For any readers of this blog who don’t know their “dana blogs chess” history, the Bryntse Gambit is a subvariation of the Grand Prix Sicilian where White sacrifices his queen on move six. It goes 1. e4 c5 2. f4 d5 3. Nf3!? de 4. Ng5 Nf6 5. Bc4 Bg4?! 6. Qxg4! I won a nice game with it against IM David Pruess at Reno in 2006, which I wrote about in Chess Life and lectured about for ChessLecture (in fact, it was my very first one). In 2011, Mackenzie-Pruess was featured as a Game of the Day at www.chessgames.com, although the opening is misidentified there as the Batavo Gambit.
Harding’s column, “When Two Pieces Beat a Queen,” is very interesting because it’s a somewhat more objective take on the opening than my article and lecture were. More importantly, he has done some research into the history of the variation and gives us a lot of information on the inventor of this sacrifice, a Swedish correspondence player named Arne Bryntse.
I never knew the history before, having found the idea of 6. Qxg4! independently, and so it’s very interesting to read about my predecessor. He was quite a strong player, who won the Swedish correspondence championship in 1972. There is no question that Bryntse deserves to have his name on this sacrifice, because he played it on several occasions. He even used the “if move” option that existed in correspondence chess to suggest the move 5. … Bg4 to his opponents! He would write, “If 5. … Bg4 6. Qxg4.”
Of course, Harding writes about my game with Pruess. My only slight disappointment is that he basically repeats my Chess Life analysis with very little added commentary of his own, so there was not much for me to learn from reading it. Even so, his article does perform a useful service, because people who don’t subscribe to Chess Life could not previously find that analysis on the Internet.
I do expect to learn a lot from the other games, which include three by Bryntse and three by Wladyslaw Krol, a Polish correspondence player. But why aren’t more OTB players trying out the Bryntse Gambit? Are they afraid of sacrificing their queens?
As I mentioned in a previous post, I haven’t gotten any chances to play the Bryntse in a tournament since 2006, and I have lost some of my ardor for it because I think that declining the gambit with 5. … e6 is a very solid defense for Black. However, Harding says that White has scored 13/21 in the Bryntse Gambit Declined, and Krol’s games in particular look as if they have some good ideas on how to play that line. So maybe it’s time for me to come back to it!