Posts Tagged ‘King’s Gambit’

The Fabulous 10’s: King’s Gambit Mystery

November 7, 2010

King’s Gambit Mystery

In the finals of Cap d’Agde Rapid, 2010, we had Vassily Ivanchuk playing white against Hikaru Nakamura.  Actually, in the other rapid game with colors reversed, it was also a King’s Gambit! But let’s focus on this one.

The game featured a King’s Gambit mystery:

1. e4 e5 2. f4 Nc6 3. Nf3 f5?!


Pablo Zarnicki experimented with this in the past a few times, but I remember Khalifman writing white is better.  Doesn’t it look like black is trying for too much, too soon?  At any rate, Ivanchuk in this game quite surprisingly produced 4. d3 (?) to “avoid preparation”, I guess.  Although the game after 4. d3 (?) is dead equal.  The mystery is what does black do after the simple 4. exf5! – I don’t see an equalizer.

Sample lines:

4. exf5! exf4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3! guarding f5 6…Bd6 7. Nc3! (idea Nb5) Nf6 8. Qe2+! Qe7 9. Nb5! and white has the desired edge.


4…e4 5. Ne5 Nxe5 6. fxe5 Qe7 7. d4! (previously the weak 7. Qh5+? Kd8 was seen, giving black a free tempo on white’s queen after a later Ng8-f6; GM Hammer as black defeated GM Fier in a 2009 ICC rapid encounter.)  7…exd3 8. Bxd3 Qxe5+ 9. Qe2 Qxe2+ 10. Kxe2 d5 11. Re1 c6 12. Bf4 Nf6 (the computer likes the strange looking 12…h5 here) 13. Nd2 and white is happy.

Also, crazy lines occur after 4….e4 5. Ne5 Nf6 6. Nc3 Bd6 7. Ng4! Bxf4 8. Nxf6+ Qxf6 9. Qh5+ Kd8 10. Nd5! but white always retains some edge.

All in all, 4. exf5 must promise more than 4. d3 so I am wondering about that.  Will we see 4. exf5 when the line is tested again at a high level?

The Fabulous 10s: Trying the Ugly at the US Championship

May 21, 2010

News Flash May 22, 2010

Listen to my Chess.FM Video of Game of the Day, Round 8, US Chess Championship, St. Louis.

I’ll be doing Round 9 tomorrow (Sunday) also.

It’s free for everyone, including non-ICC members.

When Ugly Goes Unpunished

Young GM Ray Robson let fly with a very ugly opening (a Bad Blumenfeld) against veteran GM Gregory Kaidanov, quickly reached a lost game as a result of his choice, and then Gregory uncharacteristically let him escape.   I have noticed a theme:  when Slav players try to learn a second opening, they often choose berserker openings that, let’s just say, give them a handicap.  Chairman Mao would have labeled Ray a “reckless adventurer” in this game giving Kaidanov numerous white to play and win puzzles. Let’s see it!

[Event “2010 U.S. Championship”]
[Site “Saint Louis”]
[Date “2010.05.20”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Kaidanov, Gregory”]
[Black “Robson, Ray”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “E10”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. d5 b5 This opening is actually not so bad, it is really black’s 6th move that is a culprit.

5. Bg5 Qa5+ 6. Nc3 Ne4? A terrible line moving the knight twice for no gain.  Marginally better, but still ugly, is 6… b4 7. Bxf6 gxf6 8. Ne4 Be7 9. Qd2 f5 10. Ng3 Bb7 11. e3 d6 12. Be2 and white enjoys a small but definite plus.6… bxc4 7. Bxf6 gxf6 8. Nd2 is also a pleasant white plus.

