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How can I be like Alexei Shirov and also play the Fried Liver Attack?
Peter Osborne from the UK has spotted the infamous Fried Liver Attack being used at the Olympiad and wants to know if it is just winning for White?
The first thing to say is that the Fried Liver Attack is another name for the Fegatello Attack, which was popular with sixteenth century Italian masters, and the name is apparently Italian for a piece of liver. Well, I have to admit that I was rather shocked to see a grandmaster playing Black would dare tempt such an attacking genius to force your king to e6 in the opening and hope to get away with it. I can only suspect that Black thought Shirov would shy away from the main line. Here is what happened:
Alexi Shirov - Sarunas Sulskis
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5?!
This is courageous play against such a brilliant attacking player as Shirov, because it is an open invitation to go on the offensive. I have played grandmaster Sulskis and know that he is fond of gambits and sharp play, so his rare opening choice is not a surprise. There are plenty of alternatives, but arguably the most popular line is 5...Na5 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 and White can choose between 8.Be2, 8.Bd3, and 8.Qf3.
Shirov predictably accepts the challenge and starts the well-known process of luring the king out into the open. I can only speculate that Black thought Shirov might continue with 6.d4!? which is popular amongst chess professionals after Bobby Fischer promoted it. I mentioned it at length in my book The Greatest Ever Chess Tricks and Traps. We will have to wait for another day to find out what Sulskis had in mind to counter this. For instance, 6...Nxd4 7.c3 and now a) 7...h6 8.Nxf7 Kxf7 9.cxd4 Bb4+ 10.Nc3 exd4 11.Qxd4 Re8+ 12.Be3 c5 13.Bxd5+ Be6 14.Bxe6+ Rxe6 15.Qc4 with a winning advantage, R.Huebner-M.Fischer, Munich 2002.) b) 7...b5! 8.Bd3 Nc6 (maybe 8...h6 9.Qh5 hxg5 10.Qxh8 is the sort of complex position that Sulskis might have had in mind when committing to the variation by taking back on d5 with the king's knight) 9.Qf3 f5 10.Bxb5 Qd6?! (maybe 10...Qd7 is more accurate, but after 11.0-0 I prefer White) 11.Nd2 Bd7 12.Nc4! Qc5 13.Bxc6 Bxc6 14.Nxe5 Ne7 15.Nxc6 Qxc6 (15...Nxc6? is met by 16.0-0 when the exposed black king is very vulnerable) 16.Qxc6+ Nxc6 17.Bf4 0-0-0 18.0-0 Rd7 19.Rad1 (White plays very accurately to maintain the advantage) 19...Bd6 20.Bxd6 cxd6 21.Rfe1 h6 22.Ne6 Re8 23.Kf1 g5 24.g3 Ne5 25.Nd4 Rf8 26.Nb5 Rf6 27.Rxd6 Rfxd6 28.Nxd6+ Rxd6 29.Rxe5 1-0, T.Godat-G.McDonald, correspondence 2008. By chance I recently saw Australian junior Liam Wright play 6.0-0, which completely bamboozled Black into going wrong although after careful consideration 6...Qxg5 7.Bxd5 Bd6 is equal.
6...Kxf7 7.Qf3+ Ke6
A delight to see at the elite level as this position is a favourite with amateurs around the world. I have analysed this position a few times in my column, but I should add that my ChessCafe.com colleague Tim Harding has also examined it in depth.
The knight defends d5, but also attacks the pawn on c2 so must be a critical continuation. Instead 8...Nce7 is a major alternative: 9.d4! Qd6 (9...c6 is necessary although 10.dxe5 looks rather dangerous for Black) 10.0-0 (10.Bg5 also looks good) 10...c6 11.dxe5 Kxe5? (if 11...Qxe5, then 12.Bf4 continues the onslaught) 12.Re1+ Kd4 13.Qd3+ Kc5 14.Na4+ Kb4 15.Qb3+ 1-0, D.Brown-D.Troupe, Lansing 1993.
