Sunday, 18 October 2009

Blackburne's Shilling Gambit

There comes a time in every junior players career when they discover the venerable Blackburne Shilling Gambit. If all goes according to plan then 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4?! 4.Nxe5? Qg5 5.Nxf7 Qxg2 6.Rf1 Qxe4+ 7.Be2 Nf3# leads to the kind of quick win that juniors love. This discovery is then followed by attempts to play it at every opportunity, until their regular 'customers' get wise to the trap.
The problem with this trap is that Black's third move is both obvious and in a sense, wrong. Black chooses to both unprotect a pawn, and move the same piece twice in the opening, with no strategical gain. It only works if White 'plays along'
However, if you wish to demonstrate this trap in a way that doesn't seem to break so many opening principles, then this game, which I found in a 1998 issue of Chess in Russia, may do.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nd4 6.d6 Qxd6 (D)
7.Nxf7 Qc6 8.Nxh8 Qxg2 9.Rf1 Qe4+ 10.Be2 Nf3#

And a short, shameful confession. I won a game in my first serious tournament with the short version of this trap.


TrueFiendish said...

If you play online, 5...Nd4 is a great move against many players, who of course expect 5...Na5. If they're rated under about 1500, you can almost bank on the tempting 6.d6, which is a blunder.

Anonymous said...

4. ... Qg5 5. Ng4 d5 6. Be2