by Michael Goeller

At the Kenilworth Chess Club the other night, I met a mysterious stranger who asked if I knew anything about the line 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nxe4 4.Qh5 Ng5!?!?

I must say, I was shocked to discover that the normal 4....Nd6, leading to the Frankenstein-Dracula Variation, was not forced at all. There was another move! This was a strange discovery, and sort of hair-raising, like coming upon a Werewolf late at night...

Some analysis revealed that with simple play White has a clear advantage in at least one line (our main line below). But there is no silver bullet, and anyone seeing this for the first time over the board will not believe that there isn't something more deadly down some dark alley or maybe in that spooky woods over there....

The whole variation just got a little scarier.

Ferran Monfort - Francisco Luis Yanes Aulestia [C27]

UECC friendly corr/UECC corr 1999


1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bc4 Nxe4 4. Qh5 Ng5!?

I had never seen this move before the other day and can find no book references to it. It's rather a hairy move. Let's call it "The Werewolf."

 

5. d4!

The only way for White to seek an edge. Alternatives do not amount to much:

a) 5. Nf3!? Ne6!

You'll have to examine 5... Nxf3+?! yourself, when 6. gxf3! (6. Qxf3?! f6 7. O-O c6! 8. d3 d5 0-1 Helin,M-Arngrimsson,D/Copenhagen DEN 2002 (55)) 6... Qf6 7. Nd5 Qd6 (7... Qxf3?? 8. Qxe5+ Kd8 9. Qxc7+ Ke8 10. Qxc8#) 8. d4! Nc6 9. dxe5 Qxe5+ 10. Qxe5+ Nxe5 11. Nxc7+ Kd8 12. Nxa8 Nxc4 13. Bf4 is rather unclear and there are likely improvements for both sides on this line.

6. Nxe5 g6 7. Qf3 f6 8. Ng4 Bg7 9. Ne3 (9. h4 f5 10. Ne3 Nc6) 9... c6 10. Bxe6 dxe6 11. O-O O-O

 

b) 5. d3 Ne6 6. Qxe5

(b1) 6. Nf3 d6 7. Ng5 g6! (7... Nxg5 8. Bxg5 Qd7 9. O-O g6 10. Qf3 Bg7 11. Bf6 0-1 Samigulina,R-Nikolova,A/Mureck 1998 (52)) 8. Nxe6 is nothing to fear.

 

(b2) 6. Bxe6 dxe6 7. Qxe5?! (7. Nf3 Nc6 8. Nxe5 Nxe5 9. Qxe5 Qd6=) 7... Nc6 8. Qe4 Nd4! (8... Bd6 9. Nf3 Bd7 10. Bf4= 1-0 Haupt,J-Jurak,D/Brno 2005 (29)) 9. Kd1 f5

 

(b3) 6. Nd5? c6 7. Ne3 d5 8. Bb3 Bd6 9. Nf3 was the continuation of a game I played recently on ICC, when I should have tried 9... O-O! (instead of 9... Qf6?! 10. Ng4! 0-1 bobbyfish-goeller/Internet Chess Club 2007 (41)) 10. Nxe5?? Nf4

6... Nc6 7. Qe2 d6?! (better seems 7... Bb4! with the idea of forcing through a ...d5 advance and castling quickly) 8. Nf3 Ne7?! A very time consuming method of achieving ...d5. 9. O-O c6? 10. Bxe6 Bxe6 11. Ne4 Bc8? and now White should win immediately with 12. Bf4! ( but 12. Re1? h6? 13. Bf4! g5?? 14. Bd2?? (14. Nf6#) 14... Bg7 15. Nc3?= was the embarrassing continuation of Srebrnic,M-Miletic,D, which White eventually won.)

 

c) 5. Ne4?! Ne6 6. Qxe5 (6. Nf3!? d5 (6... d6 7. Nfg5 Qe7) 7. Nxe5 g6 8. Qf3 f5 9. Bxd5 Qe7! 10. Qb3 c6 11. Bxe6 Bxe6 12. Qc3 fxe4 13. Nxg6 Bg7 14. Nxe7 Bxc3 15. Nxc6 Bf6 16. Nxb8 Rxb8 17. O-O Rg8) 6... Nc6 7. Qh5 Nb4 (7... Ncd4!) 8. Bb3 d5 9. Nc3 c6 (9... Nd4!) 10. a3 Na6 11. Nge2 Bd6 12. O-O O-O 13. f4 Re8 14. d4 Qf6 15. Be3 Nf8 16. Rf3 Qg6 17. Qh4 Be7 18. Qf2 Bg4 19. f5 Qd6 20. Bf4 Qd8 21. Re3 Bxf5 22. Ng3 Bg6 23. Rae1 Ne6 24. Nce2 Bd6 25. c4 Nac7 26. c5 Bxf4 27. Nxf4 Qf6 28. Nxg6 Qxf2+ 29. Kxf2 hxg6 30. Rd1 Nb5 31. Ne2 f5 32. a4 Nbc7 33. Bc2 Kf7 34. Rf3 Ng5 35. Rf4 Rh8 36. h4 Nge6 37. Rf3 Rxh4 38. b4 Ng5 39. Re3 Ne4+ 40. Kg1 Rah8 41. Ng3 f4 42. Rf1 Nxg3 43. Rxg3 Rh1+ 44. Kf2 Rxf1+ 45. Kxf1 Ne6 46. b5 Nxd4 47. Bd3 Rh1+ 0-1 Uslijski,N-Vega Gutierrez,S