This is a bit risky for White, but does force the situation and as usual Shirov's intuition for the potential mating net is sensational. It surely means that club players should adopt it for future success. It is worth pointing out a couple of alternatives: a) 9.Qe4 c6! 10.a3 Na6 11.d4 Nac7 12.Bf4 (perhaps 12.0-0) 12...Kf7 13.Bxe5 with a sharp position, J.Malmstroem-F.Sorroche Lupion, correspondence 2004.; 9.0-0 c6 10.d4 Nxc2? (a greedy response is refuted in style) 11.dxe5! Nxa1 12.Rd1 b5 13.Nxd5 bxc4 14.Nf4+ Ke7 15.Ng6+ hxg6 16.Bg5+ Ke8 17.Rxd8 checkmate 1-0, A.Fomin-S.Tsukanov, Tula 2005.
9...Nxc2+ 10.Kd1 Nxa1!?
Perhaps 10...Nd4 to help the defence might get a chance on another occasion: 11.Bxd5+ Kd7 12.Qg3 looks completely wild, but would surely be Shirov's sort of position because he can carry on attacking.
Or 11...Kd7 when 12.Re1 or 12.d4 to keep the position complicated enough to justify the sacrificed material.
Other moves are a) 12...c6? 13.dxe5+ Kc5 (or 13...Ke6 14.Ke2! cxd5 15.Rd1 winning) 14.Qc3! cxd5 15.Bd3+ Kb6 16.Be3+ and Black can resign. b) The computer likes 12...c5 although it soon finds 13.Re1 with a great attack. c) 12...exd4 13.Bf4+ (13.b4 is also excellent) 13...Kc5 14.Ba2 a5? (14...Bd6 might be more robust, but 15.Kd2 is very strong) 15.Bxc7 Qd7 16.Kd2 Nc2 17.Rc1 d3 18.Rxc2+ dxc2 19.Qc3+ Kb5 20.Qc4 checkmate H-Steiner-C.Sensenig, Simultaneous, San Francisco 1945.
Or a) 13...c6 14.Rxe5 Bxd5 (14...cxd5 15.Bf4! dxc4 16.Qxb7! Qd7 17.Rd5+ winning) 15.Rxd5+! cxd5 16.Qxd5+ Kc7 17.Bf4+ Qd6 18.Qc5+! Kd7 19.Bb5+ Ke6 20.Qc4+ Qd5 21.Bd7+! when Black can put the pieces back in the box. b) 13...h5 14.Qe4! Kd7 15.Nb6+ cxb6 (15...axb6 allows 16.Bxe6+ Kxe6 17.Qxe5+ Kf7 18.Qe6 checkmate) 16.Qxb7+ Kd6 17.Bd2! Nc2 18.dxe5+ Kc5 19.Bxe6 Nxe1 20.Kxe1 Rh6 21.Be3+ Kb5 22.Bd7+ Qxd7 23.Qxd7+ with an easy victory, H.Krueger-P.Fonseca, correspondence 2008.
A truly incredible move, but as usual Shirov can sense the right way to pursue the king via great calculation and a finely tuned instinct. Of course 14.dxe5+ is ineffective because of 14...Kc6 and White's attack has been stopped. I along with the computer rather like 14.Rxe5! in view of 14...bxc4 15.Nf4 when 15...Bf7 fails to 16.Rd5+ Bxd5 17.Qxd5+ Ke7 18.Qe6 checkmate.
I suspect 14...Bxc4 is the tougher defence, but even so 15.Rxe5! is a knock-out blow.
15.Qc6+ Ke7 16.Bg5+ Kf7 17.Bxd8 Rxd8 18.Qxc7+ Rd7
Also possible is 18...Be7 19.Nc6 Rd7 20.Nxe5+ winning easily.
19.Qxe5 Rd6 20.d5 Bd7
The chess world might be in awe of Shirov, but the correspondence world is shrugging its shoulders because this has all been played before, although of course I should remind everyone that computers are allowed in that type of competition. The game M.Myznikov-J.Cashon, correspondence 2003 continued 20...Bg4+ 21.f3 Bd7 22.Qf4+ Kg8 23.Qxc4 a5 (or 23...Ba4+ 24.Ke2 Nb3 25.Nd3 and White wins more material) 24.Nd3 a4 25.Nc5 Bc6 26.Re5 Nb3 27.Ke1 Na5 28.Qe4 Bd7 29.Nxd7 Rxd7 30.Qxa4 Rf7 31.Qxa5 1-0.
21.Qf4+ Kg8 22.Qxc4 a5
Or 22...h6 23.Kd2 Rh7 24.Rxa1 gives White a winning position thanks to the extra material.
23.Nd3 a4 24.Nc5 h5
Instead 24...Nb3 25.Nxd7 Rxd7 26.d6+ Rf7 27.Re7 leads to checkmate.
25.Nxd7 Rxd7 26.d6+ Kh7 27.Re6 g6
Or 27...Nb3 28.Qxa4 Nc5 29.Qc2+ Kg8 30.Qxc5 and Black is busted.
Who else will dare to play 5...Nxd5 in the Two Knights?
Greg Wilson from Australia witnessed an intriguing game at his local club championship featuring an opening known as the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. His lengthy e-mail basically asked how to play against someone who declines the gambit? He supplied the game and I have added some notes:
John Marsden - Kevin Black
1.e4 d5 2.d4
This move guaranteed to raise a smile on the faces of spectators. It might seem that White has lost his senses, but in fact it a prelude to the infamous Blackmar-Diemer Attack. The usual move-order is 1 d4 d5 2 e4 dxe4 3 Nc3 Nf6 and now 4 f3.
2...dxe4 3.Nc3 Bf5
Black prudently protects his extra pawn. The standard move 3...Nf6 is also met by 4.f3 and will transpose to the next main game. Also possible is 3...f5 and now a) 4.f3 (a theme in the BDG also works well against a Dutch set-up, which can also occur after the move-order 1 d4 f5 2 Nc3 d5 3 e4 dxe4) 4...Nf6 5.Bg5 Nc6 6.d5 Ne5 (6...Nb4 is intriguing although 7.Bc4 maintains the tension) 7.fxe4 fxe4 8.Nge2 (maybe 8.Qd4 should be tested) 8...Nf7 9.Bf4 e5 10.dxe6 Bxe6 11.Qxd8+ Rxd8?! (11...Kxd8 or 12.0-0-0+ Bd6 13.Rd4 when chances are roughly even) 12.Bxc7 Rd7 13.Nf4! Rxc7 14.Nxe6 Re7 15.Bb5+ Nd7 16.0-0-0 Nfe5 17.Rd6 a6 18.Ba4 Nc4 19.Nxe4! b5 20.Bb3 1-0, K.Shirazi-P.Broutin, Bethune 2001. b) 4 Bf4 Nf6 5.f3 (even an elite player like Gelfand is happy to give up a pawn for active play) 5...exf3 6.Nxf3 e6 7.Bc4 Bd6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.0-0-0 c6 10.Bg5 Na6 11.Qe1 (an interesting line starts with 11.Bxa6 when play might proceed 11...bxa6 12.d5 cxd5 13.Nxd5 exd5 14.Bxf6 Qxf6 15.Qxd5+ Be6 16.Qxd6 with a slight edge) 11...Nc7 12.g4 b5 (if 12...fxg4, then 13.Ne5 gives White the initiative) 13.Bb3 b4 14.Ne2 Ncd5 15.gxf5 exf5 16.Ne5 Be6 17.Rg1 Qe8?! (17...Qc7!? is a sterner test for White) 18.Bh6 Ng4 19.Bxg7! Kxg7 20.h3 led to decent attacking chances and white eventually won, B.Gelfand-P.Nikolic, Munich 1994.
Black declines the gambit and wishes to avoid any possible fireworks in the opening. A prudent decision if you know that your opponent is well versed in the tricky lines associated with the BDG. 4...exf3 can be met with the usual 5.Nxf3 which transposes to a line known as the Tartakower Gunderam Defence. Also possible is 5.Qxf3 to take advantage of the bishop being loose on f5 while also attacking the b7-pawn.
Other moves are a) 5...e6 6.Nge2 transposes to the next main game Bauer-Nardol. b) 5...Nd7 6.Bd3 (6.Nge2 intending Ng3 looks sensible) 6...Bxd3 7.Qxd3 Ngf6 8.Nh3 c6 9.0-0-0 b5 10.Rhe1 with roughly equal chances, A.Pleasants-I.Jamieson, Yeovil 2009.
An understandable reaction to carry on developing, but White can strive for more. For example, a) 6.d5 h6 (6...c6! gives Black an even game) 7.g4 Bg6 8.Nge2 c6 9.Nf4 Bh7 10.Bc4 b5 11.Bb3 a6 12.0-0 with the slightly better prospects, G.Gudbrandsen-S.Tjomsland, Oslo 2001. b) 6.Nge2 e6 7.g4 Bg6 8.h4 is promising, especially because it transposes to the note after Black's fifth move.
In the game D.Dragicevic-I.Goldenberg, Melbourne 2009, an experienced tournament campaigner tried 6...Bg6 to stem White's campaign for the initiative. The game continued 7.Nge2 e6 8.Ng3 c6 9.0-0 Nbd7 10.f4 Bxd3 11.Qxd3 g6 12.Rae1 with a level position.
7.Qxd3 c6 8.Nge2 e6 9.0-0
It is always difficult to find games on the BDG, but I did manage to find one that also reached this position, but White tried 9.a3 as a rather cautious approach to prevent ...Bb4. For example, 9...Nd5 10.Nxd5 (10.Bd2!? looks a decent alternative to me) 10...cxd5 11.0-0 Bd6 12.Rac1 Nd7 13.c4 dxc4 14.Rxc4 led to equal chances, J.Chambers-D.Tidmarsh, Torquay 1999.
9...Be7 10.Ne4 0-0 11.Rad1 Nbd7 12.c4 Nb6 13.Nf4!?
Maybe 13.Qb3 needs testing.
13...Re8 14.Ng5 Bf8 15.Nh5 g6
Black needs to take evasive action, otherwise White will take on f6 and then checkmate with Qxh7. I prefer 15...Nbd7 to defend against White's offensive, when chances are even.
16.Nxf6+ Qxf6 17.Ne4 Qd8 18.a4?
Just a blunder because of time-trouble. 18.Qc3 intending Bg5 is good news for White.
18...Nxa4 19.Qb3 Nb6 20.d5 exd5 21.Bxb6 axb6 22.cxd5 cxd5?!
A sterner test for White is 22...Bg7! when 23.dxc6 Bd4+ 24.Kh1 bxc6 favours Black.
23.Rxd5 Qe7 24.Qxb6 Bg7 25.Rfd1 Ra6 26.Qb5 Rc6 27.Rd7 Qe5 28.Qxb7 ½-½
And despite an advantage for White after a flurry of time-trouble moves that were not recorded the game finally ended in a perpetual check.
The reason I get so many questions about the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit is that in the 1990s I wrote a book on the opening for Batsford. I was inspired by players at my local chess club in England who all seemed to play it and usually with spectacular results. My book was written without computer assistance so nowadays lots of lines are not as trustworthy. However, American players, such as Tim Sawyer and Tom Purser, have done much to promote the opening, which tends to appeal to those who enjoy risky gambits and shun main lines. In recent times the opening has had a bit of a battering from those armed with a computer who rightly point out that being a pawn down for faster development is not really that good. The positive news for gambit players is that their opponent cannot (legally) turn on the computer during the game. I should add that Christoph Scheerer wrote a book on the BDG in 2011 with extensive use of the computer; so he was able to refute many lines, but also find some new ideas in others.
