Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The King's Gambit, Muzio Variation

The Muzio Gambit is rarely played nowadays.  During the Romantic Era, however, this lively opening, involving as it does the sacrifice of a piece on the fifth move, was played frequently even against very good players.  Here is an example in which Andressen, an attacking master, is brought to his knees in mere 17 moves.

ZUKERTORT vs. ANDERSSEN
Breslau, 1865

1. e4, e5
2. f4, exf4
3. Nf3, g5
4. Bc4, g4
5. 0-0 ....

After Ne5, Qh4ch the attack passes to Black.

5. .... Qe7

Black still maintains a threat to win a piece, as he holds Qc5 in reserve, winning White's exposed Bishop.

6. Nc3 !? ....

The idea behind this interesting move is apparently that after 6.... Qc5+, 7. d4 Qxc4, 8. Ne5 Qe6, 9. Nd5 Kd8, 10. Bxf4 White will have a fierce attack in return for the sacrificed piece.

6. ..... gxf3
7. d4, d6
8. Nd5, Qd7
9. Qxf3, Nc6
10. Qxf4, Nd8
11. Qg3!  ...

White's lead in development is so great that it negates, at least for the time being, his material loss.

11.....c6
12. Qxg8!, Rxg8
13. Nf6+, Ke7
14. Nxg8+ ....

Black's King cannot run away.

14. .....  Ke8
15. Nf6+, Ke7
16. Nxd7, Bxd7
17. Bg5+, Resigns

Black has nothing to live for.  If 17..... Ke8, 18. Bxd8 Rxd8, 19. Rxf7

A gem of a game.

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