White's advantage on the horizon... (BDG lives.)

Rajmund Emanuel

Patrik Schoupal (PS)

 translation: PS

    Discussion about the correctness of the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit (BDG) is the matter in dispute for a long time. It gives rise to a lot of controversy. It must be said that doubts about this riveting gambit come partly from club players, partly from league level players and international masters; whereas grandmasters have very rarely come across it.

    Perhaps, it can be explain by the fact that it is quite difficult to find enough compensation when playing over the board due to the time limit, though in the correspondence play the situation is significantly different and it favours the BDG much more. The statistics for white in correspondence games are not bad but still far from being fully convincing. That's all about facts we have.

    During my research into a new phenomena, here called an ED, I have found that BDG contains the ED "element" in itself too. Till now, in recent BDG praxis, some ways have already been discovered (including the related moments of beauty). But still many of them await to be found. Gambit hasn't proved to be fully trustworthy yet.
(PS: In my opinion, it is even due to a book like Sawyer's "BDG Keybook" which is really good book in general, but has just little theoretical value because of a lot of mistakes here. It almost seems to be the typical feature of "gambit books". I remember I lost two correspondence games due to following lines from Palkovi's Morra Gambit. It is a great book but have a great holes in analysis as well. On the other hand, there can be found also some good analysis on the web like Peter Leisebein's one).

    As early as the first moves, you can run up against problems when playing the BDG. Even if the BDG opponents don't choose the direct way to question the gambit by accepting it (4.f3 exf3), they often cast doubt on BDG because of many declining possibilities (like Lemberger's one). Some other objections are led (illegitimately, in view of the ED theory) through another (inaccurate) move order. The accurate move order (in view of the ED) is: 1.e4! d5 2.d4! dxe4 3.Nc3! (3...Nf6 4.f3) etc. When 1.d4 d5 2.e4 is played, it is just a transposition. But when 1.d4 d5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.e4 move order takes place, black can play better than 3...dxe4, with 3...Nxe4! he steers for so-called Hübsch Gambit and in my opinion, it is true that one who has an advantage here is rather black - in this way, the BDG is challenged. The same situation springs up after 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 when there is a strong reply with 2...c5! or even in this old "Blackmar's" move order 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.f3(?!) e5! 

    After standard BDG move order beginning with 1.d4 (d5 2.e4 etc.) black has (from the perspective of the ED theory) a possibility to deflect out of the ED corridor by playing 1...Nf6!
(PS: or even 1...f5!?; but not 1...c5 because of 2.e4! with transposition in the Morra Gambit, which is ED as well). He has no such possibility after 1.e4! because here white can react equidistantely to every black's choice (like in the manner of Caro-Kann and French lines which are analyzed on this web site). For the majority of people these words can sound a little weird but some phenomenon I cannot fully explain. Perhaps, it is made on this web site in outline. Nevertheless, the BDG move order with 1.e4 remains pure.

    The position of BDG on second move seems to be a sort of "godfather" of French and Caro-Kann which are, in fact, declined form of BDG (1.e4 d5 2.d4 e6 or 2...c6). Actually, Blackmar-Diemer Gambit is a very important opening though not so much used nowadays. BDG specialists (sometimes nicknamed as "fanatics" by their disputants) have been founding spectacular and favourable lines for white constantly. BDG becomes a kind of "drug" for its fans. Nowadays, I'm completely clear about it is not just coincidence that this "drug" is somehow really included in BDG, while in other openings (e.g. Queen's Gambit) it is not. In my opinion, BDG is absolutely sound though difficult opening. The logic of cognition is simple: "the best is the least easy".

