One tactic out of the King’s Gambit is the Lolli Gambit, a controversial choice that is often the subject of debate among chess enthusiasts due to the risks it entails.
The Lolli Gambit
Named after Giambattista Lolli, the Lolli Gambit is an offshoot of the King’s Gambit, a bold opening move that sees White sacrificing a pawn to control the center of the board and apply early pressure on Black.
The gambit branches out on the fourth move, with White placing their bishop on c4 (4.Bc4), followed by Black’s pawn advancement to g4 (g4).
The controversy arises on the fifth move, when White sacrifices their bishop for Black’s pawn on f7 (5.Bxf7+?!), a move that is typically viewed as leaving White with insufficient compensation.
The official move order of the Lolli Gambit is:
1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 g5 4. Bc4 g4 5. Bxf7+
After Black’s king takes the bishop (5…Kxf7), White deploys their knight to e5 (6.Ne5+), forcing Black’s king to e8 (Ke8).
Sequence of Moves
White then captures Black’s pawn with the queen (7.Qxg4), which is followed by Black moving their knight to f6 (Nf6).
White’s queen takes Black’s pawn on f4 (8.Qxf4), while Black responds by moving their pawn to d6 (d6).
Comparison with Other Gambits
In comparison with similar lines, the Lolli Gambit is generally considered to be inferior.
Gambits such as the Ghulam Kassim Gambit (4.Bc4 g4 5.d4) and the McDonnell Gambit (4.Bc4 g4 5.Nc3) bear striking similarities to the Lolli, but both provide stronger positioning or better material balance for White.
The Muzio Gambit
A stark contrast to the Lolli is the Muzio Gambit, which is generally deemed superior due to its ability to reinforce White’s attack along the f-file.
The flexibility and attacking potential of this gambit often outweighs the initial material sacrifice, making it a more preferred choice among seasoned players.
Evaluation of the Lolli Gambit
The Lolli Gambit is generally evaluated at around -3.00 to -3.40 for white.
Sample continuation lines might include:
5… Kxf7 6. Ne5+ Ke8 7. Qxg4 Nf6 8. Qxf4 d6 9. Nf3 Rg8 10. O-O Qe7 11. d4 Qg7 12. Rf2 Ng4 13. Rf1 Nc6 14. Qd2 Nf6 15. Nc3 Bg4 16. Kh1 Be7 17. d5 Ne5 18. Nxe5 dxe5 19. Nb5 Rd8 20. Nxc7+ Kd7 21. Ne6 Bxe6 22. dxe6+ Kxe6 23. Qe2
5… Kxf7 6. Ne5+ Ke8 7. Qxg4 Nf6 8. Qxf4 d6 9. Nf3 Rg8 10. O-O Qe7 11. d4 Qg7 12. g3 Be7 13. Nc3 Nc6 14. e5 Nh5 15. Qh6 Bg4 16. Nd5 Qxh6 17. Bxh6 Kd7 18. Nxe7 Nxe7 19. Nh4 Be6 20. exd6 cxd6 21. Rae1
5… Kxf7 6. Ne5+ Ke8 7. Qxg4 Nf6 8. Qxf4 d6 9. Nf3 Rg8 10. O-O Qe7 11. d4 Qg7 12. g3 Be7 13. e5 Nh5 14. Qh6 Bg4 15. Nc3 Nc6 16. Nd5 Qxh6 17. Bxh6 Kd7 18. Nxe7 Nxe7 19. Nh4 Be6 20. Rae1 Rae8 21. b3 b5 22. Rf2 Rg4 23. Bd2 Bd5 24. Ref1
5… Kxf7 6. Ne5+ Ke8 7. Qxg4 Nf6 8. Qxf4 d6 9. Nf3 Rg8 10. O-O Qe7 11. d4 Qg7 12. g3 Bh3 13. e5 dxe5 14. Qxe5+ Qe7 15. Re1 Qxe5 16. Nxe5 Be7 17. Nd2 Nc6 18. Nxc6 bxc6 19. Nf3 Kd7 20. Ne5+ Kc8 21. Nxc6 Bd6 22. Ne7+ Bxe7 23. Rxe7 Kb7 24. Bh6 Rg6 25. Be3 Re8 26. Rxe8 Nxe8 27. c4 Re6 28. Re1 Nf6
The Lolli Gambit, though a stimulating and daring play, is considered less advantageous due to the piece sacrifice and the lack of sufficient compensation.
It presents a complex landscape that calls for advanced tactical knowledge and a keen sense for opportunity.