Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Muzio Family

Chess nomenclature is a difficult subject in general and in particular within the King's Gambit. For most practical players it is also a relatively uninteresting subject. So I will try to keep such discussions to a minimum in my coming King's Gambit book. However, I want what little I include to be as correct as possible. Therefore I will give the subject some coverage on this blog in the hope that knowledgeable readers may correct anything wrong or even debatable.

In this entry I will try to identify and name White's positional piece sacrifices after the moves 1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 g5.

I: The Polerio Attack

4 Bc4 g4 5 0-0! gxf3 6 Qxf3 (D)

The Polerio Attack, may be considered head of the Muzio Family. It is generally regarded as fairly respectable. However, it's quite possible that correct play leads to a forced repetition (which theoretically isn't a good result for White).

II: The Lolli attack

5 Bxf7+? Kxf7 6 Nxe5 (D)

The Lolli Attack is the black sheep of the Muzio family. White gives up his bishop instead of his knight and wins some time. Unfortunately White has insufficient compensation as Black after 6...Ke8 7 Qxg4 Nf6 starts winning his tempi back. The Lolli may be acceptable as a blitz or coffee house weapon but is probably unplayable above mediocre club level chess.
III: The Ghulam Kassim Attack

4 Bc4 g4 5 d4 gxf3 6 Qxf3 (D)

This position, which may also arise from the move-order 4 d4 g4 5 Bc4, is known as the Ghulam Kassim Attack after the Indian player who published analysis on it around 1826 (at least the publication seems to have been available in 1843). It may transpose to a (probably good) variation of the Polerio Attack after a delayed 0-0 but White may also consider castling queenside.

IV: The MacDonnell Attack

4 Bc4 g4 5 Nc3 gxf3 6 Qxf3 (D)

This position, which may also arise from the move-order 4 Nc3 g4 5 Bc4, is known as the MacDonnell Attack. It may transpose to the Polerio Attack after a delayed 0-0 but is more likely to merge with the Ghulam Kassim Attack after a quick d4 and queenside castling.

V: The Rosentreter Attack

4 d4 g4 5 Bxf4 gxf3 6 Qxf3 (D)

This is the Rosentreter Attack which obviously is closely related to the Ghulam Kassim Attack, to which it may quickly transpose with an early d4.
Instead 5 Bc4 would lead to the Ghulam Kassim Attack while 5 Nc3 would lead to the Sørensen Attack (below).

VI: The Sørensen Attack

4 Nc3 g4 5 d4 gxf3 6 Qxf3 (D)

This position I believe should be called the Sørensen Attack but I assume that some will argue that it should rather be the Quaade Attack. I am not at all sure what's correct and will try to look at bit deeper into the matter. My reasons for preferring Sørensen over Quaade are:
  1. The mainline in the Quaade variation is 5 Ne5. It may even be argued that this knight move is the idea behind 4 Nc3 (as it is more or less unplayable in the Rosentreter variation, 4 d4).
  2. In Bilguer's Handbuch, the line is attributed to Sørensen. 
Instead 5 Bc4 would have transposed to the MacDonnell Attack.

This classification I think is the easy part of the Muzio nomenclature. The real challenge is to find good classification principles when the lines merge (as they tend to do). Maybe I will return to that subject in a future post.

No comments: