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Anyone here play the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit (1. d4 d5 2. e4 dxe4 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. f3 exf3 5. Nxf3)?
I've been trying to play some gambits lately to get better at attacking and tactics, but I found that there were too many ways for my opponents to respond to 1. e4, so I had to prepare for way too many openings. The BDG seems to be a good solution to this, as d4 is met by d5 more often than anything else, and there are fewer exceptions to have to prepare for, some of which can even transpose back to the gambit some of the time.
So at my last tournament (the Florida State Championship on Sept 1-3), I bought The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Keybook II by Tim Sawyer. At the time, I mentioned to the tournament vendor that I've met a chess player named Tim Sawyer, and that he was even there at that tournament. The info about the author in the back of the book says that he lives in Pennsylvania, but that was written in 1999. The Tim Sawyer I know lives in the Orlando, Florida area, which is where I met him at a chess tournament last year. On the USCF web site, there's only one Tim Sawyer listed with a high rating (class A at the moment, but previously in the expert range), and he has rated tournaments in his history from Pennsylvania back in the 90's and recent tournaments in Florida. So it appears that by pure coincidence, the book I purchased was written by someone I've met.
Anyway, it's a pretty good book. Some would call it a "database dump", since it's mostly just variations and games, without that much text explanation. But with 100 main games to illustrate the main lines, and another 2700+ games in side variations, it does a pretty good job of getting the point across. I'm just playing through the main games quickly right now, to get a feel for the opening as a whole. I've tried it a few times so far with decent results, but most of my opponents so far have been relatively low rated. I need to try it against some tougher competition.
The one thing I don't understand is that the BDG seems to have an almost cult-like status in chess. There have been magazines dedicated to just this opening. There have been correspondence "theme" tournaments where every game is in this opening. There are many openings that are more popular than this, but none of them seem to generate such devout followers, for lack of a better term. Does anyone else think that's weird? Should I not drink the Kool Aid and not play this opening out of fear that it'll warp my mind and turn me into a BDG zombie?
Sawyer says that Qxf3 instead of Nxf3 is known as the Ryder Gambit. I would think it should be called the Blackmar-Ryder Gambit, since it's still based on the original Blackmar Gambit of 1. d4 d5 2. e4 dxe4 3. f3. He says it's not as good theoretically, but it still scores well because so few people have studied it enough to know the best play against it.
I actually used the Qxf3 move in a game here, but that was because my opponent played 3. ... Bf5 instead of 3. ... Nf6 to protect the e4 pawn from my knight on c3. Putting my queen on f3 attacked that bishop and threatened the undefended b7 pawn at the same time, although I left my d4 and c2 pawns hanging to do it. It was pretty complicated, but my opponent simplified things by retreating his bishop to its starting c8 square.
So how do you think I should have played from there? I played Be3 to defend my d4 pawn, then castled queen side and went on to win the game. But the Be3 move just felt too passive for such an aggressive opening. I really feel I won because my opponent didn't defend very well, not because I played particularly well. I still think I could have attacked more aggressively, but I'm not sure exactly how.
Here's the full game:
Any tips would be appreciated.
I think the Blackmar Diemer Gambit is pretty easy to play for black if he knows what he's doing. I analyzed it a little with Rybka and an openings book, and my conclusion was that if black plays accurately for the first 5-10 moves, then he just ends up with a clear advantage. However, if your opponent does NOT know how to play it, and white (you) does, then it will also take you about 5-10 moves to get a clear advantage. But that's about the general description of a gambit
It looks slightly dubious to me but I like to grab pawns in the opening.
Maybe at the master level, it's not quite sound, but I'm just trying to work my way up from 1343 USCF right now. Sawyer's book claims that playing this gambit is a good way for anyone to work their way up to 1800, as you not only learn attacking and tactics, but you also learn to tell when white has compensation for the pawn and when he doesn't. For us newbies who think entirely in terms of material, that's a useful skill to develop. That's part of the reason I wanted to start playing gambits instead of just any open games to get better at tactics.
As I said, I've done well with this so far, but I think I'll have a tougher time with it when I start facing tougher opposition. I've been playing players on this site with relatively low ratings (1300-1500) while I establish my rating here. I figure I'll probably end up with a rating on this site around 1700, and then I'll continue to challenge people slightly above me to learn and improve. Playing the guys with higher ratings will be the real test of the gambit and my skill at playing it.
So searching on the web tonight for the BDG, I found these two links:
What's wrong with this picture?
If Black plays correctly, he gets a clear advantage. Here is the refutation (remember to use the move list):
Your welcome in advance! ;)
No offense, but that "refutation" doesn't really scare me. You might be right about it giving a small advantage to black, but it's a small enough advantage that players at my level (both myself and my opponents) probably wouldn't even realize black has an advantage. It's a playable position for both sides.
Looking up that specific line in The Blackmar-Diemer Keybook II by Tim Sawyer, it gives 5. Nxe4 as the mainline for white instead of 5. Bc4. There's one example game in the 5. Bc4 line in which Botvinnik scored a draw as black in a simul in 1962.
Actually, I'd say the way to really scare a BDG player as black is the Lemberger Counter Gambit: 1. d4 d5 2. e4 dxe4 3. Nc3 e5. It's well known enough that most BDG players should be prepared for it, though.
You know, I didn't even see 11. Qa4. Looking at it now, I'm not sure exactly where it would lead. His e5 pawn looks like it was his weakest point at that point in the game, and that would have relieved some of the pressure on that pawn, but putting the pressure on his queen side instead. I definitely should have noticed it as a possible move, but I think I probably would have stuck to my plan of attacking up the e and f files, anyway.
If Black plays correctly, he gets a clear advantage. Here is the refutation... Your welcome in advance! ;) -- 3point141592654
White scores 52% in this line, so it's not obvious how to exploit Black's advantage. But add 5...b5! 6.Bb3 e6 and anyone can see White's in bad shape. Of course, most players are not booked up on these tricks and traps.
Actually, I'm learning the BDG from a book called the The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Keybook 2 by Tim Sawyer, and he goes into the history of the gambit. The original version was invented by a guy named Blackmar back in the 1800's or so, but he just played 1. d4 d5 2. e4 dxe4 3. f3, which is easily refuted with 3. ... e5. That's called the Blackmar Gambit. Another guy named Ryder came along and added the knight moves (3. Nc3 Nf6) before 4. f3, but after 4. ... exf3, he recaptured with 5. Qxf3, which is known as the Ryder Gambit. In the 20th century, Diemer came along and invented the 5. Nxf3 version, which is now known as the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit.
As for its soundness, I agree that it's probably not good enough for master level play. But as Sawyer says in the intro to his book, playing it constantly is a good way to get to 1800 (OTB, not internet ratings), because you learn tactics, attacking, and learn to judge whether or not white has compensation for the pawn, which are all skills that will serve you well even if you advance beyond the level of playing this gambit. Since I'm rated below 1400 USCF right now, I figure this is a good opening to use while learning to be a better player. I can switch to sounder openings later.
Yup, you were good at more open, tactical openings. When we played, you were an e4 player and we played several Sicilians. In this game above, perhaps 5...Nxc3 is wrong and maybe Kf8 or g5 instead. Black's position gets worse. Perhaps 7...Be7 but 7...Ba5 may be just as good. 8...Bb6 looks bad. Perhaps 8...d5 9.bxa5 c5, but you always have the Bh6 move. The only alternative to 9...f6 is to sca the Queen and play 9...Qxg5 10.Qxg5 Bxd4, threatening 11...Bxf2+ 12.Kxf2 Ne4+, winning the Queen back.
I have a large collection of books on the BDG including some old ones, but the one that has helped me the most is your 500 BDG minatures. I can get a feel for a pictular line, by going over 5 -10 mini games from your book than any other way.
In the above mentioned game, of course Black should have not played 3...Bb4 to begin with. My friend Matt who is over 1900 ends up playing 3...d6 against me and ends up in many bad positions allowing me to win a lot of blitz games against him. You know, like how you used to pound me when we played blitz?
KingLeopold, that game is almost identical to the first game in The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Keybook 2 by Tim Sawyer. I think 5. ... g6 is better for black. Even before that, though, he could have done something like 3. ... d6 to prevent 4. e5, pushing his knight around. This whole opening variation (black trying the Nimzo-Indian when the pawn is on e4 instead of c4) seems to very heavily favor white.
e6 or d6
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