The Chess Move That Always Wins
This move can't always win...can it?

The Chess Move That Always Wins

Gserper
GM Gserper
Nov 22, 2018, 12:00 AM |
36 | Opening Theory

In one of my first tournament games I fell into a well-known opening trap and lost very quickly. My very considerate opponent waited till the mandatory crying was over and came to me.

"Don't be upset, Greg", he said. "The move I played in the opening always wins, so if you start using it in your games I guarantee you many quick victories."

"Really?" I smiled, thinking of the coming triumphs, very grateful to my opponent for sharing the secret. 

chess knight

I know what you are thinking right now: Show us the trap already! I am afraid you are going to be utterly disappointed when you see it. 

I am talking about the Blackburne Shilling Gambit, which goes like this:

My very first article for Chess.com (that I wrote almost 10 years ago) is devoted to this variation. 

As it turned out, my opponent in that old game was wrong on both counts. First, the move 3...Nd4?! is not even good, let alone always winning. And also I was never able to win one single game playing this move. As a matter of fact, I tried it only once. My opponent simply played 4.0-0.

I suffered for a while, but managed to make a draw. Needless to say, I never played 3...Nd4?! again.

As you already know, the Blackburne Shilling Gambit is quite dubious, so I wouldn't recommend you play it in your games, unless it is blitz. Nevertheless it demonstrates one very important chess pattern.

Look at the position after Black plays 5...Qxg2

White's kingside is completely ruined and his king gets under attack. It is a very common situation that appears on the board after a queen captures the g2 pawn. 

Compare to the following game:

As you can see, White was completely lost after the black queen captured the g2 pawn! When the white queen captures the g7 pawn, the consequences are equally deadly for the black monarch.

Here's how it works in the Urusov gambit, which we analyzed a long time ago:

Here is another example of a crushing attack after the white queen takes the g7 pawn:

The conclusion is quite obvious: While the move Qxg7 (or Qxg2 for Black) is not as strong as the move Qxf7# in the Scholar's mate, in many cases it still essentially wins the game! Therefore, if my childhood opponent wanted to call something "the move that always wins," it should have been Qxg2 (or Qxg7) and not 3...Nd4?!  

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