Randy MacKenzie, NM
08/28/20 15:55
stefi's image
Community Chess Club

What is the "Nikolayev Gambit" ?

The "Niko­layev gam­bit" is a hy­brid of the Blu­men­feld and Benko gam­bits. I have probably played this con­tin­u­a­tion at mas­ter level more than any­one else. To jus­tify this new clas­si­fi­ca­tion we need to sur­vey re­lated open­ing the­ory.

(About the Blumenfeld Gambit)

Blumenfeld Gambit In the mid­dle 1980's I was eager to find a new ag­gres­sive weapon against 1.d4. I con­sid­ered the Blu­men­feld gam­bit (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.​Nf3 c5 4.d5 b5). Its de­fect was that White could avoid it with 3.​Nc3 or 3.g3, but its ideas in gen­eral at­tracted me. So I con­sid­ered the "ac­cel­er­ated" Blu­men­feld. The po­si­tions which oc­curred after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.​cxb5 e6 5.​Nc3 exd5 6.​Nxd5 Bb7 7.​Nxf6 (7.​Nc3 d5) Qxf6 looked okay for Black. Yet there was there a refu­ta­tion, namely 7.e4! Black will be crushed if he plays 7...​Nxe4, which has been proven in many games. If Black doesn't take the e4-pawn, he is strate­gi­cally lost. This line sim­ply doesn’t work.

(About the Benko-Volga Gambit)

Benko-Volga Gambit Benko-Volga gam­bit is a well-es­tab­lished and strong re­sponse to 1.d4. Black's queen­side coun­ter­play is last­ing and solid with his bet­ter piece mo­bil­ity. As be­fore, White has many ways of safely de­clin­ing the pawn (5.b6, 5.e3, 5.f3) though none yields an ad­van­tage for White. Some­how I was not much in­ter­ested in the solid Benko-Volga.

About the Niko­layev Gam­bit

Niko­layev Gam­bit I felt that Black would be much bet­ter off if his queen side was de­vel­oped. With this thought I cre­ated the "Niko­layev Gam­bit." The core idea of this dy­namic setup re­volves around ac­tive piece play rather than elab­o­rate pawn struc­tures cou­pled with long term strate­gi­c maneu­ver­ing. The first moves are sim­i­lar to the Benko-Volga gam­bit. How­ever the ideas be­hind them are dif­fer­ent. The main fea­tures of the ac­cepted Benko-Volga are bish­ops on a6 and g7 (after ...g6), while in the Niko­layev gam­bit this never oc­curs. The main fea­tures of the Niko­layev gam­bit are ...a6 first (as in the Benko-Volga), ...e6 (as in the Blu­men­feld), and ...​Nxa6 (never ...​Bxa6), quickly fol­lowed by ...​Nb4. The dark square bishop comes to g7 in some lines only after ...​gxf6.


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