Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Chess Blog

This is a new chess blog devoted mainly to Romantic (19th-century)-style chess openings, in which material (typically one or two pawns) is sacrificed early in the game in order to get rapid development and attacking chances right from the start.

I have a chess site at which provides an encyclopaedic coverage of some of these gambits.  I am also developing a new site at (still in its early stages of construction) which aims to produce articles accompanied by replayable illustrative games, and expect to blog a fair bit about these systems.

Certain Romantic gambits are occasionally seen even at grandmaster level, for instance Nigel Short often uses the Evans Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4), Alexander Morozevich likes the Albin Counter-Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5) and the King's Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4) is used as an occasional weapon by numerous grandmasters.

On the whole, though, the top GMs have largely abandoned these Romantic openings because defence at the highest levels of chess is very good, combined with deep computer-assisted opening preparation, and thus opponents can navigate their way through the complications and achieve at least equality.  Thus, most GMs tend to adopt more positionally sophisticated openings, against which the paths to equality as Black, or a slight advantage as White, are harder to find.

But the overwhelming majority of chess players never reach grandmaster level.  The 19th century gambits are an ideal training ground for tactics and the importance of getting your pieces out for beginners and improving players.  For players up to and including county standard, who enjoy wild attacking play, these openings can serve as openings for life and provide a lot of fun.


  1. Thanks for this wonderful blog, both websites. I only just discovered the sites and only realised that you are SWJediKnight on ChessPub. I lurk there as well. I have just decided to spend a year playing through John Shaw's The King's Gambit and beginning with the Quaade Gambit. Interesting the far. But thank for your material as it gives me a good overview and games to play through. I am probably not experienced enough to contribute to your website, so hope you don't mind if I am just a user at the moment.
    Just a query on material. I noticed you have not listed Alterman's Gambit books (from QC) on your Biblio. Any reason why?
    Second query. I am a fan of Duncan Suttles and bought the three volume edition of his games. In them, he plays a line against the Sicilian called the Portland Attack. 1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 d3 d6/g6 4 g4. Do you have any experience with his?

  2. Apologies for the slow reply- had quite a busy December so far! I've seen an extract from John Shaw's book in Chess Monthly, not sure if his conclusions agree with mine, but I think the Quaade Gambit is looking quite promising for White at the moment. I also feel, as does Stefan Bücker, that the Hanstein Gambit is better than its reputation. I've been playing quite a few "thematic" King's Gambit games at recently, especially in some of the wilder lines.

    I'd made a point of only listing the sources that I've used personally- I don't have my own copies of Boris Alterman's Gambit books, though they sound pretty good judging by the reviews I've seen.

    I haven't had any experience with the Portland Attack- over the years I've used a mix of the Open and the Morra Gambit when playing White against the Sicilian.