A Lazy Players Guide To The Scotch Gambit

Here it is.

Some time ago I have visited a website with the title A Lazy Player’s Guide to the Scotch Gambit, but it seems that this site has disappeared.
This is a pity because the site gave a nice summary of the main lines of this opening. It is a good opening choice for players who like sharp openings and it’s easy to learn the basic ideas. It didn’t cover everything, but it described the most played lines and contained just the material most club players need. Now I’ll try to produce a similar post about the 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bc5 variation of this Scotch Gambit and are going to learn you in one of the next lessons how you can make such an opening analysis on your own.
If someone knows where the Lazy Player’s site can be found, please add the URL to the comments.

Michael Goeller has provided a link to the original Lazy Player’s site by means of the Wayback machine. This wayback machine enables us to find web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago. This is the original archived Lazy Player’s Guide.

White to move

4. … Bc5

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bc5

Black defends his extra pawn and develops his bishop. He plans Nf6, d6 and castling. White seems to ignore the black d-pawn. He develops his king’s bishop, which enables him to castle, preparing to open the e-file and safeguarding his king, and creates a pressure against f7.

4… Nf6 and 4…Bb4+ are the main alternatives I’ll have to discuss later, but to give you an idea after 4…Bb4+ the game probably continues like 5.c3 dxc3

Other alternatives for Black include 4…Qf6, 4…Be7, 4…d6, 4…h6, 4…g6 and even 4…Qe7

5.c3! Now black has 4 main options, of which 5… dxc3 is analyzed below.

The second option is 5…d3 This move, suggested by Keene, stops White building a pawn center with cxd4 and hinders the knight on b1. But white still gets a decent game by grabbing queenside space. 6.b4 Bb6 7.Qb3 Qf6 8.O-O d6 9.a4 a6 10.a5 Ba7 11.b5! Ne5

( 11… axb5 12.a6 bxa6 13.Bd5 Nge7 ( 13… Bb7 14.Rxa6 Bxf2+ 15.Rxf2 Rxa6 16.Ng5 ) 14.Bg5 better for white ) 12.Nxe5 dxe5 13.bxa6 bxa6 14.Qa4+ Bd7 15.Qd1 Ne7 16.Qxd3 Bc8 17.Na3 is slightly better for white

The third option 5…Nf6 transposes to a line of the Giuoco Piano. 6.cxd4 Bb4+ ( 6… Bb6 7.d5 Ne7 8.e5 Ng4 9.d6! is better for white ) 7.Bd2 Bxd2+ ( 7… Nxe4 8.Bxb4 Nxb4 9.Bxf7+ that trick again 9…Kxf7 10.Qb3+ d5 11.Qxb4 a bit better for white ) 8.Nbxd2 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Qb3 Nce7 11.O-O O-O 12.Rfe1 c6 White’s rooks have open files and his knights are better placed.

A fourth rather dubious option 5…Qe7? 6.O-O dxc3 7.Nxc3 d6 8.Nd5 Qd7 9.b4! another sacrifice 9…Nxb4 10.Nxb4 Bxb4 11.Ng5 Nh6 12.Bb2 Kf8 ( Black has to be very careful. After 12…O-O the result will be a mate 13.Qd4 Nf5 14.exf5 Bc3 15.Bxc3 Qxf5 16.Qxg7# ) 13.Qb3 Qe7 14.Nxf7 Nxf7 15.Qxb4 Ne5

And now we continue with the first option 5…dxc3 6.Bxf7+ ( 6.Nxc3 According to Tim Harding this is the critical line 6…d6 7.Bg5 f6 8.Bh4 )

6… Kxf7 7.Qd5+ Kf8 8.Qxc5+ d6 ( 8… Qe7 9.Qxc3 Qxe4+ 10.Be3 d6 is often given as being equal, with White having enough compensation for the pawn. Although Black’s king is exposed and his rook is stuck in the corner for now, it isn’t easy for White to generate a convincing attack. However white can gain time by attacking the black queen and has chances. Anyway, if you don’t like this line you always have the escape line – 9.Qxe7+ Ngxe7 10.Nxc3 which is equal 11.O-O Nf6 12.Nbd2 )

9.Qc4 This position has to be OK for White, but it’ll probably be the better player who wins. To get some idea where white can go from here, the game Sveshnikov-Kupreichik [Hastings, 1984] went:

9… Bg4 ( 9… cxb2 10.Bxb2 In this continuation White usually gets a nice and decisive attack. ) 10.Nxc3 Bxf3 11.gxf3 Qf6 12.f4 Qf7 13.Qb5 Nd4 14.Qd3 Ne6 15.f5 Nc5 16.Qc2 Qc4 17.Be3 Nf6 18.O-O-O Re8 ( 18… Nfxe4 19.Rd4 wins a piece ) 19.f3 Ncd7 20.Rd4 Qc6 21.Kb1 Re7 22.Qe2 Ne5 23.Bg5 Qc5 24.Rhd1 Nc6 25.Rc4 Qe5 26.Nd5 Rf7 27.Bf4 Qe8 28.Nxc7 Rxc7 29.Bxd6+ Re7 30.e5 Nd7 31.f4 h5 32.Qd3 Rh6 33.Bxe7+ Kxe7 34.Qa3+ Kf7 35.e6+ Rxe6 36.fxe6+ Qxe6 37.Qd3 Nf6 38.f5 Qe5 39.Rc2 Kg8 40.Re2 Qc5 41.a3 Kh7 42.Rg2 Ne5 43.Qc2 Qe3 44.Rdg1 Neg4 and Black resigned – A game worth seeing but probably not something you will often encounter. 1-0

If you want to read more about this variation A glass of Scotch may be a good place to start.

The next lesson is about Connected vs split pawns ending.


Some very short Scotch games

Learning a chess opening has to include that you know what to do if someone isn’t playing the right moves. Opening traps and miniatures are very illustrative and help us to increase our knowledge about an opening.
As a follow-up on the lesson about the Scotch game this post will show a combination of some miniatures of this Scotch game. These games are often called traps, but a trap is in fact a game that is won as a result of playing a dubieus move. In the following miniatures Black makes a mistake and White knows how to deal with this.

The main game is a game between Magem and Fernandez in the Spain championship, but I have merged three other miniatures with this game.



Some nice miniatures worth replaying.

The next lesson is about getting a draw.

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