (13...Bg6) ;

  11.Nf4?! Bxc2 12.Nh5]

11...h6! 12.g4 Bg6

  [12...Bxc2?! rather invites 13.Nxf7 ;

  the apparently awkward defence 13...Bg6 fails to 14.Nxd6 cxd6 15.Bxe6+ Qxe6 16.Qxf8+ Kh7;

  12...hxg5? 13.gxf5 exf5 (13...e5 14.f6 g4 15.Qe3) 14.Qxf5 Qxf5 15.Rxf5]

  I played the obvious reply without much thought:

13.Ne4

 

-------------------
|rnq+-rk+|
|ppp-+pp-|
|-+-bp+bp|
|+-+-+-+-|
|-+BPN+P+|
|+-P-+Q+-|
|P+P+-+-P|
|R-B-+RK-|
-------------------

Now I think this is rather good for Black; the Knight is almost in the way here.

13...Nd7 14.h4 Nb6

  Best, I thought. In fact I had the dubious merit of predicting almost all of my opponent's remaining moves, without seeming to break out of the spell!

  [14...f5 15.Bxe6+; 14...Kh8; 14...Bxe4 15.Qxe4]

15.Bd3?!

  I realised Black's reply would be very strong here but I didn't know what else to play!

  [15.Bb3 a5 16.a4 Be7 (16...Bxe4 17.Qxe4 c5 may be awkward) 17.g5 looks unconvincing]

15...f5!

  [15...e5 16.h5]

16.Nxd6

  [16.gxf5 looked the right one to analyse first. I became discouraged after 16...Bxf5! and Black should be able to cover everything. (17.Rb1; 17.h5; 17.Qg2 Kh8 18.Be3 Qd8)]

16...cxd6 17.Bd2

  [17.Ba3? Qxc3 18.Bxd6?? Qxd4+;

  17.h5? Qxc3]

17...Nc4! 18.Bxc4

  [18.Rad1 Nxd2 19.Rxd2 Qxc3]

18...Qxc4 19.h5

  [19.Qxb7 fxg4 20.Qe7 leaves Black completely in control.]

19...Be8 20.g5

  [20.gxf5 Bc6]

20...hxg5 21.Bxg5 Rc8

 

-------------------
|-+r+brk+|
|pp+-+-p-|
|-+-pp+-+|
|+-+-+pBP|
|-+qP-+-+|
|+-P-+Q+-|
|P+P+-+-+|
|R-+-+RK-|
-------------------

White is still down by his gambit Pawn and the counterattack is starting to boil over. Black always has ...Bc6 available.

22.Rae1

  [22.Be7 Rf7 23.Bxd6 Qxc3; 22.Bf4]

22...Qxc3

  [22...Qxa2; or 22...Bc6 23.Qg3 Qd5 24.h6 Qh1+ 25.Kf2- +]

23.Rxe6 Hoping for a blunder more than anything else

  [23.Qxc3 If White heads immediately for the exchange of Queens 23...Rxc3 24.Be7 Rf7 25.Bxd6 Rxc2 26.Rf2 Rxf2 27.Kxf2 Bd7 he soon runs out of counterplay]

23...Qxd4+!

  [But if Black goes for the endgame 23...Qxf3 24.Rxf3 Bxh5 25.Ra3 a6 26.Rxd6 White may be escaping]

24.Be3 Qh4 25.Rxd6

  [25.h6 Rxc2; 25.Rf2?? Bc6]

25...Rc4 Black is taking over. Everything wins...

  [25...Rxc2; 25...Bxh5]

26.Bf4 Bc6 0-1


Lessons:

  • play with a plan: plausible or visually appealing moves are not good enough, OTB or CC

 

  • Playing by analogy is OK but notice the differences.

 

  • you can accept a gambit Pawn and win

Dave Regis 1-0 Volker Drueke

An abrupt end; in a slightly uncommon line White moves pieces across to the King's-side until a combinational break can be launched.

  All according to plan, but for a moment White's edifice may have proved vulnerable to a Black central break.


BDG Bogolyubov Defence

1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 g6 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Qe1 Bg4 9.Qh4 Bxf3

  [9...Nc6 often transposes]

10.Rxf3 Nc6

 

-------------------
|r+-q-rk+|
|ppp-ppbp|
|-+n+-np+|
|+-+-+-+-|
|-+BP-+-Q|
|+-N-+R+-|
|PPP+-+PP|
|R-B-+-K-|
-------------------

This is a very well-known type of position for the BDG fraternity, although the combination of an immediate ...Bxf3 and ...Nc6 is not so common. Conventional attacking approaches risked playing into my opponent's hands, so I resolved to play a less commonly-tried approach.

11.Ne2 Qd7

  [11...Nd5 has been tried a few times, e.g. 1-0 Schuh H FM-Kohler/Baden Team CS 1982 (23);

  11...e5 12.Bg5+/-]

12.Bg5

  [12.Rh3? Qg4-+;

  12.Bh6? Qg4]

12...Ng4

  [12...Rad8 13.c3 Na5 14.Bd3 Rfe8 15.Raf1 Qc6 16.b4 Nc4 17.Kh1 Nb6 18.Rh3 h5 19.Rhf3 Nbd7 20.b5 Qe6 21.h3 Nf8 22.R1f2 Qd7 23.Bc4 Ne6 24.Nf4 Nxf4 25.Rxf4 Rf8 26.Qg3 c6? 27.Bxf6 Bxf6 28.Qxg6+ Kh8 29.Qxh5+ Kg8 30.Rg4+ 1-0 Hall A-Wells PK/London 1977;

  12...h6 I was quite worried by this move during the game, perhaps needlessly e.g. 13.Bxh6 Nxd4 14.Nxd4 Bxh6 15.Rd3 Bg7 16.Ne6!]

