5

When I play online blitz, playing black, I usually answer 1. e4 e5 2. Qh5 with 2... Nf6!? 3.Qxe5 Be7.

[FEN ""]
1. e4 e5 2. Qh5 Nf6 3.Qxe5 Be7

White often collapses quickly due to lack of development and exposed queen.

How good is this gambit objectively? Is there an established main line?

  • This opening is unexplored, especially the line you inquiry about. I will give it a thorough look an post my answer but expect it will take me a day or two since there are lots of alternatives for both sides. Best regards until then. – AlwaysLearningNewStuff Jan 25 '14 at 15:31
  • Should this be given an unorthodox-opening tag? – Dag Oskar Madsen Jan 25 '14 at 20:15
  • Unfortunately my engine is to weak to help me in investigating the continuation I think is the best one for White. If you know someone with strong computer and chess software analyze 4.d3. This move fortifies White's center and should refute the gambit. You see, according to chess theory, the side that controls center controls the game. If Black does not open the game quick then White consolidates his extra pawn and wins. If Black opens up the game he should regain pawn and get advantage due to his better development and better piece coordination. Best regards. – AlwaysLearningNewStuff Jan 25 '14 at 23:51
  • Yes, I believe the candidate moves are 4.d3, 4.Qf4 and 4.Qg3. – Dag Oskar Madsen Jan 26 '14 at 10:38
7

Is it playable in Blitz? GM Nakamura played 2. Qh5 against GM Sasikiran in 2005 who responded with 2... Nc6. Nakamura lost due to an error in the middle game.

Here's the Nakamura game. It follows the mainline 2... Nc6 but shows, to my surprise, White has a good game, contrary to everything I ever heard about moving the Queen too early.

[FEN ""]
1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 Nc6 3.Bc4 g6 4.Qf3 Nf6 5.Ne2 Bg7 6.Nbc3 d6 7.d3 Bg4 8.Qg3 Qd7 9.f3 Be6 10.Bg5 Nh5 11.Qh4 h6 12.Be3 Na5 13.Bb3 Nxb3 14.axb3 a6 15.d4 Qe7 16.Qf2 exd4 17.Bxd4 Nf6 18.O-O-O O-O-O 19.Nf4 Rhg8 20.Rhe1 Kb8 21.Kb1 g5 22.Nfe2 Rge8 23.g4 Qf8 24.Ng3 Nd7 25.Be3 Qh8 26.Nge2 Be5 27.h4 Qg7 28.Rh1 Nf6 29.Bd4 Nd7 30.Qe3 Qf6 31.hxg5 hxg5 32.Bxe5 Qxe5 33.Rh5 Rg8 34.Nd5 Rde8 35.Qc1 Qg7 36.Ne3 Nf6 37.Rh2 Rh8 38.Rg2 Nd7 39.Nd4 Rh3 40.c4 Qf6 41.Rf2 Reh8 42.b4 Qe5 43.c5 dxc5 44.bxc5 Nxc5 45.Qc3 f6 46.Rc2 Na4 47.Qb4 Bd7 48.Nb3 Rh1 49.Rxh1 Rxh1+ 50.Ka2 Nb6 51.Qf8+ Qe8 52.Qxe8+ Bxe8 53.Nc5 Nd7 54.Nxd7+ Bxd7 55.Kb3 Re1 56.Rc3 Be6+ 57.Kc2 Re2+ 58.Kc1 a5 59.Nc2 Rf2 60.Nd4 Bd7 61.Rc5 b6 62.Rd5 Kc8 63.e5 fxe5 64.Rxe5 c5 65.Nb3 Rf1+ 66.Kd2 a4 67.Nxc5 bxc5 68.Rxc5+ Kb7 69.Rxg5 Rxf3 70.Rd5 Be6 71.Rd3 Rf1 72.Rg3 Rf2+ 73.Kc3 Kb6 74.Kb4 Rf4+ 75.Ka3 Kb5 76.Re3 Bd5 77.Rd3 Bc4 78.Re3 Rd4 79.g5 Rd1 80.b3 axb3 81.Re8 Ra1+ 82.Kb2 Ra2+ 83.Kc3 Rc2+ 84.Kd4 b2 85.Rb8+ Ka4 86.g6 Bb5 87.g7 b1=Q 0-1

The opening has a few names. Most are not complementary. One less caustic name is the Wayward Queen Attack. It is classified technically as the C20: KP, Patzer opening. This opening is considered 'irregular' and does not have a more specific classification. The sub-variation we're interested in, even moreso.

There are no masters game in my database that include 2... Nf6. There are many amateur games, but sometimes these are games by USCF C-players which does not help us here. Out of those games, however, Black is heavily favored. This does not mean the variation is fatal for White, per se. It could mean that White has to play better or be better prepared than Black.

This means that, for blitz, this continuation is splendid for either side.

Here's Stockfish's continuation after 15 minutes. Stockfish rates the position above as White being up 1/3 of a pawn. I am sure this is very much within the "error noise". I would not really trust it beyond 2 or 3 moves but it shows the gist.

