Chess Game of the Day: Halloween Gambit


One of my online chess games. Some annotations below . . .

4. Nxe5?! I never saw this before in a Four Knights Game but it actually has a name: the Halloween Gambit. In exchange for a knight, White gets to chase black knights around the board with pawns.

9. …c6? This is not such a good move if White had played 10 h4 because the knight at g6 doesn’t have many options. Instead, 9 …cxd6 10 exd6 Qf6 11. Qe2+ Qe6 12. Nb5 Qxe2+ simplifies with a material advantage.

11. Nxb5? Just backing the bishop up to d6 looks better.

14. …a5? White could have played 15 Bd2 attacking the pawn.

15. O-O?

15. …Nh6? This gives White time to play 16. Be3 (which he doesn’t) and cut off the diagonal to his king so Black can’t play 16. …Qb6+, which I should have played this move.

16. f5?? I’m going to give that two question marks because I think it’s pretty much over now.

16. Qd5? 16. …Bxh6 gives Black one less piece to attack with.

22. f6? I don’t know if it makes sense to hand out question marks in a completely lost game but 22. Rae1 is an obvious move here.

22. fxg7? There aren’t any good moves left. This leads to a forced mate.

25. hxg4 Or 25. Kg3 Qf2+ 26. Kxg4 Be2+ 27. Qxe2 h5+ 28. Kg5 Qf6#.

  2 comments for “Chess Game of the Day: Halloween Gambit

  1. Paul Keiser
    7 Jan 2022 at 6:05 am

    You are right, 9. .. c6 is not a good move, nor the answer 10. Bc4 ( bad place because of b7-b5 and because no combination with Qf3 possible). Brause used to play here 10.g3 . GM Milov played 10.Bd3. But 10.h4 is also good.
    But there is more ! 9.d6 also is not the best because in the classical Nc6 line the gambit is refuted by 9.d6 cxd6 10.exd6 Qf6 11.Nb5 Nxf4 ! To avoid this White can play 11.Qe2 (with enough compensation ). Nevertheless the most promising move here is 9.Qe2 !
    If interested I can give you the analyses of both 11.Qe2 and 9.Qe2

  2. PE
    14 Jan 2022 at 4:37 pm

    Paul Keiser: Now that you’ve pointed it out, I can see the merits of the Qe2 moves.

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