13.c3

  [13.Rh3?! h6 (13...Bxd4+ 14.Nxd4 Qxd4+ 15.Be3 Qxe3+ 16.Rxe3 Nx../em> 14.c3 transposes below.;

  13.h3? Bxd4+;

  13.d5? Nce5]

13...h6

 

-------------------
|r+-+-rk+|
|pppqppb-|
|-+n+-+pp|
|+-+-+-B-|
|-+BP-+nQ|
|+-P-+R+-|
|PP-+N+PP|
|R-+-+-K-|
-------------------

CRITICAL POSITION: Quite right! Now what is White to do?
I knew 14.Bf4 had a precedent but I thought I had to be sure before playing it... but in fact, I'm still not sure!

14.Bf4!?

  Alternatives:

  [14.Raf1?! hxg5 15.Qxg5 Nge5 (15...Nf6 16.Qxg6 Nd8 17.Rg3 Ne8 18.Rh3 Nf6 19.Rxf6 Qxh3 20.gxh3 exf6 21.Nf4) 16.dxe5 Nxe5 17.Rh3 Qg4! (17...Nxc4 may also be good enough) 18.Qxg4 Nxg4 19.Rg3 (19.Nf4 Ne5 20.Bb3-+) 19...Ne5 20.Bb3 Rad8 21.Nf4 e6 22.h4 Bh6 23.h5 Kg7 24.hxg6 Bxf4 25.Rxf4 Nxg6 26.Rb4 b6 27.Rc4 c5 28.Ra4 a5 29.Bc4 Rd1+ 30.Bf1 Rfd8 31.b4 cxb4 0-1 Mondragon-Gu Muller/corres ch we BDG 1975;

  14.Rg3!? cf. Mondragon above 14...hxg5! 15.Qxg5 (15.Qxg4 Qxg4 16.Rxg4 Bf6 17.Ng3 e5 18.d5 Na5 19.Bd3 Be7) 15...Nge5 16.dxe5 Nxe5 17.Bb3 Bf6-+;

  14.Rh3-+ e5! 15.Rd1]

14...h5!?

  [14...g5!? was the line to check: 15.Bxg5 hxg5 16.Qxg5 Nf6 (16...Nh6 17.Raf1 Kh8 18.Rh3 Qd6 19.Bxf7 Rad8 20.Rg3 Rg8 21.Bxg8 Rxg8 22.Qh5+/-) 17.Rg3 Ne8 18.Nf4!? (idea Nh5)

A) 18...e6!? Opening up the second rank to defend g7 looks the toughest defence; the Black Knights prove very awkward for White. 19.Nh5 f6! 20.Qh6 Rf7 21.Rxg7+ (21.Re1 Nd8) 21...Nxg7 22.Nxf6+ Rxf6 23.Qxf6 Rf8;

B) 18...Nxd4?! 19.Nd5 Nc6 20.Re1]

  So I might have been quite wrong to offer the Bishop, and Volker was wrong to trust me (or Sneiders).

15.Raf1?!

 

-------------------
|r+-+-rk+|
|pppqppb-|
|-+n+-+p+|
|+-+-+-+p|
|-+BP-BnQ|
|+-P-+R+-|
|PP-+N+PP|
|+-+-+RK-|
-------------------

Just to be different, but without immediate threats. Shades of the last game, I fear: a good-looking move rather than a good one. Black has a window of opportunity...

  [15.Qg3? e5 16.dxe5 Ncxe5-+;

  [15.Qg5? e5-+]

  [Sneiders, to whom credit or blame for the idea of sacrificing the Bishop is due, had played a game with: 15.h3!? Nf6 16.Qg3 e6 (16...Kh7) 17.Re1 (17.Raf1 Ne4 18.Qh4 Ne7 19.g4&=) 17...Ne4 18.Qh2 This position didn't appeal to me at all. 18...Rae8 19.Bb5 e5 20.dxe5 Qd5 21.Bxc6

A) 21...bxc6 1/2-1/2 Sneiders E-Frings/corres I.BDG Weltt 1968. Although a draw was agreed here I quite like White's position. 22.Re3 f6 (22...Bxe5 23.Bxe5 Rxe5 24.Nf4+/-) 23.Ng3+= But:

B) 21...Qxc6! seemed better to me 22.Re3 (22.Nd4 Qd5 23.Rfe3 Bxe5 24.Bxe5 Rxe5 25.Nf3 Re7) 22...Qb6 23.Nd4 f5 24.exf6 Nxf6 25.Bxc7 Rxe3 26.Rxe3 (26.Bxb6 Rxe1+ 27.Kf2 Ng4+) 26...Qxb2-+]

15...Na5

  Decentralising but not bad, I think.

  [15...e5? 16.Bg5 intending Be7 with an attack on f7 (16.h3 e4) 16...exd4 (16...Nd8 17.Be7 Re8 18.Bxd8 Qxd8 19.Qxd8 Rexd8 20.Rxf7 Ne3 21.Rxc7+ Nxc4 22.Rxc4 Rd7 23.dxe5 Bxe5) 17.Rxf7 Rxf7 18.Rxf7 Qxf7 19.Bxf7+ Kxf7 20.h3 dxc3 21.Nxc3 Bd4+ 22.Kf1;

  15...Rad8;

  15...Nf6 16.Qg5 Kh8;

  15...Rac8!? looking after c7 also looked OK to me, when White still has it all to prove. However, I was most afraid of the text move.]

16.Bd3 b6?!

  [The move that I was anxious about at the time was 16...e5!?

  17.dxe5 (17.Bg5 Rae8; 17.Bg3 exd4) 17...Nxe5 18.Bxe5 Bxe5 when I could see nothing very convincing for White; Black needs to avoid to obvious knockouts however and on second glance may not find it easy to do so.

  19.Qg5 Rfe8 (19...Nc6 20.Bc4!; 19...Rae8 20.Bxg6! fxg6 21.Rxf8+ Rxf8 22.Rxf8+ Kxf8 23.Qxe5) 20.Rxf7 Qxd3 21.Qh6 Qe3+ 22.Qxe3 Bxh2+ 23.Kxh2 (23.Kf2 Rxe3 24.Kxe3) 23...Rxe3]

  After Black has declined (or missed) this oppportunity, White is allowed to build up a powerful attack.

17.h3

  Back to the Sneiders game, more or less.

