Opening Bomb Diary #15: The Baltic Bomb

Opening Bomb Diary #15: The Baltic Bomb

NM Anhao

There's a huge group of players that like to start with 1.Nf3, and only after 1.d5, they play 2.d4. This move order avoids the Benko Gambit, the Albin Counter-Gambit, the Chigorin, and all the Benonis. In other words, this is no problem for normal strong chess players who play good openings, but to me it's a huge buzzkill.

Oddly, however, this move order gives black an extra opening choice: The Baltic Defense. Considered more or less refuted after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Bf5, not many players know that the Baltic is alive and well in its sister system, where instead of c4 white has played Nf3.

There is one opening bomb in the Baltic that I just have to share in this post. I have never seen such disturbing differences in engine evals, where Stockfish gives a crazy +6.00 for white in some positions before sliding to 0.00 in others only at monstrous depth.

The Bomb, Part I:

The Bomb, Part II:

Hope you enjoyed the idea. It seems that black has rich compensation for the two sacrificed pieces, but whether it's enough still requires much more analysis. What's inspiring to me is that even the engines are spazzing out when it comes to understanding the position. With ideas like these I think modern chess is by no means saturated or dead. We just have to work for it.