Chess - Play & Learn


FREE - In Google Play

FREE - in Win Phone Store

von Hennig-Schara Gambit Part II (with 9.Qd1)

von Hennig-Schara Gambit Part II (with 9.Qd1)

Jun 3, 2011, 10:18 PM 0

In my previous blog on this opening with the title, von Hennig-Schara Gambit with 9.Qb3, I was playing in Speedmatch II and enjoyed an excellent result. The organizer RUBENGAR46100 hosted another one called Fast Action III with almost the same set of players participating. I played once again the Hennig-Schara Gambit against my very worthy opponent CarvinSharp. I remember telling Carvin after our first game that better is 9.Qd1.

This time Carvin used 9.Qd1 and I feel guilty to beat him in only 19 moves after following what I had recommended. However I also sent him FM Erick Schiller's article in this opening that probably he had not had the time to review.

Below is our game. After our game is an article by Tim Harding on the von Hennig-Schara Gambit appearing on the Kibitzer .

I am now playing Team Vote Chess with Old School and Gambit Lines. I encourage my friends to join Old School and Gambit Lines where views from everyone are heard and where a member is also a leader. There are team captains who moderate discussions well. Every move is openly analyzed and questions are properly entertained. I will be happy to see my friends from all the groups that we meet at Old School and Gambit Lines and continue the fun in TVC.

The Kibitzer
by Tim Harding 
Hennig-Schara Gambit Revisited 

THIS MONTH'S COLUMN is a follow-up, in response to reader
requests, to last month's article on the Hennig-Schara Counter-Gambit1
d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c5 4 cxd5 cxd4!?, (ECO code D32). If you didn't
read that yet, you can find it in the The Chess Cafe Archives. (See

To summarise what we have learned so far, this is an interesting pawn
sacrifice which usually leads to White coming under pressure if he
castles kingside. No clear refutation is demonstrable and theory suggests
that the slight advantage White may get in the main lines is no greater
than he is likely to achieve in the quieter lines of the Tarrasch Defence
proper (4...exd5) or the orthodox Queen's Gambit. On top of which, the
risks for White are much greater: the penalty for blunders or ignorance
of theory tends to be high and Black wins quite a high proportion of
games, often quickly.

Last month's column included two correspondence games won in
combinative style by Russian master Boris Mikhailovich Shkurovich-
Khazin. This player always likes to play in an attacking style, especially
with Black, and he should not be confused with Abram Khasin, the
FIDE IM and correspondence GM from Moscow, whose style is
somewhat different.

Shkurovich-Khazin published a very enjoyable little autobiography in
1997 under the title "Kombinatsiya - shakhmat bolshevstvo"
('Combinations - magical chess'), which is full of pretty finishes and
clever ideas in sidelines of gambits. The Two Knights Defence and
Spanish Marshall Attack feature among these. At the back there are
many positions on which you can test your own powers of vision and

Shkurovich-Khazin has played this gambit with 4...cxd4 not only in
correspondence tournaments but also in over-the-board events in Russia,
and in a simultaneous display against the great Viktor Korchnoi, played
in Leningrad in January 1970. This was a few years before Korchnoi's
defection to the west when he was already in the top 10 players in the

Korchnoi-Shkurovich-Khazin Simultaneous display, Leningrad, 1970
1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c5 4 cxd5 cxd4 5 Qxd4 Nc6 6 Qd1 exd5 7 Qxd5 

7 Nxd5 Be6 8 e4 Bxd5 was analysed in the June Kibitzer. 

Here is an example of Black's alternative8...Nf6!? 9 Nxf6+ Qxf6 10 Nf3
Bb4+ 11 Bd2 Rd8 12 Qc2 Bxd2+ 13 Nxd2 0 0 14 a3 Nd4 15 Qb1 Qf4!
16 b4 Rc8 17 Bd3 Rfd8 18 Qb2 (See Diagram)

Now Black finished off prettily by 18...Nc2+! 19 Ke2 Rxd3!! 20 Kxd3
Rd8+ 21 Kxc2 Rxd2+ 22 Kc3 Rxb2 23 Kxb2 Bc4! 0 1 Kalyamin-
Shkurovich- Khazin, St Petersburg 1992.

Returning to the normal 7 Qxd5, as played by Korchnoi, the game

7...Bd7 8 e3 Nf6 9 Qb3!?

This used to be considered an inferior move but it seems to have
attracted much attention in recent years. It's interesting to note that
Karpov has played it in a tournament game. When Kasparov had to meet
the Hennig-Schara in a simul, he played the regular move, 9 Qd1, as we
shall see later. (See Diagram)


I wrote last month that after 9 Qb3 Be6! Black gets good compensation
for his pawn, but I am not certain now that this assessment is right and
9...Bc5 has usually been preferred in practice. There are other
possibilities too, such as 9...Bb4 to be followed by ...Be6.

However, 9...Be6 is certainly interesting. Play can go 10 Qxb7 Nb4 11
Nd4 Rb8 12 Qxa7 Ra8 13 Qb7 Rb8 with a possible draw by repetition of
moves (perpetual attack on the queen). So if White wants to play for a
win, he will choose 10 Qa4, e.g., 11 e3 0-0 12 Be2 a6 13 0-0 b5 14 Qc2
(probably better than 14 Qh4 as in Van der Sterren-Kuijf, Dutch ch
1987) and now 14...Rc8 15 Ng5 led to a White win in Hort-Cuartas,
Dortmund 1982, but this needs more examination; Hort was by far the
stronger of the two players and maybe Black missed something. One
suggestion is 14...Nb4 but then after 15 Qb1 h6 16 Bd2 Bg4 17 Rd1 Qe7
18 a3 Konikowski prefers White.

However, there is another possibility for Black after 10 Qa4. Anastasian-
Nadanian, Panormo (Greece) 1998, went10...a6 (logical) 11 Ne5 Rc8 12
a3 b5 13 Nxc6 Rxc6 14 Qd1 Qc7 15 g3 Rd6 16 Qc2 Qc6 17 e4 Rd7 18
Bg5 Be7 19 Be2 Bh3 20 Rc1 0-0 21 Bf1 Qe6 22 Bxh3 Qxh3 23 f3 Re8
and the fact that White cannot castle causes him long-term troubles that
compensate Black for the pawn sacrifice. Nadanian won on time in a
roughly level but complicated position at move 38.

10 Nf3 

Perhaps this is a lazy move and 10 Bg5 could be more critical. Then
after 10...0-0 White should play 11 e3 h6 12 Bxf6 Qxf6 13 Ne4 Qe7 14
Nxc5, maybe with some advantage for White according to Dutch
correspondence grandmaster Ger van Perlo. He points out the trap 11
Ne4? Nxe4!! 12 Bxd8 Bxf2+ 13 Kd1 Rfxd8 when nasty things are about
to happen to White's king. 

A postal game Pappier-Van Perlo, Lewkowitz Memorial B, 1994, was
taking an interesting course (10 Bg5! 0-0) 11 Rd1 Na5 12 Qc2 Qb6
(Better than 12...Ng4 as played in Valenzuela - Sommerbauer, Elista ol
1988) 13 e3 Bg4 14 Be2 Rfc8 15 0-0 Bb4 16 Rd4 [16 h3 Bh5 17 Qd3
Bg6 18 Qb5 Bxc3!] 16...Bh5 17 Rfd1 Ne8 18 Bh4 [18 Ne5 Bxe2 19
Qxe2 f6!?] 18...Bg6 [18...Bc5 19 Rd5 Bg6 20 Qd2 Qb4 21 a3 Qb3 22
Rxc5! Rxc5 23 Nd4] 19 Bd3 Bxc3 20 bxc3 Nc4 21 Bxg6 hxg6 22 Qb3
Qxb3 23 axb3 Na5 and in spite of a pawn less, Black has sufficient
counterplay according to Van Perlo. Unfortunately, a few moves later,
his opponent was diagnosed with a terminal illness and the game was
not completed.


