Chess - 15/12/2011

How does Black win?

NO ADVENTURE in chess is as romantic as the venerable King’s Gambit, the history of which is almost as old as the modern game itself. But after years of being neglected at the top echelons in the game, could it be making a dramatic comeback?

The King’s Gambit was first analysed in Guilio Polerio’s manuscript of the 16th century, and was almost de rigueur in chess as it reached its zenith by the 19th century, only for it to die out by the late 20th century as modern defensive techniques taught us how best to thwart swashbuckling attacks.

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Arguably one of the most famous “refutations” came from Bobby Fischer, after he was on the receiving end of bad loss to it against his arch-rival, Boris Spassky. After much research and head scratching, the American claimed 1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 d6! was the way to take it on – and this variation was christened “the Fischer Defence”, after his analysis was published in a 1961 article for the American Chess Quarterly, entitled A Bust to the King’s Gambit.

Yet despite Fischer’s so-called bust, it remains popular at club level and beyond – but we’ve seldom seen it at the elite level since the days of Spassky. However it seems to be making a comeback of sorts: World No 1, Magnus Carlsen has been the highest-ranking player since Spassky to successfully deploy it at an elite event; and at the recent London Chess Classic, it had two decisive outings, scoring one win and one loss.

N Short - L McShane

London Chess Classic, (7)

King’s Gambit Accepted

1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 h6 4 d4 g5 5 Nc3 d6 6 g3 fxg3 7 hxg3 Bg7 8 Be3 Nf6 9 Qd3 Ng4 10 0–0–0 c6 11 Re1 Nd7 12 e5 dxe5 13 Bh3 Nxe3 14 Rxe3 0–0 15 Ne4 Nf6! 16 Bxc8 exd4 17 Bxb7 dxe3 18 Bxa8 Nxe4 19 Qxe4 Qb6 20 Ne5 Rxa8 21 Qxc6 Qxc6 22 Nxc6 Re8 23 c3 Re6 24 Nxa7 Be5 25 Nb5 e2 26 Kd2 Bxg3 27 Re1 Bxe1+ 28 Kxe1 h5 29 Nd4 Ra6 30 a3 h4 31 Kxe2 g4 32 c4 h3 33 Kf2 h2 34 Kg2 Rh6 35 Kh1 g3 36 Nf5 g2+ 0–1