MacLeod Defense and the Bertin Gambit in the KGA
I started playing in online tournaments at chess.com and I consider it as one good alternative to "live" chess or blitz. If one wants to prepare for an over-the-board (OTB) tournament, playing in "online" chess is a good way to practice. You can play at your own pace since the maximum allowed number of days per move can be up to five days. If you want fast chess, just add more games to your games in progress and that will make you play like you are playing blitz, only that you are not in time pressure anymore.
The only drawback however is the improbable enforcement of the host's policy against the use of computer softwares. Chess.com said that the use of other programs are not allowed except for the game explorer available on this site. However, that is just a statement since most players leading in tournaments are actually using softwares. Some are in on and off software modes depending on the complications in the game or who they are playing against with. There are a lot of ways to tell and although you already know that it is a software, it's frustrating that all you have is just a "suspicion" because you did not actually see the player using the software.
Joining them in on and off software modes, however, is not fun at all to play chess. I'd rather play something else. I sympathize with the real chess players whose chess morales (if there is such a term) are mercilessly broken by the cheaters in this kind of system. Many will feel frustrated thinking their chess is not good enough and walk away from the game. However, theirs are actually just as good except that they only got cheated. I think it is better to just allow everyone to use whatever resource available to them to play the game so there will be no more worries about cheating. This eliminates the room for dishonesty and prevents rude exchanges that usually arise from cheating suspicions.
Banning the use of softwares should however be enforced strictly on "live" games. At chesscube.com, they have a means of knowing if a player switches from one application to another and if that happens, a warning is issued. I hope this site can have that too as a deterrent for cheaters.
Now, on the main topic for this blog, I am currently playing in a tournament on King's Gambit, my favorite opening. As I have mentioned in my previous blogs, I love the move 2.f4 everytime. So, if my black opponent plays 1...e5, there's no more escaping from the King's Gambit opening because you can be assured that my f4 is already there. The 2.f4 is very convenient for me as I don't have to think of what to move next after e4. I have also learned quite a few ways to win using this opening against players within my rating range.
In one of my previous blogs, I mentioned that I like playing black as well against the King's Gambit and my preferred choice of defense is the MacLeod Defense. A game I just played is an example on how dangerous this Defense can be. This can be a good alternative to the most commonly used lines as Fischer Defense (3...d6), Modern (3...d5), Abbazia (3...d5, 4.exd5 Nf6) or the Classical. Please see below how sharp is MacLeod Defense.
In the second game, I have the white pieces, and my opponent used the Cunningham Defense. In the Cunningham Defense, black gives an early check on white's king with Bh4+. The bishop is being supported by black's queen. After experimenting with a lot of lines on how to meet this early annoying check, I learned that the best answer for white is the three-pawn gambit or the Bertin Gambit. In my second game, my opponent however refused to take my pawn on h2. However, the main idea in the three-pawn gambit of attacking black's undeveloped position is still possible. I wanted to share this because it is so seldom now that we see these kinds of openings.
My game in the MacLeod Defense:
My game in the Bertin Gambit: