The Conquest Attack in the
Evans Gambit Declined

Black wants a quiet positional game against the Evans Gambit by declining the b-pawn. Well, as Steve Stoyko would say: "Why give him what he wants?" Try the wild and wooly Conquest Attack.

S. Conquest - L. Winants [C51]

Amsterdam Donner op/Amsterdam (4) 1996


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bb6 5. a4 a6 6. Nc3 Nf6 7. d4!?

 


Position after 7.d4!?

 

Michael Rohde writes: "Was this the move that Kasparov intended to use against Piket, had Piket played 5....a6 instead of 5....a5? I don't think so!" But the move definitely has attracted some attention and seems more playable than Zukertort's version of the idea (see below).

 

7... exd4

a) 7... Nxd4?! 8. Nxe5 O-O 9. Be3 Rohde

b) 7... Bxd4!? 8. Nxd4 Nxd4 (8... exd4!?) 9. f4 Conquest 9... d6 (9... d5!?) 10. O-O Be6!= Rohde

 

8. Nd5 Nxd5 9. exd5 Qe7+ 10. Kf1

Rohde writes: "Although White has given up the right to castle, he has a plan to lock out Black's Queenside pieces for quite a while."

 

10... Ne5

Rohde: "Probably better than letting the Knight go permanently astray with

10... Nxb4?!

 

11. d6! cxd6

11... Qxd6? 12. Bf4 f6 13. Nxe5 fxe5 14. Qh5+ Rohde

 

12. Bd5 Qf6 13. Ng5 O-O 14. Ra3

and White has "decent attacking chances" says Rohde. As in my analysis of the Zukertort game, White's active queen's Rook is more meaningful than the material.

 

14... h6

14... d3!? 15. f4 h6 (15... dxc2? 16. Qxc2 Ng6 17. h4) 16. Ne4 Qf5 17. Nxd6 Qf6 18. Ne4 Qf5 19. Ng3 Qf6 and White has nothing that is clearly better than the draw by repetition.

 

15. Ne4 Qf5 16. Rg3

First 16. a5!? might be compared to the note below.

 

16... Ng6

 


Position after 16...Ng6.

 

17. c4?!

Almost winning is 17. Qf3! Qxf3 18. gxf3! Kh8 19. Nxd6 Bc7 20. Nxf7+ Kh7 21. f4! (White also can force a draw with 21. Ng5+ Kh8 (21... hxg5 22. Rh3+ Nh4 23. Bxg5) 22. Nf7+=) 21... Bxf4 (21... Ne7 22. Be4+ g6 23. Ne5) (21... Nxf4 22. Rhg1) 22. Rxg6 (22. Rg4!? Bxc1 23. Rhg1 d6 24. Rxg6 Bg5 25. Nxg5+ Kxg6 26. Ne6+ Kf6 27. Nxf8 Bh3+ 28. Ke2 Rxf8 29. Bxb7) 22... Kxg6 23. Bxf4 Rxf7 24. Rg1+ Kf6 25. Bd6 g5 26. Rg3 Kg6 27. Bxf7+ Kxf7 28. a5 Ke6 29. Bf8

 

17... dxc3 18. h4 c2 19. Qd2 Qh5 20. Rxg6? Qd1+! 21. Qe1 Kh8 22. Rg3 Qxd5 23. Bb2 Bd4 24. Bxd4 Qxd4 25. Rc3 Re8 26. f3 d5

0-1

[Michael Goeller]


J. Zukertort - B. Englisch [C51]

Paris it/Paris (1) 1878


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bb6 5. a4 a6 6. d4!?

The question arises whether White can try the d4-sac a move earlier. Well, it has been tried. Harding and Cafferty call this "dubious," but they simply cite the wild Zukertort game that follows without additional analysis. I think the line is messy and therefore offers White certain practical chances, very much along the lines of Koltanowski's handling of the Giuoco Piano (which goes 4.O-O Nf6 5.d4!?). At the very least it should make for lots of fun at faster time controls. A more convincing objection to the move is that White has no need to sacrifice anything here to obtain a good game:

a) 6. a5 Ba7 7. b5!? (7. O-O Nf6 8. b5 axb5 9. Bxb5 Nxe4 10. Qe2 Nd6 11. Bxc6 dxc6 12. Qxe5+ Kf8) 7... axb5 8. Bxb5 with an odd sort of Spanish, as Harding points out, and this seems promising to me.

 

b) 6. Nc3 Nf6 7. Nd5 is what Conquest was trying to improve upon and it is at least equal.

 

c) 6. Bb2 was Tartakower's preference, and it makes good positional sense though it is hardly ambitious.

 

d) 6. c3 followed by d3 transposes to Bird's method of handling the Giuoco Piano by gaining space on the Queenside. Black does well here too.

6... Bxd4

This reply does not look best, but it was played in the only known master game with the line and so gets into all of the books that even mention 6.d4!? The chief alternatives seem to be:

 

a) 6... Nxd4! may well be the test of the gambit, with very messy and complex play: 7. Nxd4!?