5... Ne6 6. d5

White can also play simple chess by 6. dxe5 Nc6

(Not 6... d6?! 7. exd6 Bxd6 8. Nf3 O-O 9. O-O Nf4?! (better 9... Nd7 10. Rd1! Nf6 11. Qh4 though White still has a clear edge) 10. Bxf4 Bxf4 11. Rad1 Qe8? (11... Nd7 12. Ne4) 12. Rfe1 Qc6? (12... Be6 13. Nd5! Bd6? 14. Nf6+ gxf6 15. Bd3 wins) 13. Qxf7+! 1-0 Okkes,M-Ruzzier,D/Arco 2002 and mate is forced.)

7. Nf3

(a) 7. Bxe6!? dxe6 8. Bg5 Qd4! 9. Nf3 Qc4! (9... Qb6?! 10. O-O-O g6?! 11. Qh4 Bg7 12. Ne4 O-O 13. Bh6 Nb4 14. Bxg7 Kxg7 15. Kb1 Qa5 16. a3 Nd5 17. Nf6 h6 18. Rd3 c6 19. Rhd1 Rb8 20. h3 (20. Ng4!) 20... b5 21. Nd4 Qb6 22. Rf3 Nxf6 23. Qxf6+ Kg8 24. Rfd3 b4 25. axb4 c5 26. Nb3 c4 27. Rd8 Bb7 28. Rxb8 Rxb8 29. Nc5 Qxb4 30. Nxe6 fxe6 31. Qxg6+ Kf8 32. Qxh6+ Ke7 33. Qg7+ Ke8 34. Qg8+ Qf8 35. Qxe6+ Qe7 36. Qg8+ Qf8 37. Qxc4 Qf5 38. Qc7? (38. Qg8+!) 38... Rc8! 39. g4 Rxc7 40. gxf5 Be4 1/2-1/2 Carlos,L-Anta,C/ICCF corr 1999 (57)) 10. O-O-O Bb4.

 

(b) 7. f4?! g6 (7... Ncd4! 8. Qd1 Bb4=) 8. Qe2 d6 9. Nf3 Bg7 10. O-O dxe5 11. fxe5 Nxe5 12. Bd5 Nxf3+ 13. Qxf3 O-O 14. Be3 c6 15. Bb3 Qe7 16. Rad1 Bd7 17. Ne4 b6 18. Bh6 Rad8 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20. Qc3+ f6 21. Rd3 Nc7 22. Rdf3 Bf5 23. Ng3 Bd7 24. Ne4 Bf5 25. Ng3 Bd7 26. Ne4 Bf5 1/2-1/2 Congiu,M-Hamsany,M/Hyeres 2002.

7... Be7?!

(Better 7... g6! 8. Qg4 d6 9. Qe4 Bg7 10. exd6 O-O!? 11. dxc7 (11. O-O cxd6!?) 11... Nxc7 12. O-O Bf5 13. Qe2 Ne6)

8. Be3 Nb4 9. O-O-O O-O 10. a3 Nc6 11. Rhe1 a6 12. Bd3 h6 13. Qg4 Bg5 14. Nxg5 Nxg5 15. Qg3 Kh8 16. f4 Nh7 17. Bc5 d6 18. exd6 Bd7 19. Bxh7 1-0 Seidler,D-Hopf,W/IECG email 1999

 

6... Nd4

The Werewolf Knight really gets around. Other moves have proven disasterous in practice:

a) 6... Nf4?? 7. Qxe5+ Ne6 8. dxe6 dxe6 9. Bf4 c6 10. Qc7 Be7 11. Rd1 Nd7 12. Qxd8+ Bxd8 13. Nf3 O-O 14. O-O Nb6 15. Be2 Nd5 16. Nxd5 exd5 17. c4 Be6 18. cxd5 Bxd5 19. b3 b5 20. Nd4 Bb6 21. Bf3 Bxf3 22. Nxf3 Rfc8 23. Nd4 a5 24. Nf5 1-0 Schaffarth,P-Bittner,F/Bad Wiessee 2003.

 

b) 6... g6? 7. dxe6 gxh5 8. exf7+ Ke7 9. Bg5+ Kd6 10. O-O-O+ (10. Bxd8) 10... Kc5 (10... Kc6) 11. Rd5+ Kxc4 12. b3+ Kb4 13. Rb5+ Ka3 14. Nb1+ Kxa2 15. Ra5+ Ba3+ 16. Rxa3# 1-0 Book,E-Heidenheimo/Helsinki 1925.

7. Qxe5+!

Simple is best. The "natural" alternatives prove deceptive:

a) 7. d6!? Qf6!? (7... Ne6 8. f4!? exf4 9. Bxf4) 8. Bd3?

(a1) 8. Nd5 Qxd6 9. Nxc7+ Kd8 10. Nxa8 Nxc2+ 11. Kf1 Nxa1

 

(a2) 8. Ne4 Qg6 9. Qxe5+ Ne6 10. dxc7 Bb4+ 11. c3 Nc6 12. Qd5 Nxc7

8... Qxd6 9. Nf3 Nbc6 10. O-O g6 11. Qh4 Nxf3+ 12. gxf3 Nd4 13. Qe4 f5 14. Qd5 c6 15. Qxd6 Bxd6 16. Kg2 Be7 17. Be3 Ne6 18. Bh6 Bf8 19. Bxf8 Rxf8 20. Rfe1 Nf4+ 21. Kf1 d6 22. Rad1 Be6 23. b3 b5 24. b4 Nxd3 25. Rxd3 Bc4 26. f4 e4 27. f3 d5 28. a3 O-O-O 0-1 Riley,R-Tatom,J/ICCF email 1998.

 

b) 7. Bg5?! g6 8. Bxd8 (8. Qh4?! Be7 9. Bxe7 Qxe7 10. Qxe7+ Kxe7 11. O-O-O d6) 8... Nxc2+ 9. Kd1 gxh5 10. Bf6 (10. Kxc2 Kxd8) 10... Nxa1 11. Bxh8 d6 12. Bd3 f5 (12... Na6 13. Bf6 Be7 14. Bxe7 Kxe7 15. Nge2 Nb4 16. Bxh7 Bd7 17. Kd2 Rh8 18. Be4 f5 19. Bd3 Rg8 20. g3 e4 21. Bb5 Bxb5 22. Nxb5 a6 23. Nbd4 Kf6 24. Rxa1 Nxd5 25. Nc3 Nxc3 26. bxc3 h4 27. Rg1 f4 28. g4 h3 0-1 Ledder,G-Nemeth,L/WCCF email 2002, and perhaps 12... Bh6!?) 13. Bf6 Bh6 14. f3 Na6 15. Bxa6 bxa6 16. Nge2 Rb8 17. b3 Bd7 18. Re1 Kf7 19. Bh4 a5 20. f4 a4 21. Kd2 exf4 22. Nd4 f3+ 23. Kd3 Nxb3 24. axb3 fxg2 25. bxa4 f4 26. Bf2 Bg4 27. Kc2 f3 28. Rd1 Re8 29. Kd3 Bf4 30. h4 Rb8 31. Kc2 Be5 32. Rd3 Bg3 33. Nxf3 Bxf2 34. Ne2 Bf5 35. Ng5+ Kg8 36. Nh3 Bxd3+ 37. Kxd3 Rb3+ 0-1 Kiss,J-Csato,E.

7... Qe7 8. Qxe7+ Bxe7 9. Bd3 d6 10. Be3 Nf5 11. Bd2

This ending definitely favors White due to his better pieces, control of space, and rapid development. But many players as White, encountering the Werewolf for the first time, will refuse to believe that this is the best way to kill the beast.

 

11... Na6 12. Bxa6!? bxa6 13. O-O-O O-O 14. Nf3 Rb8 15. Rhe1 Bf6 16. Bg5 Bxc3 17. bxc3 f6 18. Bd2 Bb7 19. c4 h5 20. h3 Rfe8 21. g4 hxg4 22. hxg4 Nh6 23. Bxh6 gxh6 24. Nd4 Kf7 25. Rh1 Kg6 26. Rh2 Bc8 27. Rdh1 Rh8 28. Nc6 Ra8 29. f3 Bd7 30. Nd4 Rab8 31. c3 Rbe8 32. Rg1 Rb8 33. Kc2 Rb6 34. Re1 Rb7 35. Re7 Rh7 36. Rxh7 Kxh7 37. Re2 Kg6 38. Re7 Bc8 39. Nb3 c5 40. Rxb7 Bxb7 41. Nd2 Kf7 42. Ne4 Ke7 43. Ng3 Bc8 44. Kd3 a5 45. a3 a4 46. Ke4 Bd7 47. Kd3 Bc8

White should have some sort of advantage, but breaking through will be difficult. For example, the natural idea of 48.Ke4 and Nf5+ meets with Bxf5 and Kf7, when Black has more tempi due to his pawn at a7. In any event, "friendly" correspondence games frequently go unfinished, and this is no exception.

 

The Werewolf may not exactly drive a stake through the heart of the Frankenstein-Dracula Variation. But it might be worth springing on an unsuspecting opponent in late night ICC blitz!

1/2-1/2

download PGN

Game in PGN

Copyright © 2007 by Michael Goeller