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Joseph Henry Blackburne vs Blanchard
London (1891), London ENG
King's Gambit: Declined. Classical Variation (C30)  ·  1-0



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Given 87 times; par: 40 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: 13. Bxh6 is such a natural continuation of the attack, it hardly deserves the title of "combination."
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: Black made things especially easy for White after 4. ...exf4. At that point they were essentially playing a King's Gambit Accepted in which Black inserts the nonsensical move ...Bc5?

This game highlights a giant flaw of the King's Gambit declined: Bc5 eventually loses time, as Black cannot prevent White playing d4 with tempo.

If you're not ready to take the King's Gambit by the horns, I would suggest that you abandon 1. ...e5 entirely and consider playing something simpler, like the Sicilian ;-)

Nov-07-02  Bears092: Keep in mind... this game was played more than 100 years ago, and we've had our fair share of opening theory come about since then. If you aren't ready for the kings gambit, don't play e4. Don't play e4 anyway.
Nov-09-02  drukenknight: Bc5 is not a mistake, there are a number of well thought of lines that it shows up in. SOme books recommend that white respond w/ c3 not Nc3 in fact.

The mistake was h6. If black is ahead in material then he should try to force exchanges. 8...Bg4 looks like it would achieve that.

Nov-09-02  drukenknight: Here is one example, Neil McDonald mentions it in his book on the KGambit:

Lawrence Day vs J Costa, 1992

admittedly black did not take exf4

Nov-09-02  drukenknight: But here is a game that does feature ...exf4

Alekhine vs O Tenner, 1911

According to MacDonald: "Now according to Alekhine his game with Tenner COlogne 1907 continued w/ 10...Ne5? and white won brilliantly with 11 Nxe5! Bxd1 12 Bxf7+ Ke7 13 Bxc5+ Kf6 14 00+ Kxe5 15 Rf5 mate.....However according to Tenner this was all a fabrication by ALkehine. The gamea ctually continued with 10..Qe7! 11 Bb5 f5!...and a draw was agreed. Also the game was played in 1911 not 1907."

I have not had time to check whether this game quoted by Tenner is the same one in the database that I link to. Also there are two other Alek/Tenner games, both are KGambit, they may or may not be the game quoted by Alek.

Nov-09-02  drukenknight: UPDATE: The game quoted by Tenner is indeed the same one in the database that I link to.

ANd indeed the other two games, are identical to one another and they are the ALkehine version.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: DK, I'm not saying that ...Bc5 is a "bad" move after 1.e4 e5 2.f4, of course that is a well established line. It's a move with drawbacks, however. Serious drawbacks in my opinion.

For example, consider a game that goes like this: 1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. Nc3

Now no player in their right mind would play 4...Bc5 here, because White would of course respond 5.d4 (a move he wants to play anyhow) and then the bishop would be forced to move again.

And yet, that very position after 4...Bc5 5.d4 is what we seen in this game. I think that should tell us that Black has gone wrong as early as move four.

Nov-10-02  refutor: i agree with you sneaky...i play ...Bc5 v. the king's gambit and have come to the conclusion that if you're gonna take the f-pawn, take it on the second move :) amateurs i've talked to who play the king's gambit regularly say that 1.e4 e5 2.f4 Bc5 is one of the toughest lines to play against because you have to find somewhere to put your's all a matter of taste, just like playing the king's gambit in the first place :)
Nov-11-02  drukenknight: I have no idea what you all are saying. Sneaky says: "it's not bad" but it has serious drawbacks.

I would think a move is either viable or it isnt. If it's not viable, it's bad.

Refutor, agrees that its bad and/or has serious drawbacks, but he plays it anyway. Refutor obviously has a wild side.

THen Refutor says you shouldn't play it unless you take w/ the f pawn on the second move.

BUt then he says it's all a matter of taste anyways.

Okay here is Sneaky's example: 1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. Nc3 Bc5?! 5 d4

Does the B really have to move again? 5...Nxd4 6 Nxd4 Qh4+

There's the critical line, if this is viable then the move is viable. I guess.

Either that or I need another drink.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: Refutor is saying what I'm saying: that you shouldn't play the King's Gambit declined at all. But that's probably being a little heavy handed--it's a move seen at high levels of competition so it can't be all that bad.

When I said it's not "bad" I mean to say it doesn't lose by force--it doesn't deserve a "?" or even a "?!"

About your piece-sac 1. e4 e5  2. f4 exf4  3. Nf3 Nc6  4. Nc3 Bc5  5 d4 Nxd4  6. Nxd4 Qh4+ White then must play 7. Ke2 and I must admit things are starting to look wild and wooly. But my guess is that White can hang on to his advantage. At first I thought it would be an easy win (trade queens and say goodnight) but the more I looked the more I became worried about plans involving ...b6 and ...Ba6+. These crazy King's gambit positions, with the kingside blown wide open, they are so hard for patzers like me to judge.

Nov-11-02  refutor: actually what i was saying is that you either decline the king's gambit with ...Bc5 or you accept the king's can't mix. i don't believe there is any more drawback to ...Bc5 to decline the king's gambit than playing ...Bc5 in the ruy lopez or Bc4 v. the sicilian
Nov-11-02  drukenknight: Okay thanks for fleshing out those comments, guys. Refutor says to either decline or ...Bc5 not both. Yeah I hear what you're saying; I often feel the same way. what does ...exf4 really do for you anyways? I dont consider it gaining a pawn since you have to double your own to do it. I guess it amounts to advancing a pawn.

