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- Chess Strategy - 10/68 -


All things considered, the student should in my opinion decline the gambit, as in doing so he can get an easy and satisfactory development. The treatment of the "King's Gambit accepted," which aims at holding the gambit pawn, is most difficult and leads early in the game to such complications as none but an expert can hope to master.

[Footnote: As an example of the difficult play which ensues when Black defends the pawn in the King's Gambit, I give the latest variation of an attack introduced by Professor I. L. Rice, and called the "Rice Gambit":

1. P-K4, P-K4; 2. P-KB4, PxP; 3. Kt-KB3, P-KKt4; 4. P-KR4, P-Kt5; 5. Kt-K5, Kt-KB3; 6. B-B4, P-Q4; 7. PxP, B-Q3; 8. Castles! BxKt; 9. R-K1, Q-K2; 10. P-B3, Kt-R4; 11. P-Q4, Kt-Q2; 12. PxB, KtxP; 13. P-QKt3, Castles; 14. B-R3, Kt-B6ch!; 15. PxKt, QxP; 16. R-K5! B-B4!!; 17. Kt-Q2! Q-Kt6ch; 18. K-B1, Q-R7; 19. BxR, P-Kt6; 20. B-B5, P-Kt7ch; 21. K-K1, Q-R5ch; 22. K-K2, Kt-Kt6ch; 23. K-B2, Kt-K5ch; 24. KxP, B-R6ch; 25. K-R1, K-R1; 26. KtxKt, R-KKt1; 27. R-Kt5, with interesting possibilities.

Numberless interesting variations are possible, but their discussion does not lie within the scope of this work. They will be found in books treating of the analysis of the openings.]

It is therefore unwise for the beginner to accept the gambit, unless there be a chance of compensation for the disappearance of his centre pawn, by forcing the exchange of White's centre pawn as well. The following line of play would fulfil this condition:

1. P-K4, P-K4; 2. P-KB4, PxP; 3. Kt-KB3, Kt-KB3; 4. Kt-B3, P-Q4! Black thereby abandons the gambit pawn.

On principle, and when he has the choice, the beginner should give preference to simple and clear development in the opening, rather than to the gain of a pawn, when this involves difficult and intricate play. This principle must also guide us in other openings.

A good example is to be found in the so-called "Danish gambit," [Footnote: The names of the various openings, which I mention for the sake of completeness, are generally derived from towns or countries in which they were first extensively played and analysed.] which will lead us back to those openings in which White plays P-Q4 on his second move. After 2. P-Q4, PxP, White has the option of sacrificing two pawns to obtain a very rapid development 3. P-QB3, PxP; 4. B-QB4, PxP; 5. QBxP. It may now be just possible for Black to avoid the many threats which White can bring to bear with his beautifully placed forces, perhaps by giving back one or both of the pawns gained. But this question can only be of interest to us if there is no opportunity of adopting a simple line of development at the outset. As it is, this opportunity is not wanting. All that Black needs to do is to push on his Queen's Pawn as soon as possible, thus freeing his own Queen's Bishop.

2. P-Q4 PxP 3. P-QB3 P-Q4

--------------------------------------- 8 | #R | #Kt| #B | #Q | #K | #B |#Kt | #R | |---------------------------------------| 7 | #P | #P | #P | | | #P | #P | #P | |---------------------------------------| 6 | | | | | | | | | |---------------------------------------| 5 | | | | #P | | | | | |---------------------------------------| 4 | | | | #P | ^P | | | | |---------------------------------------| 3 | | | ^P | | | | | | |---------------------------------------| 2 | ^P | ^P | | | | ^P | ^P | ^P | |---------------------------------------| 1 | ^R | ^Kt| ^B | ^Q | ^K | ^B | ^Kt| ^R | --------------------------------------- A B C D E F G H

Diagram 19.

After 4. KPxP, QxP, Black's position is at least as easy of development as White's. In the position set out in Diagram 19, White cannot play P-K5, because Black wins a pawn by PxP without hindering his own development in the least. The equalising power of Black's P-Q4 in all KP openings where White has played P-Q4 can be noticed in many variations. I shall now give a few typical examples, which will show the line of play that can be adopted in many similar cases, and which can often be evolved one from the other by altering the order of the moves.

