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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) The Latvian Gambit!! (Read 36016 times)
guidedbyvoices
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Re: The Latvian Gambit!!
Reply #16 - 02/28/06 at 19:23:32
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         Is the Latvian gambit dead ...another time?.
At the moment  I would confine myself to  a few brief observations.

II 3.Nc3!?is a sensible move. As in the  previous note, here again  it's possible to play  3..d6 4.d4 etc. transposing  to the Philidor countergambit.


I would have thought that after 3Nc3, 3..d6 was not a particularly wise choice since this line of the Philidor counter gambit is supposed to be good for white eg 1e4 e5 2Nf3 d6 3d4 f5 4Nc3 fe 5Nxe4 d5 and now not the accomodating Ng3 but Motwani has suggested 6Neg5 when it looks like white is better (maybe much better). If black plays 6...e4 7Ne5 Nh6 8Nxh7 or 6...h6 7Nf7!. I suppose black could try something else instead of 4...fe but alternatives dont look inspiring.
  
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CraigEvans
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Re: The Latvian Gambit!!
Reply #15 - 02/28/06 at 09:58:34
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AMM, you categorise me in this "Doubting Thomas" bracket, though I'm not sure why. I myself have played the latvian for over 5 years in OTB and correspondence chess. Objectively, however, you have to look at the current position of the opening and concede that black is in major, major trouble. (Also, the quote about people running Fritzes was itself a quote from Silman, not myself)

I'm not sure what you're currently testing with regards to Leonhardt's variation, but like all good gambiteers I've had a long, hard look at Silman et al's analysis on his website. So far I can't punch holes in anything - the best black seems to have are grovelling endgames a pawn down. As far as I'm concerned, that's +-. If there are no improvements for black in this, then that implies that the opening is refuted. And I have no doubt at all, with the major increase in repertoire books over the past years, that it will not be too long before this line is circulated to the masses. I've already got to play the white side of it in blitz games twice, and it was the players of the black pieces who were blissfully unaware of the 10.b4! idea.

In the Silman article, you pinned your hopes on 10...Bd6 11.Re1 Ne7 12.Nexd5 cxd5 13.Nb5 Bxb4, and I can't find any major flaws with Silman's analysis of the simple 14.Bd2. On top of that, I would imagine that 14.Nc7+!? is even stronger, although the position is so complex that it might offer black chances.

These early ...d6 lines do not look convincing to me, and when I was younger I tried without success to make the Philidor Countergambit work. My impression is that it borders on the unsound, although of course there are practical chances involved with any such sharp opening.

I've been a long-standing fan of the Latvian, and I have seen many brilliant games by yourself and others, Mr Melchor. I hope that you can find something in this line to rehabilitate it, but alas, for now, the burden is on black to find something playable against the Leonhardt, otherwise in my eyes, the Latvian is theoretically refuted. Perhaps there are some alternatives to 6...c6 (although I doubt it)?

Regards,
Craig
  

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Tater_Salad
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Re: The Latvian Gambit!!
Reply #14 - 02/24/06 at 23:36:02
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i'm not so sure that i'd say that 3...d6 4.d4 is equalizing after 3.exf5. there are a couple of problems.

1) white isn't required to play 4.d4. the more common transposition, at least in my experiences, is 4.Bc4, bringing out the same position as 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3. Bc4 f5 4.exf5. this obviously isn't unplayable for black, but it does grant white an advantage, and an easy advantage at that. white has more space, more mobility, is ahead and development, and is hitting the diagonal of the absent fpawn. that's not insurmountable, but it certainly isn't equal either.

2) while exf5 is not the strongest reply to the pcg, it also yields an easy advantage to white. otherwise, 3...d6 would be a much more popular reply than 3...e4 versus 3.exf5 in the latvian, which after the above mentioned 4.Ng1, is nothing more for black than a reverse KG with a horrible pawn advance thrown in that hurts black's position.

don't get me wrong, i understand the practical merits of the latvian, as i played it myself for a long period of time too, but there are plenty of ways for white to get a long lasting advantage with minimal effort. most of the latvian's greatest victories are against players attempting to steamroll their opponent off the board in 20 moves. that may well turn out to be the best course of action, but even if someday all of the main lines of the latvian are irrefutably revived, the simple approaches will always still be a very strong option for white.
  
