Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Outgrowing the BDG

By Rick Kennedy In his introduction to Blackmar Diemer Gambit, Master Eric Schiller writes that playing the BDG might increase your middle game ability, but it probably will not affect your rating. Going even further, he suggests that Blackmar-Diemer Gambit players will eventually “outgrow” their opening. That last comment may come as a surprise to some of you. Outgrow, indeed! For many of us, it has been and will always be, “in for a pawn, in for a pound.” Or, for Black, “a pounding. Besides, look at Diemer and Gunderam, in the fourth quarter of a century of living, and still battling it out. You might suspect that only eight feet of German soil will cause either of them to “outgrow” the BDG. If then. Perhaps, though, we can make some sense out of Schiller by recalling a comment from Kotov’s classic, Play Like a Grandmaster. In looking at attitudes shown toward the opening, Kotov mentions “ideas men.” These are players who are near the end of their careers, “when they lack the stimulus or ambition to make them work through current analysis of openings that they may have been keenly interested in their youth.” Perhaps “tired men” would also fit. The young player looks at this opening as one does a sports car, expecting high performance and continuous excitement. To that end, he is willing to keep up with the constant tune—ups, modifications, and overhauls needed to keep it in top running order. The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit is a hot little number, but its Owner’s Manual has always cautioned, “for every refutation that the Black side recommends, improvements are found for White. For every White initiative, a better defense always seems to present itself for Black.” This can at times require a lot of work, however, and some players, at some point, might rather not. As we get older, might it not just be easier to send it to the shop for someone else to work on? Why not trade it in for a used station wagon and be done with it? Sigh. Gasp. Wheeze. Perhaps that is what Schiller means. Even so, I contest the notion!!! Some day it may well be discovered that the BDG was originally unearthed by Ponce de Leon, searching for the chessic “fountain of youth.” All who partook of its waters remained vibrant, dynamic and energetic, to the end of their days. They never became tired, “ideas” men. And regardless of their age, they always played for mate, from the first move. Rick wrote this for BDG World 30, published in March 1988, which explains the reference to Diemer and Gunderam, both now deceased, as being in their fourth quarter of life. These days Rick has a thing going for the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+). Check out his blog, called, appropriately enough, Jerome Gambit.