    Today everybody can take advantage of using strong computer programs to prove soundness (or the opposite) of particular opening. Many doubters (e.g. here on chesspublishing.com forum) want to take the wind out of the sails of white already in the early opening stage... Many rejecting voices are heard against BDG in so-called Lemberger Countergambit 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 e5 (even BDG old hand Gedult thought the same). After deep analysis of this system (beginning with 4.Nge2!) I have come to the conclusion that neither in this line nor in other is BDG soundness in a threat. We can state that "white's advantage is on the horizon" throughout the whole opening system. Let's have a look at one variation in particular (Lemberger with 4...Nc6) which seems to be the most dangerous and the most unpleasant for him/her:

BDG - Lemberger with 4...Nc6 [B01]

[Analysis by Rajmund Emanuel, Patrik Schoupal]

1.e4 d5 2.d4! dxe4 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nge2/ B01 or D00 1.d4 d5 2.e4 / 


a) 4...f5 5.Bc4! Qxd4 6.Qxd4 exd4 7.Ng5+/- (Leisebein, P. - Appeldorn, D., email 2000)

b) 4...Qxd4 5.Bd3 f5 6.Nf3 Qb6 7.Neg5 h6 (7...e4 8.Bc4 exf3 9.Bf7+ Ke7 10.0-0 Nf6 11.Bb3+/- (Richter, T. - Preischel, M., email 1999) 8.Be3 Bc5 (8...Qxb2 9.Rb1 Qa3 10.Nf7 Kxf7 11.Nxe5+ Kf6 12.Bd4+-) 9.Bc4 Bxe3 10.Qd5 Nf6 (10...Bxf2+11.Kf1 Qf6 12.Nf7 c6 13.Qxe5+ Qxe5 14.N3xe5+-) 11.Qf7+ Kd8 12.Qxg7 Bxf2+ 13.Kf1 hxg5 14.Rd1+ Bd7 15.Qxh8+ Ne8 16.Nxg5 Bd4 17.c3 Qxb2 18.cxd4 e4 19.Qh4 (19.Qe5 Nc6 20.Qb5 Qxb5 21.Bxb5+/-) 19...Kc8 20.Ne6 b6 (20...Nc6 21.d5!) 21.Qg5 Kb7 22.Qc1 Qb4 23.d5 Nd6 24.Be2 Bxe6 25.dxe6 Nc6 26.h4)  

c) 4...exd4 5.Bb5+ (5.Nf3 Qe7 6.Bb5+ Bd7 7.0-0 Bxb5 8.Re1-+ (Leisebein, P. - Erbe, H., 1999, email, Germany) 5...c6 (5...Bd7 6.Qe2 Qe7 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.0-0 0-0-0 9.Re1 h6 10.Bd2 (10.Qf1!?) 10...f5!? (10...Nf6 11.Qd3~ (Demuydt, G. - Berghin, R., email 1996) 6.Bc4 (6.Qe2?! Be7 (6...Bb4+! 7.c3 cxb5 8.cxb4 Ne7+/=) 7.Bc4 Bf5 8.Nf3 (van Ee, A. - Sawyer, T., theme corr. 1996) 6...Nf6 7.Ng5 Bb4+ 8.c3 Qe7+ 9.Kf1 dxc3 10.bxc3 (10.Bxf7+ Kf8 11.bxc3 Ba5 12.Qb3+/- (Smidt, D. - Sawyer, T., BDG theme corr. 1996) 110...Bc5 11.Bxf7+ Kf8 12.Bb3

d) 4...Nc6! 5.Bc4 (5.Nf3 Nxd4 6.c3 Nxf3+ 7.Qxf3 Qd5 8.Bg5~) 5...Bf5=/+ (5...Qxd4 6.Qe2 Bf5 7.Ng5 Nh6 8.N1f3~)

4.Qh5 Nc6 (4...Nf6 5.Qxe5+ Be7 6.Bf4 Nc6 7.Qxc7 Qxc7 8.Bxc7 Bb4~) 5.dxe5 g6 6.Qg5 Be7 7.Qd2 Qd4=/+] 

4...Nc6 Mentioned (on the web Chess Publishing) almost like the refutation BDG... 