Black's concept in this game is much more aggressive than the plan seen
in the following game from Informator 49. 10...0 0 11 Be2 Be6 12 Qa4
Qc7 13 0 0 Rad8 14 Bd2 Ng4 15 Rfd1 Bd6 16 g3 Qe7 17 Be1 f5 18 Nd5
Qf7 19 Ng5 Qh5 20 h4 Bc8 21 Nf4 Bxf4 22 Rxd8 Nxd8 23 Qxf4 Nc6 24
Qc7 1 0 Karpov-Hector, Haninge 1990. Of course, our main game was
played in a simultaneous display. Presumably at normal time limits
Korchnoi would have found a better plan against the coming pawn storm
than is now seen.

11 Be2 g5 12 Nd5 Nxd5 13 Qxd5 g4 14 Nd2 Be6 15 Qe4 f5 16 Qa4
0 0 0 17 0 0 h5 18 Nb3 Bxb3 19 Qxb3 h4 20 Qc2 Qe5 21 a3 Bd6 22
g3 (See Diagram)


This precautionary move retains a strong attack but Black could have
played more strongly. Shkurovich-Khazin regrets that he didn't see
22...hxg3 23 fxg3 Rxh2!! removing the obstacles in the path of his
queen. As 24 Kxh2 allows immediate checkmate, White would have to
play 24 Qxf5+ Qxf5 25 Rxf5 Rxe2 when Black has an extra piece and
should easily win.

23 f4 Qf6 24 Bc4 hxg3 25 hxg3 Rh3 26 Qg2 Rdh8 27 Bd5 Rh2 

"At first sight, 27...Qh6 wins at once, but after 28 Qd2 Rxg3+ 29 Kf2
(29 Bg2 Qh1+ 30 Kf2 Rxg2+) 29...Qh2+ 30 Ke1 Qxd2+ 31 Bxd2 White
holds on", according to Shkurovich-Khazin.

28 Qxh2 Rxh2 29 Kxh2 Qh6+ 30 Kg1 Qh3 31 Bd2 Qxg3+ 32 Bg2 Bc5
33 Rf2 Bxe3 34 Bxe3 Qxe3 35 Kf1 Nd4 36 Rd1 g3 37 Rfd2 Qxf4+ 38
Kg1 Qe3+ 39 Kh1 Qh6+ 40 Kg1 «-« (See Diagram)

Here Black offered a draw, which was accepted. 

Korchnoi then asked "Why didn't you play 40...Qe3+ 41 Kh1 Nf3! 42
bxf3 Qxf3+ and advance the black f- and g-pawns?" to which S-K
replied "I wanted a draw, like Petrosian".

Early in the game, Shkurovich-Khazin said to Korchnoi" I often play the
Hennig-Schara" and Korchnoi replied "I also". I was curious about this
and went to look in my database and library for examples of Korchnoi
employing this counter-gambit. I couldn't find a single one where he
was Black - not surprising since Korchnoi is notorious for gobbling
other people's pawns rather than giving up his own. Maybe in his early
years he had played it?

I did find one game of his played with White in a tournament a decade
later; see the notes to the next game. I looked up some other famous
masters in my database, too, but I couldn't find one game where Fischer,
Petrosian, Spassky or Tal had been involved in a Hennig-Schara.
However, somebody was brave enough to play it against Kasparov and
the resulting game is of some theoretical importance.

Kasparov,G (2825)-Netzer,J Simul, Colmar, 1998 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3
Nc3 c5 4 cxd5 cxd4 5 Qa4+ Bd7 6 Qxd4 exd5 7 Qxd5 Nc6 

Reaching the regular 5 Qxd4 line by transposition. 

