Fan Mail

My friend, James S. Welborn, likes to play the Englund Gambit. Here is a game he submitted to me for review where he tried to go “Englund” on his opponent but the game ended up transposing into an English or even a Slav. The Englund Gambit starts with 1 d4 e5. Play normally continues dxe5 Nc6 and the fun begins. In James’ game the “Englund” flavor is lost pretty quickly because white kept choosing the boring route.


[Event “Live Chess”]

[Site “”]

[White “chess_g”]

[Black “bigcaptain”]

[Result “0-1”]

[BlackElo “1351”]

[ECO “D11”]

[WhiteElo “1304”]

[TimeControl “5+2”]

1. d4 {Notes by Chris Torres.} e5 {James is trying for the Englund Gambit.} 2. c4 {I wish white would play like this against me sometime. Better, of course, is to capture the pawn.} Nf6 3. Nc3 {I wonder what white has against capturing. dxe5 with Ng4 looks interesting and should favor white.} c6 {I like exd4. After white recaptures with the queen black gets to “develop with threats” by placing the knight on c6.} 4. e3 {At this point I am pretty sure that this would be classified under the “English Opening” which usually starts with 1 c4.} Bb4 {exd4 might be better but white has never won a game after black plays Bb4 here.} 5. Nf3 {appears to invite trouble. Nge2 would be better in my opinion.} e4 {Trouble has shown up.} 6. Nd2 d5 7. a3 Bxc3 {I do not see much upside to losing the bishop pair here. Bd6 would be better.} 8. bxc3 Bg4 9. Be2 {Instead of reacting with defence white should have played Qb3 and attacked.} h5 {This is my kind of move although Bxe2 is probably better.} 10. h3 Nbd7 {Highly inaccurate. Before going hog-wild with this kind of attack Black needs to let white castle.} 11. cxd5 {If white takes the bishop here he should win the game. Based on his play, white seems to lack any aggression in chess.} Bxe2 12. Qxe2 Nxd5 {cxd5 should have been played to preserve the center pawns.} 13. c4 {Again, white does not capture. Nxe4 wins a pawn.} Nc3 14. Qf1 Qa5 15. Nb3 Qb6 {Qa4 is much better.} 16. Nd2 Qa5 {c5 is the obvious improvement.} 17. Nb3 {This is the mother of all blunders! White should be dead now.} Qa4 18. Nd2 Qd1# {A nice accurate finish for black.} 0-1

Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

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