Evans Gambit – Part 5

Morphy,Paul – Morphy,Alonzo

New Orleans, 1849  

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Bc5 6.d4 exd4 7.cxd4 Bb6 8.0–0 Na5?!  

Black opts for this move, intending to remove white’s bishop from the a2-g8 diagonal, where it aims the weakest spot – f7 pawn.  

9.Bd3

White has a strong position in the centre; it should compensate the sacrificed pawn.  

9…d5?

It seems that black started to underestimate white’s recourses. Black is lacking in development, thus the game opens in white’s favor.  

10.exd5 Qxd5 11.Ba3!

Morphy immediately places his bishop on the most aggressive outpost, preventing black from further castling.  

11… Be6

Black is attempting to cover the d5 square, though white’s initiative continues without any difficulties. 

12.Nc3 Qd7  

Other than the rook on f1 white has all his pieces in almost ideal positions, the question are how to continue?

13. d5!

A breakthrough at the most defended spot! White big lead in development permits him to sacrifice another pawn.  

13… Bxd5 14. Nxd5 Qxd5  

Finally all files are open. Black cannot prevent the loss of his Queen any longer.

15. Re1+

 and Black resigned as after 15…Kd8 just 16.Bc4 is curtains.

 For instance : 16… Qd1 17.Rad1 Kc8 18. Re8 Mate!

 

Evans Gambit – Part 4

 

Morphy,Paul – De Riviere,Jules Arnous 

Paris m3 Paris, 1858

 

1.e4 e5  2.Nf3 Nc6  3.Bc4 Bc5  4.b4 Bxb4  5.c3 Bc5 6.0–0 d6 7.d4 exd4 8.cxd4 Bb6  9.Nc3 Nf6 10.e5! d5

 This advance is not the one called for to solve black’s positional problems.   

11. exf6!  

Only with energetic play will White be able to achieve something. After other moves black would be given a chance to complete his development.  

11… dxc4  12. fxg7 Rg8   

Everything goes smoothly. Black’s Kingside is totally exploded.  

13.Re1+

13…Be6 

Doesn’t help 13…Ne7 14.Bg5 Be6 15. d5!  

14.d5! 

Thanks to the pin on the “e” file white gains a virtually winning position.  

14… Qf6

Black must try to aim at the only unprotected piece in the white camp. 

15. Bg5! Qxc3 16. dxe6  

White has now regained the sacrificed pieces and the black king is in a hopeless situation. Let’s see how black got mated in just a few moves.

 

16…Qd3 17. exf7+ Kxf7 

 

18. Re7+!

 

 

18…Kg6 

The rook is untouchable  18…Ne7 will be met by 19.Ne5+ fork!

 

19. Qe1!

 

 Exploits the hanging position of the Queen on d3. Rd1 is coming!  

19…Qd5  

The black queen is buzzing around the board, desperately trying to divert the white pieces, alas without such success.  

 20.Rd1 Nd4  

All white’s pieces are harmoniously attacking. There is a very strong threat coming up, how would you continue the attack?  

21.Rxd4!

The last hope is gone. By this simple sacrifice white eliminates the only piece that was able to protect the King from the further decisive check.  

21…Bxd4  22.Qb1+

1–0

Black resigned

Evans Gambit – Part 3

 It would be a good thing to carry on with a Classical game by Paul Morphy, one of the brightest chess talents of chess History.   

At a very young age Morphy became the best player in the USA and set off to conquer Europe, where all the top players were. 

 

At the age of 21 he shocked the world by defeating all the top masters there, including Lowenthal, Harrwitz, and Anderssen in matches. 

Though the best player in the world, he soon gave up chess completely, leaving behind disappointed fans and hundreds of brilliant games. 

 

Morphy,Paul – Hampton,Thomas Inglis

        London, 1858

 

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5 6.d4 exd4 7.0–0 Bb6  8.cxd4 d6   

 

 Both sides complete their tasks. White gains the strong center, when black remains a pawn up.  

9.Nc3

White has easy development; therefore black has to play extremely carefully.  

9…Nf6?

A dubious decision  The best alternative was 9… Bg4, while 9… Nge7? Can’t be recommended as after 10.Ng5! 0-0 11.Qh5 leads to a winning position for white.  

10.e5!  

This pawn sacrifice opens up the lines around the opponent’s king, a theme that became typical after a few classical games performed by Morphy.  

10… dxe5  

The other option 10… d5 we will be discussed later.  

11.Ba3!

White has a huge positional compensation for the small material deficit. I don’t see any easy way for black to get rid of white’s terrific initiative.  

11…Bg4

Too little, too late. White easily frees his knight from this pin.  

12.Qb3!

12… Bh5 13.dxe5 Ng4  

Black somehow manages to finish his Queenside development, however, it is clear to see the drawbacks of his position – A complete disharmony amongst his pieces and a fatal weakness on f7 to boot.  

14.Rad1

It’s important for white to bring the rooks to the center. The ideal place for the two rooks is on e1 and d1. From these two squares they support a potential breakthrough in the center.

Morphy displays an important lesson here: Utilizing his quick development to create strong pressure over the center which is very important in the opening phase.  

