Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Brunold First Blackmar Correspondence

Gunter Brunold found the oldest Blackmar Gambit known to have been played via correspondence about 20 years before the birth of E.J. Diemer. We were discussing a game from the databases when Brunold provided the following:

"Well, the game was played round about ninety (90) years before 1980. It was published in the French weekly journal "Le Monde illustré" [Volume 34 / Serial No. 1710 / January 4th 1890 (yes, eighteen-ninety!) / page 14]. The occasion of the game was the 1st International Correspondence Tournament arranged by the "Monde illustré".
From the "Deutsche Schachzeitung" I knew that "Le Monde illustré" arranged some correspondence tournaments. In the internet I discovered that a lot of this magazines were scanned in.

"For the fun of it I typed "Blackmar" into the search box and then I looked surprised in view of the single success: Gambit Blackmare ... The antagonists were Monsieur Sgroi and Monsieur HervéThe game is on the "CORR DATABASE"-CD from ChessBase but I don't know who records and edits the games (perhaps transposed digits: 1890 - 1980). I do not know the tournament began, but I think it was in 1888. And therefore I believe this game is one of the oldest ever played with the Blackmar-Gambit in a correspondence tourney. With kind regards, G ü n t e r   B r u n o l d"

Later he sent me: "Today I identified the Christian name of Monsieur Sgroi.
In "Le Monde illustré" No. 1595 (October 22nd 1887 / page 278) and No. 1596 (October 29th 1887 / page 294) you can find a list of the combatants (with address) of the tournament:
- Hervé (without first name), 9 Boul. Béranger, à Tours (Indre-et-Loire)
Cosimo Sgroi, rue Garibaldi 79, Catane (Italie)
So long! G. B r u n o l d"

We are blessed by the research of Herr Brunold. Thank you! This gambit is named after A.E. Blackmar of New Orleans which begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.f3. Blackmar was playing the Dutch Staunton Gambit by the 1876 and the Blackmar Gambit by 1882. The biggest problem with the Blackmar is 3.f3 e5! which immediately leads to equality or better for Black. Years later Diemer found that playing 3.Nc3 first will usually be followed by 3...Nf6 and now the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit move 4.f3 is stronger than 3.f3. Here 4.f3 e5? is a mistake. Below I annotate the Sgroi - Herve 1890 postal game.

By the way, Blackmar was a New Orleans contemporary of Paul Morphy. Both were involved in the American Civil War (1861-1865). During the war, Blackmar wrote music used by the Confederacy. Morphy was a liaison in Paris for the South. In New Orleans after the war, Blackmar seems to have moved with his life. Morphy practiced law but played very little chess until his death 130 years ago this month, July 10, 1884.

Sgroi - Herve, correspondence 1890 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.f3 Nf6 4.fxe4 Nxe4 5.Bd3 Nf6 6.Nf3 e6 7.c3 [A common feature of the Blackmar Gambit is that the pawn and now the knight goes to c3. If 7.Nc3 Be7 8.Bg5 BDG Euwe] 7...Be7 [7...c5=/+] 8.0-0 b6 9.Ne5 0-0 10.Qf3 Qd5 11.Qg3 g6? [11...Nbd7=] 12.Bh6 Nh5 13.Qg4 [White is winning after 13.Qh3! Ba6 14.Bxf8 Bxf8 15.Bxa6 Nxa6 16.Rxf7+-] 13...Nd7 14.Be4 [14.Nxg6! fxg6 15.Bxf8 Ndf6 16.Be4 Qb5 17.Qh4 Bxf8 18.Bxa8 Qxb2 19.Nd2 Qxd2 20.Rxf6 Nxf6 21.Qxf6+/=] 14...Nxe5 15.dxe5 Qc5+ 16.Rf2? [Losing. Better is 16.Kh1 f5 17.exf6 Rxf6 18.Nd2=] 16...f5 17.exf6 Nxf6 18.Qf3 Nxe4 19.Bxf8 Nxf2 20.Bxe7 Nh3+ 21.Kf1 Ba6+ 22.Ke1 Qg1+ 23.Kd2 Qf2+ 24.Qxf2 Nxf2 25.Na3 Re8 26.Bh4 Ne4+ 27.Ke3 Nd6 28.g4 e5 29.h3 e4 30.Bg3 Bd3 31.Rc1 Rf8 32.Bf4 g5 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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