I. CENTRE GAMBIT

2. P-Q4 PxP 3. QxP Kt-QB3 4. Q-K3 Kt-B3 5. Kt-QB3 B-K2 6. B-Q2 P-Q4!

II. KING'S BISHOP'S OPENING

2. P-Q4 PxP 3. B-QB4 Kt-KB3 4. P-K5 P-Q4!

III. SCOTCH GAMBIT

2. Kt-KB3 Kt-QB3 3. P-Q4 PxP 4. B-B4 Kt-B3 4. P-B3 P-Q4! 5. P-K5 P-Q4!

IV. SCOTCH GAME

2. Kt-KB3 Kt-QB3 3. P-Q4 PxP 4. KtxP Kt-B3 5. Kt-QB3 B-Kt5 6. KtxKt KtPxKt 7. B-Q3 P-Q4!

In no case should Black forfeit his chance of playing P-Q4. It is tempting after 2. P-Q4, PxP; 3. Kt-KB3 to cover the pawn at Q5 by P-QB4, but in that case White would sacrifice a pawn by P-QB3, by this means opening the Queen's file for himself, and so preventing Black from ever playing P-Q4. Thus, for the loss of a pawn, White has a paramount advantage in position.

For after 4. ... PxP, 5. KtxP (Diagram 20) White has developed both Knights, and his Bishops are free, whilst Black has none of his pieces out. P-Q3 must also be played in order to mobilise the Queen's Bishop, leaving K2 as the only square for the King's Bishop; finally the "backward" pawn [Footnote: A pawn is said to be "backward," when it cannot move into cover by another pawn.] at Q3 is open to constant attacks and is difficult to defend.

--------------------------------------- 8 | #R | #Kt| #B | #Q | #K | #B | #Kt| #R | |---------------------------------------| 7 | #P | #P | | #P | | #P | #P | #P | |---------------------------------------| 6 | | | | | | | | | |---------------------------------------| 5 | | | #P | | | | | | |---------------------------------------| 4 | | | | | ^P | | | | |---------------------------------------| 3 | | | ^Kt| | | ^Kt| | | |---------------------------------------| 2 | ^P | ^P | | | | ^P | ^P | ^P | |---------------------------------------| 1 | ^R | | ^B | ^Q | ^K | ^B | | ^R | --------------------------------------- A B C D E F G H

Diag. 20

The best plan for Black is to decline the doubtful gift of the pawn and to bring about one of the positions, as sketched above, in which, by playing P-Q4 early in the game, Black is sure of the free development of all his forces.

Black is able to play P-Q4 early in all such openings, where White does not force the defensive move P-Q3 by attacking Black's King's Pawn. For instance, in the King's gambit, since the move 2. P-KB4 does not threaten PxP, Black can reply at once by 2. ... P-Q4 (Falkbeer Counter Gambit). After 3. PxQP, P-K5 (to permit of Kt-KB3, which at present is not feasible on account of 4. PxP); 4. P-Q3, PxP; 5. QxP, White is a pawn ahead, but his Queen obstructs his KB; therefore Black has better developing chances and should be able to win the pawn back at the very least.

A second example is the Vienna game, which proceeds as follows:

2. Kt-QB3 Kt-KB3 3. P-B4 P-Q4 (Diagram 21)

If White plays 4. PxQP, Black can play P-K5, as in the Falkbeer gambit mentioned just now. In answer to 4. PxKP, on the other hand, Black can play KtxP without having the slightest difficulty with his development. For instance,

5. Kt-KB3 B-K2 6. P-Q4 P-KB3 7. B-Q3 KtxKt 8. PxKt Castles 9. Castles Kt-B3 or B-KKt5

and Black also will soon have an open file for his Rook, with no disadvantage in position.

--------------------------------------- 8 | #R |#Kt | #B | #Q | #K | #B | | #R |


Chess Strategy - 10/68

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