Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Latvian Gambit

I've stumbled upon the Latvian Gambit and wanted to test it immediately against my colleagues. As you will see in the video, it seems a wonderfully aggressive opening, something akin to Shock and Awe, riddled with traps against your opponent. The truth is that it is an unprincipled opening, abandoning material advantage in the hope that your adversary will slip up and expecting you to have the skills to attack and defend accurately as the game progresses. I did manage to capture the queen once, but only after pointing out to my opponent that he could have forked my king and rook, so that the trap would work - he hadn't noticed. In the rest of the games, none of them running the course of the video you will see, the lack of skill on both sides of the table forced me to abandon this gambit for now, instead looking for something more principled and more appropriate for my playing level.

So here is the game from TheChessWebsite:

I've experimented with chess engines and watched other videos about the gambit and constructed a rather complex PGN file. You can play with it here. Don't forget to click on the variations to see how the game could progress. There is even a full game there, from a video that has the link in the comment.
[Event "The Latvian Gambit"]
[Site "Siderite's Blog"]
[Date "2012.04.18"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Siderite"]
[Black "Siderite"]
[Result "0-1"]
[BlackElo "2400"]
[ECO "C63"]
[Opening "Spanish"]
[Time "13:45:38"]
[Variation "Schliemann, 4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 Nf6"]
[WhiteElo "2400"]
[TimeControl "0+60"]
[Termination "normal"]
[PlyCount "11"]
[WhiteType "human"]
[BlackType "human"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 f5 3. Nxe5 (3. Bc4 3. .. fxe4 4. Nxe5 Nf6 (4. .. Qg5 5. d4
Qxg2 6. Qh5+ g6 7. Bf7+ Kd8 8. Bxg6 Qxh1+ 9. Ke2 c6) (4. .. d5 5. Qh5+ g6
6. Nxg6 hxg6 7. Qxg6+ (7. Qxh8 Kf7 8. Qd4 Be6 9. Bb3 Nc6 10. Qe3 Bh6 11. f4
Nge7) 7. .. Kd7 8. Bxd5 Nf6 9. Nc3 Qe7) 5. Nf7 Qe7 6. Nxh8 d5 7. Be2 (7.
Bb3 Bg4 {White loses the queen, one way or another} 8. f3 exf3+ 9. Kf2 Ne4+
10. Kf1 (10. Kg1 f2+ 11. Kf1 Bxd1) 10. .. fxg2+ 11. Kxg2 Bxd1)) (3. Nc3 3.
.. Nf6 {Continue as for the king gambit (reversed)}) (3. exf5 3. .. e4 4.
Ne5 Nf6 5. Be2 d6 6. Bh5+ Ke7 7. Nf7 Qe8 8. Nxh8 Qxh5 9. Qxh5 Nxh5) (3. d4
fxe4 4. Nxe5 Nf6 5. Bg5 d6 6. Nc3 dxe5 7. dxe5 Qxd1+ 8. Rxd1 h6 9. Bxf6
gxf6) 3. .. Qf6 (3. .. Nc6 4. Qh5+
{https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZHGgEGM6SQ} (4. Nxc6 bxc6 5. exf5 Nf6 6.
d4 d5 7. Bd3 Bd6 8. Be3 O-O 9. Nd2 Rb8 10. Rb1 Qe7 11. O-O h5 12. Nf3 Ne4
13. Bxe4 dxe4 14. Ng5 Bxf5 15. Qxh5 Rf6 16. Nh3 Qd7 17. Bg5 g6 18. Qh4 Rf7
19. Nf4 Rh7 20. Qg3 Kg7 21. Qc3 Rbh8 22. d5+ Kg8 23. h3 {correct move dxc6}
Bxh3 24. Qxc6 (24. Nxh3 Rxh3 25. gxh3 Rxh3) 24. .. Bf5 25. Nh3 Bxh3 26. Bf6
Bxg2 {Bh2+ would have been mate in 4} (26. .. Bh2+ 27. Kxh2 Bxg2+ 28. Kg3
Rh3+ 29. Kxg2 Qg4#) 27. f4 Qxc6 28. dxc6 Bf3 29. b4 Bxf4 30. Rbe1 Rh1+ 31.
Kf2 R8h2#) 4. .. g6 5. Nxg6 (5. Nxc6 dxc6) 5. .. Nf6 6. Qh4 Rg8 7. Nxf8 Rg4
8. Qh6 Rxe4+ 9. Kd1 (9. Be2 Nd4 10. Nc3 Nxe2 11. Nxe2 Qe7) 9. .. Ng4) (3.
.. Bc5 4. exf5 Bxf2+ 5. Kxf2 Qh4+ 6. Kf3 (6. Kg1 6. .. Qd4#) (6. Ke2 6. ..
Qe4+) (6. g3 Qd4+ 7. Kg2 Qxe5 8. Nc3 Qxf5 9. Bd3 Qf7 10. b3 Nf6 11. Re1+
Kd8 12. Qf3 Nc6 13. Ne4 Qe7 14. Nxf6 Qxf6 15. Qxf6+ gxf6 16. Bb2) 6. .. Nf6
(6. .. Ne7 7. Nc3 d6 8. g3 Qh5+ 9. g4 Qh4 10. Qe1 Qxe1 11. Bb5+ Nbc6 (11.
.. c6 12. Rxe1 cxb5 13. Nd3 Nc6 14. Nxb5) 12. Rxe1 dxe5 13. Rxe5 O-O 14.
Re4 h5 15. h3 Nxf5 16. Bc4+ Kh7 17. gxf5 Bxf5 18. Kg2 Bxe4+ 19. Nxe4 Rae8)
(6. .. b5)) (3. .. fxe4 4. Qh5+ g6 5. Nxg6 Nf6 6. Qe5+) (3. .. d6 4. Qh5+
g6 5. Nxg6 Nf6 6. Qh4) 4. Nc4 (4. d4 d6 5. Nc4 fxe4 6. Nc3 Qg6 7. f3 exf3
8. Qxf3 Nc6 9. Bd3 Qg4) 4. .. fxe4 5. Nc3 Qf7 (5. .. Qg6 6. d3 exd3 7. Bxd3
Qxg2 8. Be4 Qh3 {At this point black has not developed and is lost}) 6. d4
(6. Nxe4 d5) 0-1



Update: Here is another analysis of the Latvian Gambit, by Abby Marshall.
Roman Dzindzichashvili considers the Latvian gambit a sign of mental illness.
Chessexplained also has a video about it.

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