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Re: The Latvian Gambit!!
Reply #13 - 02/24/06 at 21:32:35
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         Is the Latvian gambit dead ...another time?.
As  I am the person named in the last reply of "MNb" and the source of Silman's analysis onLG, I hope I may be allowed to express a qualified opinion. I have been playing the Latvian for nearly two decades,  in OTB games  and  especially in corrrespondence chess. I have  played with strong ICCF IMs and GMs , and  also  won quite a few games. ..so maybe the gambit is not as bad as its reputation !
In the meanwhile  the theory has grown so much that  even a  ''recent'' book like The Latvian Gambit lives! (2001)by Tony Kosten  is out of  date!
As for the doubting Thomases,  let  me renind them that the myth of the gambit's refutability is actually one of its  assets.Well-prepared, but lower-ranked players may spring this gambit on  unsuspecting opponents and go on to win. 
         Craig Evans say that ".. there are a hundred people with their Fritzes running 24/7 trying to keep black alive in the critical lines".
But  this is not entirely correct.
Those of you with chess engine experience know that the machines are very materialistic.
If you look at almost any LG position with a program-engine ( like Fritz ), it will tell you that  Black is better because of the extra pawn. So it can be depressing to use a computer in the hunt for good continuations for White.
It is better to switch it off and use your brains until you have a definite idea worth testing.
Any lines proposed by a computer engine have to be re-evaluated anyway. Where a computer can be useful is in showing you what line your opponent may be planning ( if he is relying on the machine more than you are ). If you can find a weakness in a Fritz suggestion for example, you may be able to take advantage of the same. All this is valid for correspondence chess.
But what about  OTB?In games with  shorter time limits the Latvian is a terrific asset. There is a whole minefield for the White player to cross without being blown  up.One can hardly find an over -the- board refutation of these  lines  which have stood the test of time for decades in corresponedence chess.
My own experience bears testimony to this. I am  a 2133 FIDE player, and I have no problem playing it. I have won against players with a higher rating. Think of the shock experienced by an unwary player who expects you to play Ruy Lopez and Petroff. Some of my opponents would spend 5 minutes on the third move itself wondering what to do.
Even those  few who know  the theory over 20 moves need to keep themselves informed all the time on the latest developments.
        As for  analysis by Evans or Silman, a whole article would be needed to merit the consideration they deserve. At the moment  I would confine myself to  a few brief observations.

I  3.exf5 is a very simple reply. Perhaps the most interesting ( and dangerous )  reply after  3..e4 is  4.Ng1!?  suggested by Stefan Buecker, Editor,Kaissiber (a German chess magazine).
But Black can try  3..d6 4,d4 etc. trasposing to an innocuous and equalizing Philidor countergambit after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.exf5.
II 3.Nc3!?is a sensible move. As in the  previous note, here again  it's possible to play  3..d6 4.d4 etc. transposing  to the Philidor countergambit.
III 3.d4  can be met by 3...fxe4 4.Nxe5 Nf6 5.Bg5 c6!? (L.Diepstraten) a relatively  unknown line, but without problems as Black. I play it offten in a blitz games and always in OTB. Of course there is no problem with the  usual 5..d6. But it is neccesary to study  a lot of lines there.
IV 3.Bc4 is too  risky for .....White! Musty old books say, it's the refutation of LG. But it is not easy to prove. There is no point in citing the Poisoned Pawn variation 3..fxe4 4.Nxe5 Qg5? all the time  and claiming a refutation. LG experts also  know that the line is dangerous. It takes 25 moves  for  a well-informed  White player to demonstrate the same over the board.
The real test is  Svedenborg Variation 3...fxe4 4.Nxe5 d5! and White is often on the receiving end.
As  noted in the Forum,  there are also other lines like 3..Nc6 or even 3..d6 here.
For instance, 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.d4 Qf6!? deeply analized by  the German specialist Gunderam or 4...fxe4 5.Nxe5 d5 .
V. This brings to the Main Line 3.Nxe5.
Here  I and other LG aficianados have found remedies  for both White and Black in several critical variations. They  are being tested at the CC level. Some of the  games are in progress and  others are yet to begin.
With all respect to Silman and others it is a little premature  to announce the demise of the Gambit at this stage                (TO BE CONTINUE)
  
