Tuesday 11 October 2022

I never had the guts

 Early on in my career I used to play the Scotch Gambit line of the Italian quite a lot (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd 4.Bc4). The idea was to aim for a Two Knights Defence as White, while avoiding the mainlines of the Italian game. One game that was given as a guide on what not to do was Meek v Morphy, where Meek played 5.Ng5 after 4. ... Bc5. As Morphy won brilliantly, the conventional wisdom was 'Do not play this opening'. And when I did face this line as White I chose the safer 5.O-O 

It appears that conventional wisdom may have wrong about this, as Awonder Liang belted Lev Aronian with this exact line. He even played the same sacrifice as Meek (adorned with a ? by Yusopov and others), and instead of losing like Meek, went on to win! Most impressively, he used the vey principals that propelled Morphy to victory, albeit from the other side of the board.

Liang,Awonder (2608) - Aronian,Levon (2755) [C44]
U.S. Championship chess24.com (5.2), 09.10.2022

1 comment:

Kevin Casey said...

I recall GM David Smerdon (my favourite blitz sparring partner) was a big fan of the Scotch Gambit in his younger days, but he never played Ng5 after ...Bc5. I'm not convinced that Aronian's loss here is indicative of any real adantantage on White's part out of this opening - he just lost his way later on (and seemed to be having a sub-par tournament in general). Good surprise value by White, though, since not many GMS would face this line nowadays.

It's interesting how in the last ten years or do, the Giuoco Piano (and even the Scotch Game) have become more popular at the highest GM levels, as an alternative to those never-ending Ruy Lopez positions, prepared 20+ moves deep.

Kevin Casey