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King's Gambit, McDonnell Gambit

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The McDonnell Gambit is a chess opening gambit in the King's Gambit, Classical Variation that begins with the moves:[2]

McDonnell Gambit
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a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c4 white bishop
e4 white pawn
f4 black pawn
g4 black pawn
c3 white knight
f3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
h1 white rook
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Moves1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Nc3
ECOC37
OriginMcDonnell vs. La Bourdonnais, London 1834, match 3, game 1[1]
Named afterAlexander McDonnell
ParentKing's Gambit
1. e4 e5
2. f4 exf4
3. Nf3 g5
4. Bc4 g4
5. Nc3

or alternatively via the Quaade Gambit:[3][4]

4. Nc3 g4
5. Bc4

The opening is named after Alexander McDonnell, a 19th-century Irish chess master, who successfully introduced it in his third match with Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais. The aim is to gain a significant lead in development (knight, bishop, and queen) for the sacrificed knight, followed by a kingside attack.

The McDonnell Gambit has always been much less popular for White than the similarly motivated Muzio Gambit (4.Bc4 g4 5.0-0). Although considered obsolete by MCO,[5] it has not been thoroughly tested.[2]

Contents


5...gxf3Edit

After 5... gxf3 6. Qxf3 is usual, though the wild 6.0-0 is occasionally seen. Now 6...Bh6 (as in the McDonnell-Labourdonnais game below) is regarded as inferior. Better options for Black are:

  • 6... d5 7.Nxd5 Nc6 led to approximate equality in Charousek & Fahndrich – Halprin & Marco, Vienna 1897 after 8.0-0 Bd6 9.d4 Nxd5 10.Qh5 Be6 11.Bxf4 Bxf4 12.Nxf4 Bxc4 13.Qe5+ Kf8 14.Qxh8 Bxf1 15.Rxf1 Qf6 16.Qxh7 Qxf4.[6][7]
  • 6... d6 7.0-0 Be6 8.Nd5 c6 9.Qc3 cxd5 10.Qxh8 dxc4 11.Qxg8 Qb6+ 12.Kh1 Nc6 13.b3 Qd4 and Black is better (analysis by J. Malkin, Wiener Schachzeitung 1911).[6]

McDonnell vs. La Bourdonnais, London 1834Edit

1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 g5 4. Bc4 g4 5. Nc3 gxf3 6. Qxf3 Bh6? 7. d4 Nc6 8. 0-0!

Continuing his policy of development over material.

8... Nxd4? 9. Bxf7+!

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Position after 9.Bxf7!
A frequently seen move in the King's Gambit as it strips away a key defensive pawn.

9... Kxf7 10. Qh5+ Kg7 11. Bxf4 Bxf4 12. Rxf4 Nf6 13. Qg5+ Kf7 14. Raf1

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Position after 14.Raf1
McDonnell has built up a winning attack almost effortlessly.

14... Ke8 15. Rxf6 Qe7

Looking for some counterplay with his queen and at the same time freeing a square for his king.

16. Nd5! Qc5

One last try; if McDonnell is inattentive he could miss the discovered check 17...Nf3+! followed by 18...Nxg5 when suddenly he has a lost position.

17. Kh1! Ne6

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Position after 17...Ne6

18. Rxe6+! dxe6 19. Nf6+!

White will win the queen next move, so La Bourdonnais resigned here.

1–0[8]

Maróczy vs. Chigorin, Vienna 1903Edit

1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 g5 4. Bc4 g4 5. Nc3 gxf3 6. Qxf3 d6![4] 7. d4 Be6 8. Nd5 White can try 8.d5!? Bc8 9.Bxf4 as in Dufresne–Anderssen, Berlin 1851 (Korchnoi).[9] 8... c6 9. 0-0 cxd5 10. exd5 Bf5 11. Bxf4 Bg6 12. Bb5+ Nd7 13. Rae1+ Be7 14. Bxd6 Kf8? Black had a clear advantage after 14...Qb6! 15.Qa3 Qxd4 16.Rf2 Be4 17.Bxe7 Nxe7 18.d6 Rg8 19.Rxe4 Qxe4 20.Re2 Qxe2 21.Bxe2 Nc6 in Barth–Lenz, corr. 1913 (Korchnoi).[9] 15. Rxe7 Nxe7 16. Re1 Kg7 17. Bxe7 Qa5 18. Qe2 Nf8 19. Bf6+ Kg8 20. Qe5 h6 21. Bxh8 f6 22. Qe7 Kxh8 23. Qxf6+ Kg8 24. Re7 1–0[10]

Alternatives to 5...gxf3Edit

  • 5...Nc6 transposes to the Hamppe–Muzio Gambit after 6.0-0, or to the Pierce Gambit after 6.d4.
  • 5...d5 is also likely to lead to a transposition after 6.Bxd5 gxf3 7.Qxf3 or 6.Nxd5 gxf3 7.Qxf3.

Marshall vs. Leonhardt, Hamburg 1911Edit

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Nc3 d5 6.Bxd5 gxf3 7.Qxf3 Nf6 8.Qxf4 Be7 9.0-0 0-0 10.b4 a5 11.Bb2 axb4 12.Ne2 Ra6 13.Qh6 Kh8 14.Nf4 Rg8 15.Bxf7 Bf8 16.Qh5 Rg4 17.Ne6 Bg7 18.Bxf6 1–0[11]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "McDonnell vs. La Bourdonnais, London 1834, match 3, game 1". Chessgames.com.
  2. ^ a b Hooper & Whyld (1996), p. 241. McDonnell Gambit.
  3. ^ Hooper & Whyld (1996), p. 328. Quaade Gambit.
  4. ^ a b Kasparov & Keene (1982), p. 289.
  5. ^ de Firmian, Nick (2008). Batsford's Modern Chess Openings (15th ed.). p. 6.
  6. ^ a b Korchnoi, Viktor; Zak, Vladimir (1986). The King's Gambit. Macmillan Publishing Company. p. 35. ISBN 0-02-022020-0.
  7. ^ "Charousek & Fahndrich vs. Halprin & Marco, Vienna 1897". Chessgames.com.
  8. ^ "McDonnell vs. Louis Charles Mahe De La Bourdonnais, London 1834". Chessgames.com.
  9. ^ a b Matanović 1981 (Vol C), p. 180, n. 38.
  10. ^ "Geza Maroczy vs. Mikhail Chigorin, Vienna 1903". Chessgames.com.
  11. ^ Frank Marshall vs. Paul Saladin Leonhardt 365chess.com

Bibliography