Thursday, 11 December 2014

More on the King's Gambit- Fischer and Becker defences looking OK for both sides

Apologies for lack of updates- I haven't been doing quite as much with the online articles since taking up my new job (although I have joined Exeter Chess Club).

The latest update on the King's Gambit has involved increasing the amount of verbal explanation for the early moves of the game in the annotated games sections, while I have had a closer look at the lines discussed at Chess-Brabo.

The latest articles are here:
Modern Defence
3.Nf3 g5
3.Nf3 d6 and h6
Vienna Gambit lines
"Vienna Gambit lines" refers to the Hamppe-Allgaier and Pierce Gambits that normally arise from 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 exf4 4.Nf3 g5 5.h4 and 5.d4 respectively.  The King's Gambit move-order to those lines is typically 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Nc3 Nc6 5.h4 or 5.d4, while 5.g3 is most consistent with a Quaade Gambit-based repertoire.

In the Fischer Defence, 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 d6, Black intends to play 4...g5 but without allowing the white knight on f3 access to e5, and thus preventing the Kieseritzky Gambit (3...g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5).

White can continue with 4.Bc4, which normally leads to a Hanstein Gambit after 4...h6! intending 5...g5 (rather than the immediate 4...g5?! which is met by 5.h4 and if 5...g4 6.Ng5 and White's knight and bishop both hit f7).
Instead 4.d4 g5 5.h4 g4 6.Ng1 is the traditional main line but I don't think White gets enough development there to give much compensation for the pawn.

I am inclined to agree with John Shaw that continuing in Quaade Gambit style with 5.Nc3 with g2-g3 to follow.  Then "brabo" recommends 5...h6, which is at least as good as anything else that Black has.  6.g3 Bd7!? is an interesting suggestion of his, not allowing White the standard development plan of Be3, Qd2 and 0-0-0, and White probably does best to switch plans with 7.Bc4 and 8.0-0.  While I don't quite agree that "it is very difficult for White to keep the balance", Black certainly doesn't stand worse.  Instead, 6...fxg3 7.hxg3 allows Black to flick in ...Nf6-g4, whereupon White can allow the exchange of knight for bishop by playing Be3, Qd2 and 0-0-0, or meet ...Nf6-g4 with Be3-g1, which leaves White's pieces bottled up on the first rank but White still appears to get reasonable compensation for the pawn.

This is also relevant to the Becker Defence, 3...h6, which aims to avoid the Kieseritzky Gambit, since after reinforcing the g5-pawn, Black does not have to meet h2-h4 with ...g5-g4, and the interesting idea 4.b3, discouraging 4...g5, is well met by 4...d5 (or 4...Nf6- Shaw).

White again has the option of the Hanstein Gambit with 4.Bc4, but probably best is the Quaade Gambit style line 4.d4 g5 5.Nc3, and then Black's best is probably 5...d6, leading to the same position as I discussed earlier under the Fischer Defence.

This certainly appears to be one of the most critical positions in the early ...g5 lines of the King's Gambit at the moment.  White's better development counterbalances Black's extra pawn.

So, in conclusion, both 3...d6 and 3...h6 are probably about equal in value with 3...g5, though they narrow down Black's good options against the Quaade Gambit approach since if White plays 3...g5 4.Nc3 then Black has other good options besides playing 4...d6 5.d4 h6.   One significant advantage of 3...d6, however, is that it tempts White into the line 4.d4 g5 5.h4 g4 6.Ng1, which is inferior to the Kieseritzky Gambit with 3...g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5.


  1. Hi Ian,

    best wishes for 2015 and have fun in Exeter.
    Sorry for hardly commenting lately, but just like you I have been very busy.
    Generally your gambit site only gets better, both regarding content and lay out. As I haven't had much interest in the KG lately I haven't much sensible to say.
    There is one point though. You could make navigating the line 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Nc3 Nc6 5.g3 easier. First you refer to the Quaade Gambit, but stupid as we readers are, it's not entirely clear that you investigate this on your Quaade page. Moreover I think you should specifically mention the game Nepustil-Muri. That issue repeats itself in that game - you mention 5...d6, a transposition to the Fischer Defense, but then we have to spend time to figure out that transposition is researched in a note to Shulman-Kamberi. What happens? That note results in a position that's reached in Nepustil-Muri as well! Concrete:

    1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Nc3 Nc6 5.g3 g4 6.Nh4 d6 7.d4 f3 Nepustil-Muri is the same as
    1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 d6 4.d4 g5 5.g3 Shulman-Kamberi g4 6.Nh4 f3 7.Nc3 Nc6.

    Another time I will check the transpositions to the Fischer- and Becker Defense proper; they are rather mind boggling.

  2. Thanks for the great articles and analysis. Your blog and website is a goldmine of gambit lines, and I am a big fan.

    In the Pierce Gambit, I wonder if you have looked at some alternatives to the lines you give starting with 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 exf4 4.Nf3 g5 5.d4 g4 6.Bc4 gxf3 7.O-O Nxd4 8.Bxf4 Bc5 9.Bxf7 Kxf7 10.Be3

    You suggest that Black must find the accurate moves 10...Qf6 11.Ne5 Qe5 12.Rxf3 when White lacks full compensation. I think that White does have at least enough compensation after 12.c3, and should be able to draw. One example line is 12.c3 Bd6 13.Bxd4 Qxh2 14.Kf2 fxg2 15.Qf3+ Ke8 16.Qxg2 Qxg2 17.Kxg2 when White's pressure against h8 allows him to recover material.

    However, 9.Bxf7 Kxf7 10.Be3 may not work after all. There are several options that my computer likes, but apparently 10...Ke8 is good enough for a Black advantage since the King is no longer on the F-file.

    I apologize if I have overlooked something simple, although if so, I'd be curious to know what it is (especially if there are additional chances for White). All of the lines I give are based on some somewhat unorthodox analysis of my own. You can see it in more detail at my blog post at

  3. I'm about to publish a big update completing the King's Gambit section of the site, hopefully sometime in the next couple of weeks. I'll be sure to look into the issue of the Quaade Gambit transpositions.

    Devin, I agree with you about the continuation with 12.c3. White appears to get enough compensation in all lines. Your suggestion 10...Ke8, and also 10...Kg7, should indeed be good enough for a Black advantage: 11.Bxd4(+) Bxd4 12.Qxd4(+) Qf6. White gets some hacking chances but with only one minor piece left on the board, it should not be enough. These lines will be updated (with a reference to your contribution) in the upcoming update.

  4. Actually I am starting to look into the BDG and am going to give this a try (I do not like what the books give.) What do you like to play against the Lemberger Counter Gambit?