Openings for Tactical Players: Queen's Gambit Busted!

Openings for Tactical Players: Queen's Gambit Busted!

Gserper
GM Gserper
Feb 21, 2010, 12:00 AM |
51 | Tactics

The Queen's Gambit has a reputation of being a very solid opening. It is one that you choose when you want to demonstrate your strategical superiority over your opponent.  Once, during a big Swiss tournament (I think it was the World Open), I overheard a statement "You don't want to calculate variations?  Then play Queen's gambit!"  I only hope that it was a joke! Still, for a majority of chess players the terms "Queen's Gambit" and "positional chess" are sometimes used like synonyms.  But there lies a good chance for an attacking player to attack when your opponent is psychologically completely unprepared for such an early assault. It is truly ironic that one of the best positional players of all-time, Akiba Rubinstein, devised a devilish system which turns the quiet Queen's Gambit into the ultimate battlefield. The system (which bears his name) is both simple and deadly: you play Qc2, then castle Queen's side, play h4 and start a direct attack. In some cases you start with h4 first and only castle if necessary. Here is a textbook example form the Man himself!

 

 

 

On numerous occasions I expressed my deep belief that no solid opening can be refuted. Of course the Queen's Gambit is not an exception. Yet, I like the Rubinstein System so much that I tried it myself in many games. In the following game I followed the footsteps of the great Rubinstein, but with a little twist. The game also shows how quickly Black's position can fall apart if he just plays natural looking moves.
 
According to modern theory, the best response for Black is 7...c5 which makes perfect sense.  Black follows the classical rule: "meet an attack on the side with a timely strike in the center!"  Still, even in this case the position remains very complicated and one wrong move quickly leads to a disaster. After 7...c5 White can continue the Rubinstein plan by playing 8.0-0-0 or he can do something else:
The following short game was a spiritual predecessor of the Rubinsten System and it also demonstrates that White can start his attack with the h4(!) move before he even plays Qc2 and 0-0-0 threatening the "Greek gift" sacrifice.  If you are not sure what it is, please check my earlier article:
As you could see, the Rubinstein System is an extremely dangerous weapon.  It leads to the positions most attacking chess players can only dream about: you start a direct attack against your opponent's King right out of the opening.  I highly recommend this variation, but my usual disclaimer still applies.  No matter how good and tempting any system might look, please do your own research before you employ it in your games.
Good luck!
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