(Black must play aggressively to keep the balance after 7. a5 Ba7 8. Nxe5 Qe7!? (Safer is 8... Qf6 9. Ng4 Qg6 10. O-O d6 11. Ne3) 9. Nxf7 Qxe4+ 10. Kf1 d5! (10... Nxc2!? 11. Nd2 Qf5 12. Qe2+ Ne7 (12... Kf8? 13. Nxh8 Nxa1 14. Bd3 Qe6 15. Bb2) 13. Ne4!? (13. Nxh8 Nxa1 14. Bd3 Qf8 15. Bb2) 13... Nd4 14. Qe1 Nc2 15. Ned6+ cxd6 16. Nxd6+ Kf8 17. Qxe7+ Kxe7 18. Nxf5+ Kf6 19. Bb2+ Kxf5 20. Bd3+ Kg5 21. Bxc2) 11. Bd3 Bg4! 12. Qd2 (12. f3? Qe7! 13. Nxh8? Nxf3) (12. Bxe4 Bxd1 13. Bxd5 Nf6 14. Nxh8 Nxd5 15. Na3 O-O-O) 12... Be2+ 13. Qxe2 Qxe2+ 14. Bxe2 Kxf7 15. Bd3)

7... Bxd4 8. Ra3 Qh4!? 9. O-O Nf6 10. Rg3 h6?! (10... Nxe4! 11. Bxf7+!? Kxf7 12. Rg4 Qf6 13. Rxe4 d5 14. Ree1 c6) 11. c3 Ba7 12. Nd2 (12. Rxg7?! d5!) 12... d6?! (12... O-O 13. Nf3 Qh5 14. Rh3 Qg6 15. Nxe5 Qxe4 16. Re1 Qf5 17. Rf3) 13. Rxg7 Ng4 14. Nf3 Nxf2 15. Qd5 Ng4+ 16. Kh1 Qh5 17. Rxf7! Nf2+ 18. Rxf2 Bxf2 19. Rxc7! Qg6 20. Nxe5! Lyrberg-Estrada, Ubeda Open 1996, 1-0

 

b) 6... d5?! 7. exd5 (7. Bxd5!?) 7... Nxd4 8. Nxe5 Bf5 9. O-O!

 

c) 6... Qe7?! 7. d5 Qxb4+ (7... Nd4 8. c3 Nxf3+ 9. Qxf3) 8. Nfd2 Nce7 9. Ba3 Qa5 10. c3 Ba7 11. O-O has got to be good for White.

 

d) 6... exd4 7. a5 Ba7 8. O-O Qe7 9. b5

 

7. Nxd4 Nxd4

7... exd4 8. O-O and White's lead in development alone is sufficient compensation for the pawn.

 

8. O-O d6 9. f4

9. c3 Be6!

 

9... Be6! 10. Bxe6 Nxe6 11. f5!

Parallel to Koltanowski's treatment of the Giuoco Piano, as discussed by Chris Baker in his Startling Repertoire book, White simply claims a powerful superiority on the kingside to support long term attacking plans.

 

11... Ng5 12. Nc3 h6 13. Be3

13. h4! Nh7 14. Qg4 Kf8 15. Qh3!? and White certainly has Black in a bit of a bind.

 

13... Nf6 14. Qd3 Ngh7 15. a5 Qd7 16. Nd5?!

Why exchange pieces here? Perhaps 16. h3

 

16... Nxd5 17. exd5 f6 18. c4 Ng5 19. h4 Nf7 20. Qe4 c6 21. Rad1 O-O 22. c5?!

White should keep things bound up until he is ready to break through -- perhaps instead 22. Rf3

 

22... Rfd8 23. cxd6 Qxd6 24. Bc5 cxd5!

Zukertort (whose name means "sugar tart," by the way) must have overlooked this retort.

 

25. Qg4 Qd7 26. Rd3 e4 27. Rg3 Ne5 28. Qh5 Kh8 29. Be3 Qe8 30. Rg6 Nxg6 31. fxg6 Qf8?! 32. g4 d4 33. Bxh6!? gxh6 34. g5 Qg7?

It's unbelievable that White does not lose, down a Rook and two connected passed pawns!

34... Rd6 35. gxh6 Qc8 will score the point.

 

35. gxf6! Qxg6+ 36. Qxg6 Rg8 37. h5 e3 38. Rf4 Rad8?

38... d3! 39. Rd4 Raf8 40. Rxd3 Rxg6+ 41. hxg6 Rxf6 42. Rxe3 Rxg6+

 

39. Re4 Rdf8 40. Re6 Rxg6+ 41. hxg6 Rg8

41... Kg8!=

 

42. Kh2 d3

42... Rxg6!? 43. f7! Kg7 44. Rxg6+ Kxf7 45. Rg1 Ke6 46. Kg3 Kd5

 

43. Rxe3??

White wins by 43. g7+!! Kh7 44. f7 Kxg7 45. fxg8=Q+ Kxg8 46. Rxe3 d2 47. Rd3 etc.

 

43... d2! 44. g7+ Kh7 45. Rd3 Kg6 46. Rxd2 Kxf6 47. Rd6+ Kxg7 48. Rd7+ Kf6 49. Rxb7 Ra8

1/2-1/2

[Michael Goeller]

Games in PGN

Copyright 2006 by Michael Goeller