In the previous article from the Remote chess academy, we shared with you the first part of the text version of the lesson “Gambit Rules”. If you missed that, check it now: LINK Now, let’s continue the lesson with the second part. Returning to the game, what should White do now after 10…exd5?
White to move
Many players would simply recapture on d5, probably with the pawn. But in the game White played 11.Nc3, which is a great decision. Again, the main idea of a gambit is to combine development with attack. This should be your main focus when playing a gambit.
The move 11.Nc3 is a great move, because it continues development and also creates some more threats. For example, there is the threat of placing the knight on b5 or d5 and aiming at the c7-square. It is interesting that after 11…dxe4, White can even go into an endgame where his advantage in development is so huge that Black is defenseless.
Note that also after 11.Nc3, the normal-looking 11…Nf6 doesn’t work as well. This is because after 12.Bb5+-Bd7, White has many likely ways of getting an advantage. The simplest would be to take the pawn with 13.Bxf6.
If Black tries to avoid damaging his pawn structure and takes with the queen, he is met with Bxd7+ and Black must now centralize his king. White is then ready to attack along the d-file, has an imposing development advantage and will most likely crush Black very soon.
So after 11.Nc3, we can see quite an interesting situation. It is early in the game and although Black did not make any blunder, his position is still almost losing. It is very difficult even to propose any normal move for Black.
As you can see, it is very difficult to propose any normal moves for Black. It may seem strange, but now I hope you understand this situation very well. With his last moves, Black violated important strategic rules:
Because of these mistakes, White’s advantage is now very decisive. In the actual game, Black continued with 11…f6. Yes this move may be a little strange looking, but as we have discussed already, it is not so easy to propose any good ideas for Black.
And now I have another question for you. How would you play here as White?
White to move
Should White play 12.Bd4 or 12.Bg3 here?
The answer is: neither of these moves! Again, when playing a gambit you want to continue your development rapidly by combining development with attack. This should be your primary focus.
That is why making such moves (12.Bd4 and 12.Bg3) is definitely not in our plans and we should avoid them as much as we can. The game actually continued with 12.Nxd5. This move brings a piece into play and threatens Nc7+. Even though White sacrifices a bishop after 12…fxe5, he has an excellent opportunity for attack with 13.Qh5+.
Again, White combines development with attack. If Black tries to block the check with 13…g6, White will play 14.Qxe5+, with a double attack on Black’s king and rook. At the very least, White will win material and probably continue his attack. Due to the above considerations, Black then played 13…Kd7.
Of course, it looks very dangerous; but at least Black doesn’t immediately lose material, holds on to some chances of defending against White’s attack and keeps his material advantage. And now, here is the next question for you. How would you play here as White?
White to move
White played another great move. He played 14.0-0-0. At first glance, it seems rather dangerous because White’s king is very much exposed here and Black can attack it (say with Ba3+). That’s why I think a lot of players would play something like 14.Rd1 instead, trying to exploit the same idea of attacking Black’s king along the d-file (and also the queen on d8).
However, in that case (14.Rd1), Black can play 14…Qa5+ and now White must make a rather awkward move. He must either move his king to safety and play 15.Ke2, or block the check with 15.Rd2 and pin his own rook. Naturally, neither of these prospects is very appealing for White.
That’s why in the game once again White followed the rule to combine development with attack and he castled long. In the game, Black continued with 14…Ba3+ and White moved his king to safety with 15.Kb1.
Black to move
As you can see, Black has no real way of exploiting White’s exposed king. It is even difficult to find a way to prepare that attack. This brings us neatly to another important rule.
RULE 4: If your activity is higher, your king cannot be attacked.
In most cases, we think that if our king is exposed it will be attacked. However, this cannot happen if your activity is higher. When your activity is higher, an opponent has no way of bringing his pieces towards you.
Thus, there will be no real way to make any threats against your king. So, if your activity is higher and your position is superior, your king may be safe even when it is completely exposed. As you can see in the above position, in addition to all other threats that White possesses, he also has the idea of playing Qh3+, with a double attack on Black’s king and the bishop on a3. So, as you can see, Black’s attacking attempt with Ba3+ failed completely.
Now Black played 15…Qf8. With this multifunctional move, he removes the queen from an upcoming discovered attack along the d-file, protects his bishop on a3 and also covers the squares f5 and f7. White responded here with 16.Qxe5.
This is an excellent example of when a threat is stronger than its execution. Sure, White could play a discovered check immediately, but in that case the Black king would try to escape somehow. That is why White decided to take the pawn and save all of his threats for the next move (e.g. making a discovered check with his rook, playing Bb5+ or Qc7+).
Now it is very difficult for Black to withstand all of White’s ideas. As you might expect, this game soon came to an end. Here Black’s king tried to flee with 16…Kc6 but was immediately stopped with 17. Qc7#. Certainly 16…Kc6 was not the best move, but Black’s position was hopeless anyway.
Although this was a somewhat short game, it illustrates some important rules for when playing gambits. Let us end this lesson by quickly reviewing these rules.
Here are the important rules for you to remember and apply when playing gambits.
RULE 1: Combine development with attack.
When playing gambits, you should try to combine development with attack. This is a core idea behind any gambit and is one of the main advantages that a gambit can give you.
RULE 2: When facing a gambit you should:
RULE 3: If your activity is higher, your king cannot be attacked.
With your greater activity, your opponent has no way of bringing his pieces up towards you. Thus, there will be no real way for them to make any threats against your king.
These are the main points of the lesson and I hope that they serve you well. More importantly, you need to start playing gambits so that that they can be a useful tool for you – like a ‘wild card’. :)