GAMBIT--A RETURN TO THE ROMANTIC
By Gary Good
This is to be the first in a series
of 3 articles dealing with the "romantic" gambit opening; 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3
Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.c3!?
Mark Morss, the editor of HARD CHESS,
was the inspiration behind this project. During the early moves of our second
ICCF encounter with this gambit in the finals of the 13th USCC Championship
(US13F), Mark very kindly invited me to guest-write three articles on this
opening for his column. This is the first of those results, and I'd like to
dedicate this work to Mark and can only hope that it approaches the quality
standards of his previous work. Mark has agreed to collaborate with me in a
future article in annotating our two games from US12P01 and US13F, which were
both accepted variations of the gambit.
Mark has already explored one reply
accepting the gambit with 4....dxc3 5.Nxc3 in his January 1999
column entitled "The Importance of the Open Game, the Goring Gambit". However
over the past 1-1/2 centuries, white has also brazenly offered black a second
pawn after 4.....dxc3 5.Bc4!?, and in fact this is precisely
how the gambit was essayed in the "stem game" in 1877 at Leipzig, Germany by
Prof. C.T. Goring vs L. Paulsen, the well-known opponent of Paul Morphy and
Adolf Anderssen. Thus the name Goring Gambit, however, for those chess history
buffs, there has been a recent counterclaim by a German master, Helmut
Warzecha, in his 1993 monograph "Das Goring Gambit", where he claims to have
found a correspondence game between London & Edinburgh in 1824 in which the
first variation 5.Nxc3 was used!? Perhaps some readers can
research and clarify this bit of chess trivia. Nevertheless Goring's name has
appropriately remained with the opening, since he was the first to introduce it
into master play.
Another important point related to
chess opening "names" in this case is that this second variation 5.Bc4
is closely related to the Danish Gambit i.e.---1.e4 e5 2.d4
exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 etc. In fact some have named this line the
"Half-Danish" or "Danish with the Knights out". Therefore the student is
strongly advised to study the theory of both openings, as transpositional
But first I'd like to begin this
series by analyzing the declined variations of the Goring Gambit, beginning
with what I believe is now the most popular method of declining by black
4....Nf6. I've been playing this gambit for some 40 years in
CC, and until Vytas Palciauskas' well publicized victory with this move over J.
Mondragon prior to his capturing the 10th World CC Championship in 1984,
4.....d5 had been the popular choice of those black players
who did not wish to venture into the shark-infested waters of
4......dxc3. The 4....d5 declining variation
will be addressed also in a later article.
It has been pontificated by many
opening experts in the past; "One can never refute a gambit by declining it",
but it has also been said, "Descretion is the better part of valor", especially
when one is unprepared OTB it might be added! Indeed, I myself have used
4.....Nf6 from the black side of the gambit on several
important occasions. This gambit has some very large teeth, and I would never
feel comfortable playing 4...dxc3 as black vs a very strong
player, in the fear that he would have some new "sockdolager" in the offing.
Hey, if it's good enough for the World Champ Vytas Palciauskas, then it's good
enough for me. Therefore I will annotate 2 games that I've played from the
white side in this line and one from the black side.
Game 1: Good
- Bacon US13F
Game 2: Abramson - Good USCF-85NF15
Game 3: Good
- Everitt NAPZ-M04
For version 4 browsers:
Java replay of all games
for a zipped file (with
in new ChessBase (CBH) and PGN formats.
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