Queens Gambit Chess: Pillsbury - Lasker (St Petersburg, 1896); This fine game is a Queen's Gambit. White resigns as 31.Ka5 Bd8+ is hopeless.
Queens Gambit chess shows us that 1.d4 has plenty of scope for the gambiteer. We've seen how the Center Game and Scandinavian Defense are a perfect recipe for sacrificial openings.
We tend to associate 1.d4 with positional chess. We slowly build throughout the opening and middlegame before converting our advantages in the endgame. The thing is though we can play tactically from the start on the Queenside too.
This is possible for both colors. Pawn breaks in many cases occur on the c-file or the f-file. There is also violence in the center. Piece sacrifices for spatial and development advantages obviously don't play so well on the Queenside. Here we mainly deal in pawn sacrifices for positional advantages.
The Queen's Gambit has been around for at least 500 years. There are a plethora of variations attached, that in the main, fall into two distinct categories. They are QG Accepted and QG Declined.
For a long time this particular system was not especially common in top-level chess as the closed openings did not lend themselves to explosive attacking games right from the off.
When Steinitz and later Tarrasch developed the concept of positional play it underwent a renaissance and, due to it's endgame possibilities, became extremely popular. It has receded since it's zenith in the 20s and 30s but is still used by masters from time to time.
The Anti-Meran Gambit can energize your attack against the Semi-Slav Defense. The move 5.Bg5 allows Black to take with 5...dxc4. Your light square Bishop is still blocked in. Black can shore up this pawn with subsequent moves like 6...b5.
Your Bishop will cause problems on g5, pinning the f6-Knight with the Accepted Lines continuing 5.Bg5 dxc4 6.e4 with e5 threatened. A clever theme follows with the e5 pawn attacking the pinned Knight. Black will play 7...h6 and 8...g5 to unpin the Knight albeit loosening the Kingside.
You will not however allow Black to drive your Bishop back like this. You complete the famous maneuver with 9.Nxg5! hxg5 10.Bxg5. The piece sacrifice is merely temporary as the f6-Knight is still pinned and cannot be saved.
Taking stock after 10...Nbd7 11.exf5 you can see that now you are the one with the extra pawn. In addition Black's Kingside is destroyed. Your strong pawn on f6 is cramping his position and he will find it hard to develop properly and castle his King to safety on the Queenside.
The Marshall Gambit is a brilliant conception. As White you happily give up a central pawn and allow the Black Queen to take a menacing post on the fringes of your camp. The Main Line continues 6...Qxd5 7.Bxb4 Qxe4+.
You must decide which piece will block the check. If it's the light square Bishop that must shield the King, the g2-pawn falls. Remarkably this is all part of the plan. The Rook is safe as the Queen would be trapped if that capture were made. In this line the Queens get traded and White generally ends up with better, centralized pieces and an attack for the pawn.
If the Knight goes to e2 then a different type of game unfolds. You play your Bishop to f8 to rupture Black's undeveloped Kingside. Amazingly the King cannot take. It would be checkmate next move as the White Queen sits on the open d-file. This line like the other sports a stunning array of tactical ideas.
With the Tarrasch Gambit you can reject 6...Qa5+ regaining the pawn and play instead 6...b5. It looks as if the Knight is trapped but that is not the case, nor is it your intention here.
White will continue 7.cxb6e.p. axb6 8.b3 holding the Knight. Now you play 8...Nc6 or 8...Nf6. It doesn't matter which as you will transpose when the second Knight is developed.
The pawns tend to get cleaned out on the Queenside and piece play takes hold. Both sides may have trouble castling as the tactical shots are thrown. This is a good option if you're comfortable playing open positions and you can handle the little tricks that come with those games.
The Marshall Gambit is accepted in almost all cases. You can expect Black to play 5...dxe4. The only question now is what kind of game plan you want to pursue. There are two main moves that lead to different kinds of games.
One way to play is simply 6.d5. You push the pawn Albin-style cramping Black considerably. You give Black a long term problem to contend with in the heart of his camp. Your d5-pawn controls key squares in Black's realm as he tries to develop. He can't easily remove this pawn and developing effectively is going to be a headache.
The alternative is 6.Bc4. This move will be followed by something like 6...Nf6 7.Qb3 Be7 and the point, 8.Bxf7. The Black King cannot castle and you will play against the central King.
The Von Hennig-Schara Gambit is a venomous little treasure in the Tarrasch Defense. As far as the QGD goes the Tarrasch itself is an aggressive way for Black to play. You are attacking the White center immediately.
The Main Line of the Tarrasch Defense continues 4.cxd5 exd5 but you have another juicy variation you can spring on White here and it is 4...cxd4. White can capture straight away with his Queen but you can steal a tempo after 5.Qxd4 with 5...Nc6 because of the pin.
So instead White can check on a4 first, dragging your Bishop to d7. This breaks your Queen's influence on the d-file and now after 5.Qa4+ Bd7 White can take with 6.Qxd4 without allowing you a free developing move. Never the less you can get a lead in development for the pawn as seen in this instructive Von Hennig-Schara Gambit discussion.
