Opening Novelty: The Granada Gambit (+video)

Opening Novelty: The Granada Gambit (+video)

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A few months ago I took a pleasant holiday to the south of Spain. On my adventures I spent a couple of nights in the very picturesque city of Granada. Throughout its history the city had swapped hands between the Moors and Christian Spaniards until the Moors were driven out of the Iberian peninsula (south of Spain). The city is very distinctive as it has a blend of both Moorish and European architecture. Its centre-piece, The Alhambra, stands high above the rest of the city, containing both beautiful Moorish and European palaces within its walls. Visiting the palace was a wondrous experience and something I would recommend anyone travelling to Spain to do. 

For chess players, one other point of interest is a street in the town which is dedicated to the making of hand-made chess sets:

An example of a board I ended up purchasing in Granada. 

One of the shops where you can purchase chess sets and beautiful tile patterns. 

The street is called Artesania Gonzalez - It is not far from one of the Alhambra's main gates. Every board has lovely Moorish patterns. They also do lovely wooden Staunton chess pieces (and themed Don Quixote pieces - rooks of course being depicted by windmills!). A perfect gift for any chess enthusiast - And a very reasonable price too.

Typically on holiday I spend time relaxing and engrossing myself in as much chess theory as possible (afterall, when will I have time during work!). Whilst in Granada one evening, I was going through one of my chessbase dvds and learning about the two knights defense. Erwin L'ami, a strong dutch grandmaster, explored in his lecture one variation in the two knights:

According to him, he found the exchange sacrifice by pure accident when he turned on his engine at move 8. His engine recommended the audicious 8...cxb5!N. 

The Granada Gambit

A typical plan in the Granada Gambit
So what does black get for the exchange sacrifice?
  • A lead in development
  • Potentially a couple of tempi on the queen
  • Good control of the centre
  • Better activity for his pieces
  • Hard for white to develop his pieces properly
  • Quick attacks on the white king-side

What does white get?

  • 3 points ahead in material

As long as black does not allow white to get back into the game, he should be able to deliver a swift knockout punch:

Max Euwe's seal of approval?

An interesting Knight trap

A successful knight trap!
Nezhmetdinov magic!
Another great miniature 

It is certainly an interesting find this move. Whilst it will probably never come up frequently in any of your own games, if it did, this gambit offers a complicated side-line that will be sure to trip up your opponent! I have also provided a video sharing my thoughts on the gambit:

Hi everyone and thanks for checking out my blog. I am avid player of chess and love writing and researching the beautiful game. I have a youtube channel as well which you should definitely check out: