Tuesday, 24 September 2019

10th Mike Closs Memorial Tournament - Try These Gambits

As mentioned yesterday, the theme of the 10th Mike Closs Memorial Tournament will be the Sicilian Defence.

Mike was a great expert on the opening from both sides of the board. As White, he didn’t care which variation he faced. As Black, he favoured the Dragon and Accelerated Fianchetto variations, with the occasional Najdorf thrown in for good measure.

He didn’t always play the main lines as White; sometimes he preferred a Wing Gambit, which he found particularly effective after 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 and only then 3 b4.

Mike always liked to attack and was noticeably weaker when forced to defend. Fortunately for him, he usually seized the initiative early in the game and was rarely forced into defensive mode.

Anyone wanting to explore attacking opening lines could take a leaf from Mike’s book and try one or more of the following lines.

1 e4 e6 2 Nf3 d5 3 e5 c5 4 b4
French Wing Gambit
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 b4
Sicilian Wing Gambit
1 e4 e5 2 d4 exd4 3 c3 dxc3 4 Bc4 cxb2 5 Bxb2
Danish Gambit
Mike never had anything particularly explosive against the Caro Kann. He liked the Advance Variation and dabbled with the Exchange Variation too, but generally speaking he didn’t have any particularly notable successes against 1 ...c6. Nor did he have anything especially potent against the rarer defences, such as Alekhine’s Defence. The point was he liked to play the percentage game and saw little need to spend time on openings that were unlikely to occur at club level at the time.

However, put 1 ...c5, 1 ...e5 or 1 ...e6 up against his 1 e4 and he could be absolutely devastating.

Nobody seems to play any of the above gambits any more. Perhaps they are due a revival?

No comments: