The King's Gambit in Mixed 3D Chess

1. 4e2-4e4 4e7-4e5 2. 4f2-4f4 4e5:4f4 3. 4d2-4d4 4g7-4g5

White's move makes a central phalanx and at the same time attacks 4f4. If, for example, 3.2d2-2d4, 4f4 is attacked but White's formation of Pawns at 2d4 and 4e4 does not look strong. Conversely, the move 3.3e2-3e4 makes a phalanx but does not attack the Pawn at 4f4.

Now Black could give check at 4h4, but White can simply interpose a Commoner, or even play 4g2-4g3 and give up a second Pawn for excellent development.

Alternatively, Black could counterattack with 3...4d7-4d5, which is bound to be a pretty good move. Instead, just for the sake of example, we'll have him defend the Pawn.

If 3...5f7-5f5, defending 4f4, White has Q3d1-7h5+, forking 5f5 and getting back the gambit Pawn. Black might want to do this and then gain tempi by attacking White's Queen, but that's not the course our example will follow today.

1. 4e2-4e4 4e7-4e5 2. 4f2-4f4 4e5:4f4 3. 4d2-4d4 4g7-4g5 4. 5d2-5d4

These central Pawn moves are actually developing moves, because they open the way for Bishops. In addition, now that 5d4 has been played, the squares 4d5 and 5e5 are each doubly attacked; the possible followup with 5.5e2-5e4 would make a perfect 3D phalanx whose grip on the center would appear to give adequate compensation for the sacrificed Pawn.

1. 4e2-4e4 4e7-4e5 2. 4f2-4f4 4e5:4f4 3. 4d2-4d4 4g7-4g5 4. 5d2-5d4 5d7-5d5 5. 4d4:5d5 Q5d8:5d5 6. B3f1-5d3

If 6.N5b1-5c3 (attacking the Q) Q5d5:4e4+; therefore White must spend a move to defend 4e4 before trying to gain a tempo on the Q.

The Bishop move to 5d3 seems good because it helps clear the way for the King to castle at 2g1, defends 4e4, defends 5e4 and therefore threatens to gain the tempo on the black Q by pushing 5e2-5e4, and also of course sets the cheap trap of 6...Q5d5:5d4?? 7.B5d3-7b5+

It might be better to bring the Bishop from 5f1 to 5d3, but the Pawn is still in the way at 5e2.

1. 4e2-4e4 4e7-4e5 2. 4f2-4f4 4e5:4f4 3. 4d2-4d4 4g7-4g5 4. 5d2-5d4 5d7-5d5 5. 4d4:5d5 Q5d8:5d5 6. B3f1-5d3 5f7-5f5 7. N5b1-5c3 B3f8-7b4 (oops) 8. B4f1-4c4

The square 5f5 is defended by B5c8 and Q5d5, so Q3d1-7h5+ does not win a Pawn; the Pawn at 5f5 defends 4f4 one more time, and stops White's 5e2-5e4.

The Knight attacks the Queen, and the Bishop pins it. However, the Bishop does NOT pin the Knight; Black needs a Bishop on 6b4 for that.

Then B4f1-4c4 comes in: a flat move, but defended in 3D, and it works because there are many White Bishops instead of just one. (If none of the 3D moves seemed odd, why not just stick to 2D Chess?)

1. 4e2-4e4 4e7-4e5 2. 4f2-4f4 4e5:4f4 3. 4d2-4d4 4g7-4g5 4. 5d2-5d4 5d7-5d5 5. 4d4:5d5 Q5d8:5d5 6. B3f1-5d3 5f7-5f5 7. N5b1-5c3 B3f8-7b4 8. B4f1-4c4 Q5d5-5e6 9. N6g1-5g3! 5g7-5g6 10. 5e2-5e4 5f5:5e4 11. N5g3:5e4

The Black Queen performs a fancy 3D sidestep, but White's Knight attacks both 5f5 (the Black Queen at 5e6 blocks the path of the Bishop from 5c8) and 5e4. After the exchange at 5e4, Black is threatened with additional loss of tempo in several ways: White must surely have more than enough compensation for the Pawn.

However, 5g6 defends 4g5, makes it possible to develop a few Bishops, and blocks the potential check from 6h5, so it isn't entirely a wasted move. The gambit Pawn is now defended by a Pawn that is defended by a Pawn, and Black's poor development is not accompanied by too many weaknesses. Black can still hope to win the game by virtue of the extra Pawn, it will merely require careful play.

1. 4e2-4e4 4e7-4e5 2. 4f2-4f4 4e5:4f4 3. 4d2-4d4 4g7-4g5 4. 5d2-5d4 5d7-5d5 5. 4d4:5d5 Q5d8:5d5 6. B3f1-5d3 5f7-5f5 7. N5b1-5c3 B3f8-7b4 8. B4f1-4c4 Q5d5-5e6 9. N6g1-5g3! 5g7-5g6 10. 5e2-5e4 5f5:5e4 11. N5g3:5e4 N2g8-3g6 12. B6f1-4d3 O-O(2g8)

Suddenly, Black Castles and the picture changes. It was tempting to wait awhile and perhaps create the option of Castling in two different places, but tucking the King away in the midst of do many other pieces seems too good to miss. Surrounding the King are: an empty flight square at 1h8; Rooks at 2h8, 3h8; Knights at 1g8,3g8; Bishops at 1f8,2f8; and nine unmoved Pawns from 1h7 to 3f7.

Total safety, right? Well, not quite. The square 1h7 is defended only once, and is indirectly attacked by the Bishop at 5d3 (the P at 4e4 is in the way); White can almost threaten mate on 1h7 with 14. Q5d1-1h5, (but then N1g8-1f6 defends mate and attacks the Queen. Instead, White might want to bring a Q to 3h5, but can't get there.