[FEN "rnbqk2r/ppppbppp/5n2/4Q3/4P3/8/PPPP1PPP/RNB1KBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1.Qf4 Nc6 2.e5 Nd5 3.Qe4 Nb6 4.Bb5 O-O 5.Nf3 d5 6.Qe2 Nb4 7.d4 Bg4 8.a3 a6 9.Ba4 Nxa4  10.axb4 Qd7 11.c3 f6 12.O-O fxe5 13.dxe5 Bxf3 14.gxf3 Nb6 15.f4 Qf5 16.Na3 *

Okay, what you see here is a pretty sharp continuation. Again, superb for a prepared blitz player.

Here's a game at 1 minute per side. If the result of this game differs from the result of a game with longer controls, perhaps we can deduce that one side has a subjectively easier game and thus an advantage.

[FEN "rnbqk2r/ppppbppp/5n2/4Q3/4P3/8/PPPP1PPP/RNB1KBNR w KQkq - 0 3"]

3.Qf4 O-O 4.Nc3 Bd6 5.Qh4 Nc6 6.d4 Nxd4 7.Bd3 Re8 8.Be3 Be5 9.O-O-O Nc6 10.Nce2 d6 11.f4 Ng4 12.Qxd8 Nxd8 13.Bd2 Bf6 14.Rf1 Be7 15.Nf3 Ne6 16.Nc3 Nc5 17.Bc4 c6 18.h3 Nh6 19.g4 b5 20.Nxb5 cxb5 21.Bxb5 Bb7 22.Bxe8 Rxe8 23.g5 Nxe4 24.gxh6 Ng3 25.Rhg1 Ne2+ 26.Kd1 Nxg1 27.Nxg1 Bf6 28.b3 Bg2 29.Rf2 Bc6 30.Rf1 gxh6 31.Ne2 Kh8 32.Ng3 Bg2 33.Re1 Rxe1+ 34.Bxe1 Bxh3 35.c4 Kg7 36.Nh5+ Kg6 37.Nxf6 Kxf6 38.Ke2 Bd7 39.Bb4 Ke6 40.Kf3 h5 41.Kg3 d5 42.cxd5+ Kxd5 43.Bc3 Bg4 44.Be5 a6 45.Kh4 Be2 46.Kg5 Ke4 47.a3 Bg4 48.b4 Bd1 49.Bd6 Kd4 50.Be7 Bg4 51.Bc5+ *

A typical alien-looking game, where each move is coldly logical. It's looking drawish with Black having less than a pawn advantage according to Stockfish. But the game is no 'trade the pieces' draw; I'd wager there are many ways to lose this.

Next will be a game at 10 minutes per move.

Edit - my machine crashed twice yesterday while grinding through the game at 10 minutes per move. It was about halfway through the last time I looked. It found 2 moves that could be improved by .3 pts or more. I'm not going to rerun it.

  • Nice, Great answer. – dreamcrash Jan 25 '14 at 19:19
  • The lessons I draw from these examples are: 1) Play gets very tactical; 2) c2 is a potential weak point, in the last game white gave up a pawn to cover it. – Dag Oskar Madsen Jan 27 '14 at 14:47
  • Just out of curiosity I gave the position after Qh5 to Stockfish, and at 25 plies these are the 4 first lines (note the, IMHO, interesting option Qe7): 1. 26 [-0.12] 2.... Nc6 3.Bc4 g6 4.Qd1 Nf6 5.d3 Na5 6.Nf3 Nxc4 7.dxc4 d6 8.Nc3 Be6 9.Bg5 Bg7 10.Nd5 h6 2. 25 [-0.06] 2.... d6 3.Bc4 g6 4.Qd1 Nf6 5.d3 Nc6 6.Nf3 Bg7 7.O-O O-O 8.Bg5 Na5 9.Bb3 Bd7 10.Nc3 h6 3. 25 [+0.06] 2.... Qe7 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Qd1 Nd4 6.Nf3 d6 7.O-O Bg4 8.Be2 Nxe2+ 9.Qxe2 O-O-O 10.d3 h6 4. 25 [+0.16] 2.... Nf6 3.Qxe5+ Be7 4.Qf4 O-O 5.Nc3 d5 6.e5 Ng4 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.h3 g5 9.Qg3 Nh6 10.Bd3 Nb4 – Emilio Díaz Jan 27 '14 at 18:21
2

White has to play cautiously, with defensive moves like d3, Nf3, Be2, etc. He will likely end up in a cramped, somewhat symmetrical position, behind in development, but with a pawn plus.

An opening like this might have appealed to a master like Wilhelm Steinmetz who liked cramped positions with a pawn plus "A pawn is worth a little trouble."

He won most such games because his opponents tended to overreach.

  • White should try to consolidate, but how? If 4. d3, then 4... d5, and following that, if white takes 5. exd5, then 5... 0-0 and the queen is under threat (6... Bb4+, 7... Re8). Perhaps white can play 4. Qf4 0-0 5. d3`. – Dag Oskar Madsen Jan 27 '14 at 14:53

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