Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Danish Gambit

The Danish Gambit is an opening where White offers some pawns for free but gets a DANGEROUS attack in return! The first few moves are 1.e4 e5, 2.d4 .... Is this a good move? Yes, even some of the best players in the world play this move. Moving the pawn into the center opens up lines for the rest of the pieces. White is also threatening 3. dxe5!

2...exd4 Black usually takes.

3.c3 The Danish Gambit. It was called that since most of the players that first tried it were from Denmark.

The main line goes 3...dxc3, 4.Bc4 cxb2, 5.Bxb2 .... This is the start position.

Have a look at it carefully. White has been very generous giving away two pawns, but Black must be VERY careful. The plan is to develop his pieces like so Nc3, Nge2, 0-0, Qb3, Rad1, etc. Blacks main choices are: 5...Nf6?!, 5....d5!!, 5...d6 and 5...Bb4+.

Let us have a look at one of the most brilliant games ever played using the Danish Gambit.

Kaschau, 1893

1. e4, e5
2. d4, exd4
3. c3, dxc3
4. Bc4, Nf6

Black can also capture the third pawn, then  5. Bxb2 c6, 6. Nf3 d6, 7. 0-0 Nd7, followed by 8. .....Nc5.

5. Nf3, Bc5

Not 5.....Nxe4 because of 6. Bxf7+ Kxf7, 7. Qd5+ ....

6. Nxc3, d6
7. 0-0, 0-0
8. Ng5 .....

White has a good play for the sacrificed pawn.

8. ..... h6?

Driving White to do what he wants to do anyway.

9. Nxf7!, Rxf7
10. e5 .....

This is possible because the d6 pawn is pinned.

10. ..... Ng4

After 10. ..... Ne8, 11. Be3! Bb6, 12. Qd5 Qe7, 13. Bxb6 axb6, 14. Rae1.... White has a winning attack.

11. e6! .....

A crushing stroke which simultaneously attacks Black's King Rook and King Knight.

Black has no really good move.  If he plays 11. ..... Rxf2?! there follows 12. e7+ Rf7+, 13. Kh1 and White must win.  Of course 11. ..... Re7 is futile because of 12. Qxg4.  Finally, after 11. ... Bxe6, 12. Bxe6.... White wins easily.

11. ..... Qh4!?
12. exf7+, Kf8
13. Bf4!, Nxf2
14. Qe2, Ng4+
15. Kh1 .....

White threatens Qe8 mate.

15. ..... Bd7
16. Rae1! .....

With a subtle threat against which Black is powerless.

16. ..... Nc6
17. Qe8!!, Rxe8
18. fxe8=Q+, Bxe8
19. Bxd6 mate.

A very delightful finish!  Black's inept defense contributed to the artistic conclusion.

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