Saturday, May 18

King's Gambit Accepted: 3...d6!?

We present a game from a match over twelve boards held on the 4th inst. between two strong German sides, the Mannheim Chess Club and the Anderssen Chess Club of Frankfurt, won by the former by the narrowest of margins, 6 1/2- 5 1/2.  The contest below was played on first board between Herr Gudehus of Mannhein and Dr. Mannheimer of Frankfurt, who, through an irony of fate, lead the Frankfurt men into battle against representatives of the the city that gave him his surname.  The game itself, a pretty win for Herr Gudehus, warrants publication on its own merits; an added point of interest in its favor is the adoption by Dr. Mannheimer, as early as the third move, of a rare - indeed, practically unheard-of - defense to the King's Gambit, 3...d6.  We could not recall ever having seen this move played before, although a search through our card index did unearth a few examples of its adoption in practice, including some of considerable vintage: the consummate gambiteers Blackburne and Anderssen both faced it half a century ago, in 1862.

The move 3...d6 intrigues, and, upon reflection, one can only wonder at the rarity of its use.  If 3...g5, 3...d5, 3...Nf6, and 3...Be7 can all be played, then, one may ask, why not 3...d6 as well?  Dr. Mannheimer's lack of success with it in the current instance certainly cannot be considered a refutation.  Many more trials are required.  The King's Gambit is perhaps the most heavily-analyzed of all debuts, and the possibility of a new and virtually untested defense so early in the game, opening fresh paths and new vistas, would be most welcome indeed.  Perhaps all that is lacking for the move 3...d6 to gain currency is for some great player to become its champion, and to claim that it represents the best method of meeting White's attack.  Then, its popularity would soar.  But chess theory is often a slave to current fashion, and it may well be that another half-century will need to pass before this occurs.

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