The Coca-Cola Gambit

Don Wedding has kindly sent me a 10-minute game that he played against Zarkov with the Coca-Cola Gambit. I presume that he forced the first four moves. The notes are mine.

Fischer's Birthday Memorial, 1993.

White: D. Wedding
Black: Zarkov

Coca-Cola Gambit.

1. g4 g5; 2. f4 gxf4; 3. d4 e5; 4. h4 d6; 5. e3 Nf6!?

This is seldom seen in grandmaster play because of its drawish reputation.

6. g5 Nd5.

More usual here is 6...Ne4, giving back the pawn in return for a positional advantage; e.g., 6...Ne4; 7. ef Ng3; 8. Rh2 N:f1; 9. K:f1 e4!

7. Qf3?

White should first play 7. ef to prevent Black's next move.

7...Nxe3; 8. Bxe3 fxe3; 9. Bc4 Qe7! 10. Nc3.

Stronger is 10. de to open the d-file for attack. Now Black prevents this.

10...Nc6; 11. Nd5!?

The alternative 11. Bb5 to prevent 11...N:d4 does not appeal to White.

11... N:d4; 12. Qf1!?

And now 12. Qg2 would have clinched the draw: 12. Qg2 Qd8; 13. Nf6+ Ke7; 14. Nd5+ Ke8. Black now gives up its queen in the hope of a decisive counterattack.

12...Nxc2+; 13. Kd1 Nxa1; 14. Nxe7 Bxe7; 15. Qxf7+ Kd8.

Black has rook, bishop, and three pawns for its queen. Both sides are poorly developed. White could try 16. Qf3 here to capture the Pe3.

16. Ne2 Bg4; 17. h5.

Hoping for 17...B:g5?? 18. Qg7.

17...Bd7; 18. h6 a6; 19. g6 hxg6; 20. Qxg6 Bc6; 21. Rh2 d5; 22. Qg7? Rf8.

Oops! Black now threatens 23...Rf1#. But White's h-pawn will still cost Black a rook.

23. Ng3 dxc4; 24. h7 Kd7; 25. h8Q Bf3+; 26. Ke1 Nc2+.

Hoping for 27. R:c2 R:h8. Black has no winning attack while his king bishop is pinned.

27. Kf1 Rxh8; 28. Rxh8 Rxh8; 29. Qxh8 Nd4; 30. Qxe5 e2+; 31. Nxe2?

Simply 31. Kf2 would have left White better. A queen and a knight work well together.

31...Bxe2+; 32. Kf2 c5; 33. b4 b6; 34. bxc5 Bxc5; 35. Qd5+ Kc7; 36. Qf7+ Kc6; 37. Qe8+ Kd6; 38. Qf8+ Ke5; 39. Qe8+ Kf6; 40. Qd8+ Kg6; 41. Qe8+ Kg5; 42. Qd8+ Kf4; 43. Qc7+ Ke4; 44. Qh7+ Ke5; 45. Qg7+ Ke6; 46. Qg6+ Kd7; 47. Qf7+ Kc8; 48. Qe8+ Kb7; 49. Qd7+ Kb8; 50. Qd8+ Ka7; 51. Qc7+ Ka8; 52. Qc8+ Ka7; 53. Qc7+ Ka8; 54. Qc8+ Ka7; 55. Qc7+ 1/2:1/2.

While not theoretically important, the game is instructive and very characteristic of the opening. I should like to see more computer games like this. Perhaps F. H. Hsu will build a dedicated computer that plays only the Coca-Cola Gambit?

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Col. G. L. Sicherman [ HOME | MAIL ]