Monday, August 06, 2007
Refuting 5...Nxe4 in the Scotch Four Knights
Looking through the games from the recently concluded U.S. Open in Cherry Hill, NJ, I was interested in the miniature IM Enrico Sevillano - Pete Tamburro, which seemed theoretically significant. Very likely, Pete will be seeing that game in future opening manuals--to his chagrin!
Like many players who enjoy studying openings (as Pete "Openings for Amateurs" Tamburro obviously does also), I've collected a fair number of off-beat lines that I like to trot out from time to time. One of my "surprise" weapons against the Scotch has been 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nxe4(?), which I've actually had quite a bit of success with over the years in blitz and off-hand games. I especially like to see the look of surprise on my opponent's face when I snatch his e-pawn and leave my Knight en prise. Bewildered expressions, many minutes on the clock, and eventual loss surely follow for him. I imagine Pete keeps that tricky line in his repertoire for the same reason, knowing that there is only one line that the books consider of any advantage for White -- and that line is nowhere near being a "refutation." Well, I think we are both going to shelve 5...Nxe4? following IM Sevillano's brilliant performance, which demonstrates the correct refutation -- a line that most books incorrectly consider inferior for White or equal at best. Playing through Pete's 18-move loss to Sevillano, I see why so many titled players simply ignore the books and make their own theory....