Saturday 17 October 2015

Oh, this really is a thing

In between rounds of today's Street Chess event, weird and wonderful opening theory was being discussed. Matt Radisich's favourite Halasz Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.d4 ed 3.f4?) was the kick off point, but it quickly shifted to the Mason Gambit (IIRC). Stephen Mugford was the source of a line that seemed so bizarre that at first I assumed he was just making it up. 1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 c5 3.e4!? were the first few moves and the main line he then showed us continued 3. ... dxe 4.d5 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Qe2 In response to my incredulity, he mentioned that Luc Winants was a practitioner, at which point I figured it probably was a real line.
It looks like a cross between the London System and a reversed Albin Counter Gambit, but does contain a few drops of poison. The main line (as given above) seems to score well for White, and has been played by a number of strong GM's. But based on the (few) games in my database, developing with 3. ... Nc6 seems to be the best choice, as White scores poorly.
On the other hand, here is an example of what can go wrong for Black if he does take on e4.

McShane,Luke J (2625) - Illescas Cordoba,Miguel (2624) [D00]
EU-chT (Men) 15th Gothenburg (3.1), 01.08.2005

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