Monday, August 18, 2014

The Critical Line of the Vienna Gambit

I have annotated the game Torre - Marshall, Alrick H. Man Vienna Gambit Theme 1925 (Java / PGN).  It is fitting that this most important game from the Marshall Chess Club's theme tournament featured the most critical line of the Vienna Gambit: 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4 d5 4.fxe5 Nxe4 5.Nf3 Bc5! (see diagram).

Position after 5...Bc5!

This sharp line featured in the recent game Jobava - Mamedyarov, European Team Championship 2013 and was discussed in depth by Alexander Finkel in New in Chess Yearbook #110.  As my notes show, White has good chances with the Vienna Gambit even against this dangerous line, which suggests that the opening remains viable with suitable preparation.  In fact, late in the game (which was eventually drawn), Torre missed  a winning move (see diagram below).

Torre - Marshall, New York 1925
White to play and win after 31...Rd8
See also:


MNb said...

That's highly interesting. Indeed 8.bxc3 does very well in practice. As 5...Be7 6.d3 Nxc3 (Nc5) 7.bxc3 c5 8.d4 transposes to a good version of the 5.d3 variation the Vienna with 3.f4 is back in business.

MNb said...

Alas in the Torre-Marshall game after 9.Ba3 c5 10.Qe3 Qe7 11.d4 Nc6 12.Kc1 Black has an improvement with f6!? 13.Kb2 fxe5
a) 14.dxe5 O-O 15.Rd1 Be6 with the better pawn structure;
b) 14.Re1 O-O 15.Nxe5 cxd4 16.Bxe7 dxe3 17.Bxf8 Kxf8 with fine compensation for the exchange.

Michael Goeller said...

A Chess Opening Repertoire for Blitz and Rapid by Evgeny and Vladimir Sveshnikov makes a compelling case for 5.Qf3.