The rebirth of a gambit

by ChessBase
7/16/2022 – The Schara-Hennig Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4!?) is now over 100 years old. Recently the gambit has received more attention - also thanks to Magnus Carlsen's games against Sam Shankland and Le Quang this year. Our new author, GM Lucian Miron, takes a closer look at the pawn sacrifice in the latest ChessBase Magazine #208. "if you are tired of constantly being under pressure when White plays 1.d4 and only the main lines, go for the Schara-Hennig Gambit!" he concludes. Take a look!

ChessBase Magazine 208 ChessBase Magazine 208

The new European champion, Matthias Bluebaum, comments. New video series by Jan Markos: "Practical tips for the tournament player". Opening videos by Sokolov, Rogozenco and Marin. 10 opening articles for your oening repertoire and much more!

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The rebirth of a gambit

Lucian Miron examines 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4!?

The Von Hennig-Schara Gambit or Schara-Hennig Gambit (as it was introduced to me by GM Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu) is one of the sharpest responses against 1.d4/2.c4/3.Nc3. It is named after Heinrich von Hennig and Anton Schara who played chess in the early 1900s. Lately, many top GMs have used this gambit - among them World Champion Magnus Carlsen, and stars like Alexander Grischuk, Aryan Tari, Daniel Fridman etc. For a long time, the Schara-Hennig Gambit had a bad reputation, but with the help of the new engines, players started to employ it again. Personally, I dropped it after my game against GM Mircea Parligras.

We reach the initial position of the gambit after the moves 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 (Tarrasch Defense) 4.cxd5 cxd4!?.

A very interesting pawn sacrifice. The idea is that while White is wasting time capturing the pawn, Black will get fast and easy development.

Here White has two options: A) 5.Qxd4 or B) 5.Qa4+.

For me, as a Schara-Hennig Gambit player, until 2021 there was no difference between options A) and B). They would both transpose after 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd1 exd5 7.Qxd5 Bd7?! or 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5 7.Qxd5 Nc6?!.

The problem for Black here is that after 8.Nf3 Nf6 it's really hard to prove the compensation after either 9.Qb3 Be6 10.Qc2 (Mircea Parligras - Lucian Miron 1-0, 2015) or 9.Qd1 Bc5 10.a3! (Mustafa Yilmaz - Dieter Nisipeanu 1-0, 2021) with the idea of controlling the b4 square and developing the c1 bishop on the next move (preferably to g5).

A) 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd1 exd5 7.Qxd5 Bd6!?

Black will probably play Nf6 and short castle on the next two moves. If White goes for the Nf3 and e3 set-ups, it will be a better version for Black than in the main lines because they did not waste any time with the Bd7 move. White has two interesting options, they can go for Bg5 or for a set-up with g3, both of which is analysed in the game So,W - Grischuk,A 1-0. Besides 7...Bd6!?, I also mentioned 7...Qc7 which I think is playable as well.

B) 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qxd4 exd5

and now White has two main options: he can play against the isolated pawn with B1) 7.Nf3 or just take it with B1) 7.Qxd5.

In case of B1) 7.Nf3, after 7...Nf6 we get a position that can also be reached via the Semi-Tarrasch move order (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 c5 5.cxd5 cxd4 6.Qa4+ Bd7 7.Qxd4 exd5). Here I think that Black should be prepared to play a IQP (Isolated Queen's Pawn) structure, but you can see that I went for a more aggressive approach (like 8.e3 Bb4 with ...Ne4 ideas or, if White plays 8.Bg5 Nc6 9.Qd3, 9...h6! and 10...g5). For more details you can check the game Jumabayev,R - Fridman,D 1-0 which also features an analysis of 7.Nxd5?!.

B2) 7.Qxd5 is clearly the main line and you should expect to reach this position at least 80% of the time. Here Black should go for 7...Nf6 (7...Nc6?! leads to the position mentioned above)

when White has to retreat the queen to b3 or to d1.

B21) 8.Qb3 Na6!

