OVER 44 HOURS OF INSTRUCTION!
GM Boris Alterman explores THE BEST 1.c4, 1. d4, 1.f4 and 1.Nf3 Gambits!
- Budapest Gambit
ENGLISH-DEFENSE-GAMBIT (4 PART SERIES)
The English Defense (with 1 d4 e6 2 c4 b6) came into being during the height of the so-called “English Chess Explosion” of the late 1970s and through the 1980s, when it was championed successfully at elite level by top English grandmasters such as Tony Miles, Ray Keene, Jon Speelman and Nigel Short. While this hypermodern defense is as quintessentially English as fish and chips and high tea, that didn’t stop it becoming universally played and pioneered in other countries – especially as it is full of dynamics for the player of the Black pieces with so many inventive ways to play it. And in a new series of GM Boris Alterman’s Gambit Guide, our resident guru of all things gambits looks at one such line being the English Defense gambit with 1 c4 b6 2 d4 e6 3 e4 Bb7 4 Nc3 Bb4 5 f3 f5 6 ef Nh6!?
ENGLISH-OPENINGS (5 PART SERIES)
The English Opening was made famous by Howard Staunton, who organized the great London International Tournament of 1851, the world’s first international chess tournament. Many are confused what to play against 1 c4 because it has a reputation of being solid – but in a new series of GM Boris Alterman’s Gambit Guide, over the next few weeks our guru takes a closer look at three enterprising gambit lines against the English, where an unsuspecting and unprepared White player can easily be intimidated and terrorized: 1) the Bellon Gambit with 1 c4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Nf3 e4 4 Ng5 b5!? 2) English Symmetrical with… 3) the reversed Grand Prix Attack with 1 c4 e5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 g3 f5 4 Bg2 Nf6 5 d3 Bc5 6 e3 f4!? made famous by Bobby Fischer after his famous 1969 New York Metropolitan League demolition job of Anthony Saidy.
ALATORSEV-GAMBIT-IN-THE-BOTVINNIK-SEMI-SLAV (2 PART SERIES)
Vladimir Alexeyevich Alatorsev (1909-1987), was a Russian chess grandmaster, organizer, teacher, author, and administrator. During his career, he became champion of both Leningrad and Moscow, and played nine times in the Soviet Chess Championship finals, with his best competitive results in the 1930s, as he placed clear second in the 1933 Soviet final. Alatortsev was an early Leningrad chess rival of Mikhail Botvinnik, who later became World Champion. The Botvinnik Semi Slav 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 e6 5.Bg5 dxc4 6.e4 b5 7.e5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Nxg5 is one of the most complicated Chess openings, with highly unbalanced situations and double edge play. However, despite the main line with 9…hg 10. bg5 Nbd7, Black can try out the less known Gambit line 9…Nd5!?, named after Alatorsev. In the new two-part Gambit Guide series, GM Boris Alterman shows you the main ideas and recent developments in this quite sharp and interesting line.
ALBIN-COUNTERGAMBIT (3 PART SERIES)
Invented nearly 90 years ago by the Austrian master Adolf Albin (1848-1920), the Albin counter-gambit (1 d4 d5 2 c4 e5!?) gives up a pawn for space in the center and is generally thought to be unsound – but Black has many tricks and traps to hold the balance. For many years it was a big favorite at club level, but regarded as dubious at top level, as Black doesnt gain full value for the sacrificed pawn. But Alexander Morozevich soon changed all that by breathing new life into it. And in this Gambit Guide series, GM Boris Alterman takes a closer look at the Albin Counter Gambit.
ANTI-BENONI-BENKO-SYSTEM (4 PART SERIES)
Looking to play a Benoni, Benko or perhaps a Blumenfeld gambit? Well, what happens when your opponent opts to be a spoiler by playing an Anti-Benoni/Benko system with 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 Nf3? There is the option of the aggressive 3 …cxd4 4 Nxd4 e5!? – a gambit with a good reputation and pedigree, having being played and pioneered by a young Garry Kasparov. The Anti-Benoni/Benko Gambit often leads to sharp play with easy and harmonious development of the Black’s pieces. And in a new series of Boris Alterman’s Gambit Guide, our resident gambit guru takes a closer look at the Anti-Benoni/Benko Gambit with 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 Nf3 cxd4 4 Nxd4 e5!?
Alexander Beliavsky is a product of the legendary Soviet School of Chess and once a contemporary of Anatoly Karpov. “Big Al” as he’s affectionately know as, is a four-time USSR Champion (1974, 1980, 1987 and 1990), and has played at the Olympiad for three countries, first starting with the USSR, the latest being his now adopted homeland of Slovenia. In his time at the top, Big Al was a noted theorisist – and in 1996, he came up with an interesting line in the classical Nimzo-Indian after 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 d5 5 cxd5 Qxd5 6 Nf3 Qf5 7 Qd1 e5!? that quickly got christened “The Beliavsky Gambit”. The Beliavsky Gambit was quickly adopted by other top stars such as Adams and Khalifman. Although out of fashion these days, it has never been refuted outright.
BENKO-GAMBIT (4 PART SERIES)
GM Boris Alterman explores the Benko Gambit (1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 b5). Black’s counterplay is very durable compared to many other gambits, in that the queenside pressure can last well into the endgame. The idea to sacrifice a pawn with …b5 and …a6 was an old favorite of Czech master Karel Opocensky in the mid-1930s. Then, the original name of the opening was the Volga Gambit – named after the Volga River – after an article about 3…b5!? by B. Argunow that appeared in the magazine Schachmaty in USSR of 1946. But it soon shot to fame and near universal club-level adoption at the end of the 1960s after its eponym, Pal Benko, honed and developed the gambit into a potent attacking weapon for black on the back of many big U.S. Swiss victories during this period.
BLACKMAR-DIEMER-GAMBIT (3 PART SERIES)
Play the Blackmar-Diemer gambit and mate will come by itself!” so wrote Emil Diemer (1908-1990), as he refashioned an opening once played by Armad Blackmar (1826-1888), which came to bear both their names. Diemer was an average player who shot to fame in the fifties and sixties through the popularity of his opening with the masses, especially in Germany and the Netherlands. The BDG with 1. d4 d5 2. e4!? has a large following and it does indeed go for the jugular early, as white plays for mate from move two. And in his latest Gambit Guide series, GM Boris Alterman shows even today that the BDG can be just as lethal.
BLUMENFELD-GAMBIT (2 PART SERIES)
The Blumenfeld Gambit with 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 c5 4 d5 b5!? is a blood relative to the more universally popular Benko Gambit. While it was the invention of Russian master Benjamin Blumenfeld (1884-1947), it only became of interest after Alekhine used it to good effect as he destroyed Tarrasch in 1922 with a text-book advert for the gambit. Modern master praxis has been to decline the gambit with 5 Bg5 rather than being faced with a strong pawn sacrifice for easy piece play and a direct attack a la Alekhine-Tarrasch. But in his latest Gambit Guide series for ICC, GM Boris Alterman shows that the Blumenfeld – even when White declines the gambit – has strategic depth beyond its first impressions.
BUDAPEST-GAMBIT (3 PART SERIES)
GM Boris Alterman explores the Budapest Gambit (1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e5). The Budapest is popular with club and internet chess players all over the world, and it is easy to see why. It has surprise value, its not hard to learn, and it leads to sharp and dynamic play from the very start of the game. It was first played by Hungarian great Geza Maroczy at Budapest, 1896, but it was his fellow countrymen Abonyi, Barasz and Breyer who developed and popularized the opening in the early part of the 20th-century. While it is rarely seen at top level (though Mamedyarov deployed it in 2008 at the Amber tournament to beat Kramnik! It is not only solid and reliable, but you can also catch unaware opponents out in one of the myriad of opening traps to pick up a free win!
GELLER-TOLUSH-GAMBIT (3 PART SERIES)
The Geller/Tolush Gambit (1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5 e4) has become enormously popular as a combative way for White to battle the solid Slav Defense, as White gives up the c-pawn for control of the center. The main ideas of the gambit was worked out by GM Alexander Tolush in 1947, and he played it against World Champion-to-be Vassily Smyslov during the USSR Championship of that year. But it was his fellow Soviet grandmaster (and noted theoretician) Efim Geller who worked the most to establish the gambit as a respectable opening by playing it consistently and finding many key improvements for White.
