Monday, April 14, 2008

Mammoth Traps II: Catching the Queen in the French Wing Gambit

mammoth traps
I have posted some analysis of Catching the Queen in the French Wing Gambit, which can now be taken as the second installment of the Mammoth Traps series. It features the line 1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e5 c5 4.b4 cxb4 5.d4 Bd7 6.a3 Qa5 7.Bd2.

In an earlier article on The Caveman Caro-Kann, I wrote about the unusual Rook sac line that begins 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.h4 h5 5.Bg5!? Qb6 6.Bd3!? Bxd3 7.Qxd3 Qxb2 8.e6!! and Black gets in trouble if he takes the Rook at a1. It struck me then that this was a true caveman tactic: the Queen is trapped "like a wooly mammoth ... blundering its way to extinction." Since then I have been collecting such "mammoth traps," which make for an interesting study, especially because it's a bit unclear whether these traps actually work! After all, it is no small matter to kill a wooly mammoth even after it has fallen into your trap!

french wing gambit

White to Play

The line I analyze from the French Wing Gambit is a case in point. Though the Queen becomes trapped at a1 (following 8.axb4! in the diagram above), it is not clear that White can win her against best play. But with the Queen exposed to threats and out of play, White has plenty of opportunities to generate an attack!

Our main game (found at ChessBase) was played in 1967, yet remains strangely unknown to theory. This game is important to theory since it puts into question a line that is offered by many books as the simplest "refutation" of The French Wing Gambit.


Anonymous said...

This is a perfectly reasonable exchange sacrifice, queen trap or not.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Thanks a lot for providing this. Given that my pet line, the Alapin Gambit, against the French, is totally crap, I will be taking up the wing gambit with the help of Davies, and your article (which apparently overcomes a glaring omission from his book!).