Thursday 7 February 2019

The Gambit Killer

Lasker's Defence to the Evan's Gambit is often held up as the model of the 'Gambit Killer'. Instead of trying to hang onto the extra pawn, Black is happy to give it back, in exchange for a better position. Lasker first used it in 1895 against Tchigorin, and the discovery of this line was credited with putting the Evans Gambit out of business.
There are a couple of curious things about this story. Firstly, the opening had been played a number of times before Lasker used it (as early as 1834). Secondly, the line is by no means forced on White, which no doubt contributed to it's revival in the 1990's by Kasparov. Indeed, almost every time I've seen a modern Evans Gambit played (either in print or in person), Lasker's Defence never seems to be used.
But the line is still a good one, if played, as demonstrated by Lasker at the St Petersburg Tournament of 1895-96

Chigorin,Mikhail - Lasker,Emanuel [C52]
St Petersburg Four Masters St Petersburg (1.3), 17.12.1895

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