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# Question in the Hanstein Gambit

• #1

If you are unfamiliar with the Hanstein Gambit, it goes something like this:

And at this point, Black usually continues 6...h6 and 7...Nc6. But an alternate move I cannot figure out is 6...Qe7. With 6...h6 7.c3 Nc6 8.Qa4 Bd7 9.Qb3 Na5 10.Bxf7+ Kf8 11.Qa3 Kxf7 12.Qxa5 [Edited - omitted a move], White regains the pawn and gets reasonable play (that's ALL I'm aiming for in this line; I know that White can't expect to get more than equality here).

But what to do after 6...Qe7? And why do I only see the Qa4 line mentioned but can't find anything on 6...Qe7? Is the threat of Nd5 after 7.Nc3 so big a threat that it makes ...Qe7 bad?

• #2
[COMMENT DELETED]
• #3

I play the Fisher defense against the king's gambit and very often I get this position by transposition. I always play 6...h6 but I then proceed with 7.c3 Ne7. The idea is to keep the f pawn thanks to 8.Qb3?! 0-0 and to control the d5 square so that 9.e5?! is met by 9...d5! (note that 7...Nf6? 8.Qb3 0-0 9.e5 d5 10.Bd3 Ne4 11.Nbd2 would result in the knights exchanges which is not that good for black).

I suppose 6...Qe6 leaves the d5 square unprotected so that black has not a good answer to the immediate 7.e5!

I did not check with a computer, so I may be saying a load off bull****.

• #4

By the way, I'm always very happy when I get the position after 6.d4, since that means that white did not tried any more ambitious idea like h4 at some point, you may want to look again at your move order.

• #5

@Nao83: I appreciate the feedback. I'll look at 7.e5, but it doesn't feel right to me somehow. Thanks for mentioning 7...Ne7 too, since I don't think I've looked at that yet.

I am fully aware of 4.h4, but I feel that the Kieseritzky Gambit just has too much theory. 4.Bc4 may not be as ambitious, but it's playable and it has a lot less theory attached.

• #6

6...Qe7 is rather odd, since white cannot equalize after 6...Nc6.

I'd rather pick 7.Nc3, which is useful in any case, and Black has to take measures to prevent an eventual Nc3-d5.

• #7

Am I the only one wondering how a queen on b3 can take a knight on a5?

• #8

@pfren: You mention 6...Nc6, which I've also wondered about. The stuff I've read about is all about 6...h6 and 7...Nc6, which seems to lead to an equal game after 8.Qa4 (if not equal, at least close), but I've wondered why Black doesn't just come right out with 6...Nc6. Is there any reason why Black would want to play 6...h6 before playing ...Nc6?

And after 6...Nc6, what do you think is the critical line?

Thanks! :)

• #9

@Bab3s: Oops. I omitted a move. It should read 10.Bxf7+ Kf8 11.Qa3 Kxf7 12.Qxa5. My bad.

• #10

@ Pickachulord6: Why Black has to play ...h6 if white has not committed himself to h2-h2 or something like that? I do not like to spare moves in the opening. FYI 6...Nc6 is the move suggested by Sakaev in his Petroff repertoire book, and I cannot find any fault in it: It is the most challenging, and quite likely best Black response. White probably has to play 7.c3, and now Qe7 makes more sense, but I prefer 7...h6 (only now) and white has tried a lot of moves (8.h4, 8.g3, 8.Qb3, 8.Qa4 etc) but none of them comes close to equality.

• #11

@pfren: That's a good point, but for some strange reason, I haven't seen anything other than 6...h6 yet (a small sample size admittedly, but still), so maybe I've just been lucky? :)

Is there a reason why you like ...h6 after 7.c3? I'm probably missing something, but I don't see anything in 7.c3 that would make Black want to play ...h6 either.

• #12

After 6...Qe7 7.Nxg5!? Qxg5 8.Bxf4 might be a winning attack for white.

• #13

@melvinbluestone: I've already looked at that, with the help of Fritz, and it looks like a poor man's Muzio Gambit. I might take a second look, but it doesn't look too promising to me right now.

• #14
Pikachulord6 wrote:

@pfren: That's a good point, but for some strange reason, I haven't seen anything other than 6...h6 yet (a small sample size admittedly, but still), so maybe I've just been lucky? :)

Is there a reason why you like ...h6 after 7.c3? I'm probably missing something, but I don't see anything in 7.c3 that would make Black want to play ...h6 either.

Well, Black more or less is a safe pawn up, so white's compensation is related to the activity of the pieces, regarding both sides. 7.c3 has taken out the active c3 square from white's knight, and now Black would like to develop the g8 knight and castle instead of prematurely committing the c8 bishop. h6 is not such a good square, while Ne7/f6 drops the g5 pawn- so what's more natural than 7...h6?

• #15

As mentioned previously, after 6...Nc6, it's difficult to see any compensation for white's pawn. But the idea of 6...Qe7 seems to turn up in some lines as a means of protecting the b-pawn maybe. Other than that, it doesn't really threaten anything and just invites the knight infiltration of c3 - d5. I even tried 7.c3 in a few fast games, and stuff like this can happen:

• #16

@pfren: I get it now. Thanks! :)

@uhohspaghettio: Yeah, I spent some time thinking about it, and that sacrifice does share some similarities with the Muzio, but the difference is that both sides have a couple of extra moves in, and White has an extra pawn (the e-pawn). I still suspect that the extra development should give Black an easier time defending than in the Muzio, but like you said, it could still catch some players off-guard.

@melvinbluestone: Instead of 7...Bg4, I think Black should try 7...Nc6 or 7...h6. I don't see a good reason for the bishop to be on g4 in the first place.

• #17

@Pikachulord6: Taking the bishop from the queenside does look like a mistake. I thought the rationale behind black's Qe7 might be to protect b7 via the queen's position on the seventh rank. This frees up the bishop from that job, so g4 is one square to put it on. But once you've played g5, it seems foolish to block your own pawn's advance to g4 with the bishop there. At least not till you've played h6.....

• #18

See Harrwitz Daniel vs Williams Elijah ......... (1846!)

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