5.d5 Nce7 6.Ng3 

A) 6...f5 7.Bc4 (7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 a6=/+) 

a) 7...a6 8.0-0 

a1) 8...Qd6 9.a4 Nf6 10.b3 Ng6 [10...Bd7 11.a5 0-0-0 12.Ba3 c5 13.Rb1 Ng6 14.Na4 Bxa4 15.bxa4 f4 16.Rb6 Qc7 (16...Qd7 17.Bxa6!) 17.Nf5 f3 18.Qd2 Qd7 19.Ne3+/-] 11.a5 Bd7 (11...Qd7 12.f3 exf3 13.Qxf3 Bc5+ 14.Kh1 Nh4 15.Qe2 Bd4 16.Qe1 0-0 17.Nge2 Bxc3 18.Nxc3 Ng6 19.Ba3 Rd8 20.d6+ Kh8 21.Rd1 cxd6 22.Rxd6 Qc7 23.Rxd8+ Qxd8 24.Na4) 12.Ba3 c5 13.Na4 Bxa4 14.bxa4 f4 15.Nh5 f3 16.Nxf6+ gxf6 17.gxf3

a2) 8... b5 9.Bb3 b4 (9...Ng6 10.d6 Qxd6 11.Qe2 Nf6 12.Rd1 Qc6 13.a4 b4 14.Nd5 Bb7 15.Nxf6+ Qxf6 16.Qc4 Bd6 17.Nh5 Qe7 18.Bg5+-) 10.Ncxe4! fxe4 11.Nxe4 

11...Nf6 12.d6 Nf5 13.Qf3! Ra7 14.Ba4+ Kf7 15.Nxf6 Kxf6 16.Be3 c5 17.Qh5! (17.Bxc5 Rf7 18.Rad1 Bb7 19.Qg4+/-) 17...h6 18.Be8 Nxd6 19.Qg6+ Ke7 20.Bxc5 Qc7 21.Bxb4! (21.Bxd6+ Qxd6 22.Qf7+ Kd8 23.Qxa7 Kxe8 24.Rfe1+/-) 21...Rb7 22.Ba3 Kd8 23.Rfd1 Rb6 24.Ba4 Bd7 25.Bxd7 Qxd7 26.c4+- 

11...Bf5 12.Qf3 Nf6 13.Nxf6+ gxf6 14.d6 cxd6 15.g4 e4 16.Qf4 d5 17.gxf5 Rg8+ 18.Kh1 Qd7 19.Rd1 0-0-0 20.a3 Qb5 21.Be3 h5 22.h3 bxa3 23.bxa3 Nc6 24.a4 Qa5 25.Bxd5 Rxd5 26.Qxe4+-

a3) 8...Ng6 9.d6!? Bxd6 10.Nd5 b5 11.Bb3 c5 12.c4 N8e7 13.Bg5 0-0 14.cxb5 Kh8 15.b6 Bb7 16.Ne3 Qd7 17.Nc4 Rad8 18.Qc2 Nf4 19.Rad1 Nd3 20.f3 Bb8 21.Na5+/-

a4) 8...Nf6 9.Nh5|^

b) 7...Nf6 8.Bg5 (8.0-0 h5!?<=>; 8.Nh5 Nxh5 9.Qxh5+ Ng6<=>) 8...Ng6 9.Nh5 Qd6 10.Bb5+ Bd7 11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.Bxd7+ Kxd7 13.Ng3 Qb4 14.Nxf5 Qxb2 15.Nxe4 Qb4+ 16.Nd2 Qf4 17.Ne3 Rd8 18.c4 Kc8 19.Qb3 Bc5 20.g3 Qh6 21.Ne4 Bb6 22.0-0 f5 23.Nxf5 Qh3 24.Ne3+/-

c) 7...Qd6 8.b3! Bd7 9.a4 Nf6 10.Ba3 Qb6 11.0-0 0-0-0 (11...e3 12.a5 exf2+ 13.Rxf2 Qe3 14.d6 Qxc3 15.dxe7 Bxe7 16.Rf3 Qxa5 17.Bxe7 Qb6+ 18.Kh1 Kxe7 19.Nxf5+ Kf8 20.Qd2+/-) 12.a5 Qd4 13.Qe1 a6 14.Rd1 Qa7 15.d6 cxd6 16.Bxd6 Nc6 17.Bxf8 Rhxf8 18.Na4 Kb8 19.Nb6 g6 20.Qe3 f4 21.Qc5 Bg4 22.Rd7+/-