The only other thing to add there is that you can't be too dogmatic about anything in chess. The minute you say you can't do "x, y and Z" someone will show you a game where they did exactly that. So it all depends, I suppose.

Sneaky says not to play the Kings Gambit declined! But Sneaky isn't that Bobby Fischer's recommendation? SUrely you are not going to disagree w/ your idol on this most important of all openings?

RE the piece sack. First of all it is hardly a sack of an entire piece. By drunken count (iso pawns = zero), black is only down by 1 pt of material.

Does he gain anything else for his 1 pt? Yes. white has lost the right to castle as well.

SO black is down 1 pt. but he has a positional advantage in return for that pt. Overall it hardly seems like a disadvantage at all, more like an even swap or better. I mean how often can you drop a pawn and immediately get back a positional advantage for it?

The other thing is that if I am white and my K goes to e2 it is usually bad. In the Cunningham variation the K goes to f1 and he seems to be okay. but at e2 he blocks the B.

So what do you think next Sneaky? 7...d4 or 7...b6

If 7....d4 what are you going w/? 8 Qe1?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: I never heard Fischer recommend the King's Gambit declined, I think Fischer would recommend the Fischer Defense 1. e4 e5 2. f4 ef 3. Nf3 d6

Re: the piece-sac, like I said it's not clear to me. I understand that Black has compensation for the piece, that is not in question. The question is: is it enough? If white can consolidate and swap queens, the fact that he moved his king to e2 will be an advantage and not a problem. If I could tell you with certainty who is winning that position, I'd have a title--but my gut hunch tells me that I could win with White in a postal game. OTB, anything might happen.

Also I don't know what you mean by 7...d4. In any case I don't want to suggest a move for Black in that position because I haven't really analyzed it. My candidate moves would include 7...Ne7, 7...Nf6 and 7...b6

Nov-11-02  drukenknight: I meant 7....d5 but I think 7....b6 is a contender too. Do you want to try a few more moves of this?
Apr-03-06  outplayer: I am a regular KG player and Know that 2...Bc5 is a good move but 4...exf4?
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Blackburne played this game (and seven others) blindfold.
Feb-11-10  JimmyVermeer: In his book "Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations, and Games", László Polgár gives moves 2-4 as 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 Nc6 4 Nc3 Bc5. I'm not sure why there is a discrepancy. The rest of the game is identical. The title of the book is slightly incorrect, as there are some duplicate games listed.
Nov-01-15  Poisonpawns: 4..exf4?,7..Be6?!,9..h6?,11..b6?! = 1-0
Apr-18-20  Chesgambit: 4. exf4? ( Annotations by Chessgames or Blacburne)
Feb-19-21  LouE: Here is the position after 5.d4:

click for larger view

An interesting thing to note about the first key 'turning point' of this game is that 4...exf4 may not actually be that bad, or at least that 5.d4 is not recommended since allows the piece sac mentioned by <drunkenknight> (by way of transposition - 1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. Nc3 Bc5?! 5. d4 Nxd4 6. Nxd4 Qh4+!) way back in '02!

I have spent some time analysing the positions which arise after 7.Ke2 and after the critical 7...d5!, where Black now threatens Bg4+, White has got the incredibly unlikely (only) defence 8.Nxd5! The position is shown below:

click for larger view

Now after 8...Bg4+ White has got 9.Nf3 and where, in other positions that I studied, 9...Bxf3 10.gxf3 Qf2+ would have been deadly due to the threat of O-O-O with a crushing attack, here the d-file is blocked by the knight and so White can safely play 11.Kd3. Stockfish thinks that the best Black has got here is simply a draw by repetition with Qd4+, Qf2+ Qd4+ etc. etc., since White now also threatens Nxc7+ with a fork on the king and rook, but at any rate this hopefully shows that 5.d4 is not necessarily as good for White as was previously thought.

To illustrate what I mean by how critical it is for White to blockade the d-file with the knight, let us return to the position above and examine another plausible, but incorrect defence 8.Nf3, where White tries to pre-empt Bg4+ by blocking the diagonal with the knight directly. Here 8...Qf2+ really _is_ as crushing as it looks, after 9.Kd3 dxe4+ 10.Nxe4 Bf5! 11.Qe2 Qxe2!? 12.Bxe2 Nf6! 13.Nd2 Bxe4+ 14.Nxe4 O-O-O! 15.Kc3 Nxe4+ and we arrive at the following position:

click for larger view

And up two pawns with a far more active position and safe king, Black should win easily.

Feb-19-21  LouE: As for alternatives to 5.d4, 5.Bc4 is promising, developing a piece to an active square and maybe even threatening some Ne5 -> Qf3 stuff in future. Things look like they might get a bit messy after 5...Nd5 but it turns out that while the knight on f3 is protected by the queen on d1, Black is never really threatening to capture the knight and play Qh4+, so 6.Na5! is a good option there.

For the more defensively inclined, I also looked at 5.d3 - Black has a few unconvincing tries as well as the interesting option 5...d5!?, but that aside should equalise reasonably comfortably with 5...Nf6 e.g. 5...Nf6 6.Bxf4 O-O. White temporarily gets a big centre after 7.d4 Bb6 but Black shouldn't have too much trouble exerting pressure via Re8/d5 and White is in danger of overextending if they elect to play e5/d5 themselves.

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