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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) The Latvian Gambit!! (Read 37955 times)
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Re: The Latvian Gambit!!
Reply #1 - 01/24/06 at 17:19:34
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The opening actually has a huge following, especially on the internet and in correspondence, and for every person looking to bust it with white, as Silman notes on his site, there are a hundred people with their Fritzes running 24/7 trying to keep black alive in the critical lines.

I used to play this opening regularly and still throw it in for shock value occasionally, with good results. The problem, at a decent level, is that white will know what he's doing, and if that happens then you can expect to find life as black fairly painful since, even if the positions that result are not technically lost, white gets *all* the fun.

While that line looks crazy, you will rarely find people so kind as to play 3.exf5 (I've only ever faced it once OTB - I don't count blitz experiences against 1100s which are the only other time I've seen this move). Most people, in this age of databases and hundreds of books, know that 3.Nxe5 is critical (I still believe that 3.Bc4 is probably objectively a refutation since I have some trouble believing Svedenborg's for black, and the old ...Qg5 lines have always been dicey - however, the masses of forced long lines that people need to know to play this as white make it less attractive), and after 3.Nxe5 white seems to have plenty of ways to secure a huge plus:

3.Nxe5 Nc6? 4.Nxc6!
3.Nxe5 Nc6? 4.Qh5+ (3...Nc6 is sadly just bad, even though I devoted 6 months of correspondence chess to trying to ressurect it)
3.Nxe5 Qf6 4.Nc4! (Leonhardt's Variation, black is being made to grovel in the main lines at the moment with Budvokis's 6.d3 - again, see
3.Nxe5 Qf6 4.d4 d6 5.Nc4 fxe4 and now, as Tony Kosten noted in his book, no fully adequate response has ever been found to 6.Be2 (usually attributed to Bronstein), and even in the old main lines after 6.Bc4 and 7.f3 black is not doing well.

Further, I believe white has good play after 3.d4 and the piece sacrifice line that follows (I played a game a few years back on IECC in this line as white and won convincingly in under 20 moves, however I cannot currently locate that game score) even after the improvement suggested in Kosten's book, and I think White secures an edge in the Motlowski (3.Nc3 variation) as well.

I hope someone can shatter these comments since I am a huge fan of the Latvian and, despite believing it to be unsound, will continue to venture it from time to time. If someone could prove it sound then I would possibly even move to play it again as my main defence to 1.e4.

Best wishes,

"Give a man a pawn, and he'll smell a rat. Give a man a piece, and he'll smell a patzer." - Me.

"If others have seen further than me, it is because giants have been standing on my shoulders."
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The Latvian Gambit!!
01/24/06 at 15:01:05
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Well the kings gambit has been performing extremely well for me and so i decided the next step was to start playing e5. Tim McGrew and I have become good friends and he has helped me along to find my path in the gambit world.

I have recently taken up the Latvian gambit which is quite interesting and is used a lot more frequently by correspondance players than you might think.

The Gambit starts with: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5!?

The theoretical reputation is constantly under a cloud! White players will find a "refutation" and then black players will find a way to remedy it. Reminds me of when i was studying the Najdorf because the Najdorf has been "refuted" more than once! Always coming back to life though! (On a side note i still play the Najdorf because i really do think that it gives excellent chances for a win with black.)

I am interested in knowing what some of your personal expeirieces have been and as always would like to see some of your games if you have any. I have picked up a couple of books One by kosten called The Latvian Gambit Lives and another called The Latvian Gambit: A Grandmaster View by Lein and Packard . When i get through a couple of chapters I will post some analysis.

Somthing of interest though is an article by Clyde Nakamura who wrote a bout a side line in the exf5 lines

3.exf5 Bc5 4.Nxe5 Bxf2+!

The positions can get quite wild and very fun to say the least. Check out his article at chessville for some interesting games and also check out the other analysis if you are interested in this off beat gambit idea. It seems to have quite a following not like the BDG crowd jsut yet but with the help of this forum we sure could start our own Gambit cult!

Peace to you and yours

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