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Saturday, December 12, 2020

The Reckless Blackburne-Kloosterboer Gambit

     Everybody knows who Blackburne was. He was Joseph Henry Blackburne (December 10, 1841 – September 1, 1924), a British player nicknamed "The Black Death" who dominated the British scene during the latter part of the 19th century. At one point he was one of the world's leading players, had a string of tournament victories and popularized chess by giving simultaneous and blindfold displays around the country. All I can tell you about Gerrit Willem Kloosterboer (November 23, 1878 - April 18, 1968, 89 years old) was that he was a Dutch master. 
     The Blackburne-Kloosterboer Gambit is a variation of the Scandinavian Defense, one of the oldest recorded openings, that begins 1. e4 d5 2. exd5 c6. This rare gambit was played successfully by Blackburne on at least one occasion, but it's thought to be unsound and is almost never seen in master play. In my day 1.e4 d5 was known as the Center Counter Gambit; in the 1980s its name began to change. 
     The first recorded Scandinavian was played in a game between Francesc de Castellvi and Narcís Vinyoles in Valencia in 1475 in what may be the first recorded game of modern chess. Analysis by Scandinavian masters in the late 19th century showed it is playable and although it has never been popular Blackburne and Jacques Mieses often played it as did, Siegbert Tarrasch, Rudolph Spielmann, and Savielly Tartakower also played if on occasion. Alekhine once used it to draw Lasker (St. Petersburg 1914) and Capablanca won twice with it at New York 1915.
     In the 1950s Yugoslav IM Nikola Karaklajic played it, but it faded until the 1960s when David Bronstein and women's world champion Nona Gaprindashvili used it occasionally. Bent Larsen also used to spring it once in a while. After he beat World Champion Anatoly Karpov with it at Montreal 1979, its popularity began to rise. 
     In the 1980s, Danish GM Curt Hansen and Australian GM Ian Rogers frequently played it and in 1995, Viswanathan Anand got a pretty good game against Garry Kasparov with it in their world championship match, but Kasparov.  In recent years Magnus Carlsen has successfully trotted out the defense a few times. 
     Frank Marshall used to play the gambit variation 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6, but samples of Blackburne-Kloosterboer Gambit are rare. I never heard of it until recently when I played it on a whim in an online game that turned out to be interesting and fun. Actually, I did discover that I had played it in an online game five years ago. It's been fun and I plan on playing it when I'm feeling reckless. 
     For sample master games using this gambit you can check out Chess Tempo HEREAnd, for a pdf opening book that not only lists the lines, but has a plethora of statistics visit HERE.

