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Swashbuckling Chess

Swashbuckling Chess

Mar 3, 2010, 1:59 PM 2

After years of attempting to play well-evaluated lines, such as Ruy Lopez (the Spanish if you're new to chess), the French Winawer, QGD, etc., I find myself more and more attracted to "unsound" and "refuted" systems, including Albin Counter- Gambit, Blackmar-Diemer and Latvian Gambit (the old Greco Counter Gambit) and of course, the Jack o' Lantern Attack. This really arose out of an irritation whenever I played against the Sicilian and found that Black was gaining real advantages, over and over, despite being a tempo behind. I initially adopted the Smith-Morra Gambit, but found it somehow lacking. It seemed that many players could quickly negotiate its turns and put me on the defensive. For that reason, I switched to the very old Wing Gambit (1. e4 c5 2. b4...) as my primary Anti-Sicilian system; the one that George Koltanowski used to play in a lot of his blindfold games. I was very happy with the result, insofar as I avoided the main lines of the Scheveningen, Dragon, etc., while quickly putting my opponent in unfamiliar territory - which in and of itself helped as it drained a bit more time from my opponents' clocks.

The games were such an absolute blast, that they brought back a lot of the fun of chess. My games contained more surprises and fireworks, and although I'll never play an "Immortal Game" or "Game of the Century", my opponents and I have created some colourful and fascinating conflicts. To that end, I've moved back to the 19th century, and play gambits and wild swashbuckling chess almost always, and I haven't had this much fun in years. I'll probably never be a chess master, and my rating's probably reached its peak, but it's amazing how often you can win with "unsound" and "refuted" openings!

I feel like the ghosts of Morphy, Anderssen and Blackburne are watching over my shoulder...

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