Archive for the ‘chess gambits’ Category

April’s Chess Combination of the Month

April 18, 2014

This month’s chess combination comes from a nice win I had over “Flash,” the number two ranked player on Each Month I will select one combination that I played in a real game to examine in detail for the benefit of my students and readers.

Black to move

Black to move


When it is your turn, the first thing you should do is examine all checks, captures and threats. In this position, we have one check-capture, four checks, three captures and several more threatening moves. If you take the time to identify all these possibilities and run through any automatic or nearly automatic replies, you will automatically begin to spot brilliant tactical combinations. It’s that easy!


I chose to play Nc4+!

I chose to play Nc4+!


This is precisely the kind of move you might miss if you do not force yourself to examine all checks without regard to how silly the move may seem at first glance.


Flash plays dxc4?

Flash plays dxc4?


If this wasn’t a blitz game I am sure Flash would have played something like: Kd2-d1 Qf6xc3 Re1xe8+ Ra8xe8 Ra1-a2 Bh7xd3 c2xd3 Qc3xd3+ Ra2-d2 Qd3-b3+ Rd2-c2 Nc4xa3 Nf3-d2 Re8-d8 Bg2-e4 Qb3xh3 Kd1-e1 Na3xc2+ Qc1xc2 c7-c6 Qc2-d1 Qh3-c3 Qd1-c2 Qc3xc2 Be4xc2 a7-a5 Ke1-d1 b7-b5 Kd1-c1 a5-a4 Nd2-b1 Rd8-e8 Bc2-d3 b5-b4 Nb1-d2 Kg8-f8 Nd2-c4 a4-a3 Kc1-b1 Kf8-e7 Kb1-a2 Ke7-e6 Ka2-b3 c6-c5 Nc4-a5 f7-f6 Bd3-c4+ Ke6-d6 Na5-b7+ Kd6-c6 Nb7-a5+ Kc6-b6

But as you can see, Black is still crushing white. So, in a sense, Flash did us a little favor by simplifying the result into a nice and neat mating attack.


I played Ra-d8+. This develops the unemployed rook with a threat.

I played Ra-d8+. This develops the unemployed rook with a threat.


White's move of Nd4 is forced.

White’s move of Nd4 is forced.


Now examine all of the checks, captures and threats again.


Correct is Rxd4+!

Correct is Rxd4+!


cxd4 is a forced response.

cxd4 is a forced response.


and Qxd4 is mate.

and Qxd4 is mate.


I hope you enjoyed April’s Chess Combination of the Month. If you missed it, feel free to check out March’s Chess Combination of the Month. On a side note, I must say that is evolving into a great online chess site. You can see my original review of Velocity Chess from this link. Right now if you open an account, they will deposit 2,500 vChips in your bank– redeemable for giftcards!

Below is the entire game so that you can see the combination in context:

[Event “Blitz”]
[Site “”]
[Date “2014.04.16”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Flash”]
[Black “Chris.Torres.524596”]
[Result “0-1”]
[BlackElo “1917”]
[ECO “C40”]
[Opening “Elephant Gambit”]
[Variation “Maroczy”]
[WhiteElo “2610”]
[TimeControl “5+0”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 Bd6 4. Qe2 Nf6 5. Nc3 O-O 6. d3 h6 7. Be3 Bb4 8.
a3 Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 Nxd5 10. Bd2 Bg4 11. h3 Bf5 12. g3 Re8 13. g4 Nf4 14. Qd1
Bh7 15. Bxf4 exf4+ 16. Kd2 Nc6 17. Bg2 Qf6 18. Re1 Na5 19. Qc1 Nc4+ 20.
dxc4 Rad8+ 21. Nd4 Rxd4+ 22. cxd4 Qxd4# 0-1


Chris Torres is NorCal's most popular chess coach.

Chris Torres is NorCal’s most popular chess coach.

Chris Torres will be teaching with Susan Polgar and many other great instructors at the 2014 Fremont Summer Chess Camp at Mission San Jose Elementary School. Sign up today!




Useful Junk: The Jerome Gambit

January 2, 2013

Below is another interesting game where I played the Jerome Gambit against my student, Iddo Zohar. The Jerome Gambit is an unsound specialty of mine which I like to categorize as “useful junk.” Iddo Zohar is a very talented junior chess player who you will definitely here more about in future posts.


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. Bxf7+ {This is the Jerome Gambit.}


The Jerome Gambit

The Jerome Gambit


5. Nxe5+ Nxe5 {White is two pieces down but can get one back for sure.} 6.

Qh5+ Ng6 7. Qd5+ {Its better to delay the capture of the bishop for one

move.} Kf8 8. Qxc5+ d6 9. Qe3 Nf6 10. Nc3 Kf7 {Black wants to get his rook

on e8.} 11. d4 Re8 12. O-O {White is down material but controls the center

and has better king safety.} d5 13. f3 {This maintains a pawn grip on the

center and hurts the influence of the knight on f6.} c6 14. e5 Nd7


Position after 14...Nd7.

Position after 14…Nd7.

15. Ne4!? {15. f4 would have given white plenty of compensation for his

material disadvantage.} dxe4 16. Qb3+ Kf8 17. fxe4+ Nf6 {This was black’s

best move but it allows white to regain a piece when he chooses.} 18. Be3

Be6 19. Qxb7 Rb8 20. Qxc6 Rxb2 {I definately prefer white here. However,

the position is roughly even.} 21. exf6 gxf6? {Black needed to play Qc8.}

22. d5! {White’s superior pawn center provides the winning advantage.}

22. d5!

22. d5!

22…Bd7 23. Rxf6+ {It’s all about tactics now.} Kg7 24. Rxg6+! hxg6 25. Qc3+ Kh7

26. Qxb2 Rxe4 27. Bf2 Bf5 28. Qb3 Qh8 29. Rd1 Rg4 30. Qh3+ {White has a

winning endgame so it is time to end black’s attack and trade.} Kg8 31.

Qxh8+ Kxh8 32. d6 Rb4 33. Bxa7 Rb2? 34. Bd4+ {After this fork, black

resigns.} 1-0

To learn more on the Jerome Gambit you should visit my friend’s Jerome Gambit blog.

Philidor Counter Gambit: Torres Variation

November 30, 2012

Below is my contribution to the theory of the Philidor Counter-Gambit(1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 f5.) According to my databases, I am the first and only player to employ exd4 after white plays 4 d3. I feel that the “Torres Variation” gives black a fine game with interesting play for both sides. Below is a recent example of this line in action:

[Event “FICS rated blitz game”]
[Site “FICS”]
[FICSGamesDBGameNo “318556247”]
[White “Fzoozle”]
[Black “chessmusings”]
[WhiteElo “1704”]
[BlackElo “1663”]
[TimeControl “300+0”]
[Date “2012-11-30”]
[Time “14:52:00”]
[Duration “0:07:41”]
[WhiteClock “0:05:00.000”]
[BlackClock “0:05:00.000”]
[Result “0-1”]
[LongResult “White checkmated”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 f5 4. Bd3 exd4 5. Nxd4 fxe4 6. Bxe4 Nf6 7. Bg5 Be7 8. Bxf6 Bxf6 9. Qh5+ g6 10. Bxg6+ hxg6 11. Qxg6+ Kf8 12. c3 Nc6 13. Nxc6 bxc6 14. Nd2 Qe7+ 15. Kd1 Rg8 16. Qh6+ Bg7 17. Qf4+ Qf7 18. Qe4 d5 19. Qb4+ Ke8 20. Re1+ Kd8 21. Nf3 Ba6 22. Ng5 Qh5+ 23. Nf3 Kc8 24. Re7 Bf8 25. Qa5 Bxe7 26. Qxa6+ Kd7 27. Kc2 Rab8 28. Re1 Qf5+ 29. Kc1 Bg5+ 30. Nxg5 Qxg5+ 31. Kc2 Rxb2+ 32. Kxb2 Qd2+ 33. Kb3 Rb8+ 34. Ka3 Qxc3+ 35. Ka4 Qb4#  {White checkmated} 0-1

