The King’s Danish

Everything I ever learned about chess I learned from my grandfather, Charles K. Dickson, who, so far as I know, never let me win, so that when I finally did win a game it really counted for something, and from the book I interited from him, Irving Chernev’s 1,000 Best Short Games of Chess, which led me to all of Chernev’s other wonderful books.

Between these two teachers I learned enough to see how much fun chess can be if you’re not worried about losing. If my opponent makes a careless move that would lose immediately, I suggest that he take it back. Who wants to win that way?

Tonight I tried the King’s Danish, a combination of the Danish Gambit and the King’s Gambit. We went 1 P-K4 P-K4 and I went P-Q4, offering the queen pawn as the opening of the Danish Gambit. My opponent Steve (he’s Steve and I’m The Other Steve) declined the offer of the queen pawn and went N-QB3, so then I went P-KB4, offering the king bishop pawn, as in the King’s Gambit. Hence the King’s Danish, an historic first, so far as I know.

Steve then took the queen pawn, and the queen bishop pawn, completing the Danish, which leaves Black up two pawns, but leaves White with lots of open files and diagonals and pieces in a better position for offensive action.

I managed to pick up a piece in the early going, and then it was a matter of not losing. Steve, down a piece, needed a brilliant stroke to win, but he generally sees deeper into the position and I’m the kind of player who often leaves openings. He had two connected pawns advancing on the queen rook and queen knight files, but I was able to hang on for the win.

Score one for the King’s Danish. I rather doubt that it will consistently win for White, but it’s sure to make for a delightful skittle, one way or the other.