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Playing Against the

Elephant Gambit - Part 2

WARNING...WARNING...THIS
GAMBIT
REQUIRES
WHITE TO PLAY VERY ACCURATELY! AGGRESSIVE
ATTACKING & SHARP PLAY GUARANTEED. In Part 2
we'll continue reviewing White's responses to The
Elephant Gambit 1.e4e5 2. Nf3 d5.

After white's third move 3.Nxe5, The Mainline


Variation, black has various ways to take
advantage and confuse white. In this article and
others to come we'll look at how white can defend
and turn the game around against black in all the
common lines. We've already examined how white
can take the sting out of the "The Wasp Variation".
Today we'll continue with the other 3 variations
focusing on The Bishop Attack.

The Elephant Gambit


Black's variations after the Mainline 3.Nxe5
1. e4e52. Nf3d5[[3. Nxe5Bd6The Bishop Attack.
(3... dxe4The Pawn Exchange. )(3... Qe7The e7 Queen
Attack. )

The Bishop Attack 3...Bd6 is the most common


reply to 3.Nxe5 according to Open Explorer but it
only has a 31.6% chance of leading black to a win
and a 50% chance for white.
Watch this game demonstating how black
takes advantage of The Mainline Variation
using "The Bishop Attack".
Mikkel Antonsen (2353) vs. Jan Eberle
(2221)
Breda, Netherlands | 1996 | ECO: C40 | 0-1
1. e4e52. Nf3d5[[3. Nxe5Bd6The
4. d4Defends

Bishop
the

Attack.
knight.

4... dxe4Takes

back

the

pawn.

5. Bf4Double defends the knight. Better move would be Nc3 to attack e4.
5... Nf6Defends

the

6. Bc4Doubles

up

white's

6... O-OThe

king

7. Bg3Why??

Perhaps

7... Bxe5Takes
8. Bxe5Takes

e4
attack

on

8... Nc6Attacks

with

f7

square.

to

castling

safety.
or

Nc3.

central

the

the

the

scoots
the

back

pawn.

bishop

d4

to

avoid

pawn

knight.
exchanging

queens.

the

bishop.

and

9. Bxf6Better move was castling so the pawn can take back the knight and the rook
can

capture

the

queen

exchange.

9... Qxf6Look at the board. Black has more space advantage and development.
10. c3Tightens up the center with 2 attackers eyeing the d4 pawn.
10... Qg5The queen assumes the square for the "Wasp Variation" attacking the g2
pawn.
11. g3Oh the complications we create when the king's not castled...g3 protects the
pawn

but

it

weakens

the

white

squares

around

the

king.

11... Bh3BAM! The bishop takes advantage of the opening and prevents the king
from

castling

kingside.

12. Qe2The queen attacks the e4 pawn. A better move would have been Nd2 attacking

the

12... Qc1+POW!

e4

pawn
The

and
queen

unleashing
slips

the

in

and

weakening

the

power

of

delivers

the

rook.

blow.

13. Qd1Defends.
13... Qxb2Now

she

begins

queenside

pawns.

14. Nd2Finally!!
14... Qxc3A Godzilla Queen...She's eating everything insight....unopposed!

15. Rc1An

attack

that's

too

15... Qxd4Chomp,

little

too

late.

chomp,

chomp....

16. Qh5There's fire & brimstone falling all around her camp and the queen feels
the

need

16... e3That

to

abandon

quiet

but

her

troops

PESKY

and

e-pawn

attack
creates

the

bishop??

counter

attack.

17. fxe3Looks like the pawn is feeding itself into the mouth of a queen on
steroids!
17... Qxe3+CHOMP!
18. Kd1Retreats.
18... Rad8Pins

the

knight

and

prepares

to

mate

on

19. Rc2Defends
19... Bg2Retreats
20. Re1A

d2.
d2.

from
dismal

the

queen's
attack

clutches
that

and

attacks
leads

the

rook.

nowhere.

20... Bf3+CAPOW!! The nail in the coffin. Forking the king and the queen. White
resigned here.

Did you notice how a few poor choices broke down


white's defenses. Demonstrating again that The
Elephant Gambit requires Accurate, Sharp Moves
from both sides.
Watch this game demonstating how White
takes advantage of The Mainline Variation
using "The Bishop Attack".
Gonzalez Guillermo Ruiz (2320) vs. Vasik
Rajlich (2340)
Dallas | 1996 | ECO: C40 | 1-0

1. e4e52. Nf3d5[[3. Nxe5Bd6The Bishop Attack.


4. d4Defends the knight.
4... dxe4Takes back the pawn.
5. Qe2Attacks the e4 pawn.
5... Nf6Defends the e4 pawn.
6. Nc3Another attacker on e4.
6... O-OScoots to safety.
7. Bg5Pins the knight - taking away the only defender of the
pawn.
7... Re8Attacks the knight and defends the file.
8. O-O-ODoesn't waste a move with anything else other than
king safety!
8... Qe7Creates a battery on the diagonal - preparing to attack
the kings safety.
9. Nxe4Takes a free pawn and now has 2 centralized knights.
9... Qe6Breaks the pin on the knight.
10. Bxf6The POWER of centralized knights....Can only retake
with a pawn defending the king.
10... gxf6That hole looks inviting for an attack!!
11. Ng4Prepares for a check on the king.
11... Bf4+A check that has NO BITE.
12. Kb1Retreats
12... f5FORKS the knights!
13. Nef6+POW! That's a check with BITE!!
13... Kf814. Nxe8Takes the back rank defender.
14... fxg4Picks up the knight.
15. Qxe6Now the queens exchange.
15... Bxe616. Nf6Gets to safety.
16... Nc6He didn't just do that??
17. d5BAM! Accurate moves are needed for this Gambit.

17... Rd8Attacks the rook if the pawn takes.


18. Be2Prepares to recapture the black rook after the pawn
captures one of the forked pieces. Black resigned here.

So what did we learn here after comparing


the two games:
1. Similar ideas and moves were played in both
games; however, White's move order in the
winning game was more precise in its attacking
effectiveness.
2. White's winning game attacked black's e4 pawn
immediately with the queen and knight. Then
pinned its only defender. That e-pawn can cause
NASTY problems later in the game if not handled
early, as we saw.
3. Beautiful examples of knight centralization in
white's winning game. Then a demonstration of
unleashing their power by supporting eachother.
4. Prepare to castle queenside to avoid the queen's
attack on the g2 pawn. (Not to say there won't be
attacks on the queenside to watch out for.)
Mobilize the queenside pieces quickly and with
purpose as we saw... but CASTLE! DON'T DAWDLE
IN
THIS
GAMBIT!

5. Look for forcing moves....especially when playing


against The Elephant.

I hope this sheds some light on another variation


of Playing Against The Elephant Gambit In
part 3 we'll review other Mainline Variations YOU
SHOULD KNOW. Until then Happy Elephant
Hunting...Cheers.