This is already a new idea. With the queen on b3, it makes much more sense to develop the knight to a6. After 9.e3 Nc5 the queen is hit again. If White goes 10.Qd1, you go directly 10...Nce4 followed by 11...Bb4 (like in the game Kasparov-Grischuk). In case of 10.Qc2 Rc8 11.e3, you can go for 11...Bd6!? and castle like a normal Schara-Hennig player or just equalise with 11...Nce4 like in the game Shankland,S - Carlsen,M ½-½. The annotations also feature analysis of 8.Qxb7!?.

B22) 8.Qd1 is definitely the test of the variation, which is followed by 8...Bc5 9.Nf3 0-0 10.e3 (there's also 10.a3!?) Qe7 11.Be2 Nc6 12.0-0 Rfd8.

This key position can be reached via different move orders (Black can play Qe7, Rfd8 first). The big problem for White is that the c1-bishop is not developed. The main way to try and solve this is by going somewhere with the queen, play rook to d1 and bishop d2-e1 (another attempt is a3 and b4 and develop the bishop to b2). So White has to decide where they should go with the queen - to c2 or b3.

B221) 13.Qb3

Now Black is not forced to defend the b7 pawn directly, they can also play 13...a6!? with the idea ...b5 in some lines. For more details please check the game Ding,L - Grischuk,A 1-0 . In the annotations, you'll also find analysis on the option 10.a3!?.

The last important line is B222) 13.Qc2 Rac8 14.a3

Here it's important to remember that Black's whole counterplay is based on the move ...Ne5 which should happen sooner or later. In the diagram, 14...Ne5 can be played directly or after 14...Bd6, while Carlsen opted for ...Ne5 against Le as early as move 12! For more details on this position, check the game Ivanisevic,I - Fridman,D 0-1.

Conclusion: I would say that if you are tired of constantly being under pressure when White plays 1.d4 and only the main lines, go for the Schara-Hennig Gambit! I know that's how I started playing it, and with the new developments I will take it up again. You sacrifice a pawn, but all your pieces are developed, and for once White is the one who has problems to solve (the development of the c1 bishop). I think that it's very important to just feel the position and decide whether you should go for the kingside attack or tackle the weaknesses d3/c4/c2 on the queenside. I hope you will enjoy pressuring White with this bold Gambit!

You can find Lucian Miron's opening article with all games and analyses in the new ChessBase Magazine #208!

List of all opening articles in CBM #208

Grigoriants: English 1.d4 e6 2.c4 b6 3.e4 Bb7 4.Bd3 f5 5.exf5
Papp: Trompovsky 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 c5 Part I
Ris: Sicilian Sveshnikov 9.Nd5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.c4 Nd4
Moskalenko: French Advance 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Nge7
Vogel: Italian 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Be7 5.0-0 0-0 6.Re1 d6 7.a4 Be6
Kapnisis: Ruy Lopez 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4  Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.c4
Kuzmin: Queen’s Gambit Accepted 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 a6 6.0-0 c5 7.Re1
Miron: Schara-Hennig Gambit 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4
Braun: Catalan 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Be7 5.Bg2 0–0 6.0–0 dxc4 7.Na3
Szabo: Nimzoindian 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 d5 7.Bg5 c5

ChessBase Magazine #208

 

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ChessBase Magazine #208

Highlights of this issue

On the first page of ChessBase Magazine #208 you have direct access to the editors' recommendations: the highlights of the issue!

 

Top games and master analyses

 

European Championship 2022: Matthias Blübaum celebrated the greatest success of his career so far by winning the European Championship. The new champion comments on two of his games as well as the winners of the silver and bronze medals, Gabriel Sargissian and Ivan Saric. Plus analyses of many other players, including Ruslan Ponomariov, Aryan Tari, Ivan Cheparinov, Rasmus Svane, Yuriy Kuzubov, Maxime Lagarde and others.

 

Superbet Bucharest 2022: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave beat Levon Aronian and Wesley So in the tiebreak. Anish Giri comments on three highlights from Bucharest, Dorian Rogozenco presents two games of the winner in the video.

