Monday, September 11, 2017

Benko Gambit

The Benko Gambit (or Volga Gambit) is a chess opening characterized by the move 3...b5 in the Benoni Defense arising after:
1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
Black sacrifices a pawn in order to gain rapid development.  Apart from this, Black also obtains fast development and good control of the a1–h8 diagonal and can exert pressure down the half-open a- and b-files. These are benefits which can last well into the endgame and so, unusually for a gambit, Black does not generally mind if queens are exchanged; indeed, exchanging queens can often remove the sting from a kingside attack by White.
The following game was actually played by Yury Nikolaevich Shaposnikov vs. Georgy Bastrikov in 1954:
1. d4, Nf6
2. c4, c5
3. d5, b5
4. cxb5, e6
5. Nc3, exd5
6. Nxd5, Bb7
 7. e4, Nxe4
White gives back the pawn in order to mobilize his f1 Bishop.   But undeniably, Black controls the center.

8. Bf4, Qa5+
9. b4 ....

Temporarily closing the diagonal.

9. .... cxb4
10. Bc4!? ....
Since b3 is inevitable, White decides to create an escape square for his King.

10. .... b3
11. Kf1, b2!!
12. Rb1, Bd6!
Defends the c7 square and prepares to castle at the kingside.

13.  Qd4, 0-0

Black decides to put his King to safety, sacrificing his Knight in the process.  He cannot move the Knight without endangering his d7 Bishop.

14. Qxe4, Bxf4
15. Ne7+, Kh8
16. Qxf4, Qc3
17. Nf3, Re8
18. Qxf7, Na6
19. bxa6, Be4
20. Ke2, Bg6!!

21. Ng5, Rxe7!!
22. Qxe7, Qxc4+
23. Kf3, Bh5+

White resigns.  if 24. Ke3, then Black replies with Re8.  If 24. Kg3, White mates with Qg4.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Halloween Gambit

The Halloween Gambit (also known as the Müller–Schulze Gambit or Leipzig Gambit) is an aggressive chess opening gambit in which White sacrifices a knight early on for a single pawn. The opening is an offshoot of the normally staid Four Knights Game and is defined by the moves:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Nc3 Nf6
4. Nxe5

White's objective is to seize the center with pawns and drive back Black's knights. After 4... Nxe5, White usually plays 5. d4 (5.f4 does nothing for his development), after which Black can retreat the attacked knight to either g6 or c6.  (Source:  Wikipedia)

4. ....  Nxe5
5. d4, Ng6

When Black retreats 5...Nc6, White chases the knight again with 6.d5. Then Black has 6...Ne5 (the Main line), or 6...Bb4 (Pinski's move).

6. e5, Ng8
7. Bc4,  c6
8. Qf3, f6

Black's attempt to block White's Bishop (d5) would be futile because of 9.....exd5 (e.p.).

9. 0-0, d5
10. exd5, Bxd6
11. Ne4, N8e7
12. Qxf6!! ....

12. .... gxf6?
13. Nxf6+, Kf8
14. Bh6 mate.

To see other Halloween Gambit games, you may visit Win With the Halloween Gambit.

Scotch Gambit

The Scotch Gambit is an older relative of the Göring Gambit, reached via the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4, or sometimes 2.d4 exd4 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Bc4 or 2.d4 exd4 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.Nf3.   Instead of offering the gambit immediately with c2-c3, White plays Bc4 first, keeping open the option of recapturing the pawn on d4.  If Black is not careful he or she can be confused by the various transpositions and end up in a poor line of the Göring Gambit.  The move 4.Bc4 also covers the d5-square, which prevents Black from equalizing with 4...d5 (an effective counter to the immediate 4.c3).

The main drawback of White’s move-order is that the e4-pawn is unprotected, and Black’s most reliable responses involve targeting the e4-pawn with 4...Nf6 (transposing to the Two Knights’ Defense) and 4...Bc5 5.c3 Nf6 (transposing to the Giuoco Piano).  Black can also transpose into a line of the Hungarian Defense with 4...Be7.  On the other hand, this means that the Scotch Gambit is a good way for White to steer play towards a standard Italian Game while avoiding the solid lines in which Black plays to reinforce the pawn on e5 (for after both 1.e4 e5 2.d4 and 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4, Black has no good way to maintain the pawn on e5).  (Source:


 1. e4, e5

2. Nf3, Nc6

3. d4, exd4

4. Bc4 ....

One of the main lines of the Scotch Gambit.