When is a Queen's Gambit really a Queen's Gambit? Many people argue with some justification that 1.d4 d5 2.c4 isn't really a gambit at all. Black cannot hold his pawn after 2...dxc4 without sustaining major damage on his Queenside.
Let's say though that White wants to fianchetto his light square Bishop. After 2...e6 he would play 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3. Now the game is a Catalan Queen's Gambit. The Catalan Opening is basically a Queen's Gambit Opening with the light square Bishop on g2.
Doesn't this just allow Black to keep his pawn advantage? Can't he now shore up c4 with a move like ...b5 for instance? Well not really. The real power of the Catalan Opening is this Catalan Bishop raking across Black's Queenside.
If you play ...dxc4 and then ...b5 without thinking about it you can open yourself up to some devastating tactics. Ne5 unmasking the light square Bishop and Bf4 controlling the b8-h2 diagonal can make life rather unpleasant.
The Slav Gambit is a weapon you can try as White to turn Black's rigid Slav Defense into a tactical firefight with action on both wings. You're allowing Black a dangerous Queenside pawn majority in addition to the material sacrifice.
In return you get a strong initiative on the Kingside. The pawn structure makes it possible for your Knights to get footholds in enemy territory. Your pawns on d4 and e5 provide inviting new bases for the horses on c5 and d6.
Your task is to make more of your advantages than Black can make of his. You must prove that his Queenside majority is not quite the asset that your Kingside initiative and central possibilities are.
The Tolusch-Geller Gambit is an important variation of the Slav Gambit. The game continues 5...b5 6.e5 and we reach the Main Starting Position. You are unleashing a weapon that contains several tricks to win material.
Many of these tricks involve the long light square diagonal which Black has considerably weakened with the move 5...b5. This move has shored up his c4-pawn but it comes at a price. The a8-Rook is now vulnerable and you must devise tactical shots to create double attacks against this piece and of course the famously weak f7 square.
In some lines you will play g4 to attack a piece on f5 and gain the tempo to play your Bishop to g2. But the most important square is the intersection between a8 and f7. This is the f3 square. The Tolusch-Geller allows you to put together maneuvers that culminate with your Queen arriving at f3 with a double-attack against these two points at once.
The Shirov-Shabalov Gambit is an ingenious innovation in the Semi-Slav Defense. You look for all the world as if you're planning on just developing the light square Bishop before castling Kingside.
And after 6...Bd6 that was generally what happened. Until Alexei Shirov found a powerful novelty in the position. His move was 7.g4!? He was able to create great attacks with this move. You are threatening g5 and the f6-Knight has nowhere good to go.
Shirov and later Alexander Shabalov played many games in this line and several lines were analyzed and tested in the field. You castle Queenside and storm the Kingside. Black's four main responses are 7...Nxg4, 7...h6, 7...dxc4 and 7...Bb4.
The Winawer Countergambit challenges White's center and he must choose to accept or decline. If he declines he usually does this in one of two ways. Either the conservative 4.e3 where you can get a comfortable game as Black. Or 4.cxd5 which ends up as an open version of the Accepted Line after 4...cxd5 5.dxe5 Nc6.
The most common response from White is to simply accept the gambit at the first time of asking (4.dxe5). Now you will play 4...d4 kicking the Knight and this pawn becomes the focal point of your operations.
5.Ne4 is often played and you can recover the pawn with 5...Qa5+ 6.Bd2 Qxe5. Your d4-pawn controls important squares in White's camp, c3 and e3. This makes it difficult for him to develop as he would wish.
The Alekhine Gambit in the Queen's Gambit sees you allow Black to shore up c4 with the move 4...b5. Again you are allowing this in exchange for play against Black's weak long diagonal on the light squares.
Black has played 4 moves regularly in this position over the years. They are 4...Nf6, 4.Bg4, 4...e6 and 4...b5. The Main Line after 4...Nf6 leads to a long positional battle.
4...Bg4 is also played pinning the Knight. 4...e6 is another way to let c4 go. Here Black just wants to reduce your Bishop's effectiveness on his favorite diagonal. Finally Black can accept the gambit by playing 4...b5. There lies a risky strategy as you can use tactics against his Queenside.
As Black you can challenge 2.c4 robustly with the Albin-Counter. 2...e5 turns the question around on White as you ask him to resolve the tension by taking on e5.
If the offer is accepted your d-pawn will annex space with 3...d4. You've formed a wedge in White's center disrupting the connectivity of his forces. He will most likely play 4.Nf3 Nc6 and try to exploit the open h1-a8 diagonal left in the d-pawn's wake. He will also target this pawn's destruction as it exerts an unpleasant influence in his realm.
You have other advantages in addition to the d4-pawn. Both Bishops are free to enter the game immediately. The e5-pawn will also become a target. This pawn is not crucial to White's prospects as it is extra material but you would still like to round him up.