New Tournament Organiser for the Gambit/Counter-Gambit Tournaments: Alex Relyea

Fred Clough has decided to retire from this role after many years of excellent service to the BCCA – thank you Fred! Fortunately, we have been able to find an excellent volunteer to take over so we would like to welcome Alex Relyea as a new BCCA Tournament Organiser.

The Gambit/Counter-Gambit Tournaments are unique! As far as I know, no other CC club or Federation offers such tournaments. They are played by e-mail only & are not ICCF rated. Each Tourney usually consists of five players in All-Play-All format, so eight games in all, one with White and one with Black against each of the others.    (Occasionally the Gambit and Counter Gambit Tourneys may be combined if there are insufficient entries).

In the Gambit Tournament White selects the opening from a set list of Gambits. In other words in each pairing of two games each player chooses the opening in the one game where he has White. You can choose any combination of Gambits, from the same Gambit in all games to four different Gambits.

In the Counter-Gambit tournament Black selects the Opening to be played from the  list. Thus, in each pairing of two games, each player chooses the Opening in the game where he is Black. Once again you can choose any combination of Counter-Gambits, from the same in all games to four different Counter-Gambits.

You will see below the lists that Alex has provided for the Tournaments that will start in September with the new season. You will be able to enter these Events online from June 1st, or with your paper Renewal form when this is received with the Summer magazine. Why not give it a try!

Gambit List

(1) Double Muzio Gambit 1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 g5 4. Bc4 g4 5. O-O gxf3 6. Qxf3 Qf6 7. e5 Qxe5 8. Bxf7+
This variation of the King’s Gambit leads to wild tactical play. White sacrifices two pieces in the opening! Is it playable in CC? I don’t know, but an unrated tournament is the place to find out.
(2) Lisitsyn Gambit 1. Nf3 f5 2. e4
An anti-Dutch gambit. An “improved” version is 1. Nf3 f5 2. d3 Nf6 3. e4, but I prefer to offer the original this year.
(3) Bishop’s opening, MacDonnell double gambit 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Bc5 3. b4 Bxb4 4. f4
A player suggestion. Any interest in proving if this is completely obsolete?
(4) French Defense, Papa Gambit 1. e4 e6 2. b3 d5 3. Bb2 dxe4 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. g4
Mike Papa is a national master from New Orleans. This variation of the Reti Gambit is his pet line against the French.
(5) French Defense Alekhine-Chatard Attack: Albin-Chatard Gambit 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e5 Nfd7 6. h4 Bxg5 7. hxg5
White sacrifices a pawn against the French Classical for an open h-file and an attack.
(6) Queen’s Gambit Accepted 1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3
An extremely topical opening. For those who would wish to try 3. e4, ICCF is offering a postal thematic in that line in December.

Counter-Gambit List

(1) Benko Gambit 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5
Being an American, I can call this the Benko, though you might better know it as the Volga. Unusually, this is a positional gambit, and Black can retain his positional edge into the endgame without needing to win the pawn back. If this proves a popular choice, perhaps I’ll pick a variation of this opening for next year.
(2) Elephant Gambit 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d5
Chessbase lists 32(!) moves that have been tried as Black’s second. 2.. d5 is an unusual idea that may be worth a try.
(3) Petroff’s Defense: Damiano Variation 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 Nxe4 4. Qe2
When we were learning chess, it was driven home to us that 3.. Nxe4 led to an automatic loss. Now that we know more, we find it surprisingly playable! I leave to you the choice between .. Qe7 or .. d6.
(4) Bird’s Opening: Schlecter Gambit 1. f4 e5 2. fxe5 Nc6
Last year we tried the From Gambit. This year we experiment with its less common cousin. Note that Black has scored noticeably better with the Schlecter.
(5) Albin Counter Gambit 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e5 3. dxe5 d4
We recently offered this counter gambit, but offer it again with one more move played.
(6) Bellon Counter Gambit. 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 e4 4. Ng5 b5
This opening is also back from last year. Perhaps I’m not the only one looking for a response to the English?