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IM Gary Lane...

... ripostes GM Eric Prie's improvement to Huebsch Gambit

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There are some openings, which are fashionable, sexy and cool. Then something happens and none of the top players play the line for years. The only problem is that there are lots of dedicated followers of fashion who are wondering why their variation has suddenly disappeared. One answer is to just forget about it, but there are always constant reminders such as old books, magazine clippings and memories of gambits that might have won spectacularly if it hadnít been for time-trouble. The ultimate test is to confront your fears when you are paired against a strong player in a tournament. This involves you employing the opening and see what happens. The loss will solve the dilemma and make you a better person. The alternative is to find out what is going on by e-mailing this column:

"My name is Tommy J. Curry from the USA. I am a Blackmar Diemar fan and play it as my opening system. There seems to have been a recent improvement in the Huebsch gambit that now seems to be a bust to the Blackmar Diemar gambit. 1 d4 d5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 e4 Nxe4 4 Nxe4 dxe4 5 Bc4 Nc6 6 c3 e5 7 d5 Ne7 8 f3 Nf5. This line was suggested by GM Eric Prié. I cannot find any games in which this was played so I am assuming this is a new move and as such has been advocated by him as a bust to a juvenile chess system whose time has come. Due to my inability to find a move for white in the 5 Bc4 system, I have been analyzing two other systems you mentioned, namely 5 Be3 and 5 Bf4. It seems 5 Bf4 shows some promise and as Glenn Budinzinski said may indeed become the most effective way of meeting the Huebsch Gambit."

Before we condemn the line and thank the French grandmaster for adding more misery to fans of this controversial gambit line, a closer look is required.

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 e4 Nxe4 If 3...dxe4 then 4 f3 transposes to a standard Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. Actually, I have recently received lots of questions on that particular opening but cannot feature all of them in this column otherwise nothing else would ever be mentioned! 4 Nxe4 dxe4 5 Bc4 Nc6 6 c3 e5 7 d5 Ne7 8 f3 Nf5

[Diagramm 1] I assume that your comments are correct and this knight move is what the Frenchman has come up with. However, as long as White is not silly enough to take on e4 then I think the move is harmless. 9 Bb5+! This is the key move, which gives new life to the gambit. Sadly, I cannot promise you a forced win but at least it should solve the immediate problem. Of course, 9 fxe4? allows 9...Qh4+ leaving White in trouble after 10 Kf1 Ng3+ 11 hxg3 Qxh1. 9...Bd7 Or 9...c6 10 dxc6 Qxd1+ 11 Kxd1 Kd8 12 fxe4 Nd6 13 Bd3 bxc6 14 Nf3 f6 15 Be3 with a level position. 10 Bxd7+ Qxd7 I think 10...Kxd7?! looks daft but someone might try it so White should reply 11 Qa4+ with a favourable position upon 11...Kc8 12 fxe4 and now 12...Qh4+? invites disaster after 13 g3 Nxg3 14 Qe8+ Qd8 15 Qxd8+ Kxd8 16 hxg3 winning.

[Diagramm 2] 11 fxe4 Nd6 12 Qe2 (see diagram) with equal chances. I suspect there are alternatives to improve Blackís chances, but 8...Nf5 is not the answer. If anyone can think of a favourite line that has abruptly dropped off the chess map then let me know and perhaps the opening can be repaired.


Gary Lane



Author's note:
GM Eric Prié heard of Gary Lane's opinion and responded...

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