Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Evans Gambit

This game was played in March 1998 at the Marshall Chess Club. The time control was game in 30 minutes.

Jim West (USCF 2200) - Asuka Nakamura (USCF 2082)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5

After 5...Bc5 6.d4 exd4 7.O-O d6 8.cxd4 Bb6 9.Nc3 Na5 10.Bg5 Ne7 11.Bxf7+ (11.Nd5 f6 12.Bxf6 gxf6 13.Nxf6+ Kf8 14.Ng5 Nec6! 15.Nfxh7+ Kg7 16.Be6 Rxh7 17.Qg4 Qe8 18.Nxh7+ Kxh7 19.Qf5+ Kg7 20.Qg4+ Qg6 21.Bxc8 Qxg4 22.Bxg4 Nxd4 favors Black) Kxf7 12.Nd5 Re8 13.Bxe7 Rxe7 14.Ng5+ Kg8 15.Qh5 g6 16.Nf6+ Kg7 17.Qxh7+ Kxf6 18.e5+ Kxg5 19.f4+ Kf5 20.Qh3+ Ke4 21.Qf3+, Black must allow the draw by perpetual check with 21...Kf5 since 21...Kxd4 22.Rfd1+ Kc5 23.Qd5+ Kb4+ 24.Kh1 Bf5 25.Rab1+ Bxb1 26.Rxb1+ Kc3 27.Rc1+ Kb4 28.Qe4+ Bd4 29.Qxd4+ Kb5 30.a4+ Ka6 31.Qd3+ Nc4 32.Qxc4+ b5 leads to 33.Qxb5#.

6.d4 exd4

The main alternative is 6...d6 7.Qb3 Qd7 8.dxe5 Bb6 9.Nbd2, and now:

(a) 9...Nh6 10.O-O O-O 11.exd6 Qxd6 12.Ba3 (12.Bd5 Na5 13.Qb4 Qg6 14.Ne5 Qh5 with advantage to Black, Alexander-Tylor, Hastings 1935-1936) Bc5 13.Bxc5 Qxc5 14.h3 Rd8 15.Rfd1 Na5 16.Qb4 Qxb4 17.cxb4 Nxc4 18.Nxc4 Rxd1+ 19.Rxd1 Be6 20.Rc1 Rd8 21.Na5 b6 22.Nc6 Ra8 23.a4 is advantageous to White.

(b) 9...Na5 10.Qc2 Nxc4 11.Nxc4 d5 12.exd5 (12.Nxb6 axb6 13.O-O dxe4 14.Qxe4 Qg4 15.Qe3 Ne7 16.Nd4 O-O 17.h3 Qg6 18.f4 c5 19.Nb5 Rd8 20.Nd6 Nf5 21.Nxc8 Raxc8 22.Qf3 h5 23.Qxb7 Rc6 24.Qa6 c4 25.Qa4 Rd3 26.Rb1 Rxh3 27.e6 Rxe6 28.Qxc4 Qg3, 0-1, Estrin-Palciauskas, corr.) Qxd5 13.Qa4+ Bd7 14.Nxb6 cxb6 15.Qd4 Ne7 [15...Bc6 16.O-O O-O-O (Rohde) 17.Qg4+ Kb8 18.Qxg7 Ne7 19.Bg5] 16.Ba3 with advantage.

7.O-O Nge7 8.Ng5 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5?!

Correct is 9...Ne5 10.Bb3 O-O 11.cxd4 N5g6 (a possible improvement on 11...Ng4 12.Ba3, Anderssen-Mieses, Breslau 1867) 12.Ba3.

In his book The Great Evans Gambit Debate, grandmaster Michael Rohde now recommends 12...Nf5, a move to which he gives two exclamation points based on 13.Bxf8 Qxg5 14.Bc5 b6 15.Ba3 Nf4. But White has a clear advantage after 13.Qh5! (instead of 13.Bxf8) h6 (13...Nh6 14.Bxf8 Bg4 15.Nxf7!) 14.Ne6! fxe6 15.Bxf8! Kxf8 (15...Nxf8 16.dxe6 Ne7 17.Qxa5 Bxe6 18.Qe5) 16.Qxg6 exd5 17.Rd1.


The move 10.Re1+ is powerful for White.

10... Kxf7 11.Qh5+ g6 12.Bxd5+ Be6 13.Qf3+ Qf6 14.Bxe6+ Kxe6 15.Re1+ Kf7 16.Qd5+ Kg7 17.Qd7+ Qf7 18.Bh6+ Kg8 19.Qg4 Re8

20.Nd2! Bxc3 21.Rxe8+ Qxe8 22.Ne4 Qe5

No better is 22...Ne5 23.Qf4 Nd7 24.Nf6+ Nxf6 25.Qxf6 d3 26.Qxc3.

23.Nxc3 dxc3 24.Qc4+, Black resigns.

{This article originally appeared in the July-August 1998 issue of Atlantic Chess News}