Friday, 18 June 2010

A stamp of approval for the Kings Gambit

In the current Kings Tournament in Medias, Romania, World number 1 Magnus Carlsen pulled a surprise by using the Kings Gambit in his round 4 game against Wang Yue. Carlsen would certainly be the highest rated player ever to use this opening in a serious tournament game, and for fans of the opening, his opponent may well be the highest rated player* ever to lose to it.
Of course at this level the opening is played with a more positional outlook than the 19th century hack and slash style you see in club chess, which makes the game all the more instructive to lower rated players. Also worth studying is the ending where Carlsen was up the exchange. In one of his books on the middlegame, Euwe stated that being up the exchange in the ending was almost always winning, and Carlsen proved this to be so (even when his opponent had an extra pawn).

*Of course Fischer may well have been the 'strongest' player to lose to the Kings Gambit, in his game against Spassky at Mar Del Plata in 1960.

Carlsen,M (2813) - Wang Yue (2752) [C36]
4th Kings Tournament Medias ROU (4), 17.06.2010

1.e4 e5 2.f4 d5 3.exd5 exf4 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bc4 Nxd5 6.0-0 Be7 7.Bxd5 Qxd5 8.Nc3 Qd8 9.d4 0-0 10.Bxf4 Bf5 11.Qe2 Bd6 12.Bxd6 Qxd6 13.Nb5 Qd8 14.c4 a6 15.Nc3 Nd7 16.Rad1 Bg6 17.Qf2 Re8 18.h3 Rc8 19.Rfe1 Rxe1+ 20.Rxe1 c6 21.d5 Nf6 22.Qd4 cxd5 23.Nxd5 Nxd5 24.cxd5 Qd6 (D)
25.Ne5 Re8 26.Re3 Rd8 27.Nc4 Qf6 28.Re5 h6 29.d6 Bf5 30.Nb6 Be6 31.d7 Kh8 32.a4 g6 33.Qc3 Kg7 34.a5 h5 35.h4 Rxd7 36.Nxd7 Bxd7 37.Qd4 Bc6 38.b4 Bb5 39.Kh2 Ba4 40.Rd5 Bc6 41.Qxf6+ Kxf6 42.Rc5 Ke6 43.Kg3 f6 44.Kf2 Bd5 45.g3 g5 46.g4 hxg4 47.h5 Be4 48.Rc7 f5 49.h6 f4 50.h7 g3+ 51.Ke1 f3 52.h8Q f2+ 53.Ke2 Bd3+ 54.Ke3 1-0

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