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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Current status of Urusov-Gambit? (Read 7857 times)
SWJediknight
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Re: Current status of Urusov-Gambit?
Reply #14 - 06/25/08 at 10:46:42
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Having had another look at the Two Knights, I concur with the general consensus that the Modern (5.e5) is the most promising, in that Black has no way to "sterilise" the position, 5...d5 and 5...Ne4 both lead to mutual chances.

Below a certain level I think 5.0-0 is just as good, but there's one line which I can't find a way to generate mutual chances against.  5...Nxe4 6.Re1 d5 7.Bxd5 (7.Nc3 dxc3 8.Bxd5 Be6 9.Bxe4 Bb4 10.b3 Qxd1 is drawish) 7...Qxd5 8.Nc3 Qh5 (8...Qd8 9 Rxe4+ Be7 10 Nxd4 f5 11 Bh6, 8...Qa5 9 Nxe4 Be6 10 Neg5 with interesting and equal play)  9 Nxe4 Be6 10 Bg5 (10.Nxd4 Qxd1 is at best nothing for White).  In the old line, 10...Bb4, it seems that 11 c3 dxc3 12 bxc3 Ba5 13 Ng3 may well improve on the 13 h4 line, cutting out the ...Qg4 possibility, but I can't find a way to generate winning chances against 10...Bd6, as endorsed by Markovich, Harding, Pinski, Davies etc.

I.  11 Nxd6+ cxd6 12 Bf4 Qd5 (12...0-0 13 Nxd4 gives White a marginal edge in the ending but all games in this line in the databases ended in draws) and now 13 c4?! Qxc4 14 Bxd6 Qd5 doesn't work, while 13 c3 is normally met by 13...Rc8 when players have experimented with the risky 14 c4, but if Black is content with a draw, 13...0-0 virtually forces the mass exchange on d4.

II.  11 Bf6? Bxh2+.

III.  11 c3 0-0 12 cxd4 Bg4 is likely give White doubled pawns on the kingside, and thus an edge for Black.

IV.  11 c4 (probably the best objective chance) 11...0-0 12 c5 Be5! and again the queens come off.  It isn't as sterile as the other lines, but it still has a drawish tendency.

I'd be interested to see if Zavanelli (who found good ways for White to play in the 8...Qa5 lines) has been able to find anything for White in the annoying 8...Qh5 lines, or indeed the 7.Nc3 dxc3 line I gave above, as I certainly can't.

Looks like as Harding, Goeller and others state, 5 e5 is the way to go.
« Last Edit: 06/25/08 at 16:56:46 by SWJediknight »  
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Re: Current status of Urusov-Gambit?
Reply #13 - 06/13/08 at 00:22:49
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Sorry to arrive late to this party.  I would say that, basically, the Urusov is about equal with best play by Black.  But it does well in what Tim McGrew calls "Dimensional Analysis": Black has lots of ways to go wrong and only a few to gain equal play, so the odds favor White (especially below master level) and the risks are very low for a well-prepared player. Here are what I consider the equalizing lines after 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 (2...Nc6 may be easier, as Mihail Marin recommends, in which case the Evans Gambit or Giuoco Piano are probably best) 3.d4 exd4 (Lasker's recommendation 3...Nc6 is a viable option for reaching the Two Knights and 3...c6!? 4.dxe5 Nxe4 may be almost playable - as in Fedorov - Mamedyarov, Aeroflot Open, Moscow 2004) 4.Nf3:

1) As Markovich rightly points out (and as he analyzes online), Black probably has equal play with 4...Nc6, transposing to the Two Knights with d4, which is widely considered nothing to be afraid of for Black.  I like White's chances in the Modern 5.e5 lines, especially below master level.  Chess Openings for White, Explained is a useful guide for amateurs.  But I play these lines for Black as well and enjoy them from both sides.

2) Just as with the Danish, the most annoying line IMHO is an early Bb4+.  I analyzed 4...Bb4+ (which Max Burkett dubbed "the Patzer Variation") online at my blog just this week:
http://www.kenilworthchessclub.org/kenilworthian/2008/06/urusov-gambit-patzer-va...
It's a tough nut to crack and likely leads to equality for Black with best play -- though he has to be prepared to enter various "real" gambit lines (such as 4...Bb4+ 5.c3 dxc3 6.O-O!?)

3) Similarly, the book recommendation 4...d5 5.exd5 Bb4+ 6.c3 (6.Bd2 is ok and 6.Kf1 more interesting than it looks) 6...Qe7+! as given by Panov and Estrin (and ECO and many others) and played first by Frank Marshall (Pillsbury-Marshall, Paris 1900) is about equal. The game stats tend to favor White, but it is possible that Black has the theoretically better chances due to his fewer pawn islands.

There are a few other lines where White has trouble proving more than equality, but they are hardly appetizing for Black unless he wants to struggle for a draw (for example, I haven't cracked 4....Nxe4 5.Qxd4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Nc6 7.Qh4 Qe7+!? but don't expect many people to play such a silly looking move).

