L) 4....Nxe4 5.Qxd4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Be7
     7.Bg5 Nc6 8.Qh4 d5 9.O-O-O Be6

L1) 10.Rhe1 L2) 10.Nxd5!

Position after 9.O-O-O Be6

   Most writers reject this line as dangerous for Black because the pawn at d5 is not well supported. But theory has only considered the L1 lines following 10.Rhe1 O-O 11.Bd3 h6, where White appears only to have a forced draw since the attacks with g4 (see lines L1c2d and L1c3) probably only work at fast time controls. The truest challenge to Black's unstable center pawn is the L2 line (10.Nxd5!), which was analyzed long ago by NM Victor Baja in an article in Chess Life but which has, to my knowledge, received no published practical tests. Even against the very best defense by Black, White has a clear positional superiority.

Index of Lines
A) 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4 ...
B) 3.d4 Nxe4 4.dxe4
C) 3.d4 exd4 4.Nf3 ...
D) 4.Nf3 Bb4+
E) 4.Nf3 d6
F) 4.Nf3 c5
G) 4.Nf3 Bc5
H) 4.Nf3 d5
I) 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Qxd4 ...
J) 5.Qxd4 Nf6 6.Bg5?!
K) 5.Qxd4 Nf6 6.Nc3! ...
L) 6.Nc3 Be7 7.Bg5 Nc6 8.Qh4 d5
M) 6.Nc3 Be7 7.Bg5 Nc6 8.Qh4 d6
N) 6.Nc3 Be7 7.Bg5 c6 8.O-O-O d5
Urusov Gambit & Related Links
Urusov PGN File from Pitt Archives

   The lines below follow upon 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Qxd4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Be7 7.Bg5 Nc6 (7....O-O?! 8.O-O-O h6? 9.Qh4 d6 10.Bxh6! gxh6 11.Qxh6 Nh7 12.h4 Nc6 13.Bd3 f5 14.Bc4+ Kh8 15.Ng5 1-0 Hausner--Szymczak, Prague 1989) 8.Qh4 d5 (8....h6 9.O-O-O O-O? 10.Bxh6 gxh6 11.Qxh6 d6 12.g4 Nxg4 13.Rdg1 Na5 14.Rxg4+ Bxg4 15.Rg1 Qd7 16.Bd3 Rfe8 17.Qh7+ Kf8 18.Qh8# Wendland--Markus, Correspondence 1997) 9.O-O-O Be6.

L1) 10.Rhe1

L1a) 10....Qd7? 11.Nxd5! (Much stronger than 11 Bb5 O-O 12 Bd3 h6 13 Bxh6 gxh6 14 Qxh6 Bf5 15 Ne5 Nxe5 16 Rxe5 Ng4 17 Bxf5 Qxf5 18 Qxf8+ Bxf8 19 Rxf5 Bh6+ 20 Kb1 1-0 Zarske-Hoffmann, Zurich 1993) 11....Nxd5 (11....Bxd5 12.Bxd5 Nxd5 13.Bxe7 Ncxe7 14.Rxd5!) 12.Bxd5 Bxg5+ 13.Nxg5 +- Goeller--Steffen, Westfield 1980.

L1b) 10....h6? 11.Bxf6?! (Can't White grab the d5 pawn at this point? 11.Bxd5! Nxd5 12.Rxd5 Bxd5 13.Bxe7 Nxe7 14.Nxd5 O-O 15.Nxe7+ Kh8 16.Rd1 Qe8 17.Ne5 Qb5 18.Qh5 Qe8 19.Rd7 Rb8 20.g4 b5 21.g5 Rb6 22.g6 Rf6 23.gxf7 R6xf7 24.N5g6+ Kh7 25.Nxf8+ Rxf8 26.Qxe8 Rxe8 27.Kd2 +- Spagnuolo--Smith, E-mail Tournament 2000) 11....Bxf6 12.Qh5 Bxc3? (12....O-O! 13.Nxd5 +=) 13.Rxe6+ Kf8 14.Rxd5 Qc8 15.Rxc6! g6 16.Rxg6! fxg6 17.Qxg6 Qe8 18.Rf5+ Ke7 19.Qe6+ Kd8 20.Rd5+ Qd7 21.Qxd7# Tereschenko--Rotlevi, St. Petersburg 1909.

