Analysis by FM Ralph Zimmer:
This was a difficult game to prepare against UNTIL I found FM Peter Bereolos’ very accommodating website! There, I was able to find plenty of games and analysis by my opponent which allowed me to determine which lines I may wish to challenge him in and which I should probably stay away from. To my dismay, there were many lines I felt I had to avoid as my opponent’s knowledge seemed overly extensive in those areas.
To my delight, I found only two games where my opponent encountered a Dutch defense and in both he favored gambit variations (g4) and made mention of other gambits against the Dutch without specifying in detail. In the two games I found, black did not play f5 in the first move.
Therefore, I could not know what gambit I would be confronted with after 1..f5. So, I studied them all! And the Staunton Gambit was one of them. :
1. d4 f5 I should add I haven’t played this move in decades.
2. e4 (Played rather quickly to my surprise. I thought my first move would catch my opponent by surprise. Whether it did or not, he reacted quickly. I was happy to see this gambit as I play it myself with White on occasion).
3. Nc3 Nf6
4. f3?!...[The ?! are assessments given by at least one GM in his analysis of this variation. I concur and like 4. Bg5 much more.]
5. fxe4 dxe4
6. Bg5 Bf5
7. Bc4 Nc6
8. Nge2 Qd7!? [This was played in Zurakhov-Kortchnoi, Minsk 1952) and is an alternative to the move 8…e6 played in Liardet-Malaniuk, Geneva 1997, where play continued 9. 0-0 Na5! 10. Bf6 Qf6 11. Bb3 Bd6 12. Ng3 Nb3 13. axb3 Qh4 and black is clearly better.]
9. d5 [Perhaps this move is premature as it ends up giving Black good play against the Bishop. In Zurakhov-Kortchnoi, mentioned above, play continued 9. 0-0 e6 10. d5 ed5 11. Nd5 0-0-0 12. Nf6 Qd1 13. Rad1 Bc5 14. Kh1 Rd1 15. Rd1 gf6 16. Bf6 Rf8 17. Rf1 Bg6]
10. Bb5 c6
11. dxc6 Nxc6
12. 0-0 0-0-0
13. Ng3 Qc7! [From this point on, Black has the initiative and begins to be incrementally better]
14. Qe1 Bg6
15. Kh1 [This is indicative of the problems white already faces. The King must remove itself from the g1-a7 diagonal, but in so doing the White King is facing the Black rook on the opposite end of the file….]
15…Nd4 [15…h5!? With the idea of h4 and h3 is also highly considerable.]
16. Ba4 Qa5!
17. Bd2 [A concession which makes black’s life much easier, but white’s alternatives are unenviable.]
18. Bb3 Qb6
19. Bg5 [ In addition to the time lost with White’s white squared bishop, White’s black squared bishop makes a second trip to g5.]
19…Bb4 [Completing Black’s development favorably]
20. Bxf6 gxf6
21. Ngxe4 [White will almost always get the sacrificed pawn back in the Staunton Gambit – Black’s task is to make sure this happens under unfavorable circumstances, as is the case here]
22. Nd2! [White’s best shot to stir things up].
22….Nb3 [Netting White’s last bishop and securing the bishop pair.]
23. axb3 Rhe8!? [ Not a simple choice to make as I realized I would have to give up the Bishop pair after this move. However, I finally decided that my remaining bishop would still be stronger than White’s knight in an open position. The alternative I considered was 23…e4 but it did not appeal to me as much].
24. Nc4 Qc5
25. Na4 [ As expected ].
26. bxc4 [26. c3!? May have been a better shot here in an effort to complicate and initiate an attack on Black’s King on the queenside in exchange for sacrificing the b3 pawn].
27. Rfxe1 f4 [27…Rd2 was also seriously in contention here].
28. Nc3 Kb8
29. Ra5?! E4!
30. Nd5 e3
31. Nxf4 Bxc2
32. Rd5 Rc8
33. Rd4 Bb3
34. Rd3 Rxc4
35. g3 Bc2
36. Rdxe3 Rxe3
37. Rxe3 [ It is interesting to view this position. At first glace, both sides have three pawns and their respective kings on the side with the most pawns to queen. However, the difference is the power of black’s bishop over White’s knight as contemplated many moves ago. Black’s ‘weak’ h pawn is protected by the long range bishop while White’s ‘weak’ b-pawn is much more difficult for white to protect.
37…a5! [And the race is on – the problem is only black is advancing].
38. Re2 a4
39. Kg1 b5!
40. Nd5 Be4
41. Ne3 Rc1+ [In the last 5 moves or so, White has made little progress and black’s pawns have advanced decisively. The rest of the moves need no further comment].
42. Kf2 b4 43. Rd2 a3 44. bxa3 bxa3 45. Ra2 Rc3 46. Nc4 Rxc4 47. Rxa3 Bc2 48. Ke3 Kc7 49. Ra7+ Kd6 50. Ra5 Ke6 51. Rb5 Kf6 52 .Ra5 Bf5 53. Rb5 Kg5 54. h3 Kf6 55. Rb6+ Be6 56. Kf3 Ke5 57. Rb5+ Bd5+ 58. Kf2 Rc2+ 59. Kf1 Ke4 60. Ra5 Bc4+ 61. Kg1 Bd3 62. g4 Kf3 63. Ra3 Rd2 64. g5 Kg3 65. Ra1 Kxh3 66. Re1 Kg4 67. Re5 Bf5 68. Re7 Kxg5 69. Rg7+ Kf4 70. Rf7 h5 71. Rf8 h4 72. Rf7 h3 73. Rf8 Kg3 74. Kf1 Rd1+ 75. Ke2 Bg4+ 76. Ke3 h2 White resigns 0-1
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