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Giulio Cesare Polerio vs Giovanni Leonardo Di Bona da Cutri
Rome (1590), Rome ITA
Latvian Gambit: Greco Variation (C40)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: DiBona finally wins one!
Apr-28-08  mron: Is this the oldest game to feature the Latvian Gambit and did Leonardo di Bona/da Cutri invent it?
Oct-08-08  just a kid: I think 13...Bg7 looks easier than 13...Qh4.What about 14.Qd5+ Ke8 15.Qc4?
Premium Chessgames Member
  amadeus: White should have played 14.d4, protecting both Bg7 and Qb4# -- and threatening Bc4#.

13...Bg7 is not possible because of 14.Qxg7 Kxg7 15.Bxg5 Nxh1 16.Be3 and the black knight is trapped.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Is this the oldest game to feature the Latvian Gambit>

So it appears. I've had a soft spot for this opening due to a much later Latvian, Aron Nimzowitsch, favoring it. But personally I've only had the position after black's 2nd move once - and that was with the move order 1.Nf3 f5 2.e4 e5 ...

A Reti/Zukertort to begin; a Dutch Defence offered by black; white responds with 2.e4, the Lisitsyn Gambit; and black declines, transposing into a Latvian.

It's probably just me, but I love that particular transposition. In my game, it put both players into shock: neither of us normally played e4 openings at all.

As white, I frantically tried to recall what Nimzo said about the rest of the world developing their knights *so*, but he had his own way. I found a third route, and still won in 17 moves.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <favoring it> huh but he annotated the Bething game more detailed in <My System> (game 12).
Mar-16-09  dwavechess: 6/13 concur with Rybka 3 at 3 min. per move with rybka.abk book for Da Cutri
May-31-09  penguin496: I ran the end position on my computer chess program and white won.
Jun-21-11  kellmano: Flipping through his games, it seems Polerio resigned early here, and his opponents often do as well.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sergash: This move, 13...Qh4?? loses all the advantage! The only way to win goes with 13...Qxg2! 14.d4 Ne4+ 15.Kb3 d5

After 13...Qh4??, and as mentioned by Amadeus : 14.d4! Ne4+ (if 14...Nxh1??, White has a mate in 5 : 15.Bc4+ d5 16.Bxd5+ Be6 17.Qxe6+ Kg7 18.Qf7+ Kh8 19.Qg8#) 15.Kb3 (only move) d5! 16.g3 Qd8! 17.Qh8! =

Game checked with Houdini 1.5a.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sergash: Also 13.Kc3??...

The only move that survives is : 13.Ke1 Qxc1 14.Kxf2 Qxh1 15.Nc3 (only move) d6 (only move **) 16.Qd5+ (only move) Be6 (only move) 17.Rxh1 (or else 17.Qxe6+ Kxe6 18.Rxh1 =) Bxd5 18.Nxd5 =

** If, like in the game of Andersen sacrificing his 2 rooks, 15...Qxa1?? 16.Nd5! Bg7 17.Qe7+! Kg8 18.Qe8+ Kh7 (if 18...Bf8 19.Ne7+ and mate 3 moves later) 19.Ne7! Bd4+ 20.Kf3 (only move) Kg7 21.Qxg6+ Kf8 22.Qh7! Bg7 23.Ng6+ Kf7 24.Ne5+ Ke6 25.Qxg7 Qxb2 26.Qf7+ Kxe5 ( better than 26...Kd6? 27.Nc4+ followed by Nxb2) 27.Qg7+ Ke6 28.Qxb2

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sergash: 11.Qe5+?

Better to develop pieces and take the advantage : 11.Nc3! Nxh1 12.Nd5! Kf7 (only move that survives) 13.c3!! and despite Black's material advantage, his king is more exposed and he will have serious problems getting his other pieces out.

Houdini 1.5a line.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sergash: 10...Qg4??