L1c) 10....O-O

L1c1) 11.Re3? h6 12.Bd3 Bc5! (This is the most embarrassing, though equally good is 12....Re8! when the sacrifice at h6 fails because Black can play Bf8 for defense. Not 12....d4!? 13.Bxh6 dxe3 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.Qg5+ Kh8 16.Qh6+ Kg8 = 17.Ng5? Qxd3! 18.Rxd3 exf2 =+ or 12....Nb4?! 13.Bxf6 Nxd3+ 14.Rexd3 Bxf6 15.Qh5 c6 16.g4 with some attacking chances for White.) 13.Bxf6 Bxe3+ 14.fxe3 Qxf6 -+ White has no real compensation for the exchange.

L1c2) 11.Bd3 h6

L1c2a) 12.Bxh6?! Ne4! 13.Qf4 Bd6! (13....f5?! 14.Bxe4 Bd6 15.Qg5 Qxg5 16.Nxg5 Bf4+ 17.Kb1 Bxg5 18.Bxg5 dxe4 19.f3 +- Giertz--Potrock, Correspondence 1970) 14.Qe3 f5! (14....Bc5 15.Qf4 Bd6 = Lasker) 15.Bg5 Qd7 16.Bb5 Qf7 17.Bxc6 bxc6 18.Nxe4 fxe4 19.Nd4 Bd7 20.f3 Rae8 21.fxe4 Bg4 22.Nxc6 Rxe4 23.Qd2 Bxd1 0-1 Degli-Eredi--Kotzem, German Correspondence 1998. This line has been frequently played by computers and found to be generally good for Black.

L1c2b) 12.Rxe6 (Keres) 12....fxe6 (12....hxg5? 13.Nxg5 fxe6 14.Bh7+ Kh8 15.Bf5+ +- or 13....Nh5 14.Rxe7 +-) 13.Bxh6 gxh6 (13....Nb4!?) 14.Qg3+ Kh8 (14....Ng4!? 15.Qxg4+ Bg5+ 16.Kb1 Rxf3+ 17.gxf3 Kf7 18.Qh5+ Ke7 19.h4 Bf6 20.Qxh6 Qh8 was unclear in Kase--Junge, Correspondence 1983) 15.Qg6 Qd6 (15....Rf7! 16.Qf7 Qg8! = Forintos and Haag) 16.Qh6+ Kg8 17.Qg6+ Kh8 = 18.Ng5?! Qxh2 and White's attack is doubtful according to Estrin.

L1c2c) 12.Kb1

L1c2c1) 12....Ne4 13.Nxe4 dxe4 14.Qxe4 g6 15.Bxh6 +- Galberg-Lund--Dotzel, Correspondence 1991.

L1c2c2) 12....hxg5?! 13.Nxg5 g6 (13....Bd7 14.Nxd5! +-) 14.Qh6 Re8 15.Rxe6 Bf8 16.Rxe8 Qxe8 17.Nxd5 Bxh6 18.Nxf6+ Kg7 29.Nxe8+ Rxe8 20.Ne4 += Haas--Lautenbach, Correspondence 1995.

L1c2c3) 12....Re8 13.g4! see Strjbos--Zagema, NED 1997, in L1c3 below. Not 13.Bxf6? Bxf6 14.Qh5 Ne7 15.g4 Bxc3 16.bxc3 c5 17.g5 Qb6+ 18.Kc1 c4 19.Bf1 g6 0-1 Wallinger--Beutel, Correspondence 1991, when White's Queen is trapped.

L1c2c4) 12....Qd7?! 13.Bxh6 Ne4 14.Bg5 Bxg5 15.Nxg5 Nxg5 16.Qxg5

L1c2c4a) 16....Ne7 17.h4 c6 18.g4 Rfe8 19.Rg1 f6 20.Qh5 1-0 Shmelnicki--Eventov, USSR Correspondence 1955-1957.

L1c2c4b) 16....d4 17.Ne4 f6 18.Qh4 Bf5 19.Bc4+ Rf7 20.Nc5 Qd6 21.Qh5 g6 22.Bxf7+ Kxf7 23.Qh7+ Kf8 24.Qh8+ +- Maiko-Kochet, Dnepropetrovsk UKR 2002.

L1c2c5) 12....Ne8 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.Qxe7 Nxe7 (Forintos and Haag) 15.Nd4 Nc6 16.Nxe6 fxe6 17.Rxe6 Rxf2 18.Nxd5 Rxg2 19.Bc4! Kh8 20.Rde1 Nd6 21.Nxc7 Nxc4! (21....Rd8? 22.Bd3! Kg8 23.Bg6 1-0 Laes--Zitterio, Correspondence 1971-1972) 22.Na8 Rh2 23.Nc7 Nd2 24.Kc1 Nf3 = Van der Tak.

