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91 pages, paperback, Chess Enterprises, 1997.

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International Master Yakov Estrin, Vllth World Corresondence Chess Champion, has devoted a lifetime to the study of Open Games. In this work he presents a convincing case for players to adopt gambit play. "Only by playing gambits will the chessplayer begin to understand that getting active positions, with the possibility of landing combinative shots, will compensate him for the material sacrificed." Estrin presents concepts and lines of play in every major opening. He provides many practical illustrations, and the number of examples given from his own games clearly shows that he practices what he advocates. 115 diagrams aid the reader in following the analysis. If you don't play these lines, your opponent will!

The history of chess consists of more than just the World Championship matches-, it is also the struggle between theoretical schools of thought and direction - the battle of ideas. Replacing the early Italian School of the beginning of the 17th Century, whose foremost proponent was Gioacchino Greco, in the latter half of the 18th Century came the teaching of the Frenchman Andre Danican Philidor, who may be considered the first chess strategist.

The Italian School was characterized by its striving for the open game, wherein the forces of both sides come into close contact in the opening. It was, in fact, the 17th Century that gave birth to the so-called Gambit Strategy - playing for quick development of one's pieces, for the sake of which one sacrifices pawns, even pieces.

After the First International Tournament of London, 1851, the chess world fell under the influence of the Romantic Movement: the Combinative School of Adolf Anderssen. It was, for all practical purposes, a further development, on a new, and better-developed basis, of the ideas of the Italian School.

The next major influence on chess minds was that of Wilhelm Steinitz, the first official World Champion, and the founder of the new Positional School.

The natural question then arises: is it worth the chessplayer's time, in our day, to study gambits? It is, undoubtedly; and here's why. First of all, playing gambits shows the chessplayer a wealth of tactical ideas, aiding in the development of his combinative acuity. Additionally (and this is most important), playing gambits helps shape the chessplayer's character, teaching him to understand the dynamics of play, and not to fear giving up material.

Only by playing gambits will the chessplayer begin to understand that getting active positions, with the possibility of landing combinative shots will compensate him for the material sacrificed.

The path followed by the chess player in his development will thus repeat the historical path followed by the art of chess itself. Its starting point is combinational creativity, on whose basis thereafter was laid the art of positional play. The development of a chessplayer's combinative feel is best aided precisely by those openings in which the opposing sides come into close contact at a very early stage of the game - that is, tactical play.

Occasionally, the evolution of an opening system leads to the conviction that its positional plans and tactical possibilities are exhausted, and the natural tries to enliven the game lead nowhere. As a result, that opening system is considered to have been studied through and through, and a categorical evaluation is affixed. But toiling analysts do not always follow these evaluations, preferring instead to search for the gambit solution, the brave and unexpected sacrifice. In this manner, sometimes an opening variation is "exploded", radically altering the existing evaluation.

The all-important prerequisite of such a combinative "blast", its positional basis, is the lead in development. And one means of bringing about such an advantage in the opening is to employ gambits.

What is a gambit? The word "gambit" comes from the Italian expression, Dare il gambetto ,: "to trip up". The "tripping" consists of sacrificing a pawn or even a piece in the opening, so that one side, in the interests of quicker development, may gain time, creating favorable conditions for combinative play and attacks on the enemy position. To put it another way: at the price of a sacrifice in the opening, one side attempts to change the character of the game sharply in his favor.

Gambits can either be accepted - when the chessplayer meets his opponent's intentions head-on and accepts the proffered material - or declined. Sometimes, one also sees the so-called countergambits, when the chessplayer meets a proffered gambit by sacrificing a pawn himself.

In the open positians that arise from gambit openings, the struggle becomes exceptionally fierce. A single tempo becomes immensely significant, and each move requires a momentous decision. Constant practice in gambit openings leads to the expansion of the creative horizons of the chessplayer, teaching him to combine in the game's early stages.

Gambit systems have received a lot of development in our day; they occur in all kinds of openings. The internal makeup of gambit systems has become deeper and more varied, thanks to the fact that they now embrace the whole gamut of strategic and tactical ideas, sometimes totally new and original ones. Gambit play always wins the appreciation of those who love chess by its pretty and surprising combinations, its energetic attacks, and its unique romanticism.

The best players in the world have, in their day, employed gambit systems; and they still continue to do so. Present-day theory numbers many gambits, per se, but this does not exhaust all the gambit systems. Even in the Ruy Lopez, apparently so quiet, there is a whole slew of classical gambit lines.

This work will acquaint the reader, in broad outline, with the gambit openings which occur in current practice. It is based on a standard openings sequence, and uses complete games as examples to demonstrate the methods of playing the attack. The author has not set himself the task of hacking through the debris of all the possible variations; such a work would have taken too much space. Rather, the particular gambit systems and the few examples of them we shall study in this book should serve as a sort of prologue, helping the chessplayer to steer through the boundless sea of variations, to evaluate them critically, and to select according to his own taste the ones which he will then begin to use in tournaments.

J. Estrin

Language English
Author Estrin, Jakow
Publisher Chess Enterprises
Medium Book
Weight 100 g
Width 13.5 cm
Height 21.2 cm
Pages 91
ISBN-10 0931462207
Year of Publication 1997
Binding paperback

07 Irregular Openings

09 Latvian Gambit

10 King's Gambit

11 Falkbeer Countergambit

15 Urusov Gambit

19 Danish Gambit

21 Scotch Gambit

27 Scotch Game

28 Giuoco Piano

36 Evans Gambit Accepted

39 Evans Gambit Declined

40 Two Knights' Defense

43 Max Lange Attack

46 Wilkes-Barre Variation

47 Ruy Lopez

58 Marshall Attack

59 Rabinovich's Gambit

67 Alekhine's Defense

68 Caro-Kann Defense

70 French Defense

74 Sicilian Defense

81 Queen's Gambit

85 English Opening