What I learned on my summer vacation about the King Gambit
The King Gambit is the opening I enjoy the most. In many positions , the King’s Gambit is a house of cards. One wrong pawn move and the whole structure can come tumbling down. I bet there are more miniature games as a percentage of games played in the KG than any other openings. At times a player must calculate whether a tempo spent capturing a piece will lead to a loss. Many KG’s leads to King marches, piece sacrifices combinations, battles over the entire board, and interesting mating patterns which appeal to my aggressive style and love of combinational play.
Also I believe there are better chances for me to beat higher rated players since many are less booked up against the KG and many position require extensive calculations which are tricky to find over the board. Even when the game becomes positional, I enjoy the positional ideas in the King Gambit which with a small misstep the game can become quite tactical.
As Pale Morning Dun says learning to play the King’s Gambit is like playing with a rocket launcher without an instruction manual . I often end up winning with some aggressive play and thinking I had played a nice solid game until I consult with Prof. Fritz who shows me how my opponent could of easily won except for one misstep. Case in Point game 2 in this blog 8...Qxg5 with a better game . I am finding that I am playing some classic lines which although fun do not stand up under proper defensive play. Occasionally a player with a better understanding of the KG will neutralize my play and turn the game to their advantage.
I just spent a week of vacation at Cape Cod where I spent some time learning more about the King Gambit. Very nice to sit in the sun playing through games with an analysis board, get hot, jump in the ocean and repeat 8).
I wanted to learn some book lines but more importantly understand, as Tempo says the Spirit of the Game. I felt I made strides at understanding the Falkbeer CounterGambit recently and wanted to extend that to the King’s Gambit Accepted, Knight Gambit which is the majority of what I play. The KGA-Knight Gambit follows this line 1. e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3. Nf3.
The variations I studied were
Kieseritzky Gambit and it’s dozen variations 3…..g5 4 h4 g4 5.Ne5 ….?
Fischer Defense 3…. d5
Modern Defense 3….d4,
Cunningham Defense 3…Be7
Vienna style King Gambit 3…Nc6,
Schallop Defense 3…Nf6
I used these books and this is what I thought about them.
Kornchoi King’s Gambit
Gallagher Winning with the Kings Gambit
Raingruber and Maser The King Gambit as White
Emms Play the Open Games as Black
For those wanting to play the Kings Gambit, all are worth having, Kornchoi book is an older flow chart style book which brings you through the common responses of both White and Black including lines that are dubious giving one a good historical perspective. I skipped over a lot of the lines where white play is poor and focused on the black responses to white good moves and blacks responses to them. It was published in the 70’s so is missing the modern KG theory.
Gallagher’s book is excellent and worth the trouble to find this out of print book. Gallagher writes from a GM viewpoint discussing the KG lines against best play. He uses a game format of his and other’s to discuss the reason behind each move. It is deeply annotated with multiple variations and offers a peek into how a GM weighs a position. He has an optimistic (but realistic) view of the Kings Gambit and writes with a sense of humor. Gallagher has been involved in the development in KG theory.
Raingruber book addresses the main lines of the KG and it not as personal as Gallaghers book. Each chapter involves a line in the King Gambit which is better described in Gallaghers book in game format. What I did like this book is the end of each chapter there are self study test questions. ie. Given this position can black safely play f4 ?. I would like to see this style in more chess books. If you search out this book make sure you get a later edition as they made some changes in the lines as theory has developed.
Emms book is just a good book to have if you respond 1…e5 to 1 e4 .It is a pragmatic book that recommends lines of play for black against all the open games openings. He recommends accepting and playing the Kieseritzky Berlin Variation.
In the next post I will tell you a little more about what I learned about the Ideas behind the King's Gambit
to be continued …….