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Danish Gambit

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White: John P. Pratt
Black: Ramon Bassett
Date: 13 Jun 1977
Location: Hill Air Force Base, Utah

This is the best chess game I've ever played. It was against the East Side champion of Hill Air Force Base, who had just moved to our West Side, and had beaten our champion, R. J. Hamilton. Both of those players were rated about 2000 nationally, far above where I would have been if I were rated.

I played him first in the next (Swiss style) tournament. There were 24 in the tourney and he ranked first, and I was 13th. I was determined to beat him. I opened with the Danish Gambit (an all out attack), which my book on openings said should only be used against inferior players. The reason given is that all the defender has to do is to be humble and play careful defense and he will win. Fortunately, my opponent was not humble, but came out counterattacking.

I was able to forcefully win his queen, and then end the game by simply trading off pieces (because I had no idea how to play an end game). We played for 30 minutes every day at noon and sealed our next moves. I spent all afternoon thinking about how to win, which ruined my work. So I quit playing chess at work for about seven years after this game. I took up table tennis which never ruined my afternoons, and played it for four decades.

1. e2-e4, e7-e5. 
2. d2-d4, e5xd4. 
3. c2-c3, d4xc3. 
4. Bf1-c4, c3xb2.White sacrifices two pawns to get a great development.
5. Bc1xb2, Qd8-g5. White's five moves are the Danish gambit. Look at White's development.
6. Ng1-f3, Bf8-b4+. Black's bold queen and bishop are asking for trouble.
7. Ke1-f1, Qg5-c5. Black tries to distract White from taking his rook.
8. Bb2xg7, Qc5xc4+. White sees no way for Black to save his rook. Do you?
9. Kf1-g1, Ng8-f6. White sees no rush to take the rook.
10. Nb1-d2, Bb4xd2. 
11. Nf3xd2, Qc4-e6. The Black queen finally must retreat.
12. Bg7xh8, Nf6xe4. 
13. Nd2xe4, Qe6xe4. We are now even in material, but White is fully developed.
14. Qd1-d2, Qe4-g6. White threatens to pin Black's queen, so he defends.
15. Ra1-e1+, Ke8-f8. 
16. h2-h4, d7-d6. Black does not see that his queen is lost. He was protecting against 17. R-h3.
17. h4-h5, Qg6-e6. White threatens 18 Q-h6+, K-g8; 19 Q-g7 mate.
18. Re1xe6, Bc8xe6. The best Black can do is trade his queen for a rook.
19. Qd2-h6, Kf8-e7. The rest of this game only shows that White can now trade off all pieces.
20. Bh8-f6, Ke7-d7. 
21. Qh6xh7, Nb8-c6. 
22. Qh7-b1, Ra8-g8.  
23. Qb1xb7, Be6-d5.  
24. f2-f3, Bd5xf3.  
25. Kg1-f2, Bf3-d5. 
26. Rh1-h2, Rg8-e8. 
27. Rh2-h4, Re8-e6.  
28. Qb7-b2, Bd5-e4.  
29. Rh4xe4, Re6xe4.  
30. h5-h6, Nc6-e5.  
31. Bf6xe5, Re4xe5.  
32. Qb2xe5, resign. Black cannot prevent pawn promotion.