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Federico Cirabisi vs Verter Cugini
"Imperia Stormtrooper" (game of the day Mar-08-2012)
Imperia Open (1992), Imperia, Italy, rd 6
French Defense: Wing Gambit (C00)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: I recall my first college football game, that I attended in person, we were facing the Wildcats; and U of Ariz. marching band would always strike up the 'Imperial March'.

A friend of mine turned to me and says "Why do they play that song, the Empire lost."

Unfortunately, for our football team, that day, the Empire won.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: An interesting opening. After either 6.Bxa3 or 8.Ba3 it would take on some of the characteristics of the Benko Gambit with colors reversed. White would have plenty of open lines on the q-side and Black would be stuck with the usual French bad LSB.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: No, no, no! As a lifelong french player, I have to protest. We can't let this happen to our beloved opening.

The French requires a little more patience than this. So we shouldn't be in such a hurry to push c5, grab queenside pawns or to castle. White gets way too much fun in this game.

Instead of 3...c5 I'd prefer 3...b6

click for larger view

Black prepares c5 and the sneaky Ba6 when he gets to exchange off his bad LSB for white's good one.

Or there's the waiting 3...Bd7. And again we are thinking about how to activate or swap this bishop. But grab lots of prawns and then castle into a raging sacrificial attack? Non, merci.

Mar-08-12  whiteshark: You don't underestimate teh French Wing Gambit again, do you?
Mar-08-12  goldenbear: <oceanlake> 5.d4 is neccessary for White, with sufficient compensation no matter how black plays, in my opinion.
Mar-08-12  goldenbear: Also, if 3.b6!?, then 4.g3 retains as many pieces as possible and Black often has difficulty developing both his King's knight and his King's bishop. They tend to be tripping over eachother.
Mar-08-12  newzild: There's nothing wrong with 3...c5 4. b4 b6, and nor is there anything wrong with 3...g6, intending to develop with Bg7, Ne7 and 0-0. This could transpose into a King's Indian Attack.

Black just has to be careful not to castle into an attack.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Not the smartest idea. Taking a knight in exchange for eventually your king.
Mar-08-12  Garech: IMO 4...b6 is the correct move against the wing gambit, as in

K Rukhaia vs L Mkrtchian, 2001

Along with <Once> I am a lifetime French player; Cugini truly does not play in French style in this game, snapping up pawns and castling into exactly the king of outrageous caveman attack one has to be careful to avoid "si on allez a la francais".


Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: It is crystal clear that after 15...♔xh8 16 ♕h5+ ♔g8 17 g6 mousetrap!
Mar-08-12  erniecohen: could somebody explain the pun?
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Imperial Stormtroopers were a military Corps in Star Wars. This game was played in the Imperia Open.
Mar-08-12  goodevans: The analysis says <13...Kg8! 14.Nxe6 Qb6!> after which <15.Nbc7 Ncxe5 16.d4> becomes hideously complicated. I wouldn't like to play either side of that position. I'm pretty sure I could find a loss either way.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <ge> I assume you meant <15. Nec7> since 15. Nbc7 Ncxe5 eventually wins the e Knight. Playing 15. d4 first is also an interesting option.
Mar-08-12  erniecohen: <<OhioChessFan>: Imperial Stormtroopers were a military Corps in Star Wars. This game was played in the Imperia Open.>

Ah, I missed the tournament name. So it was bad enough that puns were basically on player names, now we're going to have puns on the tournament name? I suppose next comes puns that work for any game whatsoever.

Mar-08-12  mistreaver: Just like a simul. I enjoy playing French as black and i got beaten pretty badly with this gambit, i usually refused the sacrifice with b6, but that didn't help me and i have terrible score against this variation. Oh, and since we are discussing French, could someone tell what is the best continuation in variation 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.Bd2... I guess that black is forced to take on d4 because else his DSB is exchanged and hole on d6 is yawning. But then after 5...cxd4 6. Nb5 i usually play Be7 and then have problems. Any suggestions?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <mistreaver> The "bible" for many french players is "Play the french" by John Watson.

I have the third edition. In this, he doesn't advocate 5...cxd4. Instead he suggests 5...Nh6 and 5...Ne7. In some lines he suggests sacrificing the c pawn for activity. For example, there's this line:

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. Bd2 Nh6 6. Nb5 Bxd2+ 7. Qxd2 O-O 8. dxc5 Nc6 9. Nf3 b6 10. Qc3 Bd7 11. Bd3 bxc5 12. Qxc5 Ng4

I find that one trick with the french is not to be too afraid about the white move dxc5. This strengthens your d5 pawn, releases the central tension and often doubles white's c pawns. It's sometimes worth allowing a pawn sacrifice to achieve all that.

Mar-08-12  mistreaver: <Once> Thanks for the advice, i should definitely get that one, since i often suffer opening problems, and i have fear from playing the Sicilian yet :).Oh and what is Black to do in line that goes something like : 1e4 e6 2d4 d5 3e5 c5 4 Nf3 Nc6 5a3... I often play a4 to prevent b5 and then attack the centre with f6, but i am not always content with the resulting play.
Mar-08-12  King Death: <mistreaver> The line you want is 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6 6.a3. Black's most common plan is 6...c4 although 6...a5 is an older move and 6...Nh6 is played a lot too.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: I play a less common line against the advance french - 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 b6

click for larger view

The idea is to play Ba6 and exchange for the Bf1. Once the LSBs are off the board black's pawn chain is easier to handle.

John Watson doesn't mention your line, I'm afraid.

Mar-08-12  David2009: F Cirabisi vs V Cugini, 1992 Excellent combination; excellent comments by <Once> on how to handle the position. Here's the position after Black has castled and just before White plays 11.h4:

click for larger view

with an interactive link to Crafty Endgame Simulator: After 11.h4 the ES provokes the sacrifice with 11...f6 and proceeds to refute it: 12.Bxh7+ Kxh7 13.Ng5+ Kg8! 14.Nxe6 Qb6! to reach

click for larger view

(just as in the annotations) when nothing quite works for White. I fired up Fritz 12: in rapid mode it couldn't save the position against the ES. The game concluded 15. d4 fxe5 16. Nec7 a6 17. Nxd5 Qxb5 18. Qxb5 axb5 19. Rxa8 exd4 20. Nxe7+ Nxe7 21. cxd4 Nf5 22. f3 Nb6 23. Ra1 Be6 24. Kf2 Rc8 25. Re1 Rc2+ 26. Re2 Rxe2+ 27. Kxe2 Nxd4+ 28. Kf2 Nb3 29. Rb1 Nxc1 30. Rxc1 b4 and I resigned on Fritz 12's behalf.

<Once's> recommendation of ...b6 and ...Ba6 for Black is awkward to play against. If Black wants to accept the gambit - why not? - then 5...Nc6! is a better way of doing it (if 6.axb4 Bxb4).

Mar-08-12  goldenbear: <David2009> You're recommendation for accepting the gambit is weak, in my opinion. White gets everything he wants that way, easily maintains the dynamic balance, and Black faces a tedious defence. By no means do I think your suggestion loses, but it is impractical.
Mar-08-12  rapidcitychess: I am embarrassed to say I have never met this French Wing gambit. Or 2.Nf3 for that matter ^^

I think the 3...b6 line (against the 2.Nf3 d5 3.e5) is the most effective, but 3...c5 doesn't have really that many drawbacks, insofar that it is played correctly. Of course, you can say that for most anything. :D

Mar-08-12  zakkzheng: good game
Mar-08-12  erniecohen: 12. ♘g5 1-0 (12...fxg5 13. ♗xg5+ forces mate).
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