GRUENFELD-GAMBIT (6 PART SERIES)
The Grünfeld Defence (named after the Austrian hypermodern master Ernst Grünfeld, 1913-1961) is a dynamic and popular weapon for players who look to counterattack with the black pieces. It is no wonder then that it became a particular favorite of former World Champions Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov. Part 1: Boris takes a closer looks at three critical gambit lines in the Grünfeld Defence, first up being the Grünfeld Gambit Accepted with 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 Bf4 Bg7 5 e3 OO 6 cxd5 Nxd5 7 Nxd5 Qxd5 8 Bxc7. Part 2: Boris takes a closer look at three critical gambit lines in the Grünfeld; the second of which being one of the big main lines of the Exchange variation with 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 cxd5 Nxd5 5 e4 Nxc3 6 bxc3 Bg7 7 Bc4 c5 8 Ne2 Nc6 9 Be3 0-0 10 0-0 Bg4 11 f3 Na5 12 Bd3 cxd4 13 cxd4 Be6 14 d5 Bxa1 15 Qxa1 – an exciting exchange sacrifice credited to the ever-inventive David Bronstein, who first played it on the big stage during the Budapest Interzonal of 1950.
HENNIG-SCHARA-GAMBIT (3 PART SERIES)
Boris Alterman explores an aggressive way to disarm the Queen’s Gambit with 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c5 4 cxd5 cxd4!?, the Hennig-Schara Gambit. It was first noted by Austrian master Anton Schara, who used it to defeat Ernest Gruenfeld during an offhand game at Vienna in 1918. Then ten years later, the relatively little-known German master Heinrich von Hennig picked up on Schara’s published analysis to be the first to do any serious study of the gambit and introduced it into tournament praxis at Duisburg 1929. With the dynamic complexities of this early gambit against the normally solid Queen’s Gambit, you can confuse and dismay many a 1 d4 players, creating excellent preconditions for winning chess – for Black!
KID-SAEMISCH-VARIATION (6 PART SERIES)
There’s no question that the late great David Bronstein (1924-2006) was a true chess genius. He was an independent thinker at the board, and his original ideas almost single-handedly re-invented the King’s Indian Defence in the 1950s. He was even willing to play dynamic gambits in the most important of situations, such as the 1956 Candidates Tournament in Amsterdam, when he shocked Boris Spassky and the chess world with a stunning queen sacrifice in the Sämisch variation with 5.f3 0-0 6.Be3 e5 7.d5 Nh5 8.Qd2 Qh4+!? – with Black getting two bishops and two pawns for the queen in a very unbalanced position. The variation is still unclear to this day, and it makes for a very good surprise weapon to have in your arsenal. And in an extended series of Gambit Guide, GM Boris Alterman takes a closer look at the Bronstein influence in the Sämisch variation starting with his daring queen sacrifice.
KREJCIK-GAMBIT (2 PART SERIES)
In a new series of Gambit Guide, GM Boris Alterman again responds to ICC members who have asked our resident expert in all things gambits what to do in the Krejcik Gambit in the Dutch Defense!
Alexander Beliavsky is a product of the legendary Soviet School of Chess and once a contemporary of Anatoly Karpov. “Big Al” as he’s affectionately know as, is a four-time USSR Champion (1974, 1980, 1987 and 1990), and has played at the Olympiad for three countries, first starting with the USSR, the latest being his now adopted homeland of Slovenia. In his time at the top, Big Al was a noted theorisist – and in 1996, he came up with an interesting line in the classical Nimzo-Indian after 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 d5 5 cxd5 Qxd5 6 Nf3 Qf5 7 Qd1 e5!? that quickly got christened “The Beliavsky Gambit”. The Beliavsky Gambit was quickly adopted by other top stars such as Adams and Khalifman. Although out of fashion these days, it has never been refuted outright. But top US Women’s player, IM Irina Krush, came up with her own counter-gambit to eschew the complications of the Beliavsky gambit, with the enterprising 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 d5 5 cxd5 Qxd5 6 Nf3 Qf5 7 Qb3 c5 8 a3 Bxc3+ 9 Qxc3 Nbd7 10 g4!?
The candidates’ matches in Kazan are all over, and veteran Boris Gelfand, 42, emerged as the unlikely winner to become the oldest challenger for the world championship crown since Viktor Korchnoi. One of Gelfand’s great strengths has always been his legendary opening preparation – and we saw just how deep this was in game three in the final against Alexander Grischuk. Grishuk played a relatively rare and obscure line in the Queen’s Gambit Declined, only to get hit on move 9 by the big novelty of Gelfand’s remarkable gambit of 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 d5 4 Nc3 Be7 5 Bg5 h6 6 Bxf6 Bxf6 7 Qb3 dxc4 8 Qxc4 0-0 9 g3 b5!! – although the game ended in a short draw, Gelfand’s gambit did its job in wasting one of his opponent’s crucial white games. And in Gambit Guide, our guru looks at just how tricky Gelfand’s gambit is.