14… Qc8 15.e6!  

Very direct!  After this pawn’s move the black’s position collapses.  

15…f6 16. Qb5!

16… Bg6

It was already hard for Black to find a good continuation.   

17. Bd5

Unexpectedly black has no defense against the killing 18.Bc6+ move.   

1–0

Evans Gambit – Part 2

Fischer,Robert James – Fine,Reuben

New York, 1963  

There were a friendly game between the GM Reuben Fine and Bobby Fischer, nevertheless the game was extremely instructive!  

1. e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4! Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5 

 

 

 

6.d4!  

White immediately challenges the center. 

6…ed  

The better defense here is 6…d6 7.0–0 Bb6 which was recommended by the second WC Emanuel Lasker. 

7.0–0!

 

   

No time to count pawns! The initiative is much more dangerous when you have all your pieces rapidly developed.   

7… dxc3  

Black is too materialistic. Better was to think about developing. 

7…Bb6 8.cxd4 d6 8. Qb3

Very consistent, the f7 pawn is under attack and black has no time for the King side development.  

8… Qe7   

Another attempt is 8…Qf6 However after 9.e5! white increases his space advantage as the f6 square is banned for a while. Seems like it’s extremely dangerous to capture the pawn for example after 9…. Ne5 10. Re1! d6 11. Qa4 + the bishop a5 is lost.     

Another possibility is 9… Qg6 10.Nxc3 Nge7 11.Ba3!  After this powerful move, which opens scope for the dark square bishop, Black’s position has become extremely dubious. The Knight is on the way to the power d5 square! And it is not so clear how to stop it.  

Black must take the opportunity to trade Ba5 for Nc3 but after 11… Bc3 12.Qc3 0-0, but after 13.Rad1, there are still too many unpleasant threats.

 

9. Nxc3 Nf6?

 

 

A decisive mistake. Anyway, it would be extremely hard for Black to survive White’s pressure. Black was going to prepare the castling, but Fischer demolishes this illusion.  

10. Nd5!

This is a powerful place for the knight. The opening of the “e” file would be deadly for the black king.  

10… Nxd5

[Doesnt help  10…Qxe4 11.Ng5]   

11.exd5 Ne5

[11…Nd8 12.Ba3 d6 13.Qb5++-] 

12.Nxe5 Qxe5

The King and the Queen are placed badly on the open file. White takes the advantage of this nuance.

 13.Bb2  

Now black has no any good defense against white’s mating attack.  

13…Qg5

is the only temporally way to keep the pawn g7.                                             

14.h4! 

White immediately distracts black’s only developed piece. 

14… Qxh4  

14…Qh6 15.Qa3+-  

15.Bxg7 Rg8  

Black defends the fortress of his king with his last remaining forces, but White’s heavy pieces are regrouping for the final assault.  

16.Rfe1+

16… Kd8

[16…Bxe1 17.Rxe1+ leads to the similar variations. ]  

17.Qg3!  

A nice finish! The White Queen has to be taken, but after  [17… Qxg3 the black King is going to be mated by 18.Bf6#]  

  1–0

Evans Gambit – Part 1

The Evans Gambit was invented by William Davies Evans, the first player to employ it more then 170 years ago. Did you also know that Captain Evans was also a professional Ship Master and strong amateur?

After 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 Captain Evans discovered the amazing idea of 4.b4! . 

 

 

The basic intention behind the move 4. b4 is to give up a pawn in order to secure a strong centre and bear down on Black’s weak-point, f7. Often, the idea of Ba3, preventing black from castling, is also in the air.

 

The Evans gambit has been played for over a hundred years, and it hasn’t been refuted yet. 

Morphy, Chigorin, Fischer, Kasparov, Timman, Shirov, Short and Morozevich have all successfully played the opening. 

 

I’d like to start the show from two games played by Bobby Fischer. 

 

Fischer needs no introduction, I believe. Just a few words about his play: he was a wholesome player who mastered each and every phase of the game. His play was harmonious and very instructive as well. 

Fischer as well as Paul Morphy fought for the initiative at every move, presenting his opponent with problem after problem until the game was his. 

 

Well before the phrase became a cliché, winning was the only thing for Fischer.The Evans gambit was one of his favorite openings. 

 

 Fischer,Robert James – Boatner,J [C51]

 Houston sim, 1964  

 

1. e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Be7

Black has a few relevant answers 5…Ba5, 5 … Be7 and 5…. Bc5, indeed recently the move 5… Bd6!? Has also become very popular. 

 6. d4 d6?

This move leads to an immediate disaster. 

There are a few key squares in Black’s position that are often under attack or provide a target for a sacrifice by White. These squares are f7, g7 and h7 . 

7. Qb3!

 The attack is to be directed against the weakest spot in the opposing position the pawn f7.  

7…Nh6 ?   

Temporally stops Bf7, but white simply eliminates that knight. Much better was 7…Na5.  

8. Bxh6 gxh6 9.Bxf7+ Kf8 10.Bh5!  

 

There is no good way to stop Qf7, when after 10…d5 Black is going to lose all his center pawns…

 Black resigned.