Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Falkbeer Counter Gambit

The Falkbeer Gambit is usually employed by Black against the King's Gambit with the idea of paralyzing White's center.  The Gambit offers a pawn instead of taking the gambit and advances the e-pawn with the idea of preventing Nf3 and the advance of White's d-pawn.

Breslau, 1862

1. e4, e5
2. f4, d5

This countergambit surrenders a pawn for technical and psychological reasons.  The technical objective is to obtain a substantial lead in development, the psychological motive is to befuddle White.

3. exd5, e4

This pawn can be a stumbling block to White by preventing the natural Nf3; or it can become a target for White's attack, provoking him to waste time winning the advanced pawn.

This explains why White's best course is to shunt aside these complications and simply play 4. d3, ensuring the removal of the obnoxious pawn.

4. Bb5ch, c6
5. dxc6, Nxc6
6. Nc3, Nf6
7. Qe2 ......

White is following the faulty tactic of winning the King Pawn.  He will live to regret it.

7. ......  Bc5 !
8. Nxe4, 0-0

For after 9. Nxc5 Black wins the White Queen with 9. ...... Re8.

9. Bxc6 ........

Getting rid of an important enemy piece, but opening up a file which will be useful for Black later on.

9. ...... bxc6
10. d3, Re8
11. Bd2 .......

White prepares to castle, as the King file is getting too hot for his King.

11. ....... Nxe4
12. dxe4, Bf5

Developing with gain of time.

13. e5, Qb6

A double-threat: 14. .....Bxg1 and 14. ... Qxb2.  White's reply is forced.

14. 0-0-0, Bd4 !

Neat play. White threatens mate.

15. c3, Rab8 !
16. b3, Red8!
17. Nf3 ......

White can hold out much longer with 17. Kb2, although after 17. ... Bc5 he would be helpless against Black's attack.  The text permits a lovely finish.

17. ......  Qxb3

The proverbial bolt from the blue, and still threatening mate.

18. axb3, Rxb3

And now, with his Queen gone, Black threatens 8. ..... Rb1 mate.

19. Be1 ......

To create a flight square for his King.

19. ..... Be3+
20. Resigns

Here we see the real point of 16. .....Red8 !!!  Black's devilishly posted King Rook cuts off the escape of White's King, so that Black can continue with 20.....Rb1 mate.

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