L1c3c6) 12....Nd7! 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.Qxe7 Nxe7 15.Nd4 (15.Nb5 Rfc8 16.Nbd4 Nf8) 15....Nc5 (Forintos and Haag) 16.b4?! (Estrin. White should instead try 16.f4!, but not 16.Bf1 a5 17.f4 c6 18.g4 Re8!? 19.f5 Bd7 20.h4 b5 21.Bh3 b4 =+) 16....Nxd3 17.Rxd3 (17.cxd3?! Nc6! 18.Nxc6!? bxc6 19.d4 Rfb8 20.a3 a5 21.Na2 axb4 22.axb4 c5! 23.dxc5 d4! -+) 17....Nc6 18.Nxe6 (18.Nxc6!?) 18....fxe6 19.Rxe6 Nxb4 20.Rg3 Rxf2 =+

L1c2d) 12.g4!? Nxg4 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.Qg3 Qd6! is unclear according to Forintos and Haag. Compare L1c3 below.

L1c3) 11.Kb1!? Re8 12.Bd3 h6 13.g4 (The attack with g4 seems White's best idea in the L line, and the main question is how best to set up this thrust. Not 13.Bxh6? gxh6 14.Qxh6 Bf8 =+ van der Tak) 13....Bf8 (13....hxg5!? 14.Nxg5 Bb4 is unclear according to van der Tak) 14.Nb5 hxg5 15.Nxg5 g6 16.Bxg6 fxg6 17.Nxe6 Rxe6 18.Rxe6 += Bg7 19.g5 Nh7 20.Rxg6 Nf8 21.Rxg7+! Kxg7 22.f4 Qd7 23.Nc3 Ne7 24.Qh6+ Kg8 25.Ne4 Qf5 26.Ng3 Qe6 27.Qh5 Nf5 28.Qf3 Nxg3 29.hxg3 Re8 30.a3 c6 31.Rh1 Qe2?! (31....Qe4) 32.Qc3 Qe4 33.Rh8+ Kf7 34.Qf6# Strijbos--Zagema, Netherlands 1997.

L2) 10.Nxd5!
As Max Burkett points out, this move was first analyzed in the 1970s by San Francisco master Victor Baja, but it seems otherwise to have been completely ignored. Of course, 10.Bxd5! should work just as well, since both moves force central exchanges.
10....Nxd5 (Better than 10....Bxd5?! 11.Bxd5 Nxd5 12.c4 and the Knight at d5 is not as useful as the Bishop for the defense. For example, Black cannot play one of the better defenses, 12....Ncb4?, because White has 13.Bxe7! and Black cannot reply 13....Qxe7? 14.Rhe1! because he has no Bishop at d5 to cover e6; Black is therefore forced instead to play 13....Nxa2+ 14.Kb1 Nac3+ 15.bxc3 Nxc3+ 16.Kc2 Qxe7 17.Rhe1 Ne2 18.Qxe7+ Kxe7 19.Rxe2+ +-.) 11.Bxd5 Bxd5 (11....Bxg5+ 12.Nxg5 Bxd5 13.c4 transposes to L2d below) 12.c4

L2a) 12....f6? 13.Rxd5! Qc8 14.Bd2 (to prevent 14....Nb4) 14....O-O (14...g6 15.Bc3!? 0–0 16.Rhd1 Qe6 17.Re1 Qf7 18.Rd7 ±; 14...Qe6 15.Re1 Qf7 16.Nd4 0–0 17.Nxc6 bxc6 18.Rd7 +-) 15.Rh5! (White also has the advantage after simply 15.Rd1, but what Urusov gambiteer could resist this direct assault on the King?) 15....h6 (15....f5 16.Ng5! h6 [16...Bxg5 17.Bxg5 h6 18.Bxh6 gxh6 19.Rxh6 +-] 17.Rxh6! gxh6 18.Qxh6 Rf7 [18....Bxg5 19.Qxg5+ Kf7 20.Re1 followed by Bc3 +-] 19.Nxf7 Kxf7 20.Qh7+ Ke6 [20....Ke8 21.Rd1!] 21.Re1+ Kd7 22.Rd1 Qg8 23.Bg5+ Ke6 24.Re1+ Kd7 25.Qxf5+ Ke8 26.Qc5 Qf7 27.Re3 Rd8 [27...Kd7 28.Bxe7 Nxe7 29.Qd4+ Ke8 30.Qh8+ Qf8 31.Qe5 Rd8 32.Qxc7 ±] 28.Bxe7 Nxe7 29.Qxc7 Rd7 30.Qc8+ Rd8 31.Qc5 b6 32.Qc6+ Rd7 33.Qa8+ Rd8 34.Qe4 Rc8 35.b3 Qf6 ± and White has excellent winning chances with four pawns versus a Knight) 16.Bxh6! (16.Qe4 Qe8 17.Qg4 Kh7 18.Rb5 +=) 16...gxh6 17.Rxh6 Qf5 (17...Bd6 18.Rg6+ Kf7 19.Rxf6+ Ke8 20.Re1+ Kd7 21.Qg4+ Kd8 22.Rxf8+ Bxf8 23.Qg5+ +-) 18.Re1 Bd6 (18...Rad8 19.g4 Qf4+ 20.Kb1 Ne5 21.Rh8+ Kf7 22.Nxe5+ fxe5 23.Rh7+ Kg6 24.Rxe7+-) 19.Re4 Ne5 20.Nxe5 Bxe5 21.Rh5 Qe6 22.Rh8+ Kf7 23.Rh7+ Ke8 24.f4 +-