8 Nf3 

Shkurovich-Khazin's experience with the Hennig-Schara reveals that
White often plays inferior moves, either out of ignorance or in the hope
of getting Black out of his preparation. For example

a) 8 Bg5 Nf6 9 Qd2 h6 10 Bh4 g5 11 Bg3 Qa5 12 Bd6? 0 0 0 13 Bxf8
Rhxf8 14 0 0 0 Bf5 15 Qe1 Nd4 16 e4 Nxe4! 17 Nxe4 Qxa2! 18 Qc3+
(if 18 Nf6 Qb1+ 19 Kd2 Qxb2+ 20 Ke3 Rfe8+ 21 Nxe8 Rxe8#) 18...Nc6
19 Bd3 Bxe4 20 f3 (20 Bxe4 Qa1+ 21 Bb1 Rxd1+ 22 Kxd1 Qxb1+ +)
20...Qa1+ 21 Kc2 Qxd1+ 22 Kxd1 Rxd3+ 23 Kc2 Rxc3+ 24 Kxc3 Bg6
0 1 Kurshin-Shkurovich Khazin, Leningrad 1967.

b) 8 e4 is a trap White often falls into, especially below master level.
This pawn belongs on e3 to shield f2, as we shall now demonstrate with
two cases. After 8...Nf6 9 Qd1 Bc5 White has unsuccessfully tried

b1) 10 Bg5 Qb6 11 Qd2 0 0 0 12 Na4? Bxf2+! 13 Qxf2 Qa5+ 14 Nc3
Qxg5 15 Nf3 Qa5 16 h3 Nxe4 17 Qc2 Ng3 18 Rg1 Bf5 19 Qc1 Rhe8+
20 Kf2 Ne4+ 21 Nxe4 Bxe4 22 Be2 Qb6+ 23 Kf1 Kb8 24 Qc3 Nb4 25
Nd2 (Now comes the decisive combination.) 25...Rxd2 26 Qxd2 Qf6+
27 Bf3 Bd3+ 28 Kf2 Re2+ 29 Qxe2 Bxe2 30 Kxe2 Qxb2+ 31 Ke3 Nc2+
0 1 Ershin v. Shkurovich Khazin, Leningrad 1975.

b2) 10 Nf3 Qb6 11 Be3 Bxe3 12 fxe3 Qxe3+ 13 Qe2 Qb6 14 0 0 0 0 0 0
15 Nd5 Nxd5 16 exd5 Nb4 17 Qc4+ Kb8 18 Qf4+ Ka8 19 Kb1 Qg6+
0 1 Ganev-Shkurovich Khazin, Pavlikeni 1989. White resigns because
he has fallen into the famous mating pattern known as Philidor's
Legacy20 Ka1 Nc2+ 21 Kb1 Na3+ 22 Ka1 Qb1+ 23 Rxb1 Nc2#.

Now we return to Kasparov's game. 

8...Nf6 9 Qd1 Bc5 10 e3 Qe7 (See Diagram)

An important turning point which we also discussed last month when we
looked at 11 Bb5 among other moves. 

11 Be2 

11 a3 is sometimes seen and it's interesting to see Korchnoi played this
line in a master tournament (later than the simul game shown earlier).
11...0 0 0 12 Qc2 g5?! (12...Kb8! is correct as in Strand-Sabel, in the
June Kibitzer.) 13 b4 g4 14 bxc5 gxf3 15 Nb5!ñ 

This game shows the difficulties Black gets into after queenside castling
if he loses the initiative. It is aggravated by not having a dark-squared
bishop and his attack is ineffectual when the white K can escape to the
left wing. 

15...Ne5 16 Nd6+ Kb8 17 Bb2 Bc6 18 g3 Nd5 19 0 0 0ñ f6 20 Bh3 Qc7
21 Be6 Ba4 22 Qxa4 Rxd6 23 Bxe5 fxe5 24 Qc4 Rxe6 (The knight
cannot move because of Rxd6.) 25 Rxd5.

White has a clear extra pawn now that minor pieces have vanished from
the board. He won in the end but the sequel was unconvincing, maybe
because of a time scramble (1 0 in 36 moves, Korchnoi-O.Rodriguez
Vargas, Rome 1981). 

11...0 0 0 12 0 0 g5 13 b4 

White returns the gambit pawns to gain time and open lines. Last
month's article looked at 13 Nd4 in detail and showed that Black's
chances are better than is generally believed. 


In Savic-Berta (June Kibitzer) we saw Black lose with 13...Be6?! but he
fares no better in this game. Kasparov seems to know the most critical
variations as a rule! 