View chess game

Fan Mail

November 4, 2012

My friend, James S. Welborn, likes to play the Englund Gambit. Here is a game he submitted to me for review where he tried to go “Englund” on his opponent but the game ended up transposing into an English or even a Slav. The Englund Gambit starts with 1 d4 e5. Play normally continues dxe5 Nc6 and the fun begins. In James’ game the “Englund” flavor is lost pretty quickly because white kept choosing the boring route.


[Event “Live Chess”]

[Site “”]

[White “chess_g”]

[Black “bigcaptain”]

[Result “0-1”]

[BlackElo “1351”]

[ECO “D11”]

[WhiteElo “1304”]

[TimeControl “5+2”]

1. d4 {Notes by Chris Torres.} e5 {James is trying for the Englund Gambit.} 2. c4 {I wish white would play like this against me sometime. Better, of course, is to capture the pawn.} Nf6 3. Nc3 {I wonder what white has against capturing. dxe5 with Ng4 looks interesting and should favor white.} c6 {I like exd4. After white recaptures with the queen black gets to “develop with threats” by placing the knight on c6.} 4. e3 {At this point I am pretty sure that this would be classified under the “English Opening” which usually starts with 1 c4.} Bb4 {exd4 might be better but white has never won a game after black plays Bb4 here.} 5. Nf3 {appears to invite trouble. Nge2 would be better in my opinion.} e4 {Trouble has shown up.} 6. Nd2 d5 7. a3 Bxc3 {I do not see much upside to losing the bishop pair here. Bd6 would be better.} 8. bxc3 Bg4 9. Be2 {Instead of reacting with defence white should have played Qb3 and attacked.} h5 {This is my kind of move although Bxe2 is probably better.} 10. h3 Nbd7 {Highly inaccurate. Before going hog-wild with this kind of attack Black needs to let white castle.} 11. cxd5 {If white takes the bishop here he should win the game. Based on his play, white seems to lack any aggression in chess.} Bxe2 12. Qxe2 Nxd5 {cxd5 should have been played to preserve the center pawns.} 13. c4 {Again, white does not capture. Nxe4 wins a pawn.} Nc3 14. Qf1 Qa5 15. Nb3 Qb6 {Qa4 is much better.} 16. Nd2 Qa5 {c5 is the obvious improvement.} 17. Nb3 {This is the mother of all blunders! White should be dead now.} Qa4 18. Nd2 Qd1# {A nice accurate finish for black.} 0-1

1. d4 e5

April 27, 2011

The game below is a fun example of the dynamic Englund Gambit. While nowhere near being 100% sound, black usually gets excellent attacking chances for the pawn. Enjoy!

[Event “Englund Gambit”]
[Site “FICS”]
[Date “2011.04.27”]
[Round “blitz”]
[White “kaye”]
[Black “chessmusings”]
[Result “0-1”]

1. d4 e5 2. dxe5 Nc6 3. Nf3 Qe7 4. g3 f6 5. exf6 Nxf6 6. Bg2 d5 7. O-O Bg4 8.
b3 O-O-O 9. Bb2 h5 10. Nbd2 h4 11. c4 hxg3 12. hxg3 dxc4 13. bxc4 Ne4 14. Qc2
Nxd2 15. Nxd2 Qxe2 16. Bc3 Bc5 17. Rae1 Bxf2+ *
And white resigned.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nd4

June 12, 2010

Below is the infamous Blackburne Shilling Gambit.  The name of this variation in the Italian Game is utter nonsense do to the fact that Blackburne never played this line and it is not a gambit because white cannot take the pawn on e5 without losing material. Despite the terrible nomenclature, every student of chess should know this game.

[Site “Cologne”]
[Date “1912”]
[White “Muhlock”]
[Black “Kostics”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “C50”]
[Opening “Italian Game”]
[Variation “Blackburne Shilling Gambit]
[PlyCount “14”]

1. e4 {Notes by Chris Torres} e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nd4 {This is the
Blackburne Shilling Gambit.} 4. Nxe5? {This mistake is what black is
hoping for. Better would be 4.0-0, 4.Nxd4, 4.c3 or even 4.d3. A rare line
is 4.0-0 b5 5.Bxf7+! White has an easy advantage with 4.c3 Nxc3 5. Qxc3 or
4.c3 Nc6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4. If white plays 4.Nxd4 exd4 5.c3 d5 6.exd5 Qe7+ 7.Kf1 he is also winning. It seems an injustice was done to Blackburne by naming 3…Nd4 after him.} Qg5 5. Nxf7?? {White needed to play 5.Bxf7+}
Qxg2 6. Rf1 Qxe4+ 7. Be2? {White chooses the quickest poison.} Nf3# 0-1

Another Lesson in the Jerome Gambit

June 9, 2010

I received so much positive feedback after I presented “The Most Violent Chess Game Ever Played!” that I decided to provide my readers with another Jerome Gambit lesson.  If you are intrigued by the Jerome Gambit I suggest you visit Rick Kennedy’s web page on the gambit here: 

Have fun and study at your own risk!

[Event “lesson”]
[Site “Cupertino”]
[Date “2009.05.05”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Torres, Chris”]
[Black “Zhang, Lunxi”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “C50”]
[Opening “Jerome Gambit”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. Bxf7+ {The questionable and dangerous
Jerome Gambit.} Kxf7 5. Nxe5+ Nxe5 6. Qh5+ Kf8 {This move and Ke6 are both
known to be strong replies and leave black in a technically better but very
dangerous situation.} 7. Qxe5 d6 8. Qg3 {I avoid playing Qf4 as black can
reply Qf6 and suggest a trade of queens or gain a strong attack if I try
9.Qg3 h5!} Nf6 9. O-O Nxe4 10. Qf4+ Nf6 11. b4 {From this position I have
always won.} Bb6 12. Bb2 Bd7 13. Nc3 Bc6? {This move looks strong at first
but black forgot about white’s “b” pawn.} 14. b5! {Black is forced to
retreat and loose time.} Bd7 15. Ne4 Kf7 16. Rae1 {The gambiteer must keep
developing with purpose.} Bxb5? {A tempting mistake. Rf8 would have been
much better.} 17. Bxf6! {The rook on f1 is of no concern as it is my only
piece not involved in attacking black’s king.} gxf6 18. Ng5+ {This is how a
professional uses tactics.} Kg6? {Kg8 would be better.} 19. Ne6 Qd7??
{Black needs to play Qg8 and defend perfectly.} 20. Qg3+ Kh6 21. Qh3+? {I
missed an easy mate in 6 starting with Re4.} Kg6 22. Qg4+ Kh6 23. Qf5 Qf7
24. Re4! {I finally spot the winner.} Bd7 25. Rh4+ Qh5 26. Rxh5# 1-0

The Most Violent Chess Game Ever Played!

May 8, 2009

This fantastic game from 1880 is perhaps the most violent chess game ever played.

[Event "Jerome Gambit"]
[Site "England"]
[Date "1880.??.??"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "NN"]
[Black "Joseph Henry Blackburne"]
[ECO "C50"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "28"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+
Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+
{Note - d4 also regains a piece and deserves attention}
 g6 7.Qxe5 d6 8.Qxh8
Qh4 9.O-O Nf6 10.c3{Note - This is too slow as it does not stop Ng4.
 White should have tried Qd8
pinning the knight on f6.} Ng4 11.h3 Bxf2+ 12.Kh1 Bf5 13.Qxa8 Qxh3+
14.gxh3 Bxe4# 0-1

notes by Chris Torres

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