Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Philidor Counter Gambit 4.Bc4

At his The Kenilworthian blog, Michael Goeller states that he likes Black's position after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Bc4 exd4 and even wonders why I usually play Morphy's 4...Nc6. The bad news for Black in the 4...exd4 line is the game Zemitis-Svendsen, Correspondence 1998 which continued 5.Ng5 Nh6 6.O-O Nc6 7.exf5 Bxf5 8.Re1+ Kd7 9.Be6+ Bxe6 10.Nxe6 Qh4 11.Bxh6 gxh6 12.Qf3 Be7??

The only move to avert disaster is 12...Ne5. But after 13.Qxb7, Black's position looks shaky.

13.Qf5! Ne5 14.Nxd4+ Kd8 15.Ne6+ Kc8 16.Rxe5! dxe5 17.Nc5+ Kb8 18.Nd7+ Kc8 19.Nb6+ Kb8 20.Qc8+ Rxc8 21.Nd7#.

Ironically, the final position is Philidor's Legacy! I think Morphy knew what he was doing when he played 4...Nc6 instead of 4...exd4.