Monday, 21 October 2013

Danish Gambit- The Summing Up

I have completed the Danish Gambit coverage at my site and opted to update the format of the site again (the updated format has also been applied to the Scotch and Göring Gambit sections so far).

The main page features an introduction to the opening, then there are sub-pages providing a brief discussion of the critical lines (in article style) which contain links to the annotated games hosted at my 50webs site.  This allows me to combine the "encyclopaedic" and "illustrative games"-based openings coverage- this is likely to be helpful for some of the less-respected gambits due to the lack of high-quality, high-level games in some of the lines.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to find a way to host the HTML files directly at the Weebly site, but for those who don't like having to switch between two different sites, I've made all of the associated games available for download in PGN format directly from the Weebly site, at the end of each article.

Recapping on the previous blog entry, the 3...Ne7 declining variation is currently an issue because I keep coming across resources for Black.  For instance, I quite liked the look of the line 4.cxd4 d5 5.Nc3!? dxe4 6.Bc4 Nf5 7.Nge2 ("with compensation" - Danish Dynamite) 7...Nd6 8.Bb3.

It is too risky for Black to hold onto the e4-pawn so with accurate play, White rounds up the e4-pawn and is left with an isolated pawn on d4, but strives to compensate for this with active piece play.  However, Black can consider a kingside fianchetto with 8...g6 intending 9...Bg7 here and I don't think much of White's attacking chances against this.

The other line worth trying out is 5.e5 Nf5 6.Nc3 Be7 7.Nf3 0-0 8.Bd3 Nc6 (as per M.Voigt-J.Hector, Hamburg 2000) and now I think White has quite promising attacking chances on the kingside with 9.Bc2.  But Voigt more recently ran into 6...c5!? (M.Voigt-J.Sriram, Thailand 2011), which accepts an isolated pawn on d5 but gives Black a large share of the active piece play.  The game itself led to a rather dull draw.

The question of, "Which move-order?", is also dependent on which of the two Göring Gambit move-orders we're comparing with.  The brief lowdown is as follows:

A.  1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.c3.  This allows the Petroff (2...Nf6) but it avoids Black's third-move alternatives following 2.d4 exd4 3.Nf3. If Black plays 3...d6 then White can get a good line of the Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defence (4.Bb5) or simplify to a slightly better queenless middlegame with 4.dxe54.Bc4 is also worth considering- it will probably transpose to a reasonable sub-variation of Philidor's Defence.

B.  1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.c3.  This avoids the Petroff and opens up some additional gambit sidelines, which may or may not be to White's taste, and there is also the line 3...d5, though this should be slightly better for White after 4.Qxd4.  If White wants to avoid the line 4...dxc3 5.Nxc3 Bb4, then this move-order is problematic because of 3...Bb4+, but if White is happy to play the white side of that line, then I don't see any major objections to it.  I've had a number of games in this line which reached a Urusov Gambit after 3...Nf6 4.Bc4.  If Black plays 2...d6 then White can play 3.dxe5 or 3.Nf3 (the latter leads to a Philidor Defence) and if 2...Nc6 then Göring Gambit fans can play 3.Nf3 and be happy that they have again side-stepped the Petroff Defence.

C.  1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3.  This move-order has the advantage over A that it avoids the Petroff, but I don't see many reasons to prefer C over B, even if White intends 3...dxc3 4.Nxc3.  After 4...Bb4, if 5.Nf3 Nc6, or 5.Bc4 Nc6 leaving White with nothing better than 6.Nf3 since 6.Nge2 Nf6 leaves White with insufficient control over the e5-square.
There is one line that can catch White out if White goes for 3...dxc3 4.Nxc3: 4...d6 should be met by 5.Bc4, since 5.Nf3?! Be7 6.Bc4 Nf6 allows Black to castle before White hammers f7, i.e. 7.Qb3 0-0.  However I still believe that 4.Nxc3, as Nigel Davies recommended in Gambiteer I, is fully sound.

The main line Danish Gambit with 4.Bc4 is looking shaky in my view, for as well as the "equalising" 4...cxb2 5.Bxb2 d5 6.Bxd5 Nf6 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qxd8 Bb4+ 9.Qd2=, there is 5...Nf6 6.Nc3 (6.e5 d5 7.exf6 Bb4+ 8.Nc3 Qxf6) and Black chooses between 6...Bb4 and 6...d5!?, returning one pawn in order to assist development.  "PANFR" at the forum has recommended 5...Bb4+ which is also critical, though with best play it probably transposes to 5...Nf6 6.Nc3 Bb4.

There is also 3...d5 4.exd5 Nf6!? with the idea 5.Bb5+ Bd7 6.Bc4 b5!? which probably leads to equal chances for both sides.  4...Qxd5 5.cxd4 Nc6 does not force play into the Capablanca Variation because White has 6.Be3 as well as the idea 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.Nc3 Bb4 8.Be3.  I think 6.Be3 leads to similar positions after 6...Bb4+ 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.Nf3 Qa5 9.Qb3, but with Black not committed to ...Bg4, there are a few independent options for Black.  I tend to think that 6.Be3 is only worth a go if White doesn't like the line 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.Nc3 Bxf3 which leads to a sharp endgame with equal chances.

But for some, the main objection to move-order C may well be 3...Ne7 as discussed above.

1 comment:

  1. One remark: after 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 I think 4...Nc6 5.Bc4 Bb4 more accurate as 4...Bb4 allows 5.Qd4.