I just played this game with white.

I am wondering, if any of the sides have gone terribly wrong/blundered anywhere? (except for both sides playing a dubious gambit - let's begin considerations from, say, move 10)

I am also interested to know about correctness of play in the endgame (from move 23) and general feedback about the game as a whole. A comment about final position - black probably should not have resigned. Although it is a tablebase win, it is very tough one and takes 48 moves.

[fen "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]
1. e4 e5 2. f4 Nc6 3. Nf3 exf4 4. Bc4 Be7 5. d4 Bh4+ 6. g3 fxg3 7. O-O gxh2+ 8. Kh1 d6 9. Bxf7+ Kf8 10. e5 Bh3 11. Nxh4 Bxf1 12. Qxf1 Qxh4 13. Bd5+ Nf6 (13... Ke8 14. Qf7+ Kd8 15. Qf8+ Kd7 16. e6+#) 14. exf6 gxf6 (14... Qxf6 15. Qxf6+ gxf6 16. Bh6+ Ke7 {unclear?}) 15. Nc3 Nxd4 16. Ne4 f5 (16... Nxc2 17. Nxf6 {white is better?}) 17. Bg5 Qh5 18. Bf6 Nxc2 (18... fxe4 19. Bxh8+ Ke8 20. Bxd4 Qxd5 {white is better?}) 19. Bxh8 Nxa1 20. Nf6 Qg6 (20... Qh4 21. Qxf5 (21. Qe2 {seems to win even faster, threatening Nd7+# or Qe6 with mate to follow}) {white is winning - there is a mating net around the black king and the white king will eventually escape checks from the black queen (starting with 21... Qe1+)})  21. Qxa1 Qg1+ {is this black's only option?} 22. Qxg1 hxg1=Q+ 23. Kxg1 Ke7 24. Bg7 c6 25. Bb3 d5 26. Nh5 Rg8 27. Kf2 b6 28. Kf3 Kd6 29. Kf4 Ke6 30. Bc2 Kf7 31. Be5 Rg2 32. Bxf5 c5 33. Bxh7 d4 34. b4 Rh2 35. Kg5 Rxa2 36. Nf4 Rf2 37. Be4 Ke7 38. Bd3 a5 39. bxc5 bxc5 40. Bb5 Rb2 41. Bc6 Rb1 42. Kf5 Rf1 43. Ke4 Rg1 44. Kd5 Rg5 45. Ne6 Rg8 46. Nxc5 d3 47. Nxd3 Rd8+ 48. Kc4 Rc8 49. Kb5 a4 50. Bb2 Kd6 51. Ba3+ Ke6 52. Nb4 Ke5 53. Kxa4 Ke6 54. Kb5 Rd8 55. Kc5 Kf5 56. Nd5 Ke6 57. Bb2 Rf8 58. Bd4 Rc8 59. Nf4+ 1-0
  • 3... exf4 doesn't seem right. The countergambit 3... f5!?is very interesting. – Dag Oskar Madsen Jun 21 '15 at 12:48
  • @DagOskarMadsen Indeed, the opening play on both sides is dubious and I am aware of that. The move in the game transposes to a rarely played and generally not recommended line of KGA. Thanks for the suggestion, though - that countergambit, by the way, has some really good statistics for black, albeit not many games in the database. – GloriaVictis Jun 21 '15 at 13:13
  • I'll run this through Stockfish. Because it is what I do. This game is sharp; Black's 15th and White's 17th both drop pieces. – Tony Ennis Jun 21 '15 at 16:05
  • @TonyEnnis Can you explain how these moves drop pieces? – GloriaVictis Jun 21 '15 at 19:10
  • I intend to once the engine is done. It may take me a while, however. I can tell you the moves, or I can try to explain them. I should do the latter. Anyone can run an engine. – Tony Ennis Jun 21 '15 at 23:14

I ran the game through Stockfish at 5 minutes per move. Here are a few key moves.

15...Nxd4?? +- 
+3.34 / +0.00
( 15...Re8 16.Bf4 Nxd4 17.Bg3 Qg5 18.Bf4 Qg1+ 19.Qxg1 hxg1=Q+ 20.Rxg1 = )

What we see here is that with this move, Black goes from an even game to being down a piece. Black maintains parity with Stockfish's suggested move (in parentheses above...)