NN - Tartajubow

Result: 0-1

Site: Online Game 10

Date: 2020.12

Scandinavian Defense: Blackburne-Kloosterboer Gambit

[...] 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 c6 This is the Blackburne-Kloosterboer Gambit 3.dxc6 ♘xc6 Playing 3...e5 like a Danish Gambit Reversed seemed just too risky! However, I did try it later in a couple of games and don't recommended it unless you are feeling suicidal.
3...e5 4.cxb7 ♗xb7 5.♗b5+
5.♘c3 ♘f6 6.d3 ♘c6 7.♕e2 Instead of this petty "attack" on the e-Pawn white should continue his development Now his K-side is gummed up. 7...♗c5 8.♘f3 O-O 9.♗e3 ♘d4 Black is practically winning. NN-Tartajubow, Online 2020
5...♘c6 6.♘f3 e4 7.♕e2 Now that his K-side is developed this move is OK. 7...♘f6 8.♘e5 ♖c8 9.♕c4 ♕c7 10.♘xc6 ♗xc6 11.♗xc6+ ♕xc6 12.♕xc6+ ♖xc6 13.♘c3 and white is winning. Black is practically winning. NN-Tartajubow, Online 2020
4.c3 This looks too passive to be of any real value.
4.♘c3 e5 5.♗b5 ♘f6
5...♗c5 6.♗xc6+ bxc6 7.♕e2 ♘e7 8.♘f3 O-O 9.O-O ♗g4 Favors white. Galego,L (2425)-Ferreira,P (2205)/Porto 1998
6.♘f3 ♗d6 7.d3 O-O 8.♗xc6 bxc6 9.O-O ♘d5 Here, too, black's position is nothing to brag about.Markgraf,A (2442)-Reuss,A (2326)/Bad Woerishofen 2008
4.♗c4 e5 5.d3 ♘f6 6.♗g5 Better 6.Nf3 6...♗c5 7.♘c3 ♕b6 8.♕d2 ♗xf2+ 9.♕xf2 ♕xb2 and black has equalized. Antolak,J (2133)-Guerreiro,N (2168)/Figueira da Foz POR 2016
4.♘f3 e5 This is Blackburne's move.
4...♘f6 This was my choice which is likely not so good as black apparently needs to play ...e5. 5.♗b5 Not bad but 5.d4 stopping ...e5 is probably better. 5...♗d7 6.O-O At this point I realized my mistake last move. Gaining a share of the center with ... e5 is not possible. 6...e6 7.d4 ♗d6 8.♗g5 The pin on the N is annoying.
8.♖e1 a6 9.♗a4 b5 10.♗b3 ♘a5 11.c3 Emeljashin,J (2107)-Akentjev, O Kemerovo 2007 and black just didn't have enough to compensate for the P.
8...O-O 9.♘c3 ♗e7 Developing backwards is a sad move to have to make.
9...♖e8 10.♗xf6 ♕xf6 11.♘e4 ♕e7 12.c3 And now ...e5 still isn't possible: 12...e5?13.♘xd6 ♕xd6 14.dxe5 is winning for white.
10.♖e1 NN-Tartajubow. I discovered I had played this defense before. This is from an online game in 2015! White is better but managed to drift into a lost ending.
5.d3 f5 6.♘c3 ♘f6 7.♗g5 ♗e7 Black has no problems. Vergani,B-Blackburne,J Hastings 1895
4...e5 I learned my lesson about the need to play ...e5 5.♗c4 ♘f6 6.d3 a6 7.a4 ♗c5 8.♘f3 Engines evaluated this position as equal, but I like black's active pieces. 8...O-O
8...e4 Was probably better. If 9.♕e2 O-O 10.dxe4 ♘xe4 11.O-O ♖e8 black seems to have enough play to compensate for the P minus.
9.O-O e4 Now that white has castled this is less effective so perhaps continuing development with 9...Bf5 was a shade better. 10.dxe4 ♕xd1 11.♖xd1 ♘xe4 Despite the exchange of Qs I thought my active pieces, the attack on f2 and soon to be mine e-file were worth the P. The engines prefer white by a little over a P. 12.♖f1
12.♗e3 ♗xe3 13.fxe3 ♖e8 would have left him with a slightly weak e-Pawn. buty there doesn't seem to be any way that black can attack and win it.
12...♗f5 13.♘bd2 ♘d6 Now after the B moves I intended to occupy the d- and e-files with my Rs. While my position may look impressive I began thinking there wasn't anything I could to with it because there's nothing to attack. 14.b4 This seems questionable. 14...♗a7 (14...♘xc4 15.♘xc4 ♗e7 was also good.) 15.♗d5 ♖fe8 16.♗b2 I expected 16. Bxc6 and after 16...bxc6 black has completely equalized. 16...♖e2 Even though Komodo gives white a minimal (0.60) advantage here, I still like my position. 17.♖ae1 ♖ae8 18.♖xe2 ♖xe2 19.♗a1 The B is too passively placed here. 19. Ba3 intending b4-b5 would have been more active. 19...♗d3 Although not particularly threatening it gave white something to think about for a minute or so. 20.g3 a5 21.♗xc6??
21.b5 ♘e5 22.♘xe5 ♖xe5 23.c4 ♖f5 (23...♗xf1 24.♗xe5 and black loses a piece.) 24.♖c1 ♖xf2 25.c5 with interesting complications.
21.bxa5 This is safest. 21...♘e5 22.♘xe5 ♖xe5 23.c4 ♖f5 24.g4 ♖f4 25.h3 ♗xf1 26.♔xf1 ♖xf2+ 27.♔e1 with an unbalanced position that could prove quite thorny for both players.
21...bxc6 22.bxa5 I wasn't at all concerned about his a-Pawns because now I have a lot of pressure on f2. 22...g5! Very threatening! 23.g4 Black now begins a struggle to enforce the advance of the g-Pawn.
23.♘xg5 ♖xd2 and there's nowhere for the R to go so. .. 24.♘f3 ♖a2 25.♘e5 ♗xf1 26.♔xf1 ♖xa1+ and wins.
23...♘e4 This was even better though. 24.♘xe4 ♖xe4 25.♖e1 ♖xg4+ 26.♔h1 ♗e4 27.♖xe4 ♖xe4 and black is winning.
24.h3 hxg4 25.hxg4 f5 26.♘b3
26.c4 was his last hope. 26...fxg4 27.c5 ♘b7
27...♗xc5 28.♘b3 ♗a7 29.♘e5 ♗c2 30.♘xc6 ♗xb3 31.♘xa7 ♗xa4 and a draw seems a reasonable outcome.
28.♘xg5 ♖xd2 29.♖e1 ♖e2 30.♖xe2 ♗xe2 and black is better, but honestly I am not sure I could have won.
26...♖e4 27.gxf5
27.♖d1 ♖xg4+ 28.♔h2 ♗e2 29.♖g1 (29.♖xd6 ♗b8 winning easily.) 29...♗xf3 and black has a won position.
27...♖g4+ 28.♔h2 ♗xf1 Black's attack has finally prevailed. From here on I missed a lot of mates because I was getting quite low on time and was just checking hoping to gain a little thinking time as my opponent had to use precious seconds trying to avoid mate. 29.♘bd4 ♗b8 (29...♘e4 30.♘e1 ♗b8+ 31.f4 ♗xf4+ 32.♔h1 ♘f2#) 30.♘xc6 ♖g2+ (30...♘e4+ 31.♘fe5 ♖g2+ 32.♔h3 ♘xf2#) 31.♔h1 (31.♔h3 ♘xf5 32.♘e7+ ♔f7 33.♘e5+ ♗xe5 34.f3 ♖g1#) 31...♘e4 32.♘e7+ ♔f7 33.♘xg5+ ♘xg5 (33...♖xg5 34.f4 ♘f2+ 35.♔h2 ♗xf4#) 34.c4 ♖h2+ (34...♘f3 35.c5 ♖g1#) 35.♔g1 ♗xc4 36.♗e5 ♗xe5 (36...♘f3#) 37.f4 ♗xf4 (37...♘f3#) 38.♘g6 ♘f3#
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