New video series: "Practical tips for the tournament player"

 

Our new author, Jan Markos, is a Slovakian chess book author, trainer and grandmaster. His first contribution is about time management. First, Markos elaborates on three general and easy-to-implement recommendations in the more than 20-minute video. At the beginning there is a fundamental question: in which types of positions should we invest time at all - and in which not?

Special: FIDE World Championship 1997

 

CBM authors analyse their favourite games from the first knockout world championship 25 years ago. An exclusive collection of 22 annotated games awaits you!

All in one

 

Following his examination of the London System against the King's Indian in CBM 207, Tanmay Srinath defends his favourite opening with White in this issue against an exceedingly combative approach by Black: 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 c5, which immediately leads to sharp and double-edged play. After 3.d5 b5!? the Indian recommends the enterprising pawn sacrifice 4.e4!

Opening videos

 

Dorian Rogozenco presents a pawn sacrifice against the Gruenfeld Defence, which the new European Champion also used successfully. Ivan Sokolov came across the innovation 8...h5 in the Ragozin Variation, which he examines in detail in this and the upcoming CBM. And Mihail Marin explains why in the Slav Defence after 5...Bf5 he no longer fears the move 6.Ne5.

Dorian Rogozenco: Gruenfeld Defence
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 c5 8.Bb5+
Ivan Sokolov: DG Ragozin Variation (Part I)
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5 Bb4 6.e3 h6 7.Bh4 g5 8.Bg3 h5
Mihail Marin: Slav Defence
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.Ne5 Nbd7 7.Nxc4 Nb6 8.Ne5 a5

New ideas for your repertoire

 

CBM #208 covers a broad spectrum with 10 opening articles:

Grigoriants: English 1.d4 e6 2.c4 b6 3.e4 Bb7 4.Bd3 f5 5.exf5
Papp: Trompovsky 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 c5 Part I
Ris: Sicilian Sveshnikov 9.Nd5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.c4 Nd4
Moskalenko: French Advance 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Nge7
Vogel: Italian 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Be7 5.0-0 0-0 6.Re1 d6 7.a4 Be6
Kapnisis: Ruy Lopez 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4  Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.c4
Kuzmin: Queen’s Gambit Accepted 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 a6 6.0-0 c5 7.Re1
Miron: Schara-Hennig Gambit 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4
Braun: Catalan 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Be7 5.Bg2 0–0 6.0–0 dxc4 7.Na3
Szabo: Nimzoindian 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 d5 7.Bg5 c5

Topical opening traps

 

"The second look", "Unspoken invitations" and much more. - Rainer Knaak examines eight traps from current tournament practice, three of which he also presents in video format.

Move by Move

 

Test your chess move by move with Robert Ris! Radoslaw Wojraszek's brilliant game against Kacper Piorun is made for the interactive training format: from seizing the initiative to preventing counterplay to a successful attack on your opponent’s king!

"Knockout Strategies at the 1997 World Championship"

 

Mihail Marin discusses five strategic topics on the basis of the game material –incl. video introduction (playing time: 22 minutes)

The Classic

 

Alexander Alekhine himself described his game against Richard Réti in Baden-Baden in 1925 as one of his most brilliant games ever. Enjoy the video presentation by Dorian Rogozenco!

Tactics: "Use your back rank!"

 

Oliver Reeh's tactics contribution consists of 34 games with many training questions. Solve his favourite combinations together with the International Master in the interactive video format!

"Endgame highlights from the FIDE World Championship 1997" and much more

 

Karsten Mueller provides comprehensive training material for the highest demands. Not only on the World Championship tournament 25 years ago, but also on the Oslo Esports Cup 2022, the Hamburg endgame expert provides plenty of illustrative material and analyses (incl. video).. 

ChessBase Magazine #208

 Order now in the ChessBase Shop !

Subscribe to ChessBase Magazin and win twice over

Single issue: 19,95€ or annual subscription (6 issues) 99,70€. You can find the ChessBase Magazine subscription (incl. ChessBase USB stick for new subscribers) on the CBM homepage! Or subscribe to ChessBase Magazine in the ChessBase Shop right away!

 

 


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