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William Robert Ballard vs Joseph George Fagan
"The Eight Pawn Gambit" (game of the day Apr-01-2013)
Odds Game (1884) (unorthodox), ?
Chess variants (000)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

Annotations by Irving Chernev.      [4 more games annotated by Chernev]

find similar games 6 more games of W R Ballard
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-31-09  WhiteRook48: <me> never mind, you do see all the pawns gone for white!
Feb-06-09  Karpova: <SBC>
On your page about Fagan the birthdate is incorrect. According to your source (and your post here) she was born on January 9, not September 1.
Mar-29-10  Deji: I agree with Chernev. That sure is one record!
Apr-01-13  SamAtoms1980: If you never move any of the pawns or pieces on your queenside other than the queen, is it a gambit, a triple sac, giving odds, or just <expletive> development?
Apr-01-13  morfishine: <SBC> Very interesting story! I'm not sure what I like more: the game or the story!
Apr-01-13  SuperPatzer77: What the #$@%& - all White pawns are gone!!!! I sure can scratch my head.

<Chessgames.com> Stop fooling us!! I know it is April Fool's Day. LOL LOL. We've been royally had. Bravo, Chessgames!!!

SuperPatzer77

Apr-01-13  optimal play: Although this game began with White giving knight-odds, in actual fact it was Black who gave odds of rook + bishop since that is effectively what she did by not moving her Q-side pieces.
Apr-01-13  Abdel Irada: There was a time, early in my chess career, when I subscribed to the notion that all gambits were good because the pawns merely impeded one's pieces. Apparently Ballard agreed.

---

<SuperPatzer77>: Although it is April Fool's Day, I don't think this is a joke. I believe this game is altogether likely really to have taken place; it is, in fact, very much in keeping with the spirit of the 19th-century Romantic school, according to which there was no other object but checkmate, and any sacrifice toward that end was smiled upon.

Apr-01-13  Abdel Irada: This also puts me in mind of my old rival Dan Burkhard, who would occasionally push all of his pawns to h2 and then announce, "I'm seven pawns down!"

My usual response was that he was being Nimzovichian and overdefending g3.

Apr-01-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: This was a real game played by Ballard against his sister. There is some interesting history earlier on this thread.
Apr-01-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: This is no eight-pawn gambit. With 8.hxg3, White exchanged his h-pawn for Black's g-pawn. Similarly, 17.bxc3 gave up a pawn to win Black's knight.
Apr-01-13  Xenomorphy: I've seen better development in low income housing districts.
Apr-01-13  master of defence: 23...Qxd4 24.Nxd4 Bxd4 isn't better for black?
Apr-01-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A contrived game,if I ever seen one. It reminds me of the ten move stalemate game.
Apr-01-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <kevin86> I don't see any resemblance. Here is Loyd's original ten-move stalemate:

<1.e3 a5 2.Qh5 Ra6 3.Qxa5 h5 4.Qxc7 Rah6 5.h4 f6 6.Qxd7+ Kf7 7.Qxb7 Qd3 8.Qxb8 Qh7 9.Qxc8 Kg6 10.Qe6>


click for larger view

This contains a large number of moves that would be never be played in a game, even by the weakest of players. The closest thing to an actual game idea is Black's ...Qd8-d3-h7 maneuver, which Nimzowitsch stole in P F Johner vs Nimzowitsch, 1926.

By contrast, Fagan's moves are not ridiculous and do show some reason and thought. Obviously they are not the best moves and ideas, but neither are they random.

If somebody was contriving a game to get rid of all White's pawns quickly, they could do a much better job.

Apr-01-13  dumbgai: If this is an eight pawn gambit, then I guess the Petroff (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4) is a one pawn gambit?
Apr-01-13  dumbgai: I also don't get Chernev's "a world record which cannot be broken" comment. There are many games in which one player ends up with no pawns. I played a game recently where I set an unbreakable world record for most kings: one.
Apr-01-13  Abdel Irada: <dumbgai: I also don't get Chernev's "a world record which cannot be broken" comment.>

To *break* a record, you must exceed it. In this case (granting the doubtful premise that this is an "eight-pawn gambit"), you'd have to give up nine or more pawns.

The "record" can be equalled, but to break it would require violating the laws of chess.

Apr-01-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: I think what really interested Chernev was not gambitting more that eight pawns, but the speed with which White got rid of them. 28 moves is quite impressive in an actual game, but I believe that has been broken in V Zaltsman vs L Schneider, 1984. Here's the position after <25.Qxb6>:


click for larger view

The game concluded: <25...Bc6 26.Qb8+> 1/2-1/2

A few move examples:

Granda-Zuniga vs W Charpentier, 1990 (26.Bxb5)

M Bluvshtein vs J Reeve, 2009 (27.Rxf5)

F Winiwarter vs Geller, 1992 (28...hxg6)

And, in another category, J Gilbert vs S Fishburne, 2004, after <33.Nxe4>:


click for larger view

Apr-01-13  Shams: I keep waiting for someone to mention that <8.hxg3> means the h-pawn is not gambited.
Apr-02-13  dumbgai: <The "record" can be equalled, but to break it would require violating the laws of chess.>

Yes I understood that part. But some records are not very noteworthy because they are easily equaled. For example, my comment that I recently played a game where I tied the world record for having the most kings in a game (one). There are many, many games where one side loses all eight pawns, although of course they're not all given away via gambit (neither are the eight pawns in this game).

Apr-02-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: By Chernev's reckoning, I guess a game like Karpov vs Kasparov, 1991 is a 16-pawn gambit because both sides lost all their pawns.
Apr-22-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Shams: I keep waiting for someone to mention that <8.hxg3> means the h-pawn is not gambited.>

I previously commented:

<FSR: This is no eight-pawn gambit. With 8.hxg3, White exchanged his h-pawn for Black's g-pawn. Similarly, 17.bxc3 gave up a pawn to win Black's knight.>

Dec-23-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: I remember seeing this game in a British magazine, either Chess or BCM, probably from the 1970s. White was named as 'Dr Ballard'.
Mar-10-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Korora: Remember, develop your pieces!
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