The issue with the move is that exposes all of Black's sins:

  1. The Knight is trapped.
  2. The Black Queen is unprotected and doesn't coordinate with any other piece.
  3. Black's King is flapping in the breeze.

Black in on the edge of death now. Your f5 is the best response to a bad situation. It was far better than my choices - they all lost instantly to some variation of Bg5. For example:

[FEN "r4k1r/ppp4p/3p1p2/3B4/3n3q/2N5/PPP4p/R1B2Q1K w - - 0 16"]

1.Ne4 c6?? 2.Bg5

And you can see that White's going to smash f6 and the Black King like a freight train. Instead, if Black takes the e file with the Rook, White can't develop an attack on the weak f pawn.

Here's Stockfish's suggested continuation wherein Black maintains parity:

[StartFlipped "0"]
[title "After 15. Nc3"]
[fen "r4k1r/ppp4p/2np1p2/3B4/3P3q/2N5/PPP4p/R1B2Q1K b - - 1 15"]

1...Re8 2.Bf4 Nxd4 3.Bg3 Qg5 4.Bf4 Qg1+ 5.Qxg1 hxg1=Q+ 6.Rxg1

Of course, I goofed up and lost most of the Stockfish analysis. It is fiddly indeed.

Now, on White's 17th, White is basking in the mess Black made for himself with the premature capture on d4. Stockfish recommends:

[title "After 17.Bg5??"]
[StartFlipped "0"]
[fen "r4k1r/ppp4p/3p4/3B1pB1/3nN2q/8/PPP4p/R4Q1K b - - 1 17"]

1... Qg4 2.Bh6+ Ke7 3.Bg5+ Kf8

and Black escapes with a three-fold repetition because White's about to lose the Knight on e4 for a pawn. It's protecting the Bishop on g5 and can't move.

A nice game, full of chances.

  • Nice analysis! Any chance for some comments about the endgame? – GloriaVictis Jun 22 '15 at 6:53
  • I don't have anything to say about the part of the game where it was 3 pieces versus a rook. I would not have been able to win that if I had the White pieces. I re-run the analysis; there were a few more missed chances. – Tony Ennis Jun 22 '15 at 11:28
  • That part is not that interesting; it is, according to DB, won position, although tricky to win OTB. I meant the part of the game after the queens are exchanged, that is where there are still pawns (and plenty of them on black's side!) on the board - after move 23. It seemed like I was able to collect the pawns way too easily with white... – GloriaVictis Jun 22 '15 at 12:14

As a king's gambit player myself, I just want to note a few things about the very first moves:

Combining Nc6 and exf4 is actually playable though very much a sideline. Reacting with 4.Bc4 however, is a mistake and I think the reasoning behind this is instructive:

4.Bc4 allows black to play 4…g5 without allowing white's standard responses. Nc6 takes e5 away from the Nf3, just like d6 would, so the Kieseritzky isn't possible anymore for white. But after 3…d6 4…g5 would be a well known mistake, because 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 d6 4.Bc4 g5 5.h4 g4 allows 6.Ng5 with a tremendous attacking position. Nc6 on the other hand doesn't just control e5, it also allows black to defend f7 with tempo in this variation, so 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Bc4 g5 5.h4 g4 6.Ng5 Ne5! and black is in time to rebuff the white attack 7.Bb3 h6 8.d4 hxg5 9.dxe5 and black is much better.

Better, and quite logical, would be 4.d4, when a quick d5 is in the air, possibly followed by Qd4.

About the endgame: A tablebase win in 46 moves might sound quite long and complicated, but it probably just means that black has to give his rook for a bishop in a couple of moves, transposing to the well known NBK vs K, which is often still 30+ moves until mate, but rather straightforward (if you know it).

  • +1 - Thanks for the comments about KG - it is one of my favourite blitz game openings. As for the endgame, actually, it takes more than a couple (accurate!) moves to force black to give the rook up - over 20. Anyway, K+B+N vs K is far from trivial with seconds on the clock, hence black should have played on. And hey, sometimes even GMs fail to mate in that endgame... – GloriaVictis Jun 22 '15 at 9:29
  • Well, if you say white has to accurate I'll believe you. And yes, I would definitely played on as black, but on the other hand I wouldn't be particularly worried as white, if black played on. – BlindKungFuMaster Jun 22 '15 at 9:37

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