While I was looking for a way for White to improve on the Australian club game I was delighted to find that top French grandmaster Christian Bauer has actually played the line with White and won in style. The 2600+ rated player was canny enough to try it out against someone rated 1800+, but even so it is good news for connoisseurs of the opening. Here is the game:
Christian Bauer - Fred Nardol
1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 e3
Just in case for future reference this line is known as the Langeheinicke Defence.
Black makes the logical decision to activate his queen's bishop, but it does rather encourage White to chase the piece. There are plenty of alternatives: a) 5...e6 and now 6.Bd3 a1) 6.Qd2 Nbd7 7.0-0-0 Bb4 8.a3 Be7 9.Nh3!? (9.Bd3 looks like a good choice) 9...c6 10.g4 b5 11.g5 Nd5 12.Nxd5 exd5 13.Nf4 with a level position, A.Kislinsky-A.Demianjuk, Zvenigorod 2008. a2) 6 Bd3 g6 (or 6...Bb4 7.Nge2 is about equal) 7.Qd2 Bg7 8.Bg5 Nbd7 9.0-0-0 c6 10.Ne4 Nxe4 11.fxe4 Qc7 12.Nf3 0-0 13.Bh6 gave White good kingside play as he can think about h4-h5, S. Bartlett-B.King, Paignton Challengers 1989. b) 5...c6 6.Bd3 g6 7.Qd2 Bf5 8.Ne4 Nbd7 9.Ne2 Bxe4 10.fxe4 e5 11.c3, intending to castle queenside, gave White a slight edge in the game A.Kislinsky-A.Potapov,Zvenigorod 2008.
The grandmaster is seemingly poised to play Ng3 to harass the bishop, but there is also another plan which is why one should follow the Frenchman's move-order. Instead Scheerer gives 6.g4 an exclamation mark on the basis that 6...Bg6 7.Nge2 is strong, which is sort of true if Black plays ...e6, but 7...Nc6! is annoying because 8.h4 runs into (8.a3 is met by 8...e5!) 8...Nb4 when, for instance, 9.Rc1 h5 10.Nf4 Bh7 is messy and chances are even.
The obvious move allows White to go on the offensive because Black's queen's bishop is surprisingly vulnerable. Scheerer suggests Black should try 6...h6 which has the merit of allowing the bishop to immediately retreat to h7, but the line 7.Ng3 Bh7 (or 7...Bd7 8.Bc4 with an edge) 8.Bd3 looks quite promising for White.
This is the way to put Black under maximum pressure in the opening. A quiet line starting with 7.Ng3 is not so impressive upon 7...Bg6 8.Bd3 (8.a3 with the idea of Qd2 and castling queenside is more adventurous) 8...c6 9.a3 Nbd7 10.0-0 Be7 11.f4 Bxd3 12.Qxd3 with equal opportunities, P.Halmkin-D.Norman, Torquay 1992.
It is basic, but the threat of h4-h5 trapping the bishop means Black must loosen his kingside in order to offer an escape square.
Or 8...h5 9.Nf4 Bh7 10.g5! Nd5 11.Ncxd5 exd5 12.Qe2 and play is very similar to the main game except there is a pawn on h5.
An automatic reaction because allowing White to take on g6 would seriously weaken the kingside pawn and in turn the black king. For example, 9...Bd6 10.Nxg6 Bg3+ 11.Kd2 fxg6 12.Bd3 with an advantage while 12...Kf7? is a disaster in view of 13.f4 and the bishop on g3 has no safe place to go.