B) 6...Nf6 7.Bc4 [7.Bg5 Nexd5=/+] 7...c6 [7...Bg4 8.f3 exf3 9.gxf3 Bd7 10.Bg5 Ng6 11.Nh5 Be7 12.Nxg7+ Kf8 13.Bh6 Kg8 14.Qd2 Bh3 15.Bf1 Qd7 16.0-0-0 Bxf1 17.Rdxf1 Bf8 18.h4+/-] 8.Bg5! Bg4 

[8...Nfxd5 9.Qh5! Qb6 [9...Be6 10.Ngxe4 Qd7 11.0?0?0 Bg4 12.Nd6+ Qxd6 13.Qxg4 f6 14.Be3 f5 15.Qf3 e4 16.Qh3 Rd8 17.Rd2 Qb4 18.Bxd5 cxd5 19.Rhd1] 10.Ngxe4 Be6 11.Nd6+ Kd7 12.Nde4 Rd8 [12...f5 13.Na4 Qb4+ 14.c3 Qxc4 15.Nac5+ Kc7 16.Nxe6+] 13.0-0 Kc8 14.a4! Qb4 [14...f5 15.a5 Qc7 16.Nc5] 15.Bb3 f6 [15...Nxc3 16.Bxe6+ fxe6 17.Nxc3 Qxb2 18.Ne4 Qxc2 19.Rfe1 h6 20.Bh4 Qb3 21.Qf7 g5 22.Bg3] 16.Bd2 Qb6 [16...Nc7 17.Bxe6+ Nxe6 18.a5 g6 19.Qh4 g5 20.Qh5 f5 21.Nxg5 Nxg5 22.Bxg5 Qxb2 23.Qf7 Qxc3 24.Bf6+-] 17.a5 Qc7 18.Nc5 Bd7 [18...Bf5 19.a6!] 19.Rfd1 g6 20.Qf3 Bf5 21.a6 b6 22.Nb7 Rd7 23.g4 Be6 24.Nxd5 Nxd5 25.c4 Nf4 26.Bxf4 exf4 27.Qe4 Rxd1+ 28.Rxd1 Bd7 29.c5

9.f3! exf3 10.gxf3 Bh3 

[10...cxd5 11.fxg4 dxc4 12.Qe2 Qb6 (12...Qd7 13.Rd1 Qc6 14.Qxe5 Nxg4 15.Qe2 Nf6 16.0-0 Rd8 17.Qe3 Rxd1 18.Rxd1 Ng4 19.Qf4 f6 20.Qxg4 fxg5 21.Qxg5+/-) 13.0-0-0 Nd7 14.Nge4 Ng6 15.Rxd7 Kxd7 16.Qxc4 Qc6 17.Qxf7+ Kc8 18.Rd1+/-

10...Bd7 11.Nge4 Nexd5 12.Bxd5 cxd5 13.Bxf6 gxf6 14.Nxd5 Be7 15.Nxe7 Qxe7 16.Nd6+ Kd8 17.Qd5 Bc6 18.Qa5+ b6 19.Qa3+/-

11.Nge4 Nxe4 [11...Nexd5 12.Bxd5 cxd5 13.Bxf6 gxf6 14.Nxd5 Be7 15.Qd3 f5 (15...Be6 16.Qb5+ Kf8 17.0-0-0 Bxd5 18.Rxd5 Qb6 19.Qd3 Rg8 20.Ng3 Kg7 21.Rd1 Kh8 22.Rd7 Qe6 23.Qf5 Bc5 24.Qxe6 fxe6 25.Rxb7 Be3+ 26.Kb1 Rad8 27.Rxd8 Rxd8 28.a4+/-) 16.Nf2 Qa5+ 17.b4 Bxb4+ 18.c3 Bxc3+ 19.Qxc3 Qxd5 20.Nxh3 Rd8 21.Kf2 0-0 22.Rhd1 Qe6 23.Ng5 Qb6+ 24.Kg2 Rd4 25.Kh1 h6 26.Nh3 Rfd8 27.Rxd4 Qxd4 28.Rg1++/-] 12.fxe4 Qd7 13.Rg1 f6 14.Bxf6 0-0-0 15.Bxe5 Ng6 16.Bd4 Bd6 17.Qe2 c5 18.Be3 a6 19.0-0-0+/-


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