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CraigEvans
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Re: The Latvian Gambit!!
Reply #12 - 02/23/06 at 14:40:36
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Ahh, I've never really looked at 3.exf5 as a serious move, in practice I've scored well against it. I've only faced 4.Ng1 a few times (and then, only in blitz), and my impression was that it wasn't a paricularly worrying move... 4...Nf6 and black has a lead in development, the possibility of making a large center with ...c6 and ...d5, simple development with ...Bc5 and ...O-O. Yes, I know he shouldn't be able to carry out all this without white's undivided cooperation, but in practice I think black's position is the more comfortable. As opposed to 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.Nxe5 Qf6 4.Nc4 which looks +- with best play.

Anyway, why settle for a crab stick when you can have a juicy rainbow trout? It all seems a bit fishy to me...  Grin
  

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Re: The Latvian Gambit!!
Reply #11 - 02/22/06 at 21:55:58
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not only are the leonhardt and Nc6 lines bad now, but 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.exf5 e4 4.Ng1 has always been fairly brutal too.
  
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CraigEvans
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Re: The Latvian Gambit!!
Reply #10 - 02/22/06 at 14:36:52
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3...Nc6 was my attempt to save the Latvian also. Sadly, a copy of Nunn's refutation seems to have found it's way into the mainstream and therefore many people know about the simple 4.Nxc6. The worst thing is, even for those greedy souls who grab the Rh8, this is still good for white.

Add to this the problems for black after 3.Nxe5 in every main line (especially the Leonhardt variation which isn't so much +/- as just +-), and the Latvian can, alas, be consigned to the scrapheap.

Although a huge fan of the Elephant, I have a feeling that in time we'll be able to scrap this one too - black gives away a central pawn with very little justification, and I don't believe that he can or should be able to get away with it.

The computer age is killing the fun of chess. The Ruy Lopez will be next...  Grin
  

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Re: The Latvian Gambit!!
Reply #9 - 02/22/06 at 13:59:10
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I have to confess that i've quit the latvian, (after almost 8 years of love) because of : 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.Nxe5! because i didn't find anything convincing against it !
I've tried to save 3... Nc6 with hours and hours of Fritz exploration, but i've failed ! Cry
The 3...Qf6 4.Nc4 with d3 following is very strong and black can only hope to get a draw in a rook endgame with a pawn less. Not very appealling !
The elephant is probably much more juicy ?! Don't you think so ?
  
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Re: The Latvian Gambit!!
Reply #8 - 02/10/06 at 20:21:49
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Re: The Latvian Gambit!!
Reply #7 - 01/26/06 at 19:44:20
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Thank you very much for that link.

I am always looking for new chess websites and have stumbled across some gems in my search but mostly just summary pages of openings not going into much detail!

This is why i like this forum as well at the Chess-Theory forum which is still young but a lot quieter than the one here.

But I think that with time i will figure out this latvian madness which i have gotten my self into.
  
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Re: The Latvian Gambit!!
Reply #6 - 01/26/06 at 10:03:50
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BasqueKnight wrote on 01/25/06 at 23:56:48:
Also a side question which i believe to be related to the latvian.

Is this ok:

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 f5??!!

