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Monday, February 13, 2017

The van Geet: An Opening with more Gambits that you can shake a stick at...

     Battambang Variation, Berlin Gambit, Billockus-Johansen, Damhaug Gambit, Dougherty Gambit, Duesseldorf Gambit, Dunst-Perrenet Gambit, Gladbacher Gambit, Hector Gambit, Hergert Gambit, Hulsemann Gambit, Jendrossek Gambit, Klüver Gambit, Laroche Gambit, Liebig Gambit, Melleby Gambit, Napoleon Attack, Novosibirsk Variation, Nowokunski Gambit, Pfeiffer Gambit, Sleipner Countergambit, Reversed Nimzovich, Reversed Scandinavian, Sleipner Gambit, Tuebingen Gambit, Twyble Attack, Warsteiner Gambit

     Those are just some of the lines, variations and gambits, not to mention transpositions into respectable openings, I found while looking at the Van Geet Opening, also known as the Dunst Opening here in the United States. We are talking about 1.Nc3. 
     Dirk Daniel van Geet (March 1, 1932 - April 29, 2012 at the age of 80 years) of The Netherlands was awarded the IM title in 1965 and the correspondence GM title in 1986). He specialized in off-beat opening variations and his name is associated with 1.Nc3. In 1952 he was junior champion of The Netherlands. 
     The van Geet Opening operates on a different principle than most openings where white can, to some extent, control the direction the opening takes. Not so with the van Geet where black is invited to play just about anything that seems reasonable and understanding is more important than memorized lines. 
     The opening has been largely neglected which seems a bit odd because it is sound enough...it doesn't neglect the center or throw good opening principles to the wind. A few minor masters have analyzed it, but very few top players have been willing to play it. Apart from correspondence GMs such as Ove Ekebjaerg and van Geet himself (who drew Spassky in an over-the-board game with it), several other leading correspondence figures have investigated 1.Nc3 Often, 1.Nc3 will transpose into a 1.e4 opening: the Scandinavian, the Sicilian Grand Prix, the French, the Vienna and the Caro-Kann are all possibilities, not to mention the above weird stuff. In his book Taming Wild Chess Openings John Watson actually list 1.Nc3 under the heading of good openings for white. 
     Maybe one reason why it's not seen very often at the top level is because it's almost impossible to prepare any opening lines if you play 1.Nc3 and GMs generally like to have their openings prepared. Play the van Geet and you don't know where things are headed and many lines result in non-standard positions that force both players onto their own resources. Most of us amateurs know deep down that we don't understand much and so try to keep things under control by memorizing opening variations we are reasonably sure we might actually be able to reach. 
     This game features the van Geet Opening, Myers Attack...or is it the Modern Defense, Anti-Pirc Variation?

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