Takchess Chess Improvement

A Novice chessplayer works to get better at chess using an improvement program based upon the methods of Michael de la Maza and the teachings of Dan Heisman

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Spirit of the Falkbeer Countergambit KGD

One of the oldest and most played ways to decline the King Gambit is the Falkbeer Countergambit. The Falkbeer CG is characterized by these first four moves 1. e4 e5 2. f4 d5. There is a certain spirit in this defense that not only thwarts Whites aims of quick development of the gambit but is complicated by an offer of a pawn on d5. This spirit is consistent with the great attacking play of Anderssen and Morphy and their Falkbeer games can be found in many classic game collections.

Before studying the King Gambit, I would play this since I saw in it as a far simpler path for me to follow. The twisted path of accepting and playing g4 was not agreeable to me. I think this defense is played by many players who have not booked up against the Kings Gambit and look for a comfortable line to play. This I have found played by two stronger players than I when I face them in my Friday night chess club.

I found playing against the Falkbeer can be somewhat confusing where attacks pile up upon each other and the board quickly empties due to trades. I found some of this confusion while playing this game in my recent tournament. Tempo's comments about my playing too slowly and not " im Geiste der Partie" (in the spirit of the game) was correct.

That comment spurred me on to try to capture this spirit through study and through the learning laboratory of game play. Since it is outside of the scope of this post and my ability to give a detailed look at the opening, I encourage those interested to look in KG books and chessgame collections to learn more. Note my comments are broad points and I reserve the right to be wrong and perhaps even change my mind 8)>dissenting opinions and comments are encouraged.

Here are some of the things I learned which I have used this sample opening line to discuss.

Paste game into this viewer but may work better following on a board or pasted into Fritz

1. e4 e5 2. f4 d5 3. exd5 {eXd5 is forced . all other moves don't work well. One cannot not take the King pawn due to Blacks
queen check} e4 {Perhaps stronger is pawn X f4 turning this into a KGA Abazia or modern defence}
4. d3 {In almost all lines d3 is played here !!!!! Nc3 or Bb5 leads to
equalization. One must remove Blacks e pawn!} Nf6 {If Black were to play Queen
x d5 here it is best not to play Nc3 first. White must freeze black e-pawn by
playing Q-e2 first!!!Also If black plays c6 at this point do not take as it
will only aid in Blacks development with .....NXc6} 5. dxe4 {It is best to
take here before black engages in a pile up of threatening whites pieces. ie :
Nc3 followed by Bb4. I played 2 Falkbeer games Friday at chess club one where I delayed taking here and my pawn structure ended in a shambles. My game with dXe4 ended much better.} Nxe4 6. Nf3 Bc5 7. Qe2 Bf5 8. Nc3 Qe7 9. Be3 Bxe3 10. Qxe3 Nxc3
11. Qxe7+ Kxe7 12. bxc3 Bxc2 13. Kd2 Bg6 14. Re1+ Kd6 15. Nd4 Kxd5 16. f5 Bh5
17. g4 Bxg4 18. Bg2+ Kd6 19. Bxb7 *

Line without commentary below

1. e4 e5 2. f4 d5 3. exd5 e4
4. d3 Nf6 5. dxe4 Nxe4 6. Nf3 Bc5 7. Qe2 Bf5 8. Nc3 Qe7 9. Be3 Bxe3 10. Qxe3
Nxc3 11. Qxe7+ Kxe7 12. bxc3 Bxc2 13. Kd2 Bg6 14. Re1+ Kd6 15. Nd4 Kxd5 16. f5
Bh5 17. g4 Bxg4 18. Bg2+ Kd6 19. Bxb7 *


  • At 9:25 AM, Blogger Temposchlucker said…

    Yeah, that's the idea! You will find that the nerves of steel you grow with this opening will come in handy anytime later:)

  • At 9:30 AM, Blogger Temposchlucker said…

    It was fashion at my club to play the Falkbeer against the KG. Two of three opponents don't play 1. ... e5 anymore against me. The other is dabbling around with other variants of the KG. To little avail untill now.

  • At 11:30 PM, Blogger King of the Spill said…

    Nice post. I also started with that defense, using the Nimzovich variation with the c6 sacrifice and won plenty of blitz games with it.

  • At 1:19 AM, Blogger Temposchlucker said…

    The Nimzowitsch variation is very dangerous indeed and the gambit MUST be declined by white (by Nc3)

  • At 3:37 AM, Blogger takchess said…

    The nimzo with d6 I would naturally decline it looks too much like the Danish Gambit. As an attacking player I often find it dangerous to accept gambits like the Danish, My defense is not accurate enough. Tempo, you are lucky someone will play 1....e5. I tire of facing the Sicilian again and again. Tempo what do you think of the Keres idea of playing Nd2 against the Falkbeer too slow as well? I plan on doing a simalar posting on the Fischer but I need to better understand it. I found the Gallagher Kg book on ebay and should have it shortly. I have been studying the games you had sent me. Thanks again.

  • At 4:55 AM, Blogger Temposchlucker said…

    can you give the complete line to make sure we are talking about the same?


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