In 1992, the game Dammer vs Zvara (2300), Oberwart Open (Austria) improved this line : 10...Qe7?! 11.Rg1 (11.Nc3!? Houdini) Kf7 12.d4? (gain, it is better to develop the pieces 12.Nc3 =; or 12.Qh7+ Bg7 (only move) 13.Nc3 =) Bg7 13.Bc4+! d5! (only move) 14.Bxd5+ Be6 (only move) 15.Bxe6+ Qxe6 (only move) 16.Qh4! (only move) Ne4+! Nc6 / and Black went on to win.

So far, it seems no one ever played : 10...Qf4+! 11.Ke2 (11.Ke1 Qxc1+ 12.Kxf2 Nc6 transposing; 11.Kc3?? Qb4#) Qxc1 12.Kxf2 Nc6

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sergash: The correct path is shown here :

8.f3! hxg6! 9.Qxg4 (only move) Qxc2+ 10.Kxc2 fxg4 11.fxg4 Nc6 12.Nc3 d6 = as shown in the game Cadovas Pordomingo vs Lopez Pereyra (2153), Tenerife Team Championship (Canaries, Spain) 2006, won by White.

Also, note that if 8.Nxh8?? Ne3+! 9.fxe3 Qxh4 wins.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sergash: 6.Kd1?

6.Be2! Nf6 (only move) 7.Qh3! hxg6 (only move) 8.Qxh8 Qxg2 (only move) 9.Rf1! Kf7 (only move) 10.d4 Fioretto vs Masettovich, Niccoli 1999, won by White

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sergash: 3...Qe7?!

Not the optimal move. Two lines appear superior :

A- 3...Qf6! 4.d4 (4.Nc4 fxe4 5.Nc3 Qf7 6.Ne3 c6 7.Nxe4 d5 8.Ng5 Qf6! 9.Nf3 Bd6 10.d4 Ne7 with only partial compensations for the pawn) d6 5.Nc4! fxe4 6.Nc3 Qg6 7.f3 Be7 8.fxe4 (Railich (2297) vs Lapshun (2507), Manhattan (USA) CC Championship 1999, won by Whitre) Nh6 ;

B- 3...Nf6 4.Bc4! Qe7! 5.d4! Nc6N! 6.0-0 fxe4! 7.Bf4 d5! 8.Bb3! Be6 9.c4 which seems to be an improvement of the line.

Dec-22-13  Alpinemaster: This game is amazingly educational for two reasons:

The early Romantic (super tactical aggression with little concern for strategy) tendencies of Il Putino's companion, Polerio, lead him to confidently pursue positions which would enable the champion to wrest his opponent from a defensively tenable circumstance and allow powerful attacking combinations to flow from the opponent's inherent tactical weaknesses. One of the key features of Leonardo di Bona's (Il Putino) play that distinguished him as superior to his contemporary masters was strategic rationale: he knew that a piece's value was relative to its position! Thus, he is completely unconcerned with his undeveloped rook and embarks upon a hunt for the enemy King whilst his antagonist utilizes the advantage of first move for simple materialistic purposes.

Please do not misunderstand: by no means is the play 'Masterly'... nor even strategically correct. The reason this game can be found within my "Coaches Corner" is because, while providing a tactical problem at the basic level, in a more profound aspect it teaches the most important Chess fundamental of all: Confidence!

Il Putino knew he was superior to his opponent. He knew he had an aggressive position thanks to his sharp opening choice. And so he looked for a weakness in the enemy center and Kingside, exploited that weakness, and then discovered a swift tactical nicety that sifts through all the strategic muck to effectively force the antagonist King into the open and end the game. None of this happens if he realizes that his position is indeed mediocre and, setting his bold confidence aside, assumes a passive, defensive role in order to compensate for long-term weakness from the deficit of material - inherent to his style and robust gambit.

Make sure to note that the given threats here are 14...Bg7 (winning the Queen via a pin to the King) and 14...Qb4++ (supported by the Bishop and lack of retreating possibilities), so the kids get the hidden tactical idea and aren't left confused about the climax.

Good coaching and good studies.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Sergash: Excellent summary Alpinemaster!

