1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 Be7 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Although played about 25% of the time in this position this does not seem the best continuation. It is little covered in opening books, though, so could have surprise value. Instead the most popular move 5.e5 is generally detailed in books. One example with Norman taking the White pieces went [5.e5 Ng4 6.0-0 Nc6 7.d4 d6 8.exd6 Bxd6 9.Re1+ Ne7 10.Nc3 0-0 11.Ne4 Ng6 12.Nxd6 Qxd6 13.h3 Nh6 14.c3 Bf5 15.Ne5 c5 16.Qf3 cxd4 17.Nxg6 Bxg6 18.Qxf4 with roughly equal chances as the poor position of the Nh6 (and the possibility of Bxh6) balances the extra pawn for Black: Stephenson-Wise (T.H), Teesside? 1964. However, GM Shaw also points out two relatively rare lines, the second of which he considers deserves proper consideration, these are 5.Qe2 and 5.d3.]
5...Nxe4 A strong continuation that is also seen in some other 1. e4 e5 openings and also the Pirc Defence. [5...0-0 is natural, but weaker, as White is level after 6.d3 Meixner-Neubauer, Balatonlelle Open 2008.]
6.Bxf7+ [6.Nxe4 has also been seen in quite a few games but Black is better after 6...d5 and went on to win in Biggs-Stephenson, Paignton Reserves 1961.; 6.0-0 has occurred in a few games but White does not have full compensaiton for the two pawns sacrificed after the straightforward 6...0-0 Sogaard-Pedersen, Aarhusch-ch 1995.]
6...Kxf7 7.Nxe4 [7.Ne5+ is poor provided Black plays correctly 7...Ke6? (instead 7...Kg8! is much safer 8.Nxe4 d6 9.Nf3 d5 with a significant advantage, as has occurred in several games such as Grabarczyk-Maslanka, Shupsk 1989.) 8.Qg4+ with the queen joining the attack White is winning (8.Nxe4 worked out well after 8...d5? (but 8...Kxe5 is playable, going the "whole hog", when White seems to have no more than a draw, for example 9.d4+ Kxe4 10.Qd3+ Kd5 11.Qb3+ Kc6= ) 9.Qg4+ Kxe5 10.d4+ Kxd4 11.c3+ Ke5 12.Bxf4+ Kxe4 13.Qf3+ and Black was crushed in Lutikov-Korchnoi, Chigorin Memorial, Leningrad 1951 (the full game with notes is given in "Brevities V" in the archive section of this web site (Dec. 2009-Jan. 2010).) 8...Kxe5 9.d4+ Kxd4 (9...Kf6 10.Qxf4++- Susallek-Guensch, Obernau 2009.) 10.Qxf4 Kc5 11.b4+ Ballore-Van Gijsel, Guernsey open 1991.]
7...d5 [7...Rf8 is similar to the main game where Black castles by hand (and incidentally guards the extra pawn on f4.) 8.0-0 Kg8 9.d4 d5 10.Nc5 Berg-Ahlander, SWE-ch Skara 2002.]
8.Nf2 [If 8.Nc3 then 8...Rf8 again works well for Black 9.d4 Kg8 10.0-0 Nc6 safely retaining the extra pawn, Burenkov-Jakubovics, Monmouth Open 2001.; but 8.Ne5+ seems a better bet when White at least gets some play for the pawn due to the misplaced Black king 8...Kg8 9.Nf2 Nc6 10.d4 g5 11.h4 Zjajo-Schrepp, Nord Baden, Germany 1995.]
8...Rf8 [8...Bd6 prevents Ne5+ but loses a move hence White is only a little worst after 9.0-0 Bogorad-Podolnyy, German Seniors Ch, Dresden 2006.]
9.d4 Kg8 10.0-0 [10.g3 opens the h-file but also achieves a very bad game after 10...fxg3 11.hxg3 Qe8 12.Ne5 Bf5 13.Bf4 Nc6 Knibbs-Battersby, corr. 1953.]
10...c5 Black has tried a number of plans in this key position and c5 is a logical move attacking White's centre. This may also be achieved with the more common [10...Nc6 although the c-pawn would remains blocked. In addition,; 10...Bd6 ; or 10...g5 is another plan where Black over-protects the f4 pawn to attempt to hold on to it more securely.; but 10...b6 is a little too slow as White is not too badly off after 11.Ne5 Dosch-Schelberg, GER OS-110 E-mail 2009.]
11.Nd3 cxd4 [A later game went 11...Qc7 12.Nfe5 cxd4 13.Bxf4 Bd6 14.Qd2 Nc6 15.Rae1 also with an advantage for Black in Hansen-Mikalsen, Finnmark Krets ch 1997.]
