Raymond Keene

Ship ahoy

Ship ahoy
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The Evans Gambit was invented by a British naval officer of the early part of the 19th century, Captain W.D. Evans, who invented a form of ship’s lighting which was given an award by the Tsar of Russia. Captain Evans’s gambit is highly suitable at club and county level and in the 19th century it captured the scalps of many great masters, including Johannes Zukertort and Adolf Anderssen. For the latter, see this week’s game. In modern chess it has been employed by Garry Kasparov, and even Viswanathan Anand and world champion Magnus Carlsen have fallen victim to its intricacies.

The Evans has recently received a boost from MEGA, the Make the Evans Great Again campaign, introduced by the erudite and witty author of the @HowardStaunton Twitter feed. I highly recommend this feed for its extraordinary knowledge of chess history and tradition, and for its stunningly convincing recreation of the authentic voice and style of that Victorian chess champion and polymath Howard Staunton.

Kolisch-Anderssen; London 1861; Evans Gambit

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4 Bxb4 5 c3 Ba5 6 d4 exd4 7 0-0 dxc3 8 Qb3 Qf6 9 e5 Qg6 10 Nxc3 b5 This is in Anderssen’s counterattacking style but 10 ... Nge7 is safer. 11 Nxb5 Rb8 12 Qe3 Nge7 13 Qe2 Qh5 14 Ba3 Bb7 15 Rad1 Nf5 This overlooks the following combination (see diagram 1). 16 Rxd7! Kxd7 17 e6+ Kc8 After 17 ... fxe6 18 Qxe6+ Kd8 19 Rd1+ wins. 18 exf7 Ba8 19 Nxa7+ In keeping with the swashbuckling style of the play so far but 19 Qe6+ Kb7 20 Rb1 was immediately terminal. 19 ... Nxa7 20 Qe6+ Kd8 21 Rd1+ Nd6 22 Rxd6+ Further exuberance but 22 Bxd6 actually mates far more quickly. 22 ... cxd6 23 Qxd6+ Kc8 24 Be6+ Kb7 25 Bd5+ (see diagram 2) 25 ... Qxd5 The black king is chased to its doom after 25 ... Kc8 26 Qe6+ Kc7 27 Qe7+ Kb6 28 Bc5+ Kb5 29 Nd4+ Ka4 30 Bb3+ Rxb3 31 axb3 mate. 26 Qxd5+ Ka6 27 Qc4+ Kb7 28 Qe4+ Nc6 29 Ne5 Ka6 30 Qc4+ Ka7 31 Bc5+ Rb6 32 Bxb6+ Bxb6 33 Nxc6+ Bxc6 34 Qxc6 Black resigns

This Saturday the powerful Isle of Man tournament commences with a line-up that includes Lev Aronian, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Anish Giri, Wesley So and the two ex-world champions Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand. This week’s puzzle is taken from last year’s event.