Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween Gambit ; ~ )

Knight or Bronco?
The Halloween Gambit, a.k.a. Muller-Schulze or Leipzig Gambit, is an aggressive opening that allows center domination by white with other attacking opportunities and early mate threats.  This makes for an exciting game.  But, it is certainly scary to be trying this trick because it might not end up as a treat for white.

The Halloween Gambit is a risky sidelight of the Four Knight's Opening.  Here are the moves and the main position:

1.  e4  e5
2.  Nf3  Nc6
3.  Nc3  Nf6
4.  Nxe5 ..

I like using old and less commonly used openings as most people don't spend time studying and remembering them.  The Halloween Gambit is one such surprise for unwary players.   When I first saw this played last year by one of my own chess players, Taylor Walton, I thought, "Didn't he see that was protected by my knight?"  I then offered him a takeback which he admiringly declined.  I won that game due to other mistakes by Taylor, but I certainly was fearful during the opening stages of the gambit (that heat in the face feeling!).  Although the gambit is treated as unsound, it has weathered chess pendulums since 1888 when Oskar Cordel reported the "dangerous effects" in the Leipzig Chess Club.  Here is a nasty game for black that definitely Munch would have appreciated:

A bit of wisdom:

Although I have been out of school due to Pneumonia since last Friday, I plan on teaching this gambit tomorrow in my chess class - Happy Halloween!

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