IM Silman and the Latvian gambit

IM Silman and the Latvian gambit

Oct 5, 2009, 6:04 AM |








IM Silman has written an excellent article on "Picking an Opening Style". Here is a quote from the article:

"Openings like 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 and 1.e4 c5 2.d4 (2.b4!?) 2…cxd4 3.c3 might prove appealing for White, while your Black repertoire could look something like this: 1.e4 e5 (1…d5 2.exd5 Nf6 is also fun) 2.Nf3 f5 and 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 d4."

It is sort of a surprise that IM Silman recommends the Latvian after a handful of rather sharp statements about the gambit on his website:

"To sum up: There are some theoretical opening lines where Black accepts an apparently miserable defensive task in the belief that it can be drawn after a long and dour defense. Apparently, this is the modern attitude taken in the Latvian Gambit. However, I'm left wondering why people choose to play the Latvian in the first place. Isn't this kind of gambit all about having fun and fighting for the initiative? If so, why would anyone wish to play a gambit that forces them to defend various pawn down endgames where they can make a draw at best?

It seems clear to me that the Latvian Gambit is refuted as a practical tournament choice." (source)

"Let’s be realistic. Black’s down a pawn and will have to suffer for a long, long time in the hope of sniveling a draw (which I don’t think he can achieve). On top of that, it’s not clear to me if White can’t improve somewhere earlier.

Sorry Latvian fans, but your opening is dead meat. Ah, what deep satisfaction. Excuse me while I enjoy a long, leisurely smoke." (source)

"My inability to kill this blasted opening isn’t surprising, since it seems that there are tens of thousands of Latvian Gambit fanatics who keep their computers working 24 hours a day on proving a draw in some groveling fashion. Before our first Latvian posting I didn’t care for this gambit one way or the other. Now I hate it with a passion and, when I hit my 80th birthday, fully intend to devote my remaining years in finding one final, catastrophic refutation to this blight on humanity (hopefully someone will beat me to the punch)." (source)


It would be very interesting to hear a little more about IM SIlman's view of the Latvian!