Win with the Halloween Gambit!!!


I worked out the Bb4 line in my head in a minute or so but I spent some time believing that Bb4 was better the move before. After 15 minutes of working out variations in my head it has become obvious that Bb4 the move before is only slightly better for black and the N should therefore be retreated to Nc6 with Bb4 to follow. Bb4 is such an obvious move in that game that the only real difficulty is working out when to play it or whether to retreat to g6 in the first place. After considering the latter option I now believe that Ng6 may not be much of an improvement and the correct continuation is that given as the refutation. I'm sure that in a slow play game otb, I would have worked out the correct refutation very easily but in blitz I may have played Bb4 a move too early and lost most of the advantage. What puzzles me is that so many people seem not to be interested in finding the correct, positional refutation. Obviously, a lot of people are arrogant, fail to think well and fail to be honest, but that's quite normal here.


I don't believe that a few people winning games with it means it's ok. Years ago I used to play the Cochrane Gambit and I won quite a few games with it, otb slow-play against strongish opposition. I now know that the Cochrane is a forced loss for White, provided black adopts a particular approach. This is similar. There's no way it's sound. I would play the ... Nc6 d5 ...Bb4 line, which should give black close to a winning advantage due to superior development, with no real danger.


Not a bad alternative for White if he needs a win against a solid player.

fryedk wrote:

This game happened on the board next to me in a tournament. The loser, (much higher rated) was visibly upset after the game. Quite brilliant play by white, who absolutely dominated his opponent. 


4 Thoughts.  (1)  He just lost to a much lower rated player.  (2)  He just lost to a much lower rated player who played a weird opening *AND* who sacrificed a piece against him on purpose in the opening.  (3)  He got checkmated.  And there were witnesses to him getting humilatingly checkmated.  (4)  The lower-rated player was rather pleased with what happened.  Probably grinned and smiled for days or weeks afterwards.  


I know a guy that plays that religiously, and he wonders why he cannot ever break USCF 2000.


I think that the best way to play this rare bird as Black without any particular variation knowledge is this one:


Equal material, but Black is slightly ahead in development, no weaknesses, with a great grip on the central dark squares and potential play against white's e4 and d5 pawns. White need not lose this, but I'd rather opt for something less silly.


Obviously sacrificing a piece that early is no sound for long game or against strong preparred opponent in real classic time control OTB.. It's very easy now to say this is so bad for white, like puzzles, you see and figure out solution, but Over The board in real game you miss simple tactics. This is exactly the case here.  clock thiking and you see it for 1st time You wont be able to defend that easily as you might think now on screen.

This is made for blitz or 15 minute game, where you can't think for 5-10 minutes about the position and which is the best move.




There is one way for black to play that gives black the advantage, but it works if black plays Nc6 instead of Ng6.

Here it goes:

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nxe5 Nxe5 5.d4 Nc6 6. d5 Bb4 7. dxc6 Ne4 and from then on black has the advantage.


I like Ntirlis's recommendation. I remember analyzing this line about five years ago. Don't give back the knight. Give him the rook. happy.png



Ultraman81 wrote:

This topic motivated me to play a Halloween game again. Far from perfect, but I didn't enjoy it any less.




HiyaGarg wrote:
Ultraman81 wrote:

This topic motivated me to play a Halloween game again. Far from perfect, but I didn't enjoy it any less.






Of course , with right kinda play , black gets an advantage , but one slight slip , and SWOOP! he's down!

This is a quite recent example. One slight slip , and black , a quite OK player found himself choking in shallow water. 


A low-theory alternative to the options posted here:

I believe IM pfren's alternative may be objectively better, but this is certainly very fun to play.




11. Nb5 is indeed refuted . But after 11.Qe2+ both sides have chances.

This was an interesting line to analyze. I don't think Black's best defense would be so easy to find over the board.


I want to try this myself!