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Gioachino Greco vs NN
"A Horse with No Name" (game of the day Jul-29-2008)
Italy? (1620)
King's Gambit: Accepted. Lolli Gambit (C37)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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May-22-06  Runemaster: <Offramp: ... some Renaissance Giovanni Schmiovanni with an eye-patch."

I think NN must have been wearing eye-patches over both eyes.

Sep-10-06  Alex S.: It's a nitpicker, but Greco actually misses a mate in seven, instead of his mate in eight.

15.O-O Qe8 16.Qh4+ Ke6 17.d5+ Kxd5 18.Nc3+ Ke6 19.Rf6+ Ke7 [19...Nxf6 20.Qxf6#] 20.Nd5+ Kd8 21.Rf8+ Ne7 22.Qxe7#


18.Nc3+ Kc5 18.b4+ Kb6 19.Qd4+ c5 20.Qxc5+ Ka6 21.Qb5#

Sep-26-07  wolfmaster: <Eatman> He lost one against Busnardo in 1590, I think.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Has NN ever been the Player of the Day (perhaps on April 1)?

White could have given Rook odds--he still had a huge material advantage at the end. What? Black had a Queen, two Rooks and two minor pieces left? Where?

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: "A Horse with No Name"

It's the <Queen's Knight> mating.

Jul-29-08  FizzyY: So in this "Lolli Gambit," White's supposed to sacrifice 2 pieces?

My expression matches my avatar completely. :)

Jul-29-08  RedStarRising: <MorphyMatt: 5. Bf7?! can't possibly be sound, can it?? or maybe it's only sound against NN ;-D>

See C37 in Modern Chess Openings for details. The soundness has been proved in several games, following 5...Kxf7 6. Ne5+, as shown below

Instead of 6...Ke6 (clearly the weakest continuation), Black can also choose Ke8, with the following continuation:

7. Qxg4 Nf6 8. Qxf4 d6. White has three major options now:

a) 9. O-O (A Nava vs Carlos Torre, 1927 0-1)

b) 9. Nf3 Qe7 (or ...Nc6, see Staunton vs NN, 1846 1-0) 10. Nc3 Nc6 (N Lelen vs K Marzec, 1991 0-1; 10...Nbd7, see Al vs K K Hantouli Firas, 1996 1-0)

c) 9. Nc4 Be6 (Elliot vs Roper, 1903 1-0), or 9...Qe7 (De Villette vs Maubisson, 1680 1-0), or 9...Rg8 (S Shaw vs P Sokol, 1943 0-1)

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <A Horse with No Name> Is it equivalent to "A Horse with NN", indicating a consultation game?
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Easy to see the winner in this one-nine of black's eleven pieces are on their home squares. Thirteen of black's moves were by his king.

Were these real games-or were they compositions? A have a thought-maybe Greco wrote Shakespeare's plays.

Jul-29-08  meloncio: <A Horse with No Name> A wonderful song from early 70's:

Does anyone remember the cover?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: I smell something fishy here. We know that some of Greco's "games" were invented to prove a point or demonstrate a combination. Do we believe that this one was actually played or composed as an example of a king hunt?

Fun to play through, all the same.

Jul-29-08  Riverbeast: I went through the gambit beating a horse with no name

It felt good to mete out some pain

In the desert, there's plenty NNs with no game

But there ain't no one who plays chess so lame

na na, na, na na na na na......

Jul-29-08  WarmasterKron: <MorphyMatt> 5.Bxf7+?! is absolute rubbish, but 6...Ke6? is even worse! See for instance N Lelen vs K Marzec, 1991 - White comes out a piece down for two pawns with nothing to show for it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Assuming this was a real game, why was a record of the moves preserved? I conjecture that Greco himself saved it, and that he did because he was happy with the outcome: he won in spectacular style with a combination that when analyzed was found to be reasonably sound.

If he had lost, or if the combination had turned out to be unsound, then I conjecture that he would *not* have saved it.

If my conjectures are right, Greco's style is not one to be particularly admired or emulated -- unless you think of chess as a game of chance.

Jul-29-08  HannibalSchlecter: Greco for first unofficial world chess champion!
Premium Chessgames Member
  sleepyirv: <Once> It would be one of the most direct king hunt in history (getting stuck in the middle of the board by move 7), but it's doubtful you can prove it one way or the other.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <al wazir> <sleepyirv> This is what I have read in a number of sources. Greco(and for that matter Damiano) both published a series of games. But it was fairly common practice to doctor the game scores to make a point, or to demonstrate a particularly attractive combination.

As I understand it, the game scores were published by wealthy patrons as instruction material for other chess players. The idea of keeping historical records was not yet firmly established.

So the games that we have on record may or may not have been played for real. And if they were played, we don't know if the moves have been "tidied up" - either to remove superfluous moves or to show a spectacular variation that was not actually reached in the game.

Wikipedia and other sources talk about Greco publishing analysis in the form of games. I don't think we should censure Greco for this - it was the usual custom at the time - but nor should we get too excited about a brilliantly played game by Greco or awful defence by NN.

As <sleepyirv> rightfully says, we will probably never know the truth.

I am suspicious because it all looks a little too perfect. But, hey, let's not detract from a fun game to play through. For me, this is entertainment and instruction but probably not history.

Jan-14-09  WhiteRook48: wow. amazing sacrifices. Greco seems to win NN ALL the time.
Mar-20-09  WhiteRook48: how about 23 Qb5#
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: White managed 17 checks in only 23 moves.
Dec-20-11  bevincass: It doesn't matter if it is all "real" or not; just like "Santa Clause" it is just more fun to believe!
Aug-28-12  Llawdogg: There were plants, and birds, and rocks, and things.
Feb-17-15  Cactusjuice: Entertaning game
May-14-16  Christoforus Polacco: Half hour ago I played Lolli Gambit - first time in my life against my ''monster'' computer (''Chess Titans''- sixth level :)) I love beautiful and solid Polerio - Muzio Gambit but I like quite crazy and unsound openings like ''Lolli'', too. So I've wanted to try it at the first opportunity instead of Muzio. 1.e4 e5 2.f4 ef 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.B:f7+ K:f7 6.Ne5+ Kf6 7.Q:g4 K:e5 8.Qf5+ Kd6 9.d4 Qh4+ 10.g3 fg 11.Qd5+ Ke7 12.Bg5+ Q:g5 13.Q:g5+ Nf6 14.O-O gh+ 15.Kh1 Ke8 and mate 5 moves later.
Sep-25-18  Yigor: In this variation of Lolli gambit with bishop+knight sacrifice, white should continue 8. d4+! instead of 8. Qf5+.
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