14 Qc2 (See Diagram)

Last month's column only mentioned the unclear lines 14 Bb2 and 14
Qb3. Since Kasparov won the present game fairly easily, we must ask
how can Black improve now? Well, I found five other games in my
database with 14 Qc2 and Black won all of them! Statistics tend to be
very unreliable in such cases, especially where master players are not
involved. Do they stand up to close inspection? Let's see. 


I also found examples of 14...Rhg8, 14...Qc5 and 14...Kb8 but pushing
the g-pawn seems the natural move.

a) 14...Rhg8 15 Rb1 g4 16 Nd4 Nxd4 17 exd4 Bxc3 18 Qxc3+ Bc6 19
Bb5 Qd7 20 Bxc6 Qxc6 21 Qa5 Kb8 22 Bf4+ Ka8 23 Rfc1 Qa6 and
Black is under pressure though he may have just enough resources to
draw. In Sickles-Braun, Nassau ch 1988, White even managed to lose
because he played 24 Qf5?! and later avoided a possible draw by
repetition. Simply 24 Qxa6 bxa6 25 Bc7 would be in White's favour
because the extra black pawn is worth nothing with the present pawn
structure. Black cannot play 25...Rxd4 because of 26 Be5.

b) 14...Qc5 was seen in a postal game Loch-Lang, 1989, but after 15
Bb2 Nd5 White blundered by 16 Nxg5? which loses a piece in the end
after 16...Nxc3 17 Bxc3 Qxc3 18 Qxc3 Bxc3 19 Nxf7 Bxa1 20 Rxa1
Rhe8 21 Nxd8 Rxd8 and soon 0 1. No doubt Kasparov would have
played a sensible move like 16 Rfc1 with some advantage to White.

c) 14...Kb8 seems a sensible move but a black win with it was equally
unconvincing. After 15 a3 Bd6 16 Nb5 g4 White just threw away
material by 17 Nxd6?? in Caron-Rate, Val Maubuee 199017...gxf3 18
Bxf3 Qxd6 and soon 0 1. Instead White should move the knight but after
17 Nfd4 Nxd4 followed by ...Rc8 the position looks about =.

15 Nd4 

15 Ne1 looks a bit passive but may be playable. A Dutch postal game
went 15...h5 (15...Qe5!? could be better) 16 Nd3 Bxc3!? 17 Qxc3 Ne4
18 Qb2 h4 and 0 1 (Schouten-De Jong, corr 1989). White's position isn't
resignable so he presumably withdrew or lost on time. For example 19
Rb1 threatens mate in one and after the most promising reply 19...Bf5 it
is hard to decide whose chances to prefer; it could go either way in


Black's rating was 1730 so it's not surprising that he goes wrong. This
move fits in with White's plans far too well by stripping the black king
of defenders. Pawn-grabbing should be the last thing on Black's mind
here - especially against Kasparov! 

15...h5 looks more like the right idea, although Kasparov would
doubtless have played better than White in the following game16 Bd2
Kb8 17 Ncb5 Bxd2 18 Qxd2 Ne4 19 Qb2 g3 20 Rab1 gxf2+ 21 Kh1
Nxd4 22 Nxd4 b6 23 Nb5 h4 24 Rxf2 Nxf2+ 25 Kg1 Qxe3 0 1 K. Pastor
jr-Cech, Brno 1990. Cech is a strong player so this line deserves more
analysis and tests.

16 exd4 Kb8 17 Bf4+ Ka8 18 Nb5 Bxb5 19 Bxb5 Rxd4 20 Be3 Rdd8 21
Rac1 Bd6 22 Qa4 Bb8 23 Rfe1 Qd6 24 g3 h5 

This attacking move comes far too late and Kasparov closes in for the

25 Rc6! Qe5 26 Ra6 Rd4 


27 Qxd4 1 0.

Finally, last month I posted on my website a collection of over 200
Black wins in the gambit. These games are available in PGN and in both
new and old ChessBase formats at
http//www.chessmail.com/freegames.html. I have now added several
more games, including all the games mentioned in these two articles and
they will be there until about the middle of August when the next
Kibitzer column is due to be posted.

Online Now