12.Nxf4 [12.Bxf4 is less effective since, although White achieved full development, Black held on to the extra pawn in the following game 12...Nc6 13.Qd2 Bf6 14.Nfe5 Bf5 15.Rae1-/+ Lopez Heras-Heras Cuenca, Tres Cantos open 2010.]
12...Nc6 13.Qe2 [13.Nxd4 immediately recovering the pawn was somewhat better as White had no need to fear 13...Bc5 (or the move 13...Qb6 which is more complex but White comes out with an even ending via 14.Nxd5 Qxd4+ 15.Qxd4 Rxf1+ (certainly not 15...Nxd4 as White snatches a win with 16.Nxe7+ Kh8 17.Rxf8# ) 16.Kxf1 Nxd4 17.Nxe7+ Kf7 18.Nxc8 Nxc2 19.Rb1 ) as the defence 14.c3 was available and after 14...Re8 Black is only slightly better as both sides have some problems bringing their queen's bishop and rook into play.]
13...Qd6 A good move gaining a tempo to develop the queen and also the queen's bishop effectively.
14.Nd3 Bg4 15.Bd2 Rf7 Black plans to increase the pressure on the pinned knight by doubling rooks on the f-file.
16.Rae1 Raf8 [16...Bh4 is also strong, with a two bishop positioning that sometimes occurs in the Kings Gambit, as the active rook on e1 would pushed away to a passive square. Black can then continue Raf8 with greater effect.]
17.Nde5 White has little better since if an attempt is made to resolve the pin with [17.h3 then 17...Bxf3 18.Rxf3 Rxf3 19.gxf3 Qg3+ 20.Qg2 Rxf3 wins a second pawn.]
17...Nxe5 18.Qxe5 Bxf3 19.Rxf3 Rxf3 20.gxf3 Qxe5 21.Rxe5 Bf6 22.Rxd5 Whilst the exchanges have allowed White to win back the gambitted pawn he is left with weak pawns on f3 and c2. In addition, the Bf6 adds solidity to the Black position whilst White's counterpart is not, at present, doing much.
22...Rc8 23.c3 The best chance offering a pawn to simplify the game. [23.Rd7 is no use at all as Black wins a pawn with tempo by 23...Rxc2 24.Bb4 Rxb2 and if White tries to grabs the b-pawn then 25.Rxb7 d3 is too strong, for example, 26.Rb8+ Kf7 27.Bd6 d2 and queens.]
23...dxc3 24.Bxc3 Bxc3 25.bxc3 Rxc3 26.Rd8+ Kf7 27.Rd7+ Kf6 28.Rxb7 Ra3 29.Rb2 [29.Kg2 Rxa2+ 30.Kg3 is a better chance for obtaining a draw. Although White is pawn down his rook is active. If Black advances the a-pawn then the rook can go to a7 and help defend. The White king must, however, always be able to reach the g2 square so that if the Black pawn reaches a2 then Rg1+ does not gain a tempo for a winning promotion.]
29...Rxf3 30.Kg2 Ra3 The difference here is that White is a pawn down but with a passive rook tied to defending a2.
31.Rf2+ Ke6 32.Re2+ Kf5 33.Rf2+ Ke5 34.Re2+ Kd6 35.Rd2+ Ke7 [Winning easily as is the continued advance of the king for instance 35...Ke5 36.Rd7 Rxa2+ 37.Kg3 Kf6 ]
36.Rf2 a5 37.Kf1 g5 38.Kg2 White can do nothing constructive so must wait until Black takes over key squares, and space, and then simply advances the king.
38...Ke6 39.Rc2 Kf5 40.Kf2 [40.Rc5+ does not offer any hope. A possible line is 40...Kf4 41.Rc4+ Ke3 42.Rc2 h5 43.Kg1 g4 44.Kf1 a4 45.Kg1 h4 46.Kf1 Rd3 which wins easily but not (46...g3 47.hxg3 hxg3 48.Kg2 and White can draw.) ]
40...Kg4 41.Kg2 Kh4 42.Rd2 g4 43.Rc2 h5 44.Rd2 a4 45.Rc2 Rd3 46.Re2 Rc3 47.Rd2 a3 Controlling the b2 square so that once the Black rook arrives there White is defenceless so he now resigned. After [47...a3 a winning line is 48.Re2 Rc1 49.Rd2 Rb1 50.Rf2 Rb2 51.Kf1 (or 51.Rxb2 axb2 and queens.) 51...Rxf2+ 52.Kxf2 Kh3 53.Kg1 h4 54.Kh1 g3 55.hxg3 hxg3 56.Kg1 g2 57.Kf2 Kh2 and the pawn advances to a queen.] 0-1