17...Nf6

  [17...e5 obviously now fails to 18.hxg4 exf4 19.gxh5+-;

  17...Nh6 looked interesting but unnatural]

18.Ng3

  [18.Be5 first could have been tried, or 18.Qg3]

18...c5

  looks the right strategy, trying to break up White's centre and get some active play, because there seems no immediate prospect of Black achieving exchanges.

  [18...Nc6 19.Bg5 was another critical line. I didn't analyse it much at the time, waiting for Volker's actual choice to arrive.

A) 19...e5?? 20.Bxf6;

B) 19...Nh7 20.Nxh5 gxh5 (20...Nxd4) 21.Bxh7+ Kxh7 22.Qxh5+ Kg8 23.Bh6;

C) 19...Rad8 20.Bxf6 exf6 21.Nxh5 Nxd4 22.Nxf6+ Bxf6 23.Rxf6 Ne6]

19.Be5

  [19.dxc5; 19.Bg5]

19...cxd4

  [19...Nc6 now meets the same reply.]

20.Bxf6 1-0

  This move provoked Black (who perhaps anticipated the immediate recapture on d4) into resigning(!). Black is certainly beset with threats but can hope to steer out into a simplified if inferior position. The variations are I guess quite thematic for the BDG but I'm not confident that I haven't missed something familiar to readers.

But let us look at what might have happened:

20...exf6!

 

-------------------
|r+-+-rk+|
|p-+q+pb-|
|-p-+-pp+|
|n-+-+-+p|
|-+-p-+-Q|
|+-PB+RNP|
|PP-+-+P+|
|+-+-+RK-|
-------------------

White now has a choice of sacrificial lines:

  [20...Bxf6?! 21.Rxf6

A) 21...dxc3 22.R6f3 Rac8 23.Nf5 f6 24.Rg3 c2 25.Qxh5 Kf7 (25...e5 26.Nh6+) 26.Qxg6+ Ke6 27.Re3+ Kd5;

B) 21...exf6 22.Nxh5 gxh5 23.Qg3+ Kh8 24.Rxf6]

21.Bf5!?

  getting the Bd3 out of the way of the Qd7

  [21.Rxf6? is not the right one at all: 21...Bxf6 22.Qxf6 Qe6;

  21.Nxh5!? was the one I looked at first and longest 21...dxc3! exposing the Bd3 (21...Nc6 22.Nxg7 Kxg7 23.Qxf6+ Kg8 24.Bc4 Nd8 25.Qxg6+ Kh8 26.Qh6+ Kg8 27.Rg3+;

21...gxh5 22.Qxh5 Rfe8 23.Qh7+ Kf8 24.Rg3 Ke7 25.Rxg7 Qe6 26.Bg6 Rf8 27.cxd4 Ke8 28.Bxf7+ Rxf7 29.Qg8+ Ke7 30.Rxf7+ Qxf7 31.Re1+;

21...Qd6!? covering g3 and f6, not to mention d4, but allowing White to capture on f6 with gain of time. 22.Nxf6+ Bxf6 23.Rxf6 Qe5 24.Bxg6)

  Now 22. Qxf6 is an idea, or 22.Nxg7 Kxg7 23.Qxf6+ Kg8 24.Rf4 Qc6 (24...Qe6 25.Qxe6 fxe6 26.bxc3) 25.bxc3 is worse for Black but not losing. So White should think again:(25.Rh4 Qxf6 26.Rxf6 cxb2;

25.Qxc6 Nxc6 26.Be4 Rac8) ]

21...Qd6!

  covering d4, g3 and f6 again, and without being exposed to Rxf6. White has to spend a while organising a threat on the g-file.

  [21...gxf5? 22.Nxf5 dxc3 (22...Rfe8 23.Qg3) 23.Nxg7;

  21...Qa4? 22.Nxh5 gxh5 23.Qxh5 Rfe8 24.Qh7+ Kf8 25.Rg3 Ke7 26.Qxg7! (26.Rxg7 Qxa2) 26...Qxa2 27.Re1+ Kd6 28.Qxf6+]

22.Nxh5 gxh5 23.Rg3

  [23.Qxh5 Rfd8]

23...Rfd8

  [23...Nc6 24.Rff3 Ne5 25.Rxg7+ Kxg7 26.Qg3+ Kh8 27.Qf4 Ng6 28.Qh6+ Kg8 29.Bxg6 fxg6 30.Qxg6+ Kh8 31.Rf5 Qe7 32.Rxh5+ Qh7 33.Rxh7#]

24.Rff3 Kf8

  [24...dxc3 25.Qxh5 Kf8 26.Qh7 Qc5+ 27.Kh2 cxb2 28.Qxg7+ Ke8 29.Qxf6 Qd6 30.Re3+]

25.Qxh5

  Does White really win in all variations from here?

25...dxc3 26.Qh7

  which looks very risky for Black, e.g.

26...Qc5+ 27.Kh2 Nc4

  [27...c2 28.Re3]

28.Qxg7+ Ke7 29.Bg6 Rf8 30.Qxf6+ Kd7 31.Bf5+ Kc7 32.Rxc3...


Lessons:

  • "Don't believe all you read" and

 

  • "Look before you leap!"

 

  • Play good moves, not good-looking ones.

 

  • Don't drift, waiting for your opponent to build up: hit back when you can!

Dave Regis 1-0 Kevin Kent

This was a fairly smooth game where for once I saw the problem coming and successfully avoided it.

BDG Vienna Defence

1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 Bf5 5.g4 Bg6 6.g5 Nd5 7.Nxe4

  Here I ran to the databases for some guidance. White has no Pawn deficit but needs a plan. The model game is Tartakower's, but Black can improve.

  [7.Nxe4 e6 8.c4

A) 8...Bb4+ 9.Ke2 (9.Kf2? Nb6 10.c5 Bxe4 11.fxe4 Bxc5-+) 9...Nb6 10.c5 Nd5 11.a3 Ba5 12.Qa4+ Nc6 13.Qc4 Bxe4 14.fxe4 Nde7 15.Be3 1-0 Gedult #-Gorfinkel/Vittel 1973;

B) 8...Nb6 9.Be3 Nc6 (9...N8d7 10.h4) 10.a3 (10.h4) ;

C) 8...Ne7 9.Ng3 (9.Bg2 1-0 Sneiders E-Vashegyi E/corres ICCF/m 1969 (27)) 9...Nbc6 10.Be3 Nf5 11.Nxf5 Bxf5 12.Bh3 Bxh3 13.Nxh3

C1) 13...Ne7! Muller 14.Qd2 Nf5 15.Bf2 a5

C1a) 16.c5 b6 17.Rd1 (17.Nf4) ;

C1b) 16.a3 ;

C2) 13...Be7?! 14.Qa4 Bb4+ 15.Kf2 0-0 16.Rad1 (16.c5 e5) 16...Bd6 17.c5 Be7 18.Rhg1 Rb8 19.Rg4 Qd5 20.Nf4 Qf5 21.Ne2 Rbd8 22.b4 a6 23.Nc3 Rd7 24.h4 Rfd8 25.Kg2 Bf8 26.Qb3 Ne7 27.Re4 Nd5 28.Ne2 Nxe3+ 29.Qxe3 Qd5 30.Nc3 Qf5 31.Rd2 Qg6 32.Ne2 Qf5 33.Rb2 Qd5 34.Nc3 Qc6 35.a4 b5 36.axb5 axb5

 

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Black is being strangled. I love to play this way as White, even more perhaps than winning by a Queen sacrifice! Tartakower now gets in through the a-file while Black is too cramped to oppose it.

  37.Qd3 Rb8 38.Ra2 Qb7 39.Re1 c6 40.Rea1 Rbd8 41.Ra7 Qb8 42.Rxd7 Rxd7 43.Qe4 g6 44.Ra6 Qd8 45.Ne2 Rd5 46.Rxc6 Bg7 47.Ra6 Bf8 48.Rb6 h6 49.f4 hxg5 50.hxg5 Bg7 51.Kg3 Bxd4 52.Nxd4 Rxd4 53.Qe5! Rd3+ 54.Kh4 Qe8 55.c6 Rd8 56.c7 Rc8 57.Qd6 Kh7 58.Rb8 Kg7 59.Qd8 1-0, Tartakower-Simonovitch, Paris 1954]

7...e6 8.c4 Nb6 9.Be3 Nc6

 

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... This reminds me of an Alekhin's Defence: Black has no central foothold but White's centre is loose and may be undermined.

10.h4 Bb4+ 11.Kf2

  [11.Ke2 0-0 12.c5 Nd5 13.a3]

11...0-0 12.Rc1

  [12.c5 Nd5 13.a3 Ba5 14.b4 f5 15.gxf6 Bxe4

A) 16.fxe4 Qxf6+ 17.Nf3 (17.Kg2 Nxe3+;

17.Ke2 Nc3+) 17...Nc3 18.Qe1 Qxf3+;

B) 16.fxg7 16...Rxf3+ 17.Nxf3 Nxe3 18.Kxe3 Bxf3 19.Kxf3 (19.Qxf3 Qxd4+ 20.Ke2 Qxa1) 19...Qd5+ 20.Kg3 Qxh1]

  ...all looked fine for Black. Since then I hear from Jyrki Heikkinen that he can improve with 12.c5 Nd5 13.a3 Ba5 14.Qd3...

12...Bxe4

  [12...e5 13.d5]

13.fxe4 f5

  [13...f6]

14.exf5

  [14.gxf6 e5 (14...Qxf6+ 15.Nf3 e5 16.Bg5 Qg6 17.c5) 15.c5 Qxf6+ 16.Nf3;

  14.c5 fxe4+;

  14.e5]

14...exf5

  [14...Rxf5+ 15.Nf3 e5 16.Bd3 (16.Bh3 Rf8 17.Kg2) ]

15.Nf3

  [15.c5 f4]

15...f4

  [15...g6 16.d5 Ne7 17.a3; 15...Qe7; 15...Qe8; 15...Be7 16.d5 Nb4]

16.Bd2 Qe7

  [16...Bxd2 17.Qxd2 Qe7 18.Bh3 Qe3+ 19.Qxe3 fxe3+ 20.Ke2 (20.Kxe3 Rae8+ 21.Ne5 Nxe5 22.dxe5 Rxe5+ 23.Kd4 Rfe8=+) 20...Rae8 21.d5 Ne5 22.Nxe5 Rxe5 23.Be6+ Kh8 24.Rhf1;

  16...Be7 17.Bc3+=]

 

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Now the position reminds me of a King's Gambit!
CRITICAL POSITION: Black has an advanced protected passed Pawn, but needs to find a way of making use of it - or else he will be driven back. I spent a long time analysing this move, because if a planned finesse at move 21 doesn't work, this is the place to repair it.
17.Bh3

  [17.d5 Ne5 18.Bxb4 (18.Nxe5 Qxe5 19.Bxb4 Qe3+ 20.Kg2 Qg3#) 18...Qxb4 19.Nxe5 Qxb2+ -+]

17...Bxd2

  [17...Rae8 18.Re1 Qf7 (18...Qd6 19.Rxe8 Rxe8 20.c5) 19.Bxb4 Nxb4 is also critical;

  White may still be able to claim an edge because of the unstable Black Knights. 20.a3]

18.Qxd2 Qe3+ Tempting but probably mistaken.

  [18...Rae8 19.Rhe1 Qf7 20.d5 Rxe1 (20...Nd8) 21.Qxe1 Nd8 22.Ne5 (22.b3 Re8 23.Qa5 a6;

22.Qd2 Re8 23.b3) 22...Qe8 23.b3 Kh8 24.Rd1 Nf7 25.Nxf7+ (25.Be6 Nxe5 26.Qxe5 Qh5 27.Rh1 c6) 25...Qxf7 26.Be6 Qh5]

19.Qxe3 fxe3+ 20.Ke2

  [20.Kxe3 Rae8+ didn't detain me long, so White must concede the Pawn another step forward. I think Black must have mis-assessed this line with Ke2, or surely he would have chosen something else earlier.]

20...Rae8

  Now Black has a little opportunity to play ...Rxf3 and ...Nd4+, so White must anticipate this by enabling Be6+ interfering with the line of the Re8.

21.d5!?

 

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[21.b3 Rxf3 22.Kxf3 Nxd4+ 23.Kg2 e2 24.Kf2 h5 25.gxh6 gxh6]

21...Ne5

  [21...Rxf3!? looked alarming but 22.Kxf3 (22.dxc6 Rf2+) 22...Nd4+ 23.Kg2 e2 (else Rd1) 24.Be6+ and I think White comfortably survives to win.]

22.Nxe5 Rxe5

  [22...Rf2+ 23.Kxe3 Rxb2 24.Be6+]

23.Be6+ Kh8 24.Rhf1

 

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Now it's all over: White will consume the e-Pawn and the poor Knight still has nowhere to go. Black has rather drifted into this lost position without having a definite plan for counterplay. Don't drift, but fight back!

24...Rd8

  [24...Rf2+ 25.Rxf2 exf2+ 26.Kxf2 Re4 27.Kg3! (27.c5 Na4 28.b3 Nb2 29.Rf1) 27...Rxc4 (27...Nxc4 28.Rf1 Re3+ 29.Kg2;

27...h6 28.g6 Re3+ 29.Kg2 Re2+ 30.Kg1) 28.Rf1]

25.Rf3 g6

  [25...c6?? 26.Rcf1 h5 27.g6 Nd7 28.Bxd7]

26.Rcf1

  [26.Rxe3 Rxe3+ 27.Kxe3 Kg7 (27...c6 28.Ke4 Kg7) 28.b3 (28.Ke4 Rf8) 28...Re8 29.Kd4 Rf8 30.c5 Nc8 31.Ke5 Ne7]

26...h5

  [26...Nxc4 27.Rf8+ Rxf8 28.Rxf8+ Kg7 29.Rg8#;

  26...c6 27.Rf8+ Rxf8 28.Rxf8+ Kg7 29.Rg8#]

27.Rf8+

  [27.b3 c6 28.Rxe3 Rxe3+ 29.Kxe3 cxd5 30.cxd5 Nxd5+ 31.Bxd5 Rxd5 32.Rf7]

27...Rxf8 28.Rxf8+ Kg7 29.Rf7+ Kh8 30.Rxc7+- Re4

  [30...Na4]

31.b3 Rxh4 32.Kxe3 Rh2 33.c5 Nxd5+

  [33...Rxa2 34.cxb6 axb6 35.d6 Rg2 36.d7]

34.Bxd5 Rxa2 35.Rxb7 Rc2 36.c6 1-0


Lessons:

  • Don't panic! You must search for an answer to your opponent's threats. Juniors are sometimes very worried by opponent's king's-side attacks, and go into a hedgehog posture, and it's the posture that kills them. I sometimes say, oh, don't worry about that, they're only threatening mate.

 

  • Fight back! You must not drift when you are worse, you must fight a way to create problems, and think seriously about our opponent's counters.

Volker Drueke 0-1 Dave Regis

The lure of a good example. White follows the precedent of a dramatic win by Sneiders, but unfortunately ends up playing, not some hacker from Exeter, but GM Joe Gallagher.

BDG Euwe Defence

1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Bd3

  A less common approach.

7...c5

 

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As played by Diemer as Black!

  [7...Nc6;

  7...Nbd7 8.0-0 (8.Qd2/ JG 8...c5 9.0-0-0) 8...c5 9.dxc5 Bxc5+ 10.Kh1 h6 11.Bh4 0-0 12.Qe2 = Liesebein, -+ Gallagher 12...Be7 13.Rad1 Qa5 14.Ne4 Qxa2 15.g4 Qxb2 16.g5 hxg5 17.Nfxg5 e5 18.Nxf6+ Nxf6 19.Rxf6 Be6 20.Qh5 Bd5+ 21.Kg1 Qd4+ 22.Bf2 1-0 Leisebein P-Friedrich G/DDR-corr-Meisterklasse 1990]

8.dxc5

  [8.Qd2 cxd4 (8...Nc6 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.0-0-0 0-0 11.Rhf1 Be7 12.Qf4 Nd5 13.Nxd5 Bxg5 14.Nxg5 f6 15.Bxh7+ Kh8 16.Qh4 fxg5 17.Qh5 1-0 Bent Scott-Neumeier Michael/Cincinnati, Annual Gold Cup Benefit O 1991) 9.Nxd4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Nc6 11.Nf3 Qa5 12.Bc4 0-0-0 13.Qe2 h6 14.Bd2 Bb4 15.a3 Bxc3 16.Bxc3 Qc7 17.Ne5 Nxe5 18.Bxe5 Qa5 19.Rd3 Bc6 20.b4 Qb6 21.Rc3 a6 22.Rf1 Rhf8 23.g4 Rd7 24.Rf4 Nd5 25.Bxd5 Rxd5 26.Bxg7 Rfd8 27.Rxf7 a5 28.Bf8 Rd1+ 29.Kb2 axb4 30.Bxb4 Kb8 31.Qxe6 Re8 32.Qxh6 Ree1 33.Qf4+ Ka7 34.Rc5 Re4 35.Ra5+ Qxa5 36.Bxa5 Rxf4 37.Rxf4 Rh1 38.Bc7 Rxh2 39.Rf5 1-0 Roos-Soller/corres ch we BDG 1975]

8...Qa5

  [8...Bxc5 9.Qe2 (9.Ne4 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.Bb5+ Nd7 12.Nd6+ Ke7 13.Qd2 a6 14.Qb4 a5 15.Nxc8+ 1-0 Merkl K-Riesen/unknown 1955) 9...Be7 10.0-0-0 Nd5 11.Bb5+ Bd7 12.Rxd5 exd5 13.Nxd5 f6 14.Nxf6+ gxf6 15.Bxf6 Bxb5 16.Qxb5+ Kf7 17.Qh5+ Kxf6 18.Qh6+ Kf7 19.Ne5+ Kg8 20.Qe6+ Kg7 21.Qf7+ Kh6 22.Ng4+ Kg5 23.h4+ 1-0 Diemer Emil-Terzi/Rastatt BDG 1953;

  8...Nc6 9.0-0 Bxc5+ 10.Kh1 h6 11.Bh4 g5 12.Nxg5 hxg5 13.Bxg5 Nh5 0-1 Penk-Diemer Emil/corr [Fp 1955]

9.0-0 Qxc5+ 10.Kh1 Nbd7

  [10...h6]

11.Qe1 a6

 

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CRITICAL POSITION 1: That's a funny little move by Black: can you see what the idea is?
12.Qh4 Qb4!

  Ha! Now White has to exchange Queens or throw in another Pawn.

13.Nd4

  [13.Ne4]

13...Qxb2 14.Nce2 Ne5 15.a4 Qb6

 

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CRITICAL POSITION 2: You're nearly on your own here: there is only one recorded game, where White won in twenty moves after 16. Rxf6. What do you do?
16.Rxf6?

  Nearly on your own, but not quite. I fear Volker hasn't seen Joe Gallagher's "Beating the Anti-Indians", which analyses this move. In fact, he assesses White's position as simply lost even before this move! So White has to bale out before somewhere earlier, or, if you don't believe JG, then find an improvement here.

  [16.Be3; 16.Rab1 Qd8;

  16.Bxf6!? Drueke 16...gxf6 17.Rab1 Qc7 which still has some play in it, however White cannot preserve the Bd3 by 18.Be4? f5!]

16...gxf6!

  [16...gxf6! White now assessed his chances as zero and resigned, which may be appropriate if Gallagher was playing all the rest of my moves, but I'd have to start thinking for myself soon! I had to check all the lines before and after this point, of course, or I might fall into the very trap that I hoped Volker was making - of trusting the books.

  16...Nxd3? 17.Rff1 f6 18.Be3 Nc5? (18...Ne5) 19.Nb3 Qc6 20.Bxc5 Bxc5 21.Qh5+ 1-0 Sneiders E-Breunig O/corr 1BDGW 1970/71 (02) 1971 I guess Volker was hoping to go all the way down the line following this game.]

Possible continuation: 17.Bxf6

  [17.Be3 there might be some nibbles in this line still: 17...Nxd3 18.cxd3 Bd7 19.Nf5 Qd8 20.Ng7+ Kf8 21.Qh6 (21.Bh6) 21...Kg8 22.Rf1 Qf8]

17...Qd8! 18.Rf1 ("what else?", asks JG)

  [18.Bxe7 Qxe7 19.Qg3 Nxd3 20.cxd3 Bd7 e.g. 21.Qc7 Bc6 22.Qb6 Rc8 23.Rc1 Bxg2+ 24.Kxg2 Rxc1 25.Nxc1 Qg5+ 26.Kf2 Qxc1 27.Nxe6 Qd2+ 28.Kf3 Qxd3+ 29.Kf4 Qd2+ 30.Kf5 Qd5+]

18...Bxf6 19.Rxf6 Ng4!-+ 20.Nxe6

  [20.Qxg4 Qxf6 21.Ng3 (21.Nf4 Qxd4) 21...Bd7 22.Nh5 Qe5]

20...Qxf6 21.Nc7+ Kd8 0-1


Lessons:

  • "Don't believe what you read!" (again)

Unes Hassim 1/2-1/2 Dave Regis

Black wimps out of accepting the BDG to try a solid defence and the hope of gaining some small positional pluses later. Just when Black starts to feel more confident the Queen discovers she cannot settle, and the game ends in a draw by repetition.

BDG Langeheinecke Defence

1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 e3 5.Bxe3 e6

  [I had played my first ever BDG against my esteemed Exeter clubmate Richard Towers. Rich seems to have made a move from gambit play to anti-theoretical and solid chess, hoping to outplay his opponent in the middlegame, and so I made a determined effort to play very actively against him by playing 1. e4, which of course met with his Scandinavian 1...d5, "sucking all the life out of the position" as someone once said. Now 2.d4: I assumed Rich knows no more about the Caro or French than I do, but that need not be true. 2...dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 e3 5.Bxe3 c6 Still playing the Scandinavian! 6.Bd3 (6.Bc4) 6...Nbd7 7.Nge2 e6 (7...e5?!) 8.0-0 Nd5 To develop the Bc8, but shedding another tempo. (8...Nb6; 8...Bd6 9.Ne4 Bc7 10.c4; 8...Be7) 9.Nxd5 exd5 10.Re1 Be7 11.Ng3 0-0 12.Nf5 (12.Qe2; 12.c4) 12...Bf6 13.Qd2 Nb6 14.b3!?

CRITICAL POSITION: Should Black go solid or try to force the issue here?
[On 14...c5!? I had resolved to play 15.dxc5 Bxa1 16.cxb6 Bf6 (16...Qf6?! 17.Nd4 Bb2 18.c3 Ba3 19.bxa7 Be6?? 20.Bg5) 17.bxa7 when I though White had good compensation and has succeeded in unbalancing the game]

  14...Be6 15.c3 Nc8 (15...Qd7 16.Qc2) 16.Re2 Ne7 17.Ng3 g6 18.Rae1 Qd7 19.Bg5 Bg7 (19...Bxg5 20.Qxg5) 20.Qf4 Rae8

 

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I've seen Richard win happily from dozens of these passive-but-solid positions.

  21.Bf6 (This took me 20 minutes!) Another

CRITICAL POSITION: can you find a way to hold the line?
21...Kh8??

(21...Nf5; 21...Bxf6; 21...a5!? "Pass".; 21...Nc8! (idea Qd6/Qe7))

  22.Nh5 It took me ages to realise (a) that Nh5 was a useful candidate (it was useless before), and (b) that it won, although the first move I though of was Qh6!

  22...gxh5 23.Qh6 1-0

  Richard might well have battled on after e.g. 21...Nc8! but White has an easy game to play; the way to play for a result is with moves like 14...c5!


