Robert James Fischer, the eleventh World Chess Champion (1972-1975), once said that the rejection of any gambit begins with accepting it. After losing a game to Boris Spassky in 1960 (Fischer, as black, chose the Kieseritzky gambit), he decided to refute the king’s gambit once and for all, and he published an article on the subject in the American Chess Quarterly magazine the very next year. The result, analyzed in details, bears his name since then.
As a lifetime fan of the King’s Gambit, I was particularly interested in Fischer’s ideas, and decided to test his defense myself. And it really works! I was so happy with the outcome, that I even started to play (as White):
1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. ♗c4 instead of 3. ♘f3, as it is not easy to find a sound strategy against the Fischer’s line.
So, let’s see the initial position of the Fischer’s Defense (1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. ♘f3 d6):
Fischer called 3. … d6 “a high-class waiting move” to avoid Kieseritzky gambit (1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. ♘f3 g5 4. h4 g4 5. ♘e5) that, according to his words, gives White drawing chances. In fact, he recommended to play 4. … g5 as a response to the most common 4. d4, followed by 5. … h6 or 5. … ♝g7, depending on White’s actions. The formation with 5. … h6, called Berlin Defense Deferred, is actually the most typical outcome of the idea to keep the white knight at the third rank and, as a consequence, deaden the White’s attack before it even started.
Unfortunately, Fischer never played against King’s Gambit after the mentioned loss to Spassky, so his research was merely theoretical. Let me at least present two games where I tried to apply the idea of this defense myself.
Game 1 – a double-knight-pawn formation
Game 2 – a bone in White’s throat