L2b) 12....Bxf3?! 13.Rxd8+ Rxd8 14.Bxe7 Rd4 (14....Nxe7? 15.Re1 +-) 15.Qg3 Rxc4+ 16.Kd2 Kxe7 17.Re1+ Be4 18.Qh4+ Kd7 19.Rxe4 Rxe4 20.Qxe4 ± Baja

L2c) 12....Nb4!? 13.Rhe1 f6 14.Bxf6! (14.cxd5!? Qd6 15.Be3 unclear) 14....gxf6 15.a3! c6 (15....Nc6 16.Rxd5 Qc8 17.Qxf6 Rf8 18.Qh4 += Baja; 15....O-O 16.axb4 c6 17.cxd5 cxd5 18.Kb1 += Baja) 16.axb4 (16.Qh5+!?) 16....O-O 17.cxd5 cxd5 18.Kb1 Qd6 19.Qh5!? += (White can attack by Nf3-Nd4-Nf5 and Re3-h3 according to Baja. More precise may be 19.Nd4! Qxb4 20.Re3! Kh8 21.Qh5 ± according to Fritz).

L2d) 12....Bxg5+! 13.Nxg5

L2d1) 13....Ne7?! 14.Nxh7! Baja 14...f5 15.cxd5 Qd6 16.Rhe1 Qh6+ 17.Qxh6 gxh6 18.Nf6+ Kf7 19.Nh5 ± and the Knight will soon be strongly posted at f4, protecting the pawns at d5 and g2, when White is a solid pawn to the good with the better position.

L2d2) 13....Nb4?! 14.cxd5! Qd6 (14....Nxa2+? 15.Kb1 h6 16.Qa4+ Kf8 17.Ne4 +-; 14....a5 15.Qh5 g6 16.Qh6 Qf6 17.Rhe1+ Kd7 18.Ne4 Qb6 19.a3 Na6 20.d6 +-) 15.Rd4! c5 (15....a5 16.a3 Na6 17.Re1+ Kf8 18.Rf4! +-) 16.dxc6 Qxc6+ 17.Kb1 and either Black's King gets slaughtered in the middle of the board or he loses his Knight after 17....Qc2+ 18.Ka1 O-O 19.Rxb4 +-.

L2d3) 13....h6! (13...Qf6! 14.Rxd5 h6 transposes) 14.Rhe1+ Kf8 15.Rxd5 Qf6! (15...Qc8 16.Nf3 Kg8 17.Ne5 ±) 16.Re3! (The immediate 16.Nf3 Qxh4 17.Nxh4 += is similar to the main line below. Weaker is 16.f4!? which would work well after 16....Kg8?! [16....g6?? 17.Nh7+] 17.Nf3 Qxh4 18.Nxh4 ±, but Black has instead 16....Nb4! causing trouble.) 16....Kg8! (Black must force the exchange of Queens or lose his own. Not as good is 16...Nb4 17.Rf3 Nxd5 [17....Qg6 18.Rdf5 f6 19.Ne6+ Kf7 20.Nxg7 +-] 18.Rxf6 Nxf6 19.Ne4 Ne8 [19....Nxe4 20.Qxe4 ±] 20.Qh3 ± Baja, e.g.: 20....Kg8 21.Qd7! ± or 20...Rd8 21.Qa3+ ±) 17.Nf3 Qxh4 18.Nxh4 g6 19.Rd7 (Worth considering is 19.Nf3 Kg7 20.Ne5 Nxe5 21.Rdxe5 +=) 19....Rc8 20.b4! Nb8 21.Rd5 Kg7 22.Nf3 += material is equal, but White has a positional edge.


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Last modified: February 8 , 2003
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