Alternatively, White's 6h2-6h4 might threaten R7h1:1h7; and so we see that White's better development and greater control of the center can translate itself into threats against any part of the board, just the same as in 2D Chess. White's best plan is to continue with quick development, but not random development (you have to keep looking for threats you can make to gain time, and develop with a harmonious plan in mind).

1. 4e2-4e4 4e7-4e5 2. 4f2-4f4 4e5:4f4 3. 4d2-4d4 4g7-4g5 4. 5d2-5d4 5d7-5d5 5. 4d4:5d5 Q5d8:5d5 6. B3f1-5d3 5f7-5f5 7. N5b1-5c3 B3f8-7b4 8. B4f1-4c4 Q5d5-5e6 9. N6g1-5g3! 5g7-5g6 10. 5e2-5e4 5f5:5e4 11. N5g3:5e4 N2g8-3g6 12. B6f1-4d3 O-O(2g8) 13. B6c1-2g5 N6g8-4g6 14. 2h2-2h4 N3g8-3h6 15. N2g1-2f3

From 2g5, the Bishop points to the empty squares 3f6, 4e7, and 5d8; but the main point is that the Bishop attacks 1f6, so White can perhaps build an attack soon. Black is afraid to push a Pawn to chase the Bishop away; that would create a weakness in the King's field.

Black develops and attacks the Bishop, White responds with an attacking move that is also a bit of a developing move (R3h1-1h3 becomes legal).

Black develops and throws another defender on 2h7; in one sense, the idea of canceling the B2g5 by having Knights on both 1f6 and 3h6 seems passive, but in another sense it may simply be overprotection in the Nimzovichian sense that, by defending it more often than needed, one frees all the defenders for other activities.

Notice that the doubled Pawn (14. B2g5:3h6 4h7:3h6) would not be nearly so bad as the corresponding doubled Pawn in FIDE Chess.

White defends the Bishop again in order to threaten the Pawn push 2h4-2h5, which would attack the N3h6. Now White can Castle to 1g1, not a very secure place, but it's another option to consider. None of White's threats are very urgent, but if Black ignores one or two of them their cumulative effect will start to pile up.

Perhaps White should have tried 15. B2g5:3h6 4h7:3h6 16. 2h4-2h5, trying to open up a file against the King. There are also lots of different developing moves such as B5f1-2c4 or B5c1-2g5. So many moves, and you can only make one of them each time.

1. 4e2-4e4 4e7-4e5 2. 4f2-4f4 4e5:4f4 3. 4d2-4d4 4g7-4g5 4. 5d2-5d4 5d7-5d5 5. 4d4:5d5 Q5d8:5d5 6. B3f1-5d3 5f7-5f5 7. N5b1-5c3 B3f8-7b4 8. B4f1-4c4 Q5d5-5e6 9. N6g1-5g3! 5g7-5g6 10. 5e2-5e4 5f5:5e4 11. N5g3:5e4 N2g8-3g6 12. B6f1-4d3 O-O(2g8) 13. B6c1-2g5 N6g8-4g6 14. 2h2-2h4 N3g8-3h6 15. N2g1-2f3 B5c8-5f5 16. 6e2-6e4 B4c8-7f5 17. N6b1-5b3 B7b4:5c3+

Oops. This is not legal; the Knight at 5c3 was never pinned, the Black Queen was hanging.

I tried to make good moves for the sample game, but if I failed, at least I hope the moves I made showed something about the feel of the game.

The Kings Gambit in Upright 3D Chess

1. 4e2-4e4 4e7-4e5 2. 3f2-3f4 4e5:3f4 3. 5d2-5d4 2g7-2g5

If 2...Q5d8-1h4+, the Pawn at 3f4 prevents the Q from capturing 4e4.

Presumably 3...3e7-3e5 is a better move.

1. 4e2-4e4 4e7-4e5 2. 3f2-3f4 4e5:3f4 3. 5d2-5d4 2g7-2g5 4. 5e2-5e4 3d7-3d5 5. 4e4:3d5 Q3d8:3d5 6. N1b1-2c3 Q3d5-4e4+ 7. Q3d1-4e2 Q4d8-4e7 8. N6b1-5c3 Q4e4-3f5 9. 4d2-4d4

One thing I discovered in the other game is that the middle gets congested. Playing a White B to 5d3 would block several other Bishop moves, and so one must consider it carefully; or, in order to save mental energy, simply not consider it much, and play some other move (reserving the move Bd3 for later).

White has moved all 4 central Pawns.

1. 4e2-4e4 4e7-4e5 2. 3f2-3f4 4e5:3f4 3. 5d2-5d4 2g7-2g5(?) 4. 5e2-5e4 3d7-3d5 5. 4e4:3d5 Q3d8:3d5 6. N1b1-2c3 Q3d5-4e4+ 7. Q3d1-4e2 Q4d8-4e7 8. N6b1-5c3 Q4e4-3f5 9. 4d2-4d4 Q4e7:4e2+ 10. (WF)3e1:4e2 N4g8-4f6 11. (WF)4e2-5e3 N5g8-5f6 12. (WF)5e3-4f4 Q3f5-8f5 13. 5e4-5e5 N5f6-6g4

Moving the Knight back to 5g8 is awful, but 6g4 (defended by B2c8) is a bit insecure.

White's Commoner of 4f4 is strong, but could be exposed to attacks from lesser pieces. Black's extra Pawn is an extra Pawn. White's control of the center is nice, and it's never bad to have a lead in development.

I suppose that White has an advantage. These were not particularly ggod moves for either side, at least they were not deeply pondered.