Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Adelaide Counter-Gambit Bibliography (1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Nf3 f5!?)

I am always interested in how an opening line gets its name. There seems to be a limited set of methods in chess. It can derive from the name of its first player or analyst, by a "myth of origin." It can derive from a tournament location where the line received its debut or most significant test (e.g.: the Scheveningen Sicilian). It can derive from the inventor's fancy, as in the Toilet Variation of the Grand Prix Attack (so named by GM Mark Hebden to recall the location of its first conception). It can be assigned an animal name (my favorite) for marketing or symbolic reasons. It can even be named for the location where it was first analyzed, as in Kavalek's Vinohrady Variation, or the line we are considering here.

As I sat down to title this bibliography, I was frankly puzzled. A number of names for 1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Nf3 f5!? crop up in the literature. And since the line remains relatively obscure and has multiple parents, the issue of naming is not fully settled. It might be worthwhile to review the possible names, if only to make my bibliography easier to find via a Google search for those who don't know it as the "Adelaide."

Tony Miles gets credit for the name that seems most likely to stick. He was the first to draw attention to the line in his article "King's Gambit Refuted at Last?" (NIC Yearbook 36:1995), where he told the story of how he invented it and worked out its complexities with the help of then Australian Champion Alex Wohl: "the line was subjected to rigorous testing in local smoke-filled laboratories and found to be remarkably viable." Because of the South Australian city where they did their work, Miles suggested it be called "the Adelaide Counter Gambit," a name that King's Gambit enthusiast Thomas Johansson adopts as well.

In his article "King's Gambit Finally Refuted!" (NIC Yearbook 38:1995), Matthias Wahls makes a prior claim to the line (with analysis dating to 1987), though he offers no particular alternative title himself. Ignoring Wahls's claim to priority, Eric Schiller prefers to call it the "Miles Defense," which is the name picked up by

Miles suggested that the line had first been tried in Pigott-Gottschalk, Islington 1975, leading the NIC Yearbook editors to subtitle Miles's article "Gottschalk Counter Gambit Resuscitated." But Gottschalk had only played the rather insipid idea of 1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Nf3 f5 4.exf5 exf4?! -- showing that he really did not understand what he had found. Meanwhile, the most important game with the line may have been Gallagher-Wohl, Kuala Lumpur 1992, with Miles's analysis partner paired with "the famous King's Gambiteer Joe Gallagher." Perhaps Wohl's name should be included as well? Jan Van Reek, meanwhile, suggests "the King's Counter-Gambit" while also noting a much earlier game with the line: De Saint Bon - Dubois, London 1862. So should we call it the Dubois Defense?

We could always combine the most important contemporary names and call it the "Miles-Wohl-Wahls Counter-Gambit." I like the sound of that. Meanwhile, I will settle for Adelaide Counter-Gambit, since Johansson and Miles have made the most important contributions and therefore the name will be most recognizable to those interested in it.

I hope the following bibliography interests readers. I may follow up with some analysis and games of my own, since I have been playing the line regularly for the past year.


Bücker, Stefan. "Konigsgambit am Ende?" Kaissiber #1 (22 May 1996): 24-27.
This article defends the White side against specific lines discussed by Matthias Wahls but ignores potential Black improvements.

Burgess, Graham. "Surprise 4: King's Gambit 2...Nc6, 3...f5." 101 Chess Opening Surprises. Gambit 1998/2001. 13-14.
Though his analysis covers a brief two pages, Burgess provides the most correct assessments and recommendations on the line available.

Craig, Tom. Acunzo-Craig, Luis Paucar Perez Memorial 1999. Scottish Correspondence Chess Association website.

Goeller, Michael. The Bishop's Opening - 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.f4.
Points out an important improvement for Black on Strijbos--Deyirmendjian, Avoine 1995.

Harding, Tim. "Introduction to the Pierce Gambit." The Kibitzer 96 ChessCafe
If you choose to play the Adelaide Counter-Gambit as Black, you are also going to have to contend with 1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Nc3! transposing to the Vienna Gambit. Black then typically takes the pawn by 3...exf4, which can lead to a number of lines, most notably the Pierce: 4.Nf3 g5 5.d4 (also possible is 5.h4 g4 6.Ng5 leading to the Hampe-Allgaier) 5...g4!? (Black can also decline the gambit) 6.Bc4 gxf3 7.O-O. I have been looking at some alternative tries for Black, most notably 3...Bb4!?

_______. "Last Rites for the Allgaier Gambit?" The Kibitzer 79 ChessCafe

_______. "Some Theory of the Pierce Gambit." The Kibitzer 97 ChessCafe

Herb, Pascal. "Une défense contre le Gambit du Roi." Les Echecs en noir et blanc.

Johansson, Thomas. "King's Gambit Declined - Counter-Gambits." The King's Gambit for the Creative Aggressor. Bilingual edition. Kania 2005. 16-20.

Lane, Gary. "Grand Prix Crash." Opening Lanes #6 Chess Cafe
Begins with coverage of the Grand Prix Sicilian, eventually responds to a reader's question regarding the innocuous 1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Nf3 f5 4.d3, and then analyzes the superior 4.exf5 e4 5.Ne5 when he suggests--incorrectly--that 5...Nf6 gives Black a lost ending after 6.d3 d5? (better 6...Qe7! of course) 7.dxe4 dxe4 8.Qxd8+ Nxd8 9.g4 as in Walter-Goessling, Bundesliga 1994.

Le gambit du Roi refusé par, 2...Cc6!? at the Mjae website
Good coverage of the important lines.

McGrew, Tim. "Shall We Dance?" The Gambit Cartel 19 ChessCafe
Related to lines arising after 1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6!

Miles, Tony. "King's Gambit Refuted at Last?" New in Chess Yearbook 36 (1995): 95-98.
Discusses some of the author's odder experiments against the King's Gambit, including 1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nh6, 1.e4 e5 2.f4 d5 3.exd5 Bc5, and the subject of this article 1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Nf3 f5 which he analyzed with Alex Wohl in the early 1990s.

Reinderman, Dimitri. "King's Gambit Vienna 1903." Secrets of Opening Surprises 4 (2006): 75-78.

Schiller, Eric. "New, Interesting Gambits: The Miles Defense to the King's Gambit." California Chess Journal 16.6 (November-December 2002): 23-26.
Drawn from the author's book, Gambit Chess Openings, the analysis focuses on the critical line 1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Nf3 f5 4.exf5 e4 5.Ne5 Nxe5(?!) with supplemental coverage of White's fourth move alternatives and some analysis by Alan Kobernat on the superior 5.Ne5 Nf6! Typical Schiller schlock, but with lots of useful game references.

Van Reek, Jan. Timmerman-Umansky, Match 2005.
Black has better than 5...Nxe5?! (see above) as played in the second game between these two.

Wahls, Matthias. "King's Gambit Finally Refuted!" New in Chess Yearbook 38 (1995): 206-218. The author shares his analysis from 1987 of 1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nc6 and discusses all important side-lines. Probably the most complete analysis on the line, though much has come after.


Anonymous said...

This is a fascinating analysis, not only for what it says about chess and this particular move, but also for what it illustrates about language and society. So few people realize the way names, let alone grammar rules and words develop over time. Consider for instance the use of “their.” People don’t typically say, “Everyone drove his or her car to the party.” Instead, they insert “their,” which is – at least for now – wrong. This makes it incredibly hard for me to teach this rule to beginning writers. If, however, more people understood WHY we tend to substitute this incorrect pronoun, it would be far easier for them to correct. The fact is, it all has to do with political correctness and the fact that the time came when “Everyone drove HIS car to the party” simply wasn’t acceptable. If you ever get tired of tracing chess move origins, you should consider a career as a linguist.

Michael Goeller said...

I should add a few things to this list -- most prominently Thomas Johansson's excellent The Fascinating King's Gambit: A Repertoire for the 21st Century (Trafford 2004) which has an excellent discussion on pp.162-168.

Anonymous said...

That is really interesting. My father who used to be a chess coach never explained that to any of his trainee. I hope you can add more.

rinoplastia said...

I liked chess a lot, but finding the right partners is diffuclt and playing against a computer is less interesting.

Fegatello said...

It's a shame I couldn' find most of the material referred to online. Do you have any idea of where to find Konigsgambit am Ende?. I googled it and the only 2 results directed me back here. Anyway, that was a good bibliography, it's just our bad luck that J. Gallagher never re-edited his brilliant Winning with the King's Gambit, for we could sure use some of his analysis on the Adelaide/Miles.

Anonymous said...

Also, Adelaide Counter-Gambit is a good name coz I think Miles and Wohl actually might have got the idea from resident 2200+ player Alan Goldsmith. I should check on that with Alan as I live in Adelaide...