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IM Gary Lane...

... whether any masters play the BDG?

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... I have written a book on the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit (BDG) and found one of the reasons why my fellow masters never played it is because they did not even know it existed. In fact, the opening was first played by the American Armand Edward Blackmar (1826-1888) who wrote an article in the July 1882 issue of Bretano's Chess Monthly, that advocated 1 d4 d5 2 e4 dxe4 3 f3. This soon came under scrutiny from the best players of the era who came up with 3...e5! as a decent retort. Then along came Emil Josef Diemer (1908-1990) who added 3 Nc3 to the line and wrote a book to support his ideas. After over 100 years of history this opening is still almost exclusively reserved for club players who prefer attack to defence.

Cole - Seale  Truro 1994

1 d4 d5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 e4 dxe4 4 f3... This signals the start of the gambit. 4...exf3 5 Nxf3 In return for the pawn White has the open f-file and a lead in development. The Ryder Gambit 5 Qxf3 is rather ambitious but is a prelude to an amusing trap after 5 ... Qxd4 6 Be3 Qb4 7 0-0-0 Bg4? 8 Nb5! when the tactics favour White. 5...e6 A line better known as the Euwe Defence. 6 Bg5 Bb4?! The bishop pins the knight but a better idea is to start thinking about the defence with 6 Be7. 7 Bd3 Nbd7 8 Qd2 0-0 9 Ne5 Be7 It can hardly be a good sign when Black has to admit that he has already wasted a move in the opening. 10 0-0-0 h6 11 h4!... Roland Cole is revelling in the tactics. He learned his chess at the famous Truro school, which has produced a number of strong players including a certain Michael Adams. 11 ...c6 The bishop is taboo as 11 ...hxg5 allows 12 hxg5 to open the h-file for the rook. For instance: 12 Ne8 13 Bh7+ Kh8 14 Bg6+ Kg8 15 Bxf7+ Rxf7 16 Rh8+! Kxh8 17 Nxf7+ wins. 12 g4... White can speed matters up with 12 Bxh6! when 12 ...gxh6 13 Qxh6 intending Rh3 wins. 12 Nd5 13 Bxh6 Bxh4 14 Ne4 Nxe5 15 dxe5 Be7 16 Nf6+ gxf6 17 Bh7+ Kh8 18 Bg7+ Kxg7 19 Qh6+ 1-0

I will take the opportunity to look at a few more BDG games because it has attracted a great deal of interest judging by the number of e-mails I have received on this subject. Thanks to George Goanos (USA) and Hayden Jones (England) who came up with interesting points. Selby Anderson and Gary Zintgraff (USA), both sent in the following game.
Zintgraff - Fulton  SACS Swiss 1999
1 d4 d5 2 e4 c6 3 Nc3 dxe4 4 Bc4 Nf6 5 f3 exf3 6 Nxf3 Bf5 7 0-0 e6 8 Ne5 Bxc2 9 Nxf7! Kxf7 10 Bxe6+ Kxe6 11 Qxc2 Be7 12 Qb3+! Nd5 13 Nxd5 Qxd5 14 Qh3+ 1-0.

This is similar to a line I examined in my 1995 book but since then there has been an advance in theory that both players might be interested in knowing. 1 d4 d5 2 e4 dxe4 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 f3 c6 4 e5 is a classic mistake which has been played numerous times. It loses after 5 dxe5 Qxd1+ 6 Kxd1 Nfd7 7 Nd5 Kd8 8 Bg5+. 5 Bc4 exf3 6 Nxf3 Bf5 (See Diagram)

This line is known as the Ziegler Defence. Not 6 Bg4? when 7 Ne5! Bh5 8 Qxh5 is an amusing win. 7 Ne5 e6 8 0-0 Bxc2 9 Nxf7! Kxf7 Welling - Wrobel, Luxembourg 1982, went 9...Bxd1 10 Nxd8 Kxd8 11 Rxd1 Nd5 12 Re1 Bb4 13 Rxe6 Nxc3 14 bxc3 Bxc3 15 Bg5+ Kd7 16 Re7+ Kd6 17 Rd1 h6 18 Re6+ Kd7 19 Bf4 Re8 20 Rd6+ Ke7 21Rd3 Bb4 22 Re3+ Kf8 23 Rf6+ 1-0. 10 Qxc2 Qxd4+ 11 Be3! (See Diagram)

