Thursday, October 23, 2008

Zilbermintz on Newark Gambit

[In the July-September 2008 issue of Atlantic Chess News, candidate master Lev Zilbermintz has written this article, under the title Newark Gambit: The Antidote To 4.Bc4 In The Philidor Counter Gambit – Part I.]

For many years, devotees of the Philidor Counter Gambit, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5!?, have had to contend with the annoying 4.Bc4 line, which develops the king’s bishop, targets the weakened black kingside, and prepares tactical tricks for White. It also discourages the capture 4...fxe4, for after 5.Nxe5! Black’s position begins to crumble. Of course, assuming the Black player knows what he is doing, it is possible to survive the tactical threats. Some games:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.Bc4 fxe4 4.Nxe5 d5 5.d4 dxc4 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Nxg6 hxg6 8.Qxh8 Kf7 9.c3 Bg7 10.Qh7 Nd7 11.Qh3 Ne5 12.Qg3 Nd3+ 13.Ke2 Nh6 14.h3 Nf5 15.Qh2 Bxd4 16.Be3 Be5 17.Qg1 Nxb2 18.Qc1 Qd3+ 19.Ke1 Nxe3, 0-1, Gerolt Unger - Ernst Grobe, ICCF World Championship, correspondence 1971.

However, the classic 19th century game P. Von Bilguer (the author of the Von Bilguer chess tome, which lasted until the 1920s!) - Tassilo Heybrandt und von der Lasa (usually known as von Lasa), Match 1, Berlin 1837 went:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.Bc4 fxe4 4.Nxe5 d5 5.Qh5+ g6 6.Nxg6 Nf6 7.Qe5+ Be7 8.Nxe7 Qxe7 9.Qxe7+ Kxe7 10.Bb3 c6 11.0-0 Rg8 12.Rd1 Bh3 13.g3 h5! 14.d3?

h4! 15.Nd2 hxg3 16.hxg3 Bg4 17.Re1 Nbd7 18.Nf1 Rh8 19.Nh2 Rxh2 20.Kxh2 Rh8+ 21.Kg1 Bf3!, White Resigns

Now for some of the earliest games with the Newark Gambit. Be warned, though, that the original move sequence was 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.Bc4 b5 (Latvian Gambit - Strautins Variation) 4.Bb3 d6 5.d4.

George Dinu (2295 ELO) - Petre B. Popescu
Bucharest, Romania, PBP Tournament, 1995
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.Bc4 b5 4.Bb3 d6 5.d4 fxe4 6.Nxe5?! dxe57.Qh5+ g6?? 8.Qxe5+! Qe7 9.Qxh8 Be6 10.Nc3 Bxb3 11.axb3 Nf6 12.O-O Nbd7 13.Bg5 c6 14.Nxe4
which led to a 1-0 in 39 moves.

Ouwerkerk, NA – Zagt, A
Netherlands Theme Correspondence Tournament, 1982
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.Bc4 b5 4.Bb3 d6 5.d4 Nf6!?
(This is an interesting alternative to the stronger and more complicated 5…fxe4!. I include this game for its historical interest, as it was very poorly played. My opinion is that White panicked and did not see 9.Bd5!) 6.dxe5 Nxe4 7.Qd5 Qd7 8.Qxa8 Nc6 9.Qxc6?? (Best is 9.Bd5!, winning.) Qxc6 10.a4 b4 11.O-O Ba6 12.Nd4 Qb6 13.Nb5 dxe5 14.Be3 Bc5 15.Nd2 Nxd2 16.Bxd2 c6 17.Rad1 cxb5, 0-1.

Jean Hebrard - Christian Jester
Picardy Correspondence Championship, France, 1987
5...fxe4! 6.Nxe5?! dxe5! 7.Qh5+ Kd7 8.Qxe5 Bd6! 9.Qe6+ Kc6 10.Qd5+ Kb6 11.O-O Nf6 12.Qg5 Ng4! 13.Qxg7 Bxh2+ 14.Kh1 Be5!
[threatening ...Qh4+! with mate to follow –Editor] 15.Qg5 Qxg5 16.Bxg5 Bxd4, 0-1.

There exist three other games, played in 1983, 1987, and 1988. All transposed from the Strautins Variation of the Latvian Gambit. I will cover these three games in the Newark Gambit Declined.


Edward Kopiecki - Lev Zilbermintz
Blitz Match, Game 4 of 9
Marshall Chess Club, New York, June 8, 2003
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Bc4 b5!?

5.Bxg8 Rxg8 6.dxe5 dxe5 7.Qxd8+ Kxd8 8.Nc3 b4 9.Bg5+ Ke8 10.Nd5 Bd6 11.O-O-O f4! 12.Rhe1 Kf7 13.h3 h6 14.Bxf4 exf4 15.e5 c6 16.exd6 cxd5 17.Re7+ Kg6, White’s flag fell.

We’ll continue with our discussion of the Newark Gambit: The Antidote To 4.Bc4 In The Philidor Counter Gambit – Part II in our next issue of Atlantic Chess News!