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Frankenstein-Dracula Variation

 

C27: The Frankenstein-Dracula Variation, usually considered a branch of the Vienna Game, can also be reached from the Bishop's Opening. It is seen extremely infrequently in top-level play.

 


The variation is brought about by the moves:   1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bc4

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. Nc3 is another common way of reaching this position.

3...Nxe4
4. Qh5

4.Nxe4 d5 is considered to give Black no problems. 4.Bxf7+?! Kxf7 5.Nxe4 is considered good for Black as long as Black avoids 5...Nc6 (5...d5) 6.Qf3+ Kg8?? 7.Ng5! and White wins (7...Qxg5 8.Qd5#). 4.Qh5 threatens Qxf7#, a threat that White continues to renew in this line.

4...Nd6

Surprisingly, this awkward move is the only good response to White's dual threats against f7 and e5; 4...Ng5 would be met by 5.d4 Ne6 6.dxe5 with some advantage. Also possible is 6.d5, when 6...g6?? loses to 7.dxe6!.

5. Bb3

Swedish GM Ulf Andersson recommended 5.Qxe5+ Qe7 6.Qxe7+ Bxe7 7.Be2!, claiming that White has some advantage. 

5...Nc6

5...Be7 (returning the pawn) is a quieter alternative, e.g. 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Nex5 0-0 8.Nd5 Nxe5 9.Qxe5 Re8 10.0-0 Bf8 11.Qf4.

6. Nb5 g6
7. Qf3 f5

David Bronstein once won a game after with 7...f6!? 8.Nxc7+ Qxc7 9.Qxf6 b6 10.Qxh8 Bb7 11.Qxh7 0-0-0, but he has not found followers.

8. Qd5 Qe7

8...Qf6 has also been tried.

9. Nxc7+ Kd8
10. Nxa8

Black almost always continues 10...b6, preparing Bb7 to trap the knight. Black is at the moment a rook down, but will eventually regain the knight, leaving Black down the exchange. In return, Black will play for an attack.


Description

In return for his material, Black has a good pawn centre and his bishops will be well placed on the long diagonals. He will try to justify his sacrifice by avoiding a queen exchange and attempting to checkmate White. White will secure his king (usually by castling queenside) and his queen (which for the moment is somewhat short of squares), hold onto his extra material and eventually may go on the offensive and attack the Black king stuck in the centre of the board. Whether Black has sufficient compensation is a matter of opinion. One possible continuation is11.d3 Bb7 12.h4 (threatening to win Black's queen with Bg5) f4 13.Qf3 Nd4 (13...Bh6 14.Bd2 is also possible) 14.Qg4 (a 1969 recommendation by Anthony Santasiere, threatening to trade queens with Qg5), when Black chooses from 14...Bh6, 14...Bg7, and 14...Bxa8. 

The variation was given its name by Tim Harding in his 1975 book on the Vienna Game in which he said that the bloodthirstiness of this was such that "a game between Dracula and the Frankenstein Monster would not seem out of place."

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