"...a Chessmaster should be a combination of a beast of prey and a monk."

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Don't Lose in 6 Like Anand

I was recently reminded of the title of this video on youtube:

Don't Lose in Six like Anand; Know your Openings!

tactical_chaos (1543) - JabotScrob (1437)

Result: 1-0
Site: Chess.com
Date: 2017.08.18
[...] 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.¥c4 ¤c6
4...cxb2 5.¥xb2 This is the main line. I got scared about my opponents potential development advantage so I wanted to develop a piece instead of grabbing a second pawn.
5.¤f3 ¥e7 Here I was focusing on Ng5 ideas. So my move is to prevent that. But I completely missed my opponent's next move. I considered Nf6 but I was worried about e5 in reply. 6.£d5 The game ended here because I resigned. There's two moves to defend f7 and they both seem to lose a knight. However, the truly shocking thing here is that Komodo gives less than a 1/3 pawn advantage to white. Game continuation is Komodo's line. 6...¤h6 (6...¤e5 7.¤xe5) 7.¥xh6 O-O (7...gxh6 8.£xf7#) 8.¥xg7
8.¥c1 This seems like a more human move, to prevent cxb2 winning the rook in the corner and staying up a piece but Komodo gives more than .5 advantage to black. 8...¤b4 9.£h5 d5 10.exd5 ¤c2+ 11.¢f1 ¤xa1 12.¤xc3 ¤c2 Advantage black.
8...¢xg7 9.¤xc3 d6 10.O-O
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So, basically the issue comes down to the fact that I didn't know the opening and I got toasted. This is one of the tough parts of chess. I have only seen this Danish Gambit once before in a game and it was years ago. I looked up the opening at that time and memorized the main line but I have long since forgotten it.

I am reminded of the first game in the Twin Ports Open that I played in 2015. I played 1...e5 and got the Vienna game. Again I didn't know the opening and got smashed very quickly.

I think it's quite challenging to cope with this problem but it is just a fact that if I am going to play 1...e5 I have to be prepared for these gambit lines.

I have a copy of the Chess Position Trainer but it is like anything, if you don't use it regularly then you will forget.  I guess it's like practicing scales for a musician or something. Anyway, I have input my chosen line against the Danish gambit into this software and hopefully I can keep on top of some of these rare lines.

I would love to hear anyone's suggestions for keeping on top of these rarely played but dangerous variations. How do you keep them in memory when you don't see them except very rarely?


  1. If you're surprised in the opening, especially by a gambit, and don't remember what to play, then the cardinal rule is not to play into the opponent's main line (i.e. taking all the material in a gambit). Even if it's "best" by theory in some book, your opponent is going to know it way better than you. So there's no shame in bailing out into a defensive posture and just playing reasonable moves.

    I think this in fact is one of the best arguments for playing serious games as often as you can, since you'll see things over the board that much more often and have a more visceral memory that helps you remember what to do. It's a lot harder to "book up" without having any practical experience actually playing the lines. Losing is painful, but if you remember the key lesson(s), you won't lose that way again.

    1. Yah, that seems like good advice. I think my default setting has been to try to play mainlines and when faced with a gambit to take the material to learn how to play against them. Probably a change in strategy is necessary. I should probably make my default strategy to decline gambits unless I have really good reason not to. In fact I kind of tried to do that by not taking the second pawn but I had already captured twice.

      As for serious games, unfortunately there is a real lack of tournaments here in Taipei. And what we do have is usually 25 delay 10. So I play my serious slow games in the slow chess league online. This was a slow game (45/45). I have played a lot of games in this league but this is the first time to face the Danish Gambit.