By Chad Lieberman
As a chess enthusiast, I always enjoy revisiting games from the distant past. In this month's ChessLife, the USCF monthly magazine, Grandmaster Larry Evans brings back the Cochrane Gambit.
Named for John Cochrane, a barrister of India, according to G.M. Evans, this gambit arises from the Petroff's Defense. White sacrifices a knight for two pawns and black's inability to castle for the entirety of the game.
In this week's column, I present the reader with the very first game in which the Cochrane Gambit was attempted. As with all games, the success of the opening system must be judged carefully as a few poor moves in the middlegame render the opening a useless evaluating criterion.
Although black probably would have achieved a better middlegame with 5...Be6 and forcing trades, he still retained the advantage throughout most of the game. His only blunder was 21...Qc5, and it cost him the game.
White missed a chance to put him away more quickly with 22.Bf4! The continuation might have been 22...Qb4 (22...Qxh5 23.Bxd6#) 23.c3 dxc3 24.bxc3 Qxf4 25.Rb1+ Bb7 26.Rbxb7+ Kc8 27.Rxf4 Kxb7 28.Rf7+ Kb8 29.e7 and white will win.
I know that most beginners are taught to play until checkmate. They are asking themselves why black didn't play 25...Qc7 and after 26.Bxc7+ play down some material. The reason Mohishunder resigned was because he was staring at mate no matter what. Unfortunately for him, 25...Qc7 is met by 26.Qb6+ Bb7 27.Qxc7+ Ka7 28.Bc5#
In conclusion, if you constantly find yourself baffled by Petroff's Defense, or you simply don't like the normal lines, consider 4.Nxf7!? This unorthodox gambit deserves more attention in my opinion.