The BDG by numbers

What sort of results can you expect when playing the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit? And more importantly, which defense are you the most likely to face? Let’s have a look.

In all cases, the number in brackets are the score for White, followed by the number of games in the database.

1. d4 d5 2. e4 (55% / 12.3k) dxe4 3. Nc3 Nf6

3. … e5 (48% / 0.9k) 4. Nxe4! (58% / 0.3k). White has crushing results with the less frequent 4. Nge2 (65% over 61 games), but I believe this variation to be somewhat weaker than 4. Nxe4. More on this another day.

4. f3 exf3 (53%, 8.6k)

The most frequently played deviation is 4. … Bf5 (58%, 1.3k). Fortunately, the much stronger 4. … c6! is rarely played (only 0.5k games, but only 47% for White). Of the rare alternatives, 4. … c5 scores best (51%), just before 4. … e3 (53%).

5. Nxf3 (7.7k, 54%)

You might, like me, have forgotten that 5. Qxf3 is relatively often played alternative (almost 900 games with a decent practical score of 52%). I doubt that this romantic double pawn gambit is any good though. Another one to explore one of these days…

5. … Bg4 (54%, 2.7k)

While 5. … Bg4 is the most popular move, it is probably not the best. 5. … c6 has proven very challenging for White (44% only) but is rarely played (only 0.7k games). It is much less popular than 5. … g6 (50%, 1.8k) and 5. … Bf5 (55%, 1.2k). I was surprised to see that Black scores very poorly after the reasonable 5. … e6 (59%, 1.3k) games.

We will not go in depth in the statistics of the sub-lines at this stage. As far as 5. … Bg4 goes, there is a further subdivision after

6. h3 Bxf3 (56%, 1.1k)

This is marginally more popular than 6. … Bh5 (55%, 1k games).

As you can see, while the BDG provides acceptable pratical results, it branches out fairly quickly, meaning the gambiteer out there will need to prepare for a large variety of lines. If you must start by one, the line with 5. … Bg4 is the one you can expect to meet the most.

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Loosing in the Bogoljubow

I recently took a tough loss playing White in the Bogoljubow defence. At this point in time, it is not very clear to me how White can equalize against this solid and reliable defensive set-up.

To add insult to injury, I believe that my opponent didn’t even use the most promising approach there, but I was still left struggling to reach a level game. Let’s take a look:

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Playing the Blackmar-Diemer against 1. … Nf6

Hardcore BDG fans tend to try to enter their favourite opening even when faced with 1. d4 Nf6.

While 2. Nc3 d5 3. e4 is still fairly popular, Black can and probably should reply 3. … Nxe4. White does terrible against this line, with a very poor 44% score in my database. While their are some ways to muddy the waters, I don’t think the line works well.

The other popular way to go for a BDG is to start with the strange looking 2. f3, intending 2. … d5 3. e4 dxe4 4. Nc3.

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Twin Wins

I recently had two games in the same line of the Teichmann defence, playing in both cases a sup-optimal move. While the Teichmann defence if often thought as a sort of mail line in the Blackmar-Diemer, I believe it is one of the lines in which White often gets enough compensations.

Both the games started as follow:

1. d4 Nf6 2. f3 d5 3. e4 dxe4 4. Nc3 exf3 5. Nxf3 Bg4 6. h3 Bh5 7. g4 Bg6 8. Ne5 e6 9. Bg2 c6 10. h4 Bb4

This is all in Scheerer’s book, and is the main line of the Teichmann defense with 6. … Bh5. The line with 9. Qf3 might well be better, but I did not have enough time to perform serious analysis, so I went for what I remembered Scheerer advocated as best.

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So Many Mistakes

Well, I promised in my previous post that I was soon to lose a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit game and publish it. It took me a while to finish the game, and I eventually managed to draw, after having missed a fairly elementary win.

So, for maximal comical value, here goes:

jjchesscom (2232) – Dimidroll (2040), 14 Feb 2012, D00.

1. d4 Nf6 2. f3

The 2. f3 move order to the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit

The 2. f3 move order to the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit

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An interesting miniature

As a first post, I will take a look at a game played in a correspondence tournament over the internet. Both me and my opponent made serious mistakes. That said, the game is interesting in the sense that White gets a very strong position in which the right approach is to play slowly, building on a strong space advantage.

This is quite contrary to what our (or at least, my) natural tendency is when playing a pawn down. While Black commits a bad mistake on move 13, the variation he chose is actually quite reliable, and we will revisit a few key positions from it a bit later.

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