2010-11-07

Rice Gambit

I was thinking about the Rice Gambit recently and read the Wikipedia article about it.


It says

The Encyclopedia of Chess Openings (1997) analyzes 1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 g5 4. h4 g4 5. Ne5 Nf6 6. Bc4 d5 7. exd5 Bd6 8. O-O Bxe5 9. Re1 Qe7 10. c3 Nh5 11. d4 Nd7 12. dxe5 Nxe5 (etc etc) with a draw by perpetual check, attributing this analysis to Capablanca, Amos Burn, and Edward Lasker.


I decided to analyze it with Rybka 4. The main line it prefers is 10. c3 Nbd7 11. d4 Nh5 12. Qxg4 Bxd4+ 13. Kf1 Ng3+ 14. Qxg3 fxg3 15. Rxe7+ Kxe7 16. cxd4 Nb6 17. Bb3 Bf5 18. Nc3 Rg8, where the evaluation is +1.41 (after 28 ply) and the PV continues 19. Kg1 Kd7 20. Bg5 Bd3 21. Bd1 f6 22. Bg4+ f5 23. Bh5 Rxg5 24. hxg5 Rg8 25. Rd1 Ba6 26. Re1 Rxg5 27. Bd1 Kd8 28. Re6 Rg8 29. b3 Nc8 30. Bh5 Nd6 31. Be2 Bxe2 32. Nxe2 Kd7 33. Re3 Ne4. Wow, what an exciting sequence!


After 12. dxe5, Rybka 4 prefers 12... Qxh4 (evaluation +1.76 after 27 ply): 12. dxe5 Qxh4 13. Nd2 f3 14. Ne4 o-o 15. Bg5 f2+ 16. Nxf2 Qxg5 17. Qd4 Nb6 18. Bb3 Bf5 19. Ne4 Qg6 20. Nc5 Qh6 etc. If White plays 13. e6, the evaluation is at least +2.47: 13. e6 o-o 14. exf7+ Rxf7 15. d6 Ndf6 16. Bxf7+ Kxf7 17. Nd2 f3 18. gxf3 Qg3+ and White's position is falling apart.


The only other major option tried (according to ChessOK) was ... 12. Bb5, which isn't so good: 12. Bb5 Kd8 13. Bxd7 Bxd7 14. Rxe5 Qxh4 15. Rxh5 Qxh5 16. Bxf4 Re8 ... (evaluation +1.76). Apparently this was the starting position of a Marshall vs Napier match in 1905. Rybka analysis continues: 17. Qf1 Qxd5 18. Bxe5 Qb5 19. Nd2 Qxf1+ 20. Rxf1 Be6 21. c4 f5 22. d5 Bd7 23. exf6 Kc8 ... (+1.85).


Chesslive and Chessok have a game with 12. Na3 which fails to 12. Na3 Qxh4 13. dxe5 f3 etc (evaluation >+2.05).


So it looks like Rybka 4 has busted another line ... Black can win against the Rice Gambit, not just draw.