08 November 2015

King's Gambit Fun

In the Spirit of Allgaier!

Players of the King's Gambit are familiar with the Allgaier Gambit in which White sacrifices a knight for attack.

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ng5!? h6 and the knight is trapped, so 6.Nxf7+.

Much safer, while still aggressive, is 5.Ne5.

Here Black has several options.

5...h5 is an old move with a dubious reputation. In The Oxford Companion to Chess (1996), David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld note this is called the Strongwhip variation, and sometimes the Long Whip, which is a better translation of its German name, Lange Peitsche (399). John Shaw, The King's Gambit (2013) employs the term Long Whip.
White's best chance of facing this is to invent a time machine and dial up the 1840s. Still, the strongest lines I can find for White lead to slightly better chances in wild positions, not a clean kill.
Shaw, 117.
Shaw recommends 6.Bc4, "let's fire at f7 in 19th century style."

6.Nxf7?! in the spirit of the Allgaier was tried once by Kurt Osterberg in 1988 in an open tournament. He lost. During some marathon blitz sessions last week, I scored three wins with this dubious sacrifice.

One opponent had beaten me in our three prior encounters.

Stripes (1773) -- Internet Opponent (1792) [C39]
Live Chess Chess.com, 06.11.2015

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 h5 6.Nxf7?!

This sacrifice is premature


6...Kxf7 7.Bc4+

Black to move


8.d4 d6?!

Too slow. White may gain compensation for the sacrifice.

8...Qf6 Guards f4 and prepares f4-f3.


9.Bxf4 seems sensible,


9...Bh6 Black must secure his kingside pawns in order to generate play.


Black to move

White appears to have compensation for the piece. Although down a piece, he has more material in the battle.


10...Nc6 11.Bg5 Qd7 12.Qd3 Nxd4 13.e5 Bxe5 14.Qg6+ Kf8 15.0–0+

Black to move
Analysis, after 15.O-O+
Nf3+ Black must return material

 (15...Nf6 16.Rxf6+ Bxf6 17.Qxf6+ Ke8 18.Qxh8#) 16.gxf3 g3 17.Rae1.

11.Bg5 Qd7 12.0–0±

Black to move


12...Nc6 makes White labor for the victory.

13.Rxf8+ Bxf8 14.Qd2+- Qg7 15.Nd5 c6

White to move

16.Nf6+ Kd8 17.Nxh5+ Qe7 18.Bxe7+ Bxe7 19.Qxh6 1–0

Bumbling Along

On Halloween, I played this dubious sacrifice for the first time. This game was bullet. Two minutes plus one second per move is very close to three minute blitz.

Stripes (1651) -- Internet Opponent (1726) [C39]
Live Chess Chess.com, 31.10.2015

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 h5 6.Nxf7 Kxf7 7.Bc4+ Kg6

Moving the king to the g-file is less optimal than returning to the home square, but should be safe enough if Black is well-prepared.

White to move

8.Nc3 Bg7?!

8...d6 9.d4 Bh6 10.Qd3 White's attack is too slow.

9.d3 c6 10.Bxf4 d5 11.exd5 Qe7+


12.Ne2 cxd5 13.Bxd5

Black to move


Black is already ahead material. King safety should be the priority.

13...Nf6 14.Bg5 Bh6 15.Be4+ Kg7 16.Qd2


14.0–0 was better.

14...Kg7 15.Rb1 Bf6 16.Qd2

16.Rb5 becomes a theme of missed opportunities.

Black to move


16...Nd7 Everything must defend the king because all of White's forces are coming there.


An unnecessary waste of time that also serves to render my king vulnerable.



17...Bf5 18.Bxf5 Nd4 19.Be4 Nf3+ 20.Bxf3 gxf3 Now White's king is the insecure one.

18.0–0 Nd4

18...Nf7 would be a good square for the knight.


19.Bg5? Nf3+ 20.Bxf3 gxf3 21.Rxf3 Nf5

19...Bxd4+ 20.Kg2

Black to move


20...Nf7 still solid.


21.Rb5 appears to have been outside White's planning. The rook's move to b1 was not merely self-preservation, but also preliminary to this lift. The g5 square is a crucial point for getting at the Black king.


Black should not be giving back the material without some gain.

21...Qe5 22.Bf4 Qe7.


Now, perhaps, White's attack will play itself.

22...Bxe3 23.Qxe3 Bd7?


23...Rb8 24.Qd4+ (24.Rb5 is still best, but White is blind to this lift.) 24...Kg8 25.Rf6.

White to move


At least the rook had a target on the b-file, thanks to Black's active cooperation. This move was good enough, but I had several better choices during the final assault.

24.Qd4+ finishes things.

24...Rab8 25.Qd4+

25.Rxd7 Rhe8 (25...Qxd7 26.Qg5#) 26.Qg5+ Kh8 27.Qh6+ Kg8 28.Bd5+ Qf7 29.Bxf7#.

25...Kh6 26.Rxd7 Rbd8

26...Rbf8 27.Qe3+ Rf4 28.Qxf4+ Kg7 29.Qg5#.

27.Rxe7 Rxd4 28.Rf6# 1–0

Missed Miniature

On Thursday, when I played the first game above, I played another. Two years ago in our only prior encounter, this opponent beat me with the Exchange French.

Stripes (1738) -- Internet Opponent (1736) [C39]
Live Chess Chess.com, 06.11.2015

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 h5 6.Nxf7 Kxf7 7.Bc4+ Kg7

Again, I am battling a king on the g-file.

8.d4 Qe7 9.Nc3

Stockfish opines that White has compensation for the sacrifice.

Black to move


9...d5 10.Bxd5 seems close to equal.

9...f3 10.gxf3 Nc6 11.Nd5 with a slight edge for White.

10.Bxf4± Nxe4??

Black could have fought on with 10...d5 or 10...Qb4.

11.Be5+ Nf6 12.0–0 d5 13.Nxd5

Black to move


Giving up the queen helps the king survive a little longer.

14.dxe5 Bc5+ 15.Kh1 Ne4 16.Nxc7

16.Qd3 Be6 17.Qxe4 Nd7 18.Nxc7

16...Nc6 17.Rf7+! Kh6 18.Qc1+ Kg6

White to move

If I could bring my queen to g5, the game would end.


19.Rf6+! solves the problem.

a) 19...Kg7 20.Ne8+ Kh7 (20...Rxe8 21.Qh6#) 21.Qh6#.

b) 19... Nxf6 20.Qg5+ Kh7 21.Bd3+ Ne4 22.Bxe4+ Bf5 23.Bxf5#.

With an overwhelming material advantage, White's job is to mop up and avoid tricks.

19...Bxe6 20.Bxe6 Nxe5 21.Rf1 Ng3+ 22.Kh2 Nxf1+ 23.Qxf1 Rhf8 24.Qc1

Black to move

24...g3+ 25.Kxg3 Bf2+ 26.Kh2 Bxh4 27.c4 Rf2 28.Qb1+ Kg7 29.Bh3 Bf6 30.Qe1 Ng4+ 31.Bxg4 hxg4 32.Qxf2 Be5+ 33.g3 Rh8+ 34.Kg2 1–0

An unsound sacrifice can be effective when Black has only a few seconds per move to solve problems of the king's vulnerability. I doubt that my sacrifice would have any merit in an over-the-board game with tournament time controls. In correspondence chess, it would prove suicidal.

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