I think the Urusov is fully viable, especially in amateur contests.  But I do not expect to see GMs playing it much...  And that's all for the best, since the Urusov is truly an "opening for amateurs," where theory will more trickle up from amateur games and analysis than trickle down from GM contests.
  
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Re: Current status of Urusov-Gambit?
Reply #12 - 05/26/08 at 01:53:13
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SWJediknight wrote on 05/25/08 at 23:26:30:
Agreed- that's the main reason why I mentioned the Danish/Goring, as 3 Nf3 Bb4+ 4 c3 dxc3 5 Nxc3 Nc6 is a Goring, and 3 Bc4 Bb4+ 4 c3 dxc3 5 Nxc3 is a Danish.
when after the logical Nc6 6.Nf3 it's a Göring again - only one reason to see the two as one opening. But have you ever considered 6.Ne2 instead? If yes, isn't Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Nc6 (d6) more precise then?
To get back on-topic: 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nf3 Bb4+ also may lead to the Göring/Danish.
  

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SWJediknight
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Re: Current status of Urusov-Gambit?
Reply #11 - 05/25/08 at 23:26:30
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Agreed- that's the main reason why I mentioned the Danish/Goring, as 3 Nf3 Bb4+ 4 c3 dxc3 5 Nxc3 Nc6 is a Goring, and 3 Bc4 Bb4+ 4 c3 dxc3 5 Nxc3 is a Danish.
  
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Re: Current status of Urusov-Gambit?
Reply #10 - 05/25/08 at 18:38:36
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Critical for the evaluation of 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Nf3/3.Bc4 is ...Bb4+.
  

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SWJediknight
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Re: Current status of Urusov-Gambit?
Reply #9 - 05/25/08 at 16:04:01
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I don't think much of the Hanstein Gambit either.  The main alternative is the standard Italian Game with 2...Nc6 3 Nf3.

It's also possible to combine the Urusov with Scotch/Goring/Danish type lines.  In that case you could try the move order 1 e4 e5 2 d4 exd4 3 Bc4, where 3...Nf6 4 Nf3 transposes to the Urusov.  Or 3 Nf3, when 3...Nf6 is quite a common reply and 4 Bc4 transposes (this is how I get the Urusov in my games).   Another approach is to play 2 Bc4 Nc6 3 Nf3 but aim for an early d4, which transposes back to much the same lines.

I'm aware that Max Zavanelli sucessfully employs the Urusov Gambit at a high level and has also found ways to create winning chances in the 5 0-0 Nxe4 lines of the Two Knights, so it's certainly possible to succeed with these lines at quite a high level.  But objectively speaking Black can equalise.
  
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Re: Current status of Urusov-Gambit?
Reply #8 - 05/25/08 at 11:13:57
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SWJediknight wrote on 05/23/08 at 20:17:27:
If 5 0-0, then Black equalises with 5...Nxe4 6 Re1 d5 7 Bxd5 Qxd5 8 Nc3 and now 8...Qa5 or 8...Qh5.  At club level there's still plenty of play left in the position, but at high levels it's hard to avoid drifting into a drawish ending if Black is prepared, especially after 8...Qh5.  
5...Bc5 can lead to the unclear Max Lange Attack after 6 e5 d5 7 exf6 dxc4, and White can choose between 8 Re1+ followed by Ng5 and 8 fxg7 followed by Bg5.  White can also reach dynamic equality with 6 c3 transposing to a sideline of the Italian, play often continues 6...Nxe4 7 cxd4 d5 8 dxc5 dxc4 9 Qe2.


If you want to play the Urussov be prepared for these endgames indeed. You might consider it a challenge though iso an objection.
Also, if you chose the 2.Bc4 move order, there is 2...Nc6 to deal with. Goeller on his website recommends the Hanstein Gambit via 3.f4 exf4 4.Nf3 g5 5.0-0 Bg7 6.d4 but I find it as unconvincing as his 4...Nf6 5.Ng5 (the Peneux Attack) section.
  

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Re: Current status of Urusov-Gambit?
Reply #7 - 05/25/08 at 09:28:06
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cheitan wrote on 05/24/08 at 19:59:53:
Thanks a lot for your advice. Meanwhile I got the book 2knights (J. Pinski) and it seems really very drawish. Thats indeed not what Im looking for.

Problem is, I stopped playing chess in 1992, but would like to restart in the near future. So my knewledge about theory is @zero at the moment.

Is there another opening for White, which you could advise me? Difficult quesiton, of course.

What do you think about Scotch Game? Or is the Ruy Lopez the only way to fight for advantage nowadays?

That is just a fact in 1.e4 e5 life. A lot of the fun lines allow drawish answers, or rather equal games where white is off balance as he cant get his favoured attacking lines. Personally I think this Urusov gambit or Italian/two knights is great to (re)start of with, but at some point you will run into players who know how to get equal (or better) and at that point you need to switch to something more subtle such as indeed the Ruy or the Scotch (the scotch is difficult to play well for both btw). In your position I would indeed go for the Urusov or similar lines. Tactics are the most important thing to regain and these lines do just that.

@SWJediknight, read his analysis carefully of the 5 e5 d5 lines, imo he is a tad optimistic for white in evaluating.
  

If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.
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Re: Current status of Urusov-Gambit?
Reply #6 - 05/24/08 at 20:16:21
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cheitan wrote on 05/24/08 at 19:59:53:
Problem is, I stopped playing chess in 1992, but would like to restart in the near future. So my knewledge about theory is @zero at the moment.


I was in similar circumstance: 15 years off, just back into competitive chess about 15 months ago.

Not so much as advice, but what I did was  played as many main lines as possible.  Did my rating suffer?  Yes, but so what. My understanding improved, and now I am doing what is supposed to be not-so-possible:  Over 50 years old and I am getting better.  In fact, I feel like I'm now playing better chess than when I was in college, and my recent tournament results ($$$!) seem to confirm this suspicion.

One major thing I did was switching over from e4 to d4 openings as white (and changed Black repertoire completely as well,) which forced me to learn from scratch.  My feeling was that d4 would give me chance to make an early error without being blown off the board. 

Good luck and welcome back to the fray!

  

I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission.
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Re: Current status of Urusov-Gambit?
Reply #5 - 05/24/08 at 19:59:53
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Thanks a lot for your advice. Meanwhile I got the book 2knights (J. Pinski) and it seems really very drawish. Thats indeed not what Im looking for.

Problem is, I stopped playing chess in 1992, but would like to restart in the near future. So my knewledge about theory is @zero at the moment.

Is there another opening for White, which you could advise me? Difficult quesiton, of course.

What do you think about Scotch Game? Or is the Ruy Lopez the only way to fight for advantage nowadays?
  
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SWJediknight
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Re: Current status of Urusov-Gambit?
Reply #4 - 05/24/08 at 09:56:39
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4...Bc5 is less good on account of 5 e5!? which gives White an improved version of the Max Lange Attack (again Michael Goeller's site gives a good analysis).  Black's other myriad options (c5, Bb4+, d6, d5) also give White decent chances of an advantage.

I definitely think 4...Nc6 is the main problem.
  
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Re: Current status of Urusov-Gambit?
Reply #3 - 05/24/08 at 09:28:45
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Dont forget about 4..Bc5 either. After 5.0-0 black can go for the Max Lange if he wishes with 5..Nc6 or go for more with 5..d6.
  

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Re: Current status of Urusov-Gambit?
Reply #2 - 05/24/08 at 01:44:47
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cheitan wrote on 05/23/08 at 19:16:15:
Hi,

what do you think about the Urusov-Gambit?

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5.Qxd4

Do you think it is sound? What are the critical main-lines? I know that it is very tactical and a lot to learn, thats no prob., but I dont want to waste my time if Black has better chances in this opening.

Thx in advance.


I don't know if it's sound, but it's toothless since Black can (and in a practical context, should) play 4...Nc6 with a perfectly adequate Two Knights.
  

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SWJediknight
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Re: Current status of Urusov-Gambit?
Reply #1 - 05/23/08 at 20:17:27
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My understanding is that it's equal with best play, but practically very dangerous for Black, especially at fast time limits.  There's plenty of analysis of it at Michael Goeller's site:
http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~goeller/urusov/gambit/index.html
You have to remember that after 5...Nf6, 6 Nc3 followed by 7 Bg5 is more accurate than 6 Bg5 in view of 6...Nc6 7 Qh4 d5 which leaves Black at least equal.  White generally plays 0-0-0, Qh4, Rhe1, and meets ...h6 with the sacrifice Bxh6 which can be devastating if Black isn't careful.

I've reached the gambit myself a few times via the move order 1 e4 e5 2 d4 exd4 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 Bc4, and scored well with it.

The main problem with the Urusov isn't the gambit's soundness, it's the fact that Black can duck out of it easily with 4...Nc6 transposing to the Two Knights Defence. 

Then if 5 e5, then Black can equalise with 5...d5 6 Bb5 Ne4 7 Nxd4 Bc5, though there's still plenty of play left in the position.  5...Ne4 is also interesting and unclear.

If 5 0-0, then Black equalises with 5...Nxe4 6 Re1 d5 7 Bxd5 Qxd5 8 Nc3 and now 8...Qa5 or 8...Qh5.  At club level there's still plenty of play left in the position, but at high levels it's hard to avoid drifting into a drawish ending if Black is prepared, especially after 8...Qh5. 
5...Bc5 can lead to the unclear Max Lange Attack after 6 e5 d5 7 exf6 dxc4, and White can choose between 8 Re1+ followed by Ng5 and 8 fxg7 followed by Bg5.  White can also reach dynamic equality with 6 c3 transposing to a sideline of the Italian, play often continues 6...Nxe4 7 cxd4 d5 8 dxc5 dxc4 9 Qe2.
  
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Current status of Urusov-Gambit?
05/23/08 at 19:16:15
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Hi,

what do you think about the Urusov-Gambit?

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5.Qxd4

Do you think it is sound? What are the critical main-lines? I know that it is very tactical and a lot to learn, thats no prob., but I dont want to waste my time if Black has better chances in this opening.

Thx in advance.
  
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