4. ....  Bc5

Black may continue 4..... Bb4, 5. c3 dxc3, 6. bxc3 c5, 7. Bxf7 Kxf7, 8. Qd5+ which favors White.

5. c3, dxc3


If 5..... Nf6, the game may continue 6. e5 Ne4, 7. Bd5 ...


6. Bxf7+, Kxf7

7. Qd5+  ....

7. .... Kg6

If 7..... Kf6, then 8. Bg5+ Kg6, 9. Qf5+ Kh5, 10. g4 mate.

8. Qf5 mate.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Cochrane Gambit

The Cochrane Gambit was named after John Cochrane who was a nineteenth century Scottish chess master. And he was a strong one too, ranked only below Howard Staunton who is very well known for his design of the chess pieces that we still use in tournament play. Cochrane was a well known name in the Calcutta (now known as Kolkatta) chess club as he played against several Indian players there while he lived in India. The first appearance of the Cochrane gambit against the Petrov's defense according to Wikipedia and my Mega Database was in the year 1848 against an Indian master Mohishunder Bannerjee.  (Source:

Here is one variation of the gambit:

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, Nf6
3. Nxe5, d6
4. Nxf7, Kxf7

5. d4, Nxe4

Black takes the bait.  Herein lies the trap of the Cochrane.

6. Qh5+, Ke7

If 6.... g6, the game may continue: 7. Qd5+ Be6, 8. Qxe4 .... and White was able to take back his sacrificed Knight plus an extra pawn.

7. Qe2, d5
8. Bg5+ ....

White captures the opponent's Queen.

You may go to Cochrane Gambit Games.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Danish Gambit

The Danish Gambit, known as the Nordisches Gambit (Nordic Gambit) in German, and the Noors Gambiet (Norwegian Gambit) in Dutch, is a chess opening that begins with the moves

1. e4, e5
2. d4, exd4
3. c3 ....

 White will sacrifice one or two pawns for the sake of rapid development and the attack. However, with care, Black can accept one or both pawns safely, or simply decline the gambit altogether with good chances.  (Source: Wikipedia)

The text is part of the Danish Gambit Accepted.

3. .... dxc3
4. Bc4, cxb2
5. Bxb2 ...

Analyzing the position, White has more active and developed pieces (e.g. Bishops), which, if Black is not careful, may be instrumental in assuring White's victory.

5. .... Nf6
6. Nc3, Bb4
7. Ne2, Nxe4
8. 0-0 ...

If 8. Qd5 Black replies Nd6.

8. ... Nxc3
9. Nxc3, 0-0
10. Nd5, Bc5
11. Nf6+!! ....

Taking advantage of his two Bishops,  White decides to open up avenues of attack.

11. .... gxf6
12. Qg4+, Kh8
13. Qh4, Be7
14. Bd3 ....

Usually, Black resigns immediately.  He has no solution to an impending mate.

For other variations, you may visit The Danish Gambit.

For a classic Danish Gambit game, you may go to A Danish Gambit Classic.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Boden's Mate

Boden's Mate is characterized by a king being mated by two bishops along two criss-crossing diagonals.  The most famous example of Boden's Mate is the so-called Peruvian Immortal Game, Canal vs. Dubyna, Budapest 1934.

In the following game, Samuel Boden, for whom the mate is named, exhibited an early example of it in a friendly game Schulder–Boden, London 1853.  Source: Wikipedia.

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, d6
3. c3, f5
4. Bc4, Nf6
5. d4, fxe4
6. dxe5, exf3
7. exf6, Qxf6
8. gxf3, Nc6
9. f4, Bd7
10. Be3, 0-0-0
11. Nd2, Re8
12. Qf3, Bf5
13. 0-0-0? ....

Bd5 is better.

13. .... d5!
14. Bxd5? ....

This move allows a forced mate. Better is 14. Rde1, losing a piece.

14. .... Qxc3+
15. bxc3, Ba3 mate.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Tarrasch Trap

The Tarrasch Trap was named after Siegbert Tarrasch, who was one of the strongest chess players in the late 19th century and early 20th century.  Tarrasch actually used his traps against chess masters in tournament games.

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, Nc6
3. Bb5, a6
4. Ba4, Nf6
5. 0-0, Nxe4

The Open Variation of the Ruy Lopez.

6. d4, b5
7. Bb3, d5
8. dxe5, Be6
9. c3, Be7
10. Re1, 0-0
11. Nd4, Qd7?

12. Nxe6!! ....

If 12....fxe6 or Qxe6, then 13. Rxe4 and White wins a piece.