Eviscerate ’em with the Evans

It was suggested that I cover the Elephant Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5?!) this week, though as I’m loathe to encourage this kind of thing I thought the Evans Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4!?) was a better choice. It is named after its creator, the Welsh sea Captain William Davies Evans. By sacrificing a pawn White gains time for c2-c3 and then d2-d4, building a center and accelerating White’s development. Black’s f7 square can become a target as after 1…e7-e5 he can no longer block the a2-f7 diagonal with …e7-e6.

Bobby Fischer was a keen student of historical games and ideas and used the Evans Gambit in offhand and exhibition games. He played two masterpieces in these games against Reuben Fine and Ojars Celle. The Fine game was part of a series of casual games that took place at Fine’s home:

This second game against Celle was part of a clock simul in 1964, and if anything was even better. Fischer traps Black’s king in the center and then unleashes a cascade of sacrifices:

Gary Kasparov also tried the Evans Gambit in a few games, most notably this one. Black’s 6…Na5 is supposed to be a safe line, anticipating 7.Nxe5 Nxc4 8.Nxc4 d5!, but Kasparov continues to make a gambit out of it with 7.Be2!?.

Anand’s resignation may seem mysterious but in the final position Black is helpless. For example 25…d5 26.Bf3 Bd7 27.Bxd5+ Kg7 28.Qxe7+ wins both of Black’s bishops, 25…Rc8 26.Nxe6 Qxe6 27.Qxe6+ Kxe6 28.Bg4+ { wins the rook on c8 and 25…Qd7 26.Bb5 Qxb5 27.Qxe6+ Kg7 28.Nd5 Re8 29.Qxe8 Qxd5 30.Rac1 is completely lost for Black because he will lose a lot of pawns whilst trying to complete his development.

Nigel Davies

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Author: NigelD

Nigel Davies is an International Chess Grandmaster and FIDE Senior Trainer living in St. Helens in the UK. He works as a chess coach and author and Nigel runs the Tiger Chess Academy which has articles, recommendations, a monthly clinic, videos, courses and a regular blog. His students include his 18 year old son Sam who is making rapid progress with his game. Nigel has written a number of chess books that are available at Amazon: View all posts by NigelD

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