Kindred’s Special: A Visit With The King’s Gambit

The King’s Gambit has been a sort of surprise maverick in tournament chess and the 2002 Montreal International saw young Pascal Charbonneau uncork it against Alexandre Lesiege in the 5th round. Oddly enough, Pascal finished with 5 points and 5th place while Lesiege with 4 points finished in 11th place.

                Pascal Charbonneau   (White)  vs  Alexandre Lesiege  (Black)

                                                   King’s Gambit

1.e4  e5  2.f4  Pascal had done some investigation with FM Jack Yoos who is an expert of the King’s Gambit along with other Canadians GM Kevin Spraggett and IM Lawrence Day.

2…exf4  Other interesting tries here is the counter maverick like 2…Qh4+ 3.g3  Qe7; also interesting is the Falkbeer Counter Gambit with 2…d5, 3.exd5 e4!?, a line having lost some of the steam in earlier times. Black can also decline the KG by 2..Bc5 after which the game might proceed with 3.Nf3  d6  4.c3  Nf6 5.d4  exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Bd2 Bxd2+ 8.Nbxd2 Qe7 9.Bd3 Nxe4  10.Nxe4 d5  11.0-0 dxe4  12.Bxe4 0-0. 13.Qd3 h6 14.Ne5 again illustrates the idea of square count assisting in finding the right moves. Other ideas can be seen in the early collected games of Reti; Bronstein has some very good games featuring the KG.

3.Nf3  Here, Fischer often employed 3.Bc4 which might be strategically better. If you have a book on openings, check out the various strategies.

3…d5  This is considered one of the best defensive ideas and is called the modern variant for Black.

4.exd5  Nf6  5.Bc4  Bd6  6.0-0  0-0  7.d4  c6  8.Nc3  Bg4  9.Qd3

Now Black could try to mix it up 9…b5 10.Bb3  b4  11.Ne2  12.Bd2  Qf6  13.Ne5! which adds favorably to square count.

9…cxd5  10.Nxd5  Nxd5  11.Bxd5  Nc6

It is very important to get your pieces developed.

12.c3  Qf6  13.Bd2  Rae8  14.Rae1

Another important turn as it neutralizes the e-file while increasing square count. Rooks belong on open files. Possibly Black could have played Rad8 instead of hitting the open file as he chooses this move soon. 

14…Bc7  15.Be4  h6  16.b4 Rd8  17.d5  g5  18.Qc2  Ne5  19.c4  Bxf3  20.gxf3  g4  21.fxg4  Nxg4  22.Kh1!

Very strong. Black is fighting hard to get adequate counter chances but White is relentless in keeping up the pressure himself.

22…Qh4  23.Bc3!

Again very strong. Black may have been expecting something like 23.Bh7+ Kh8 24.Bc3+ f6  25.Re7  Qh3 and best seems 26.Bd3  after which ..Be5 comes and if 27.Qe2 then Rde8.

23… f5  24.Bf3  Qh5  25.c5  Rde8  26.d6

The foot soldier brazenly attacks!

26…Bd8  27.Rxe8  Rxe8  28.Rg1?!

White could have gone for a favorable ending with 28.Bxg4  fxg4  29.Qb3+ Qf7 30.Qxf7+ Kxf7 31.Rxf4+. Now the win is harder to achieve as Black gets active counterplay into White’s position.

28…Re3!  29.Rf1  Rxc3  30.Bxg4  Rxc2  31.Bxh5  b6  32.Re1  Bh4  33.d7  bxc5  34.bxc5  Rxc5  35.Re8+  Kg7  36.White sets the Q on d8! Bxd8 37.Rxd8  Kf6  38.Bd1  Rc3  39.Kg2  f3+ 40.Kf2  Ke5  41.Rd2  Ke4  42.Rb2  a5 43.Rb3  Rc1  44.Bxf3+ Kf4  45.Ra3  Rc2+  46.Be2  Rc5  47.Rh3  Rc2  48.Rh4+  Ke5  49.Ra4  Rc5  50.Rc4  Rd5  51.a4  f4  52.Rc6  1-0.

Lessons to learn from this game:

1.If you play 1..e5 to 1.e4 you need to prepare at least one or two lines against the King’s Gambit.

2.Whom ever has an edge, care must be taken to watch for aggressive defense where the inferior side fighting like the devil to find counterplay is shut down if possible. Letting the opponent gain counterplay can easily toss whatever advantage worked for into question.

3.It is important to study endgame positions and to examine as many types that occur in actual games as well as enjoying problems where the eye is sharpened for the coup de grace.




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