Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another trap in the Englund Gambit

In the weak but trappy Englund Gambit, after 1.d4 e5? 2.dxe5 Nc6 3.Nf3 Qe7, White's two best moves are 4.Bf4! and 4.Qd5! In either case, however, White must know what he/she is doing. As the game below shows, combining the two ideas can be disastrous. On White's fifth move, correct was 5.Nc3! Bb7 6.Bg5, forcing Black to make his pawn sac permanent with 6...f6 7.exf6 Nxf6. Instead, 5.Bf4?? lost material to 5...Qb4+!, forking White's bishop and b-pawn. If White had responded with 6.Qd2 Qxb2 7.Qc3, 7...Bb4 would win the queen for starters. In the final position, White loses either his rook (after 9.Nxc3 Qxa1+) or king (after 9.Qxc3 Qc1#).

Note that the player of the White pieces reportedly died three years ago. Apparently, as with Mark Twain (and Elvis?), the rumors of his death have been greatly exaggerated. Or perhaps there is life, and Internet access, after death.


Bill Brock said...

After 4.Bf4 Qb4+, which is better, 5.Bd2 Qxb2 6.Nc3 (what I'd probably play), or 5.Nc3 Qxf4 6.Nd5 (what I'd like to play!)?

Frederick Rhine said...

5.Nc3 Qxf4 6.Nd5 is considered good for White (more so than the main line), so Black usually plays 5...Qxb2, when White has nothing better than 6.Bd2, transposing to the main line. See, e.g., Bellon Lopez-Marder - So you could say that 5.Nc3 is "best," since it gives Black the opportunity to deviate into a bad line.

Frederick Rhine said...

Correction - Komodo 9 says that sacking the b-pawn is about +1 better than sacking the bishop. So play 5.Bd2!