Only problem is that the end position is completely equal. So Polerio resigned in a position Leonardo could not win with correct play.

But it also happened to me once in a tournament. I was a piece down (early dubious sacrifice of a piece for a couple of pawns). Ending : King + pawns + knight vs King + pawns. And when the white knight was going to capture a pawn I resigned. Only later, with a computer, did I realize that if the knight would capture that pawn, he would never get out alive... The position was completely equal!

So, winning in a drawn position, because the opponent thinks he is lost and resigns wrongly is not too convincing...

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: In the 'Coaching Corner' by <Alpinemaster>, there is a game from Fischer-Taimanov, 1971, which he considers early.

Would this gamelet be considered prehistoric?

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: A bad game by modern standards, but this was over 400 years ago. Some comments, based largely on Houdini 3's assessments:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5?! 3.Nxe5 <Far and away the most common move. Houdini likes the unusual 3.exf5!? (a King's Gambit Accepted with an extra tempo) e4 4.Ne5 Nf6 5.Be2 d6 6.Bh5+ Ke7 7.Nf7 Qe8 8.O-O Nxh5 9.Nxh8 Kd8 10.d3 exd3 11.Qxd3 Be7 12.g4 Qxh8 (12...Nf6 13.g5 Ng4 (13...Nfd7 14.f6 Bxf6 15.Qxh7 Nf8 16.Qd3 Be7 17. g6 (+1.72) 14.f6 Bxf6 15.gxf6 Nxf6 16.Bg5 Qxh8 17.Nc3 (+1.27) 13.gxh5 gives White a large advantage (+0.71).> 3...Qe7? <These days almost everyone plays 3...Qf6 here. 3...Nc6?! 4.d4! is strong for White. Houdini thinks that Black's best move may be 3...Nf6 (which almost no one plays). Then 4.Bc4 Qe7 5.d4 Nc6 6.O-O fxe4 7.Bf7+ Kd8 8.Nxc6+ bxc6 9.Bb3 gives White a +0.68 advantage according to Houdini. I doubt many people would be eager to play Black's position.> 4.Qh5+! <This is weak against 3...Qf6, when Black wins a piece with 4...g6 5.Nxg6 hxg6. But it refutes 3...Qe7?> 4...g6 5.Nxg6 Qxe4+ 6.Kd1?! <'s database contains no games with the correct 6.Be2! Nf6 7.Qh3 with a large advantage to White, as in both Slous-Bone, Great Britain 1846 (1-0, 23) and Fiorenzo-Masettovich, Niccoli 1999 (1-0, 51).> 6...Nf6 7.Qh4 Ng4 <Another possibility is 7...Qg4+, when Houdini analyzes 8.Qxg4 Nxg4 9.Nxh8 Nxf2+ 10.Ke1 Nxh1 11.Nc3 Bd6 12.Bc4 Bxh2 13.d3 c6 14.Bg5 Kf8 15.Kd2 Nf2 16.Bh6+ Ke7 17.Re1+ Kd8 18.Bg8 Kc7 19.Bxh7 Ng4 20.Bg5 d5 21.Nf7 with a large advantage to White.> 8.d3? <8.f3! hxg6 9.Qxg4! Qxc2+! 10.Kxc2 fxg4 11.fxg4 Nc6 12.Nc3 d6 13.Nd5 Kd8 14.d3 Bxg4 15.Bg5+ Kc8 16.Bf6 Rh5 17.Re1 Bd7 18.Ne3 Bh6 19.g4 Ra5 20.a3 gives White a small advantage according to Houdini.> 8...hxg6 9.Qxh8 Nxf2+ 10.Kd2 Qg4? <10...Qf4+! 11.Ke2 Qxc1 12.Kxf2 Nc6 with a large advantage to Black.> 11.Qe5+?! <11.Be2 Qg5+ 12.Ke1 (12.Kc3? Qe7 ) 12...Qxc1+ 13.Kxf2 Qxh1 14.Bh5 gxh5 15.Qxh5+ Ke7 16.Qg5+ Ke8 17.Qh5+ draws by perpetual. Best is 11.Nc3! Nxh1 12.Nd5 Kf7 13.c3 Nc6 14.Qh7+ Bg7 15.Kc2 Nd4+ (supposedly Black's best try) 16.cxd4 Qxd4 17.Nf4! Qf6 18.g4 Nf2 19.gxf5 Qxf5 20.Bg2 c6 21.Bd2 Ng4 22.Nd5! cxd5 23.Rf1 Qxf1 24.Bxf1 Nf6 25.Qh3 with large advantage to White.> 11...Kf7 12. Be2? <Better is 12.Qd5+ Kg7 13.Nc3 Nxh1 14.g3 Nxg3 15.Qe5+ Kg8 16.hxg3 Nc6 17.Qe3 Qh5 18.Qf2 Ne5 19.Nd5 Ng4 20.Qg1 Bd6 21.Nf4 Qh6 22.c3 b6 23.Bg2 c6 24.Kc2 with a small advantage to Black.> 12...Qg5+ 13.Kc3 <Houdini says that 13.Ke1 Qxc1+ 14.Kxf2 Qxh1 is preferable, but still winning for Black.> 13... Qh4?? <Black has a winning advantage after 13...Qxg2! 14.d4 Ne4+ 15.Kb3 (15.Kd3 Nc6 is murderously strong for Black.) 15...Qxe2 16.Qd5+ Kg7.> 0-1?? <Apparently the threat of 14...Bg7 scared White into resigning, but White would have been more than fine after 14.d4! Ne4+ (14...Nxh1?? 15.Bc4+ forces mate.) 15.Kb3 d5 (+0.15).>

Oct-28-15  Avun Jahei: He did not resign. The game is incomplete.
Apr-11-16  Christoforus Polacco: @ Avun.
Are you sure ? Do you have any information or this is your probable hypothesis ?
Apr-11-16  Christoforus Polacco: @ Sergash <This move, 13...Qh4?? loses all the advantage! The only way to win goes with 13...Qxg2! 14.d4 Ne4+ 15.Kb3 d5> Is not possible : 15.... Q:e2 ?
Apr-11-17  Yigor: ChessOK evaluations: 2...f5 (Latvian gambit, +0.76) 3. Nxe5 (LGA1) Qe7 (Greco variation, +0.76) 4. Qh5+ g6 5. Nxg6 Qxe4+ 6. Kd1? (+0.07; white should play 6. Be2) Nf4 7. Qh4 Ng4 8. d3 (-1.02; the correct move:8. f3).

Polerio resigned too early; 14. d4! and white has all its chances.

PSCC: 2Eef (Latvian gambit) --> 6e2Ef (LGA1 and Greco variation) --> 6e2Ef1g.

Sep-24-17  Christoforus Polacco: I played LG game (with 3...Qe7) eight years ago at tournament (5 wins, 2 lost and rating 1808). It was one of my two defeats, unfortunately ;) 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.N:e5 Qe7 4.Qh5+ g6 5.N:g6 Q:e4+ 6.Be2 Nf6 7.Qh3 Rg8 8.N:f8 K:f8 (possible is 8...Q:g2 but after that White has two bishops, one pawn more and more chances at endgame) 9.f3 Qe7 10.Nc3 d5 11.d4 Nc6 12.Bh6+ Ke8? (better is 12....Kf7) 13.Rd1 f4 14.Qh4 R:g2 15.Bg5 Kf7 16.B:f6 (interesting is 16.Kf1!? Bh3 17.B:f6 R:e2+ 18.Q:h3 Qe3 19.N:e2 Re8 20.Re1 Nb4 but White has more comfort than Black :) 16.... Q:f6 17.Q:h7+ Rg7 18.Qh5+ Qg6 19.Q:d5+ Be6 20.Qc5 Bh3 21.d5 Qg2 22.Rf1 Re8 23.Ne4! Re5?? (illusion...) 24.Qc3 and White wins.
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