Villemson's Gambit in the KGA
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Many openings go by various names. The opening(s) we'll be looking at in this presentation not only go by many names, the situation, like gambits themselves, gets very messy, muddy and uncertain very quickly.
The title of this posting is Villemson's Gambit. The "Oxford Companion to Chess" (OCC) says: "Martin Villemson (1897-1933) of Parnu. Estonia, editor of the chess magazine "Eesti Maleilm," played it in the first International Correspondence Tournament of the 'Deutsche Schaihzeitung,' He was a strong correspondence player and may well have inspired Keres to try that activity, in which they overlapped." the OCC gives the opening as: 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.d4.
Now the Rosentreter Gambit is similar but harldly the same thing, even as given by the OCC itself: 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.d4.
As mentioned in the OCC, Steintiz did play this opening in a consultation game in 1880 (below) but the name Steinitz gambit usually refers to a gambit in the Vienna that has similar moves (hence the confusion. In 1883, when Morphy was informed that Steinitz was in New Orleans, Morphy, revealing his continual interest in chess and dismissal of Steinitz, supposedly replied, "I know it. His gambit is not good."): 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 exf4 4. d4.
The difference is that White inserts 3.Nc3, making this a kind of blended Polerio-Steinitz opening. This opening is commonly called the Keres-Mason Gambit or the Pärnu Gambit. Since Keres and Villemson seemed to have explored this opening more so than the Polerio, it also seems that this opening would be more reasonably called the Villemson-Keres. Here it is, played by Paul Keres in a correspondence game in 1933 (Keres would have been only 17 at the time.)
Martin Villemson also played the same opponent with the same opening around the same time, but with a better result:
Villemson is rather obscure today, particularly since Estonian chess wasn't very exciting until the apprearance of Paul Keres. In fact, Keres, who was born in 1916, took up correspondence chess precisely because OTB games and tournaments were so scarce. Martin Villemson, almost 20 years Kere's senior, was Kere's inspiration to become a correspondence player and chess problemist.
Villemson lived in Pärnu. From 1930-34, the years he was also the Estonian youth champion, Keres attended the Pärnu Kuninga Tänav Põhikool, then the Pärnu Gymnasium for Boys. During that time they were thought to have explored what is now called the Pärnu Gambit or the Keres-Mason Gambit shown above.
Villemson and Keres played together in correspondence games. The only example available is this QGD draw:
This game is a Vienna/Hamppe-Muzio var. (similar to the Steinitz Gambit which is often confused for the Polerio, but also to the Keres-Mason Gambit but without the early Queen foray.
One of the most prolific practioners of this opening is Kamran Shirazi, the Iranian born, American/French IM who is known for embacing the unusual (In individual games, Shirazi has beaten players such as Lev Alburt, Nick deFirmian, Bent Larsen, Gata Kamsky, Anatoly Lein, Max Dlugy, John Peters, Gary Lane, Joel Benjamin, Jeremy Silman, Susan Polgar, Eric Schiller, Mark Ginsberg, ). Below are several of his games employing the Villemson Gambit: