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Friday, July 13, 2012

Scandinavian/Blackburne Gambit, first trial by combat

Today’s blog entry is from Thursday night’s G90 tournament at the local chess club. I was paired against a class A player and wanted to avoid his prepared opening lines. Playing black, defense was a gambit line that recently came to my attention. The first 3 moves were from memory, the remainder was ad-libbed Over-The-Board. The game was fun to play and provided chances for both white and black (see chart at bottom).

The variations and move symbols are Houdini’s (1.5 w32), diagnosed with ‘Scid vs PC’ at 10 seconds per ply. The opening book reference is Stockfish. The verbal comments are my thoughts during the game and my interpretations of the analysis provided by Houdini. The score chart is at the bottom of this entry.

This Blackburne Gambit (aka Blackburne-Kloosterboer) has potential and will be tried again soon. I have been using the Petroff/Stafford Gambit in response to 1.e4, but too many games have followed the refutation lines. What do my readers think?

1 comment:

  1. I love the Icelandic gambit after 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3. c4 e6, Black's initiative is very good after that. It strikes fear into the hearts of the other players at my local club.

    But strong players have a tendency to play 3.d4 to avoid the gambit lines. At first I tried 3...Nxd5, seemed like the intuitive move, but it seems to cede most of the winning chances to White afterwards. So after failing with that I tried an alternative, the Portuguese Gambit, 3...Bg4 which seemed to improve things somewhat but the critical line in the Portuguese puts Black in a very bunkered down, miserable position.

    I've thought about other possibilities: 3...g6 or 3...a6 but it does sort of seem like taking the pawn is pretty much the only option.

    I've started transposing into the Blackburne gambit: 3.d4 c6 and it seems like Black has less compensation than the Icelandic (because white played a developing move instead of a defensive one on move 3). It is still a fun gambit though and certainly takes unprepared White players offguard. Black only has one extra tempi for the pawn basically--very risky; it's essentially a Scotch gambit minus a tempi.

    If you consider that Black loses two tempi retaking the pawn then one could see it as having 3 more tempi than you'd have in the main line of the Modern Scandinavian, so in that respect it's not so bad and may not really be any worse than 3...Nxd5, but it guarantees open lines that your opponent knows less about, so there is that.