Happy Halloween (Gambit)

There is a unique horror the players with the black pieces feel when the Four Knights Opening takes a dark turn into the Halloween Gambit. As white, remember to make black’s Knights run… Should black do something unexpected, just grin like it is all part of your Halloween fun!

Here is an example from one of my legendary Halloween Gambit Simuls to get you started:
[Event “Halloween Gambit Simul”]
[Site “Cupertino, California”]
[Date “2008.10.31”]
[Round “”]
[White “Torres, Chris”]
[Black “Student”]
[Result “1-0”]
[Eco “C47”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]{[ Halloween Gambit]}

1.e4 e5
2.Nf3 Nc6
3.Nc3 Nf6
{Welcome to the Halloween Gambit! “Where there is no imagination there is no horror.” ~Arthur Conan Doyle, Sr.}
Welcome to the Halloween Gambit!
Welcome to the Halloween Gambit!
Nxe5 5.d4{After sacrificing his horse, White gains unimaginable powers.}
Nc6 {White should not let their heart be troubled by the game below. I know some
Halloween secrets that give white plenty of treats in the Ng6 lines!}
( 5…Ng6 6.e5 Bb4 7.exf6 Qxf6 8.Qe2+ Qe7 9.Be3 d5 10.h4 Nxh4
11.g4 Bxc3+ 12.bxc3 g5 13.Rb1 h6 14.c4 Qe4 15.Rxh4 gxh4 16.f3
Qe7 17.cxd5 h5 18.g5 b6 19.Kd2 Bb7 20.c4 O-O-O 21.Rb3 Qd7 22.Qh2
Qa4 23.Kc1 Kb8 24.Bf4 Rd7 25.Be5 {…0-1, Goldsmith Alan (AUS) 2247 – Tao Trevor (AUS) 2390 , Adelaide 2002 It (open)})
6.d5 Ne5 {Again, I have some tricks up my sleave for Black’s other ideas as well.}
( 6…Bb4 7.dxc6 Nxe4 8.Qd4 Qe7 9.Be3 f5 10.cxd7+ Bxd7 11.Be2
Bc5 12.Bh5+ Kd8 13.Qd3 Bxe3 14.Qxe3 Nxc3 15.Qxe7+ Kxe7 16.bxc3
Bc6 17.O-O-O g6 18.Rhe1+ Kf6 19.Be2 Bxg2 20.Rd7 Rhe8 21.Rxh7
Rad8 22.Rd1 Rh8 23.Rxc7 Rxd1+ 24.Kxd1 Bc6 25.Ke1 Rxh2 26.Ba6
{…0-1, Sigfusson Sigurdur (ISL) 2320 – Bellin Robert (ENG) 2400 , Reykjavik 4/ 6/2007 It (cat.3)})
7.f4 {Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen.Voices whisper in the trees, “Tonight is Halloween!”~Dexter Kozen}
Position after 7. f4
Position after 7. f4
Neg4 {This is where I laughed an evil laugh and exclaimed that, “It is all part of my master plan!”}
8.e5 {Bring forth the pawns and the nuts.Tonight All-Hallows’ Spectre struts. Along the moonlit way.}
Bc5 {The Black Bishop and Dark Knight make merry on this last of dear October’s days.}
9.exf6 {“Tis now the very witching time of night…”~ William Shakespeare}
Position after 9. exf6
Position after 9. exf6

Bf2+ {The Black Bishop informs the White King that it is indeed time to come out and play.}

10.Ke2 {So much for king safety!}
Bb6 {“Double, double toil and trouble…”}
11.fxg7 Rg8
12.d6 {The best-known method of slaying the Vampire is to drive a wooden stake through its heart.}
Position after 12. d6
Position after 12. d6
Qh4 {?} {Wasting time on Halloween is not a good plan. Rxg7 was quite superior.}
13.g3 {Be gone evil one!!!}
Qf6 14.Kf3 {Perhaps not the best but impressively ambitious.}
Position after 14. Kf3
Position after 14. Kf3


15.Bh3 h5 {Now who’s king is in more danger?}
16.Re1+ {Black’s king is now existing only in a nightmare.}
Position after 16. Re1+
Position after 16. Re1+


17.Ne4 Qg6 18.c4{If dxc7+ is natural, then c4 is supernatural!}
f5 {Precisely what white was expecting.}
19.Ng5 Rg8 {?} {Black does not have time to relocate the rook to e8. Better was Bc5.}
20.Qd5 {Trick or Threats!}
20. Qd5 Trick or Threats!
20. Qd5 Trick or Threats!
Position after 21. dxc7+
Position after 21. dxc7+
Kxc7 {If Bxc7, then:} ( 21…Bxc7 22.Ne6+ Qxe6 23.Rxe6 )
22.c5 {Each monster is forced to dance.}
Ba5 23.Ne6+ {And now my knight exclaims, “Trick or Treat.”}
dxe6 {And it is the bewildered Black King who is finally tricked on Halloween.}
24.Qd6# {Happy Halloween.} 1-0
24. Qd6# Happy Halloween (Gambit)
24. Qd6# Happy Halloween (Gambit)

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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