QUEENS-GAMBIT-ACCEPTED (6 PART SERIES)
Not all gambits need to be adventurous, swashbuckling all-out attacks. Some are more in the mould of being positional and strategic in nature, and especially can be found in the Queen’s Gambit, whether that being declined or accepted variety. The Queen’s Gambit Accepted (1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4) is one classical opening that has had many famous elite exponents in recent years, such as Anand, Kasparov, Kortchnoi, Ivanchuk and Shirov. The QGA is a postmodern opening, for it combines and reinforces classical and hypermodern ideas of positional play – not only that, it also offers a wealth of possibilities. And in an extended series for Gambit Guide, GM Boris Alterman will review the Queen’s Gambit, starting with the Queen’s Gambit Accepted.
SEMI-SLAV-NOTEBOOM-VARIATION (4 PART SERIES)
Dutch player Daniël Noteboom (1910-1932) is one of the unsung rising stars of the early 1930s. He gained notoriety with an impressive début at the 1930 Chess Olympiad, scoring 11.5/15. But after playing at Hastings 1931/32, he tragically died of pneumonia in London. Aged only 21, it was a brief but tragic end to what looked a promising career. His trademark was to play aggressively, and he left his legacy to the game with a wild and complex variation (with many gambit lines) in the Semi-Slav Defense: 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c6 4 Nf3 dxc4 5 a4 Bb4 6 e3 b5 8 axb5 Bxc3 9 Bxc3 cxb5 10 b3 Bb7 – commonly known as the Noteboom Variation, that still packs a lethal punch for an unsuspecting opponent.
SEMI-SLAV-WINAWER-VARIATION (2 PART SERIES)
We all know of the Winawer variation in the French defense, but in 1901 at Monte Carlo against Frank Marshall, Polish legend Szymon Winawer (1838-1920) introduced us to his counter-gambit in the Slav defense with 1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nc3 e5!? Although seldom seen at top level nowadays, even Garry Kasparov had to face the aggressive Winawer counter-gambit when its modern-day guru, Pedrag Nikolic, played it against the then world champion at the 1992 Manila Olympiad. Other players who have played it include Johnny Hector and Alexander Morozevich. And in his latest Gambit Guide, GM Boris Alterman takes a look at the Winawer counter-gambit in a new two-part series.
STAUNTON-GAMBIT-DUTCH-DEFENSE (2 PART SERIES)
GM Boris Alterman takes a look at the Staunton Gambit against the Dutch Defense with 1 d4 f5 2 e4!? – one of the most direct and provocative lines against the normally solid Dutch. The Staunton Gambit has a long history having being named after Howard Staunton, who first played it against Horwitz in 1847. Basically, it is a bold attempt from the very first moves to demonstrate that by giving away the central pawn White can show that Blacks first move is misguided because it exposes the king. In practical experience it scores well at club level where an accurate defence is awkward to play when White is unleashing a rampaging attack, with Black having to play carefully as any little slip can often lead to a miniature
TAIMANOV-FLICK-KNIFE-ATTACK (3 PART SERIES)
In the Bible, Ben-Oni is the name Rachel gives her son as she lays dying in childbirth, and means “child of my sorrow” in Hebrew. And never has an opening in chess been more aptly associated with sorrow than the Benoni – especially nowadays, with the Taimanov variation (or the so-called ‘Flick-Knife Attack’, as Dave Norwood graphically describes it in his 1994 book) almost proving to be the death knell for the Benoni. After 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 e6 4 Nc3 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 e4 g6 7 f4 Bg7 8 Bb5+, wild gambit play, sacrifices and all-out attack proves to be the order of the day in this aggressive line against the Benoni, and it features in a new series of Gambit Guide.
TORRE-ATTACK-SPASSKY-GAMBIT (2 PART SERIES)
The Torre Attack is one of those openings that deserves more attention than it gets. Over the years, it has featured in the repertoires of the likes of Petrosian, Spassky, Kamsky, and Yusupov. It suffers somewhat from a reputation as a stodgy variation, but white can play many of its lines in a sharp fashion, and black must have a solid understanding to reach equality. One such line is the Spassky gambit with 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bg5 c5 4 e3 Qb6 5 Nbd2!? The idea is simple: by sacrificing the poisoned pawn on b2, white develops his pieces quickly and gets a good grip on the center, which in turn gives great attacking chances. And in this Gambit Guide series, GM Boris Alterman demonstrates just how easy – yet lethal – the Spassky gambit is to play.
TROMPOWSKY-ATTACK-VAGANIAN-GAMBIT (3 PART SERIES)
The Trompowsky Attack with 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 – named after the Brazilian master, Octavio Trompowsky (1897-1984) – has risen from relative obscurity to become a popular opening due to its often wild complications. One of the key lines against the Tromp is 2 ..c5 3 d5 Qb6 where White has the option of the very aggressive Vaganian Gambit – named after the very strong Soviet player Rafael Vaganian, who played it in the early 1970s – with 4 Nc3!? Qxb2 Bd2. The idea is to activate all of white’s pieces and make use of the open lines and space for an all-out attack. And in a new series of Gambit Guide, GM Boris Alterman evaluates the latest developments in the Vaganian Gambit.
VITOLINSH-GAMBITS (4 PART SERIES)
IM Alvis Vitolinsh (1946-1997) was a multi-time Latvian champion who was a friend of Mikhail Tal and worked alongside the Magician from Riga. His style of play was similar to Tal’s, and in the early 1980s he came up with some creative gambit play with b5!? for Black in two lines of the Nimzo-Indian Defence that bore his name. The first being in the Capablanca variation with 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 0-0 5 a3 Bxc3 6 Qxc3 b5!?, the other in the Reshevsky variation with 4 e3 0-0 5 Ne2 b5!? – both leading to the sort of dynamic play that can easily see White being overrun if not handled correctly. And in his next four Gambit Guide shows, GM Boris Alterman will look at this aggressive way of playing for Black in the Nimzo with the Vitolinsh Gambits’ – series 1 & 2 against the Capablanca variation with 4 Qc2 0-0 5 a3 Bxc3 6 Qxc3 b5!?, followed by 3 & 4 on the Reshevsky variation with 4 e3 0-0 5 Ne2 b5!?
The Torre Attack is a very attractive – and easy – system for White as it allows him/her to set the agenda from the outset, preventing many counterattacking systems. It also has a deadly quick-strike potential if Black is careless or unfamiliar with the subtleties. One such can be the Wagner Gambit (1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 Bg5 c5 e4!?), named after the German master Heinrich Wagner (1888-1959), which leads to a sharp game, where a precise defense from Black is needed. And in a new series of Boris Alterman’s Gambit Guide, our resident gambit guru explores Wagner gambit.
FROMS-GAMBIT (2 PART SERIES)
The Bird’s Opening with 1 f4 can take on the positional characteristics of a reversed Dutch Defense. But rather than that, Black has the sharp option of 1…e5!?, From’s Gambit, named after the Danish player Severin From (1828-1895). White can then transpose into the King’s Gambit with 2.e4. If he prefers to stay in the Bird’s Opening, play can continue 2 fxe5 d6, where white must play very precisely to squelch Black’s attacking chances. Now, in this Gambit Guide series, GM Boris Alterman looks at the From’s Gambit as an ideal antidote to the Bird’s Opening – and doubly so if black is a dedicated 1 e4 e5 player.
POLUGAEVSKY-GAMBIT (3 PART SERIES)
Lev Polugaevsky (1934-1995) was one of the strongest players in the world from the late 1960s until the early 1980s. He was the originator of the meticulous opening study style Kasparov was later on to perfect and bring to great heights. In a bruising 1980 candidates’ match against Viktor Korchnoi, Polugaevsky scored a valuable win with a powerful opening novelty against the Queen’s Indian Defence (1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 b6 3. g3 e6 4. Bg2 Be7 5. 0-0 Bb7 6. d4 0-0) that involved a pawn sacrifice with 7. d5!? – a line that subsequently was given the stamp of approval by Kasparov and christened the ‘Polugaevsky Gambit’. And in this Gambit Guide series, GM Boris Alterman reviews the latest standing of the Polugaevsky Gambit.