25 June 2006

Blumenfeld Counter-gambit stem game

Continuing with Alekhine's annotated brilliancies , look at the position in the diagram and name the opening. Benko Gambit? No, that starts 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5. In the diagram the moves 2.Nf3 e6 have also been played.

The Tarrasch - Alekhine game started 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 c5 4.d5 b5. In 'The Oxford Companion to Chess', this opening is called the Blumenfeld Counter-gambit, 'an invention of the Russian master Benjamon Markovich Blumenfeld (1884-1947) that was launched triumphantly by Alekhine against Tarrasch at Pistyan 1922.' The game was given by the authors of 'The Oxford Companion' as one of two examples of Alekhine's play.

Pistyan 1922
Alekhine, Alexander

Tarrasch, Siegbert
(After 4...b7-b5)
[FEN "rnbqkb1r/p2p1ppp/4pn2/1ppP4/2P5/5N2/PP2PPPP/RNBQKB1R w KQkq b6 0 5"]

The game continued 5.dxe6 fxe6 6.cxb5 d5 7.e3. After 5.dxe6 Alekhine wrote, 'The acceptance of the gambit yields Black a formidable position in the center. The right move was 5.Bg5!. Equally possible, although less strong, is 5.e4 played by Rubinstein against Tartakower at Teplitz-Schönau, 1922. An instructive game, Gruenfeld - Bogoljuboff, from the Vienna tournament of 1922, was continued as follows: 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 Qxf6 7.Nc3 b4 8.Nb5 Na6 9.e4 Qxb2 10.Bd3 Qf6 11.e5 Qd8 12.dxe6 dxe6 13.Be4 Qxd1+ 14.Rxd1 Rb8 15.Bc6+ Ke7 16.Nxa7 g5 17.Bb5 Bg7 18.Nc6+ and mates next move.

From this analysis, I inferred that 5.dxe6 is an inferior move, but it has been played successfully by many strong GMs in recent years. The next few moves are also frequently played, where White has tried 7.Nc3, 7.g3, 7.Bf4, 7.a4, as well as 7.e3, which was played by Krasenkow in 2005. The move 7.g3 appears to be the most popular choice. Alekhine wrote of White's seventh move, 'Black threatened to regain his Pawn with the better game by 7....Qa5+. However, 7.Nbd2 followed by 8.b3 and 9.Bb2 offered White better defensive chances.'

To play through the complete game see...

Siegbert Tarrasch vs Alexander Alekhine, Bad Pistyan 1922

...on Chessgames.com.

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