Saturday, July 5, 2008

Name That Gambit

Here is a quest for my dear readers: does the following gambit have a name? Is there any theory associated with this, or a clear refutation?

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.e4:

There were very few examples of this in my large database. I couldn't find a clear path forwards for Black. Surprisingly, Fritz evaluated 3...Nxe4, which I think is the most testing response, to be nearly equal. Even after following plausible moves for both sides down to move 12 or so, Fritz didn't seem to notice that Black was up a pawn! For example, I played this series of moves that felt natural to me and that looked fine to Fritz at first glance: 3... Nxe4 4. Bd3 d5 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 Nd6 7. Bf4 O-O 8. Nbd2 b6 9. Qe2 c5 10. c3 Nc6 11. Ne5 Bb7:

Fritz evaluates this as dead even, despite the pawn minus. I've only done some preliminary, superficial analysis, and I don't suggest the above variation is some sort of main line. My point is that there seems to be more going on here than meets the eye. It would be interesting to grab another chess engine and see its evaluations, or to play engines against each other and see the results.

Other moves such as 3...c5 and 3...d5 may transpose into other openings such as the Sicilian or the French, but that can't be the most serious test (otherwise this opening would be seen more often).

My conclusion right now is that Black takes the pawn and converts the material advantage with good technique. However, I would say that any unusual pawn gambit that Fritz can't easily refute is probably worthy of home analysis and potential use as a secret weapon.

1 comment:

Jon Drury said...

You probably already found this, but the closest I could come is A46, the Wagner gambit, which follows the some opening sequence, and includes the e4!? push, but only after interjecting Bg5 c5 (as you said, looking somewhat Sicilian). I'd love to hear more about how this turns out in practice, and if the Bg5 is really necessary before the e4!? push.