Wednesday, August 3, 2016

French Alapin 3.Be3 by Szasz

Charles Szasz played a significant role in the spread of the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit in America over the past 50 years. Here Szasz played 3.Be3 vs the French Defence. Black's most immediate threat is simply 3... dxe4.

Playing against the French is like banging your head against a cement block; you get a headache. The cement block will rarely attack, but how do you break it? Black will hardly be surprised by anything, but White can try a potentially powerful karate chop.

The move 3.Be3 was developed and played by Semyon Alapin in the 1890's! The game usually remains wide open. White gets quick slashing attacks and often wins in about 20 moves. Psychologically, Black faces a dilemma. He prefers a closed game. This may explain why about one third of the time, he declines the tempting gift pawn hanging there on e4. Shocked, Black wonders, "Are you sure you meant to play that?!"

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Szasz - Sheppards, US Intercollegiate, 1976 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 e6 3.Be3!? b6 [This allows the B/c8 to have a useful function at either b7 or a6. In this line all Black's minor pieces can be developed easily. A lunch time chess friend once ventured 3...Bb4+? 4.c3 Ba5 (Now 4...Bf8!? appears to be a waste of time.) 5.Nd2 Ne7 6.Qg4 e5? 7.Qxg7 Rg8 8.Qxh7 dxe4? 9.Nxe4 exd4 10.Nf6+ Kf8 11.Bh6+ Rg7 12.Bxg7# (Fast food!) 1-0 Sawyer - Black, Horsham PA 1988; Another inferior alternative is 3...e5? 4.dxe5 dxe4 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8 6.Nc3 Bf5 7.0-0-0++/-] 4.e5 [White closes the center, so that the B/c8 will have very limited scope if it is fianchettoed on the normal b7. If 4.Nd2 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Bb7= with equal chances.; or 4.Bd3!?=. The critical and best line is 4.exd5! exd5 5.Nf3+/=] 4...Bb7 [Black could equalize with either 4...c5= or 4...Ba6!?=] 5.f4 Nd7 Charles Szasz, who wrote an article on the Alapin Gambit in BDG World (Issue 4, April 1983), continued here as follows: 6.Nf3 c5 7.c3 cxd4 8.cxd4 Rc8 9.a3 Ne7 10.Bd3 Nc6 [10...g6 11.0-0 a6 12.Nc3+/=] 11.0-0 Ncb8 [11...Be7 12.Qe2 g6 13.Nc3 0-0 14.Rac1+/-] 12.Nc3 [Or 12.f5! exf5 13.Bxf5 g6 14.Bh3+-] 12...Ba6 13.Nb5 Bxb5 14.Bxb5 a6 15.Bd3 Be7 16.Bd2 [16.f5+-] 16...0-0 17.Bb4 Bxb4 18.axb4 [18.Bxh7+! Kxh7 19.Ng5+ Kg6 20.axb4+-] 18...a5 19.Bxh7+ Kh8 20.Ng5 g6 21.Qg4 f5 22.Qh4 Kg7 23.Nxe6+ 1-0


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