Today we reach the finale of our quintet of articles on the theme of chess and love as we wait to discover: Will The Queen’s Gambit be Accepted?
The Big Question
In today’s episode we turn our attention to what many would call the most important aspect of the Valentine’s weekend and that is, of course, the Queen’s Gambit. Will it be accepted, or declined?
One has to remain optimistic at such times, so today we shall focus on the former option.
Springing the Traps
Valentine’s weekend has grown more complicated over the years. It is no longer enough (apparently) to bring a bunch of flowers and a Sid James laugh. There are traps we must avoid, too. Showing our philanthropic side, we will show you one or two such traps and offer guidance on how to avoid falling into them.
The most common move is 3.Nf3, which prevents Black’s liberating thrust of 3…e5, whereby Black frees their game and will be left with no problems in terms of development.
3.e3 does threaten to capturew the c4-pawn on the next move. Just as in real life, the sin of greed can lead to extreme problems and it is definitely not advisable for Black to try to hold onto the pawn.
This is the standard way to dismantle a shady queenside structure.
Black has a choice of moves here, but none will provide satisfaction for the second player.
4…b4 5.Bxc4 gives White a very easy game.
4…bxa4 clearly leaves the queenside in a shambolic state. The pawns on a4 and c4 will both drop off in the near future and a7 and c7 will be left isolated and weak.
4…a6 would be the reflex reaction to 4.a4 in normal circumstances, but here it fails to 5.axb5 and the a-pawn cannot recapture due to the pin by the rook on a1.
By a process of elimination, one may think 4…c6 is the best move, but it doesn’t work.
This is one point behind 3.e3. By delaying the development of the knight, the f3-square is available to the queen. Black is now going lose material along the h1-a8 diagonal.
There is another trap in this line.
A respectable move – if White had played 3.Nf3.
Now the pawns on b7 and f7 are under attack and only one can be saved.
Even in the correct move-order, Black still needs to be careful with an early …Bg4.
Black is now advised to play 5…e6. An incautious move can unleash many problems.
An old trick. 6…Kxf7 7.Ne5+ and 8.Nxg4 gives White an extra pawn and leaves the Black king in a compromised situation.
There is an alternative here too, with 6.Ne5.
Now 6…Bxd1 allows 7.Bxf7 checkmate. 6…Bh5 makes an attempt to protect f7 but fails to 7.Qxh5! Black’s best is 6…Be6 but 7.Bxe6 fxe6 leaves the second player in a very poor position, with a very bad pawn structure and problems with development.
Black’s Turn for the Fun
It would be a mistake to think only White can spring a trap in the Queen’s Gambit Accepted.
Not as popular as 4.e3 but perfectly reasonable. White aims for positions akin to the Catalan Opening (1.d4, 2.c4. 3.g3)
All logical, so far. White’s next move has logic behind it too, but it allows Black to spring a trap.
Attacking the rook.
Trapping the queen!
Head here for the final Valentine’s Sale and at least you will have something to do if the Queen’s Gambit is Declined on this particular occasion.