The line 10...hxg5 11.hxg5 Bxc2 12.Qxc2 Rxh1 13.gxf6 looks critical, but thankfully an attacking player, who used to play in the same Belgian team as me, has already played this position, so the game L.Henris-O.Potaux, Le Touquet 2002 is worth observing. It continued 13...gxf6 14.0-0-0 c6 (or 14...Rh8 and the key move is 15.d5! when a sample line runs 15...e5 16.Bb5+ Nd7 17.Ne6! and Black can resign with honour) 15.d5! I would say White was already completely winning 15...Rxf1 (or 15...exd5 16.Nfxd5 Rxf1? loses upon 17.Qe4+ Be7 18.Nxf6+ Kf8 19.Bh6 checkmate) 16.Rxf1 cxd5 17.Re1 Be7 18.Qh7 Nd7? (18...Nc6 runs into 19.Rg1 and Black is in big trouble) 19.Nxe6 fxe6 20.Qg6+ Kf8 21.Bh6 checkmate.
11.Ncxd5 exd5 12.Qe2!
An important improvement compared to old games in this line, because White threatens a discovered attack and queenside castling is imminent which gives him the advantage. In the game R.Biolek-J.Dovzik, Hlohovec 1996, White tested the traditional move 12.g6!? when play continued 12...fxg6 (12...Bxg6 13.Nxg6 fxg6 14.Qd3 Qf6! when chances are even because 15.Rg1 allows 15...Qxh4+ 16.Bf2 Qh5) 13.Bd3 Qd6 14.Rg1 (14.h5 g5 15.Ng6 Bxg6 16.Bxg6+ Kd8 17.Qd2 Qg3+ 18.Ke2 Nd7 with a double-edged game) 14...Be7 15.Nxg6 Bxg6 16.Bxg6+ Kd8 17.Bf2 Qh2 18.h5 with roughly equal chances.
If 12...Be7 to guard against the threat of check on the e-file, then 13.Qb5+ gives White the option of winning the b7-pawn; for example, 13...Nd7 14.gxh6 gxh6 15.Bh3! with the advantage.
Or 13...gxh6 14.Bd2+ Qe7 (14...Be7? 15.Qe5 wins because of the twin threats of Qxf5 and Qxh8) 15.Nxd5 and White is on top.
After 14...Qxd5, White has good play upon 15.Bxh6+ Kd7 16.c4 Qd6 17.Be3.
15.Nf4 Re7 16.0-0-0
Bauer has an extra pawn and superior development. In contrast the black pieces are poorly placed and even rooted to their original squares.
16...Qd6 17.Qb5+ Nd7 18.Bd2
Also possible is 18.Qxf5 Rxe3 19.Bc4; 18.Qxb7? Rb8 19.Qd5 Rxe3 20.Qxf5 g6 with equal chances.
18...g6 19.h5 Bg7 20.c3 c6 21.Qxb7 Rb8 22.Qa6 Bxd4?
A desperate attempt to complicate matters, but understandable as being two pawns down against a grandmaster is not a pleasant experience.
23.cxd4 Qxd4 24.Qa3
White easily rebuffs Black's lightweight attack and now merely has to get his pieces into order to control the board.
24...Re5 25.Nd3 Reb5 26.Re1+ Kd8 27.Bc3 Qd5 28.Nf4 Qc5 29.Bxb5 Qxb5 30.hxg6 fxg6 31.Qxa7 1-0
If anyone else has played the BDG Declined, then e-mail the game to me.
Finally, Jim Bagley from the USA kindly e-mailed further news on the line 1 e4 Nc6 2 Nf3 f5. He writes, "Regarding the Colorado Gambit, I wanted to send you this link that includes a lot of analysis and many games from an Indian player whose English is slightly unconventional, but easy to understand. I haven't had a chance to vet all his analysis, but his love for chess and his enthusiasm for this line come through loud and clear. I enjoyed watching his videos and I think you would too."
Well, if you go to Youtube, type in GJ and chess you will see loads of videos. His Internet ratings are quite high, although his official FIDE rating is a respectable 1734. I had a quick look and it is all very entertaining.
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