Lessons:

  • Passive play is difficult; Mednis calls it "awaiting the undertaker"

Back at the main game: 6.Bd3 Be7

  [6...Nbd7 1-0 Fuller RA-Dilworth V/British CS OA/ 1965 (38);

  6...Bb4 Richter_Mendau J-Roos B/5/23 cr 1BDGW fnl 1972/74 (03) 1974/1-0 (65);

  6...Nd5 1-0 Schuh H FM-Treffert/BndLiga 1984 (22);

  6...Nc6]

7.Nge2 Nbd7 8.0-0 0-0

  [8...c5 9.f4 cxd4 10.Nxd4 Nc5 11.Be2 Nd5]

9.Bf2

  [9.Qe1 is more normal:

A) 9...c5 is analysed at BDG world: 10.Rd1 cxd4 11.Bxd4 Qc7 12.Qh4 Bc5 13.Ne4 Nxe4 14.Qxe4 Nf6 15.Qh4 e5 16.Bxc5 Qxc5+ 17.Kh1 Be6 18.Nc3 h6 19.a3 Rad8 20.f4

A1) 20...exf4 21.Qxf4 (21.Rxf4 Nd5) 21...Qg5 (21...Nd5 22.Qe4 g6 23.Qh4+=) 22.Qxg5 hxg5=;

A2) 20...Rd4?! 21.Ne2 Rd7 22.b4 Qc7 23.fxe5 Qxe5 24.Nf4 Bg4 25.Rde1 Qg5 26.Qf2 b6?? (26...Bf5 27.h4 Qg4 28.Be2 Ne4) 27.h4 1-0 Hommeles-Ligterinck, NDR 1992;

B) 9...Nd5 0-1 Bachl E-Bocki/Germany? 1978 (34)]

9...c5 10.Qe1

  [10.Qe1 cxd4 11.Nxd4 (11.Bxd4 Bc5 12.Qf2 Bxd4 13.Qxd4 e5 14.Qd6 Re8) 11...Nc5 (11...e5 12.Nf5 Bc5 13.Bxc5 Nxc5 14.Qxe5);

  10.Be1; 10.Ne4; 10.dxc5]

10...cxd4 11.Nxd4

  [11.Bxd4]

11...a6

  [11...Nc5; 11...e5?! 12.Nf5; 11...Bc5? 12.Na4; 11...b6? 12.Nc6; 11...Qa5!?]

12.Rd1 Qc7+=

 

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White's active pieces give him a small edge, but Black has no weaknesses and can work towards equality.

13.Kh1

  [13.Ne4]

13...Nc5

  [13...Ne5; 13...Bc5; 13...Qe5 14.Qd2; 13...b5!?]

14.Bg3

  [14.Bh4; 14.Bc4]

14...Qb6

  [14...Nxd3 15.Bxc7 Nxe1 16.Rfxe1 Bb4 17.Be5 Bxc3 18.bxc3+=;

  14...Qd8 15.Qe3 Qb6 16.Nb3 Na4 17.Qxb6 Nxb6+=]

15.Nb3 Nxd3 (two Bishops!)

  [15...Nxb3 16.cxb3 Rd8 17.Bf2]

16.Rxd3 Rd8

  [16...Bd7 17.Qe5 Rac8 18.f4 Bc6 19.f5]

  Black is holding the line, and the game grinds to a halt.

17.Rxd8+ [17.Bf2 Qc7 18.Bg3] 17...Bxd8 [17...Qxd8] 18.Bf2 [18.Qe2] 18...Qc7 19.Qe3 Bd7 [19...b5 20.Nc5] 20.Rd1 Bc6

 

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I felt confident that Black had equalised and was start to think about playing for a win with the two Bishops, but...

21.Bg3

  [21.Nd4 Be7]

21...Qb6 22.Qe1 Be7 23.Bf2

  [23.Bd6]

23...Qc7 24.Bg3

  [24.Nd4]

24...Qb6 It is difficult for White to play for a win and the Black Queen has no comfortable hiding place; if the c5 point is conceded Black may find himself worse. 1/2../strong>


Lessons:

  • Maybe it's really true, the only way to refute a gambit is to accept it!

 

  • Long aside...

  ...Steinitz said, The best way to refute a gambit is to accept it, and Lasker added, especially centre Pawns. But I sometimes imagine that accepting a gambit is the best way to fall into the main idea of something nasty that your opponent knows all about. That may still be true, but I'm starting to think that Steinitz is absolutely right. That is, if you want only equality, decline by all means, but if only who dares wins. There are one or two gambit lines which I am seeing in junior matches that I cannot see a good way to play for a win against by declining, which seem relevant here.

  I was looking at the Max Lange attack and was struck by Black's fundamental choice at move 5:

  1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.0-0: now: 5...Bc5 or 5...Nxe4 ?

  5...Bc5 just seems a glorious mess, just the sort of thing to be avoided, but I couldn't see a way for Black to play for a win after 5...Nxe4

  e.g. 5...Nxe4 6.Re1 d5 7.Nc3 dxc3 [7...dxc4 8.Rxe4+ Be7 9.Nxd4 f5 10.Rf4 0-0 11.Nxc6 Qxd1+ 12.Nxd1 bxc6 13.Rxc4 Bd6 14.Nc3 = Botvinnik] 8.Bxd5 Be6 [or 8...Bf5 9.Bxe4 Bxe4 10.Rxe4+ Be7] 9.Bxe4 Bb4 10.b3 Qxd1 11.Rxd1 Rd8 12.Be3 a6: Black has an extra pawn which is hard to keep and hard to make use of.

  Also after 1.e4 e5!? 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.c3 The Goring Gambit. Black can readily equalise with 4...d5 but cannot hope for a win. The moral is once again, that the best way to refute a gambit may be to accept it.

Kevin Kent (0-1) Dave Regis

This was a good scrap; White was always one move short of landing the final blow and Black wriggles out into a better endgame. This is I guess how you are supposed to play with Black; easier in correspondence than OTB! It also confirms my prejudices about the line: in my games Black scored 2/3 in the gambit accepted!

BDG Bogolyubov Defence

1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 g6 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Qe1 Nbd7

 

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This is a well-known position, and both sides have tried several alternatives. I was heading for a position which Harding assesses as =+ but White is by no means obliged to comply.

9.Qh4 Nb6

  [9...c5 looks the only realistic alternative here.]

10.Bb3 a5 11.a4 Nbd5

 

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This is the first CRITICAL POSITION. White has an apparent opportunity to win back the Pawn, but Harding thinks this gives Black slightly the better position.
12.Nxd5 Nxd5 13.Bxd5 (13.c4) 13...Qxd5 14.Qxe7 Qc6 (14...Bxd4+ 15.Nxd4 Qxd4+ 16.Be3 Qd7;

14...Qd7) 15.c3 Be6 16.Bf4 Rac8 17.Ne5 Qd5 = Lane, =+ Harding

  I hoped White would try and win the e-Pawn, but instead he goes for a slow build-up in the familiar manner. All the books give only 12. Nxd5, but White actually has lots of alternatives:

(12.Bg5; 12.Bh6; 12.Ne5 Be6 13.Bh6 c6; 12.h3; 12.Ng5 h6)

12.h3

  An interesting move, the motivation of which it is worth pondering. Black often has trouble developing the Bishop on c8, and in the BDG it is often useful to send this Queen's-side piece out to g4 and exchange it for the dangerous Knight on f3.

  I probably wouldn't have gone for ...Bg4: I don't really approve of giving up the two Bishops like this and the offer to bring the Rf1 into play on f3 also seems unnecessarily helpful.

12...c6

  [12...Qd6 13.Nxd5 Nxd5 14.c4 Nf6 15.Bf4 Qb6;

  12...Be6 13.Ng5 Ra6?? 14.Nxd5 Bxd5 15.Rxf6]

13.Bh6

  [13.Ng5 h6]

13...Nxc3

  Black has many alternatives here but this looked clearest.

14.bxc3

  [14.Ng5 Ne2+ 15.Kh1 Qxd4]

 

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Another CRITICAL POSITION: White has a straightforward plan of Ng5, Bxg7, Rxf6 and Qxh7 against routine tries by Black. So Black must both avoid this idea and make sure nothing worse awaits him.
14...Nh5

  It was hard to see much else. I looked at a long forcing line here which White played straight down the middle of. Black can and should have confidence in the position to face attacks like this, look them in the eye, and find the way to safety. Neither hope nor fear are friends to the chess player, only judgement and analysis!

15.Bxg7

  With hindsight White should have preferred:

  [15.Bg5 or; 15.Be3, when it's still a fight]

15...Kxg7 16.Ng5

  [16.g4 Nf6 17.Ng5 h6 18.Nxf7 Rxf7 19.Bxf7 g5 20.Qg3 Kxf7 when Black might make something out of the material imbalance. 21.Rab1]

16...e6

  provocative! - but importantly pins the Knight to the Queen

17.g4

  [17.Nxe6+ Bxe6]

17...h6 18.Nxe6+

  [18.Nf3 Qxh4 19.Nxh4 Nf6;

  18.gxh5 hxg5 (18...Qxg5+ 19.Qxg5 hxg5 20.hxg6 Kxg6) 19.h6+ Kh7 20.Qe4 f5 (20...Qd6 21.Rf3) 21.Qe3 Qf6 22.Rae1 Bd7 23.Bxe6 Rae8]

18...Bxe6 19.Qxd8 Raxd8 20.Bxe6 Ng3! 21.Rf3 Ne2+ 22.Kf2 Nxc3 23.Rxc3

  [23.Bb3 Ne4+ 24.Ke3 Ng5 (24...f5 25.gxf5 gxf5 26.Rg1+ Kf6 27.Rgf1 Nd6 28.c4 Rde8+ 29.Kd3) 25.Rg3 Rfe8+ 26.Kd3 Ne4 27.Rf3 Nc5+ 28.Kc4 Nxb3 29.Rxb3 is rather like the game continuation in the end!]

23...fxe6+

 

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... and Black has wangled his extra pawn back. If I had been frightened of the attack at move 14-18 I might have had to back out of the whole line, but I couldn't see a way through, and wanted to prove the point. This is easier in correspondence than OTB, I admit, but you must have this attitude. Even if you are wrong and are proved wrong about the variations, your attitude is still right.

24.Ke3 e5! 25.dxe5 Rd5 26.Rb1

  Probably best?

  [26.Ke4; 26.Rb3]

26...Rxe5+ 27.Kd4 Rd5+ 28.Kc4??

  throwing away another Pawn because of the loose Rb1. White seemed to lose heart here but some of the Rook endgames could have been awkward for Black.

  [28.Ke4! and Black has to decide if he is going to go passive or try for activity. Although the books say in general you should go for activity I think uncoiling from a stonewall is Black's best hope here. 28...Re8+ 29.Kf3 Re7 30.Rcb3 Rdd7 Now Black can transfer the King to c8 and get a Rook free to harass White's loose Pawns.]

28...Rf4+ 29.Kb3 Rb4+

  [29...b5 30.Rxc6 (30.axb5 cxb5) 30...Rxa4 31.Re1 looked less in control]

30.Ka2 Rxa4+ 31.Kb2 Rb4+ 32.Ka2

  [32.Rb3; 32.Kc1]

32...Rdb5

  forcing an exchange and on Black's terms.

33.Rxb4

  [33.Rd1 Ra4+ 34.Ra3 Rxa3+ 35.Kxa3 Kf6]

33...Rxb4 34.Rd3

  [34.Rc5 Rb5 35.Rc4 Kf6]

34...Kf6

 

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Just in time. The Queen's-side Pawns are all little monsters; White cannot stop them without bringing the Rook back, and if he brings the Rook back, the Black King will nibble the King's-side Pawns.

35.c3 Rc4 36.Kb3 b5 37.Kb2 a4 38.Ka3 Ke5 39.Kb2 h5 40.gxh5 gxh5 41.Ka3? Ke4 42. Rg3 h4 0-1

 


Lessons:

  • Don't hope, don't fear: analyse and find out!

Chess Quotes

"How hard can it be?"