Kindred’s Special: The Evans Gambit

A recent tournament at Dortmund 2015 produced some spectacular chess by the winner Fabiano Caruana.  I chose the following game to illustrate how the young battle in rustic armor but find new lines that oil those tin cans.

White:  Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu   vs. Black:  Fabiano Caruana   Opening:  The Evans Gambit

e4  e5  2. Nf3  Nc6  3. Bc4  Bc5  4. b4  B:b4  5. c3  Ba5

Abe Turner’s 5. …Be7 is another way to play it. The text is old going back to the days of Anderson,  Lasker and Steinitz. My brother Raymond also favored the text in his postal play.

6. d4  d6  7. Qb3  Qd7 8. d:e5  Bb6  9. a4

Anand found this being tried by Nakamura in the London Classic of 2014.  One of the highly grounded tries is 9. Nd2 d:e5 where results currently tend to favor Black.

9. … Na5 10. Qa2  N:c4  11. Q:c4  Ne7  12. Ba3

I think here the axiom, “Knights before Bishops” might suggest either Na3 or Nbd2.

12. … O-O  13. O-O  Re8

Removing the Rook from the eyeing bishop diagonal is logical.  Suggested also was 13. …Ng6 14. e:d6 c:d6 15. Rd1 Qg4!  However, I wonder about perhaps striking on the Q-side immediately with 14. a5 B:a5 15. e:d6 c:d6 16. B:d6 that enters the realm of classic gambit style play?  The cry of the gambiteer is the middle game comes before the endgame!

14. e:d6  c:d6  15. Rd1

Worth considering is 15. Re1 guarding the e-file pawn. White can always play Qf1 to guard the castled King position.

15. Rd1  Qc6  16. Nbd2  Be6  17. Q:c6?

But this is totally wrong in playing gambits.  You simply don’t play into your opponent’s hands by trading unnecessarily. And White still has a fair position with, say 17. Qd3.

17. … N:c6  Adding to square count.

18. B:d6  Rad8  19. Bb4  Rd3  20. a5  Bc7  21. Nf1 R:d1  22. R:d1  N:a5  23. Nd4  Nc4  24. N:e6 R:e6  25. Rd7  Rc6  26. Ng3  g6  27. Ne2  a5!

The start of the march of this prancing pawn.

28. Nd4?

This illusionary reply of play is seen time and again in chess.  Recommended best is 28. Be7.

28. …. a:b4  29. N:c6  b3!!

“The lust of the passed pawn to expand” is a famous Nimsovitsch quote from his excellent MY SYSTEM.  Actually the pawn can be stopped but only at the expense of winding up a piece down.

30. R:c7  Nd6!!

The crusher.  The pawn promotion is guaranteed.  The geometric beauty of the Knight as I described in an early article is seen here as the squares it defends are b7/b5/c4 while blocking the d-file from White’s Rook as do the pawns on e4 and c3. A  strange configuration that makes chess such a uniquely wonderful experience.

White resigns.

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