Openings for Tactical Players: Blackmar-Diemer Gambit

Openings for Tactical Players: Blackmar-Diemer Gambit‎

GM Gserper
31 | Tactics

The Blackmar-Diemer gambit (BDG) can be reached via many different move orders.  Even though most of the games there start with 1.d4 d5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. e4, or 1...Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. e4 it is also possible to play 1. d4 Nf6 2. f3!? d5 3.e4 dxe4 4. Nc3 reaching the same position. You can surprise you opponent by transposition from many popular openings like Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. f3!?) or even the Scandinavian (1. e4 d5 2. d4!? dxe4 3. f3). In an article about the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit which was published in New in Chess Yearbook more than 10 years ago I wrote:

"The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit has a peculiar destiny. Although incredibly popular at club level, it's hardly ever seen in international tournaments-- and the odd time it does appear, the results are usually disastrous for White. Is it that bad? An old oriental proverb says: "If you don't know something, ask a wise neighbour".  So I asked a guy from the next street (who happened to be GM Alex Yermolinsky). 'Hmm, Blackmar-Diemer? Hmmm, you know'-said Yermo finally-'it's definitely better than its reputation, but hardly promises anything more than equality'. Generally speaking, I agree with him and see an explanation of at least 90% of White losses in the difference in strength of players (usually it's around 300 ELO points in Black's favor, as strong players hardly ever play the BDG). Under such circumstances even a winning position doesn't guarantee success -the game Diebert-Kudrin is an excellent example."

A decade has passed since I wrote my thoughts about this opening. The World is totally different today.  Kasparov retired from chess and Kamsky came back from his retirement!  Neither me, nor my good friend GM Yermolinsky live in the wonderful city of Cleveland, Ohio anymore.  And yet, I have not much to add to my old assesment of the opening. I have played many blitz games on the Internet Chess Club using this gambit.  Some games I won, some games I lost, but I didn't have a reason to blame the opening. It was always about who's the best chess player. When GM Shirov totally annihilated me with his trademark "Fire on Board", I could only admire his tactical skills but had nothing to blame the Blackmar-Diemer gambit for.

 In the following game that I played vs. GM Wilder the time control was 30 minutes per game. I decided to play the BDG and see what happens when the usual rating handicap (that I mentioned above) doesn't exist.  Please remember that you can always replay the whole game from the first move if you click "Solution" and then "Move list".


 The next game is a typical example of how a club player reaches a completely winning position with enterprising play only to squander it all due to poor technique. Please notice how White gradually brought almost all his pieces towards Black's King until the final combination became possible. A very instructive example!


The next game is a true Cinderella story. An amateur beats a World-class GM rated 600 points higher.  Yes, it was just a blitz game, but I am sure it was an experience of a life time for Sebastian Gramlich.  Enjoy the attack!



 Last week one of the readers of my article about the Veresov Opening left a comment "Were his opponents really of master level or was he playing club players ? Most GMs play like Tal against club players."  That is a valid point.  That's why today I deliberately chose only the games where GMs were on the receiving side. Even though, as I mentioned above, I don't think this gambit promises White an opening advantage, I still think that it is an excellent weapon for chess daredevils especially against stronger adversaries. Yes, there is a chance that you will go down in flames, but at least you have a good opportunity to deliver a mighty blow that would defeat your formidable opponent. If nothing else, then try it in blitz games, like I did, and I am sure you'll enjoy the crazy tactical positions that will appear on the board for sure.

Good luck!

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