Chess Opening: Queen’s Gambit Theory to Practice

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While learning the theories behind the chess openings especially with an eye to center control and development of pieces, you must understand that if both players could continue along the best theoretical lines, the game would end in a draw! But theory cannot take you to the end because if it could, there would not be any point in playing that kind of chess!

So a stage will come where theory comes to an end ideally with both players at level, and thereafter the players are on their own. The game is then decided through one player making some mistake, however slight it may be, and the other player being able to identify and exploit it. You will often notice that one may be able to get away with a minor mistake but situation keeps getting worse with each additional wrong move. Of course, a palpably bad move will draw the curtains on the game that much faster!

In the three-part article on Chess Opening: Control of Center, we just showed how the initial moves for different openings aim to seize control of center. What happens after those initial skirmishes depends on how each player carries forward his ideas. Unless you examine practical games arising out of those opening moves, your grasp of the potentials will remain a little nebulous. For this reason, we plan to show you at least two master games on the openings discussed, one going in favor of White and the other in favor of Black, so that you get an idea of why those games produced opposite results!

In Chess Opening: Control of Center – Part 3, we took you up to the sixth move. In the following two games, you will see identical development up to the 12th move after which those take their own path.

Max Euwe-George Thomas
Hastings, 1934
  Milan Vidmar-Movsa Feigin
Hastings, 1936

1. c4 e6     1. d4 d5  
2. Nc3 d5     2. c4 e6  
3. d4 Nf6     3. Nc3 Nf6  
4. Bg5 Be7     4. Bg5 Be7  
5. e3 0-0     5. e3 Nbd7  
6. Nf3 Nbd7     6. Nf3 0-0    
QGDgame1   QGDgame1
Though the first game started differently, it has ultimately reached the same standard position. These initial moves were shown to impress on you that even when you are on unfamiliar ground, it is often possible to bring the game back to known territory through transposition of moves.
7. Rc1 c6     7. Rc1 c6  
8. Bd3 dxc4     8. Bd3 dxc4  
9. Bxc4 Nd5     9. Bxc4 Nd5  
10. Bxe7 Qxe7     10. Bxe7 Qxe7  
11. 0-0 Nxc3     11. 0-0 Nxc3  
12. Rxc3 e5     12. Rxc3 e5    
QGDgame2   QGDgame2
After the previous position, moves 7-12 are identical to bring both games to same identical position as dictated by theory of ECO code D68. If ECO code D69 is followed, the next two moves would be 13. dxe5 Nxe5 14. Nxe5 Qxe5. If you see the next two moves of the first game, you will see that it stuck to this route with a little difference in sequence, but the second game went into a different variation which went astray at move 15.
13. Nxe5 Nxe5     13. d5 e4!  
14. dxe5 Qxe5     14. Nd4 c5!  
15. f4 Qe7?   By retreating the Queen there, Black allowed the unhindered progress of White’s KBP   15. Nb5 Nf6   By chasing the Knight with his pawns, Black gained in tempo while acquiring more space. Black is eyeing the g4 square for his Knight taking advantage of the absence of defensive pieces close to White’s King. 15. Nc5 Qe5 16. Ng3 Nf6 would give White a better but complicated game.
16. f5! b5     16. Qb3 Qe5   White probably planned to advance his QP but Black’s Queen move pre-empted this by creating threats on White King’s position with a possible Ng4.
17. Bb3 b4   Black offered his c6 pawn to get White’s e3 pawn. White has no objection, he just wanted to time it right!
  17. Be2 b6   Not 17. … Nxd5 as 18. Rxc5 would pin the Knight. But after the text move, this would be possible.
18. f6! gxf6   The Black Queen’s position enabled White to sacrifice his KBP to break open Black’s castle.   18. Rd1 Rd8   Trying to support the QP, White left his KBP weak and Black’s QB can force the exchange of White’s defender Bishop pinned against his Rook at d1.
19. Rxc6 Qxe3+   White timed the exchange of the pawns to bring his Rooks to exploit the broken castle of Black King. You may also notice how White’s pawn moves were gaining tempo whereas Black’s pawn moves were not getting anywhere!
  19. f4 exf3  
20. Kh1 Bb7   Though Black opened a line to the White King for his Bishop, White’s threats are more real. