Splendidly Evil!

by admin on May 1, 2019

Some of you may know about Grandmaster Jonathan Speelman’s Agony Column at ChessBase.com. It’s a column for reader-submitted games, which GM Speelman annotates. The reason for the unusual name is that he asks you to submit one victory (the ecstasy game) and one defeat (the agony game).

Last month I had the idea of submitting my two favorite Bryntse Gambit games (i.e., games starting with the queen sacrifice on move six, 1. e4 c5 2. f4 d5 3. Nf3 de 4. Ng5 Nf6 5. Bc4 Bg4?! 6. Qxg4!). Of course, they will be not be new to regular readers of this blog. The two games are Mackenzie-Pruess, from Reno 2006, and Mackenzie-Kudrin, from Reno 2014. The first one is my “ecstasy game,” and the second one is the “agony game.” The second game stretches the definition of an agony game a little bit, because it was a draw, not a defeat. And I suspect, in fact, that Kudrin suffered much more agony in that game than I did. However, I called it an agony game because it was my best chance ever to beat a grandmaster, but I chickened out and accepted Kudrin’s draw offer (only to realize later how completely winning I was in the final position).

Anyway, today I got an e-mail from Speelman saying that he would like to use my two games in his column next Sunday (May 5). If you’re reading this post twenty years from now, it will be his column #97. I’ll post a link when the article goes up.

What will Speelman say about this still little-known opening variation? Maybe there’s a clue in the e-mail he sent to me, which he concluded with, “What a splendidly evil gambit!”

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