I played this at a recent tournament and won against some one with about 100 points on my my rating but i dont think i should have not the way i played it at least! Is this playable at any level. Does it even have a name? If so i would like to play it as i do enjoy pushing my f pawn rather early! Cheesy


It's called the Calabrese Counter Gambit. It's playable at lower levels of chess and blitz games. Here's a URL for you to start with:

http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~goeller/urusov/bishops/f5.htm
  
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Re: The Latvian Gambit!!
Reply #5 - 01/26/06 at 09:16:37
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The Rosseau is another opening I've dabbled with but, sadly, it's junk. I'm moving slowly away from openings which I can refute myself now, and the Rosseau falls into this category - Tim McGrew in his articles shows one way to get a huge plus but, I can assure you, there are plenty of other ways. If you score 100% with this opening (as I do), it says more for the standard of your play and/or the weakness of your opponents' play than of any merit for the opening. If I was you, if/when someone does play the theoretical recommendation against you, I would be worried. If you want to play the Latvian, the best chance for you is to play Svedenborgs after 3.Bc4, since it isn't as forcing and gives white way more opportunity to go wrong. Also, it is technically unrefuted, and black does get some undeniable compensation (although I doubt it to be sufficient against correct play). 3...Nc6 is what Dan Heisman, on chesscafe.com, would call "Hope Chess" methinks. At the lower levels it may well score you some points, but if someone devotes just one hour to analysing the opening they can learn the refutation comfortably - and in this day and age, more and more people are doing this.

I've not looked at 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 f5 on a board, but my gut reaction would be to play 3.d4 and smile at my opponent. As black I used to reply to the KG with 1.e4 e5 2.f4 d5 3.ed Bc5!?, a defence which - while a lot less common than 3...e4 - I don't believe to be any weaker than the main lines of the Falkbeer. With an extra tempo white should be able to get a fairly huge plus (One point is that, should white take on f5 at some point, an ...e4 thrust will not be gaining a tempo on a knight as in some lines of the Latvian). Of course, he can transpose into the old book refutation with 3.Nf3 if he likes, and even 3.Nc3 has it's points (since 3...fe 4.Qh5+ looks pretty fatal).

My favourite line as black is the Traxler... sadly I don't get much opportunity to play it these days. I also have a fondness for the Elephant Gambit and anything with ...f5. However, I think sense is finally catching up with me and I'm not playing things these days that I can refute myself... maybe I'm turning into Larsen  Cool
  

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basqueknight
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Re: The Latvian Gambit!!
Reply #4 - 01/25/06 at 23:56:48
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CraigEvans wrote on 01/24/06 at 17:19:34:
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 www.jeremysilman.com)
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,
Craig



After 3.Bc4 you can play Nc6 transposing into the Rosseau Gambit which is very fun to play indeed! I have a 100% score with it OTB and the traps in it are quite numerous. White often looks at you with a look that says "Gosh your stupid" and then quickly gets crushed!

I have not had any one play the theoretical best move against me yet. And when i do i doubt i will be worried at all.

The trick is that when they think they have found somthing to work against the latvian you play a totally different opening! Thats my recipe anyway.

For information on the Rosseau check out chesscafe and go to the skittles room archive where i believe both articles on it are called the Guico Fortisimo! Written of course by the Godfather of the Gambit cartel Tim McGrew.  If your a fan of his let me tell you your in for some of the same only in a more detailed manner.

If any one has any ideas on this or the latvian in general please leave your thoughts.

Craig i would be interested in some of your favorite lines with the black pieces as well.

Also a side question which i believe to be related to the latvian.

Is this ok:

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 f5??!!

I played this at a recent tournament and won against some one with about 100 points on my my rating but i dont think i should have not the way i played it at least! Is this playable at any level. Does it even have a name? If so i would like to play it as i do enjoy pushing my f pawn rather early! Cheesy
  
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nexirae
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Re: The Latvian Gambit!!
Reply #3 - 01/24/06 at 22:04:55
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I've always liked Nimzo's explanation and favorite move, Ne3

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 f5 3 Nxe5 Qf6 4 d4 d6 5 Nc4 fxe4 6 Ne3!!

I ventured this in corry a couple of times and took the full points with little trouble.  (I no longer have the scores - sorry)

Also, 3 Bc4 is quite a strong move.  I've played this one from both sides in corry, and black doesn't have an easy game if white does his homework.  (If he doesn't though, it's black who can crush many victims...)

Nex
  
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Re: The Latvian Gambit!!
Reply #2 - 01/24/06 at 18:33:17
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I've seen quite a few people try to make 3. Nxe5 Nf6 work, that doesn't appear to look good for Black either
  
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