22 January 2014

Lesson of the Week

There are some instructive tactics in the game that I chose to highlight for students this week. Most young players will see this game beginning with White's eleventh move.

Charousek,Rudolf Rezso -- Chigorin,Mikhail [C33]
Budapest Budapest (7), 13.10.1896

1.e4 e5 2.f4

The King's Gambit was among the most popular openings in the nineteenth century. It is less popular among top players today, although many Grandmasters play it on occasion. I recommend that beginning players give it a try after they have played the Italian and Spanish openings with some regularity.


This pawn capture is the King's Gambit Accepted. Black has alternatives. The Falkbeer Countergambit (2...d5) is popular among top players.


3.Nf3 seems the safer approach. But then, the player of the King's Gambit is not looking for safety. Rather aggressive and wild tactical struggles are the norm in this opening.


This game was the first with this move.

3...Qh4+ remains among the most popular moves today, as it was when this game was played.
3...Nf6 is fine.

4.d4 Nf6 5.e5 d5 6.Bb3 Bg4

6...Ne4 maye be better.

7.Qd3 Nh5 8.Nh3

The f4 pawn is and will remain a target.


Black should have considered 8...f3 9.Nf2 fxg2 10.Rg1 Be6.

9.Qc3 Na6?

Chigorin's first real mistake. 9...Qh4+ 10.Nf2 or 9...f3 offer Black better prospects of an equal game.

10.0–0 Be2??

A serious error that offers White a strong attack. Black should have played 10...c6.

White to move

The demonstration board in my clubs will have this position when students arrive.

11.Ba4+! c6

11...Ke7 was a possibility with several branching variations:
12.Nxf4 Nxf4
 (12...Bxf1 13.Nxh5
[13.Qa3+ c5 14.Nxh5]
 13...h6 14.Kxf1
[14.Qa3+ c5 15.Kxf1]


This move may be harder to spot than the previous move. White sacrifices a bishop for two pawns and a decisive attack.

12...bxc6 13.Qxc6+ Ke7 14.Nxf4

14.b3 may be more accurate.

The knight on f4 threatens to capture d5 with check, forcing Black to give up the queen.

14...Nxf4 15.Bxf4

Black to move


Preventing the threatened Bg5+.

Black might have tried 15...Bxf1, resulting in 16.Nc3 Bxg2 17.Kxg2 Nb4 18.Bg5+ f6 19.Qb7+ Ke6 20.exf6 Nxc2 21.Rf1±. White has a clear advantage, although it may not be decisive yet.

16.Nc3 Bc4

16...Qc8 may have been better defense 17.Qxc8 Rxc8 18.Nxe2±.


Threatens Bd6+. 17.Bg3 opens the f-file.


17...fxe6 was a better try.


Black to move


18...Qxc7 19.Rxf7+ Kd8 20.Rd7+ Ke8 (20...Qxd7 21.Qxd7#) 21.Rxc7+ Kd8 22.Qd7#.
18...Bxf1 19.Bxd8+ Rxd8 20.Re1 f5 21.Qb7+.

19.Bxd8+ Rxd8

19...Kxd8 20.Qxe6 Bxf1 21.Rxf1.

20.Qb7+ Rd7 21.Rf7+ Kxf7 22.Qxd7+ Be7 23.Re1 Re8 24.b3 Kf8 25.bxc4 1–0

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