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The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit

In a gambit one must be able to tolerate a bit of uncertainty

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Ah, yes, the immortal words of the great man himself, Emil Josef Diemer (1908-1990), describing the opening bears his name, The Blackmar Diemer Gambit. Surprising, at least to me and the other BDG players in the world, acceptance of the opening is not universal. Here's what the staid folks that publish the useful and entertaining Oxford Companion to Chess had to say about it: "The gambit ... has been played occasionally by grandmasters such as Spassky, but its soundness is doubtful." Now who do you want to believe, the venerable editors at Oxford or some nephew of Noah's pushing the wrong pawn on move four? Well, be that as it may, the BDG is a popular favorite among blitz players and correspondence players alike, but what do I know, right? The BDG is the gambit that the chess world loves to hate. Simply stated, most players who rant against the BDG have lost to it. Now that should generate some mail!

Here are a couple of games from the recent Blackmar Diemer Thematic played on July 12, 1997, on the Internet Chess Club. Starting off, is one from Greg Sullivan, who won the under 1600 class.

[Event "BDG Thematic, G/15"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "1997.07.12"]
[White "Sully"]
[Black "Pogo"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D00"]

1. d4 d5 2. e4 dxe4 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. f3 exf3 5. Nxf3 Bg4 6. h3 Bf5 7. g4 Bg6 8. Ne5 e6 9. Qf3 c6 10. g5 Nd5 11. Bd3 f5 12. gxf6 Nxf6 13. Bxg6+ hxg6 14. Qd3 Bb4 15. Qxg6+ Ke7 16. Qxg7+ Kd6 17. Nc4# {Black checkmated} 1-0

The following game features Tim McGrew, the overall winner of the tournament and the fellow who found the win that Kasparov didn't in the recent unpleasantness with Deeper Blue, but that's another story.

[Event "BDG Thematic, G/15"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "1997.07.12"]
[White "Tim"]
[Black "Shador"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D00"]

1. d4 d5 2. e4 dxe4 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. f3 exf3 5. Nxf3 Bg4 6. h3 Bh5 7. g4 Bg6 8. Ne5 e6 9. Qf3 Be4 10. Nxe4 Nxe4 11. Qxf7# {Black checkmated} 1-0

The standard bearer for the gambit today is Blackmar Diemer Gambit World, edited by my friend Tom Purser way down in the Heart of Dixie. Don't leave f2 without it! Tom has the crosstables of the recent ICC Tournament on his pages as well as a downloadable pgn file of the games.

If you want to see some more BDG terror, check out the games by the enigmatic Birchbeer, the anonymous master gambiteer on ICC.

John Mongle

Copyright © 1997 John Mongle, All Rights Reserved.

Author's note:
Tom Purser in BDG WORLD Serial 78 (1997): On 12 July Steve Kelly (Sacman) directed a five-round BDG Thematic on the Internet Chess Club. The required moves were 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3Nc3 Nf6 4.f3..., with a game in 15 minutes time control. The tourney winner and one class winner in a field of 37 were BDG WORLD readers: Tim McGrew (first) and Greg Sullivan (first under 1600). The under 1800 winner, Matt Baker? A friend's copy, maybe?