7. Bd2?

Not the right reaction. 7. cxb5!  refutes black’s 6th move.  7… Nxg5 (very instructive is the bust to 7… Bb7? which is 8. dxe6 fxe6 9. Bd2 Nxd2 10. Nxd2 d5 11. e4! and it’s totally lost for black as in Borovikov,V (2472)-Sharapov,E (2387)/Sevastopol 2000) 8. Nxg5 Be7 9. Qd2 and white has a big plus.   7…Nxc3 8. bxc3 Qxc3+ 9. Bd2 Qf6 10. e4 and white, again, has a big plus.

7… Nxd2 8. Nxd2 b4 9. Nce4?! 9. Nb3 is better.  The text gives black free tempi.

9…f5 10. Ng5 Be7 11. Ngf3 Bf6 12. Qb3 O-O 13. e4 Re8? Better is 13… d6.

14. e5 Bxe5 15. Nxe5 exd5 16. O-O-O Rxe5 17. cxd5 Ba6 18. Bxa6 Qxa6 19. Rhe1 Qf6 20. Nc4 Re4 21. f3 Rxe1 22. Rxe1 Na6 23. d6 Rc8? Over-sharp craziness.  This should lose in multiple ways.  Necessary was 23…Qd4.  Uncharacteristically, white gets very confused now, perhaps precisely due to the surfeit of wins?

24. Re7 Nb8 Black was hosed no matter what.  For example, 24…Kh8 25. Qe3 and wins.  Now it should all be over very soon.

Can white not win?

25. f4? The first perplexing miscue.  The elementary 25. Ne5+ c4  (black’s “point”) 26. Qxb4 wins in short order.

25… h6 26. Ne5+ c4 27. Qg3? White has a strange allergy to 27. Qxb4! winning.

For example, 27…c3 28. Qb3+ Kh7 29. Rf7! Qxd6 30. Rxg7+! Kxg7 31. Qf7+ Kh8 32. Ng6+ Qxg6 33. Qxg6 and white wins.

27… Nc6? A blunder in return. 28. Rf7? And a blunder in return! 28. Rxd7! wins immediately.

28… Qxe5 Forced, but this should lose.

29. fxe5 Kxf7 30. Qf4? Oh, no!  30. e6+! is a nice clearance motif that wins. 30… Kxe6 (30… dxe6 31. d7 Rd8 32. Qc7 loses trivially as a piece hangs) 31. Qxg7 Kxd6 32. Qxh6+ and white wins easily with the passed h-pawn.  Now black survives!   White, like Vince Carter, missed some free throws to clinch the game (at several moments!).

30… Ke6 31. Qxc4+ Kxe5 32. Kd2 Rf8 33. Qd3 g5 34. h4 gxh4 35. Qe3+ Kd5 36. Qf4 Rg8 37. Qxf5+ Kxd6 38. Qf4+ Kc5 39. Qe3+ Kb5 40. Qf3 Rg3 41. Qf2 d5 42. Ke1 d4 43. Qf5+ Kb6 44. Kf2 Re3 45. Qh5 1/2-1/2

And for Something Different

King’s Gambit Action from the online blitz qualifier for Dos Hermanas, earlier this year!

White is former World Junior Champion Ilya Gurevich.  Black is strong German GM Jan Gustafsson. The game was “just” a 3/0 blitz game, but interesting nonetheless!

[Site “Internet Chess Club”]
[Date “2010.02.26”]
[Round “8”]
[White “junior”]
[Black “GodGusti”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ICCResult “Black resigns”]
[WhiteElo “2931”]
[BlackElo “2923”]
[Opening “KGA: Kieseritsky, Berlin defense”]
[ECO “C39”]
[NIC “KG.01”]

1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 g5 4. h4 g4 5. Ne5 Nf6 6. d4 d6 7. Nd3 Nc6 8. c3 Nxe4 9. Bxf4 d5 10. Nd2 Bf5 11. Nxe4 dxe4 12. Ne5 Nxe5 13. Bxe5 f6 14. Bb5+ c6 15. O-O fxe5 16. Rxf5 cxb5 17. Rxe5+ Be7 18. Qxg4 Qd6 19. Re1 Kd8 20. Qxe4 {Black resigns} 1-0