An idea by the German theorist Stefan Bücker that has renewed interest in the variation and we now follow his analysis. I don't recommend 10 Be6+ that has been credited to the English club player Otto Hardy. It simply loses after 10 Kxe6 11 Qxc2 Kd7 12 Bg5 Kc8 13 d5 Bd6 when the White attack has disappeared. 11 Qxe3+ If 11 Qxc4 then 12 Rf4 Qa6 13 Ra4 which traps the black queen giving White the advantage. 12 Kh1 Bd6 13 Rae1 Qh6 14 Bxe6+ Kf8 15 g4 Na6 If Black wishes to simplify matters with 15 Qxh2+ then 16 Qxh2 Bxh2 17 Kxh2 h6 (otherwise g5) 18 Bc8 and White is better. 16 g5 Qxg5 17 Ne4 Qg6 18 Bf5 Qf7 19 Nxd6 Qd5+ 20 Ne4 Re8 21 Rd1 Qe5 22 Qb3 Nc5 23 Nxc5 Qxc5 24 Rd7Re7 25 Rd8+ Re8 26 Rxe8+ Kxe8 27 Qe6+ Qe7 28 Qc8+ Qd8 29 Re1+ Kf7 30 Qxb7+ Kf8 31 Qb4+ Kf7 32 Be6+ and White wins.

There are certain players who do their best to promote the BDG such as the American enthusiasts Charles Diebert, Tim Sawyer and Tom Purser. The question asked by Steve Lack (England) is whether any masters play the opening?

The answer is yes! In the following example the English International Master, Miroslav Houska adopts the BDG for his game against Moskovic, played at Witley 1999.
1 d4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 e4 dxe4 4 f3 exf3 5 Nxf3 e6 6 Bg5 Be7 7 Bd3 Nbd7 8 0-0 0-0 9 Qe1...
A standard idea in the opening to transfer the queen to the kingside for an attack. 9 ...c5 10 Qh4 g6 11 Ne5 Re8? (See Diagram)

12 Nxf7!... The knight demolishes Black's defensive pawn barrier. 12 ...Qc7 If 12 Kxf7 13 Qxh7+ Kf8 14 Nh6 mate. 13 Bxg6 hxg6 14 Qh8+ Kxf7 15 Qh7+ Kf8 16 Bh6 mate 1-0

For those of you new to this opening it can be reached by a variety of move-orders. For instance: 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 e4 dxe4 4 f3, 1 e4 d5 2 d4 (lots of shock value!) 2...dxe4 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 f3 and 1 e4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 d4 (rarely mentioned in books on the Alekine) 3 dxe4 4 f3. I would welcome questions about the BDG.

Finally, Ralph Hart (New Zealand) wants information on an amusing line. "After seeing openings of dubious repute appear in your article I would be interested in your opinion of yet another! The key is 1 d4 d5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 f3 Bf5 4 g4!?, which I have appropriately named the H(e)art attack. I venture further with the idea of 4 ...Bc8, 5 g5 Ng8!, with an undoubtedly new and interesting position. The alternative 4 ...Bg6 5 g5 Nh5 falls foul because of 6. e4 e6 7 f4! (with the idea of Be2) and the knight is doomed.

My first impression was that a true gambit player would try 4 e4 transposing to the Blackmar-Diemer. However, I have to say that to my surprise I found a game to back up your theory.

D. Marzluf - M. Morrison Wch Seniors 1992

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 f3 Bf5 4 g4...
(See Diagram)

4 ...Bg6 5 g5 Nh5 6 e4 e6 7 f4 dxe4 8 Be2... (See Diagram)

Black has lost a piece without enough compensation. For the record I give the rest of the game. 8 ...Nf6 9 gxf6 Qxf6 10 h4 h6 11 Be3 Bb4 12 Qd2 Nd7 13 0-0-0 0-0 14 h5 Bh7 15 Nh3 Rfd8 16 Nf2 Bf5 17 Ng4 Bxg4 18 Bxg4 Nb6 19 Qf2?... (19 Qe1!) intending to meet 19 Nc4 with 20 Nxe4 is excellent for White 19 ...Bxc3 20 bxc3 Qe7 21 Kd2 Nc4+ 22 Ke1 Qa3 23 Kf1 Qxc3 24 Rh3 Rd5 25 Rg3 Rad8 26 f5 e5 27 Bxh6 e3 28 Bxe3 Nxe3+ 29 Rxe3 Qc4+ 30 Kg1 Rxd4 31 Rxd4 Rxd4 32 Be2 Qd5 33 c4 Qd6 34 Qg3 Rf4 35 h6 Qxh6 36 Rxe5 Qb6+ 37 c5 Qb1+ 38 Kg2 Re4 39 a3 Qc2 40 Kf2 Qa4 41 Rxe4 Qxe4 42 f6 Qd4+ 43 Ke1 Qxf6 44 Qxc7 Qc3+ 45 Kf1 Qf6+ 46 Ke1 Qc3+ 47 Kf1 Qf6+ 48 Kg2 Qg5+ draw A possible improvement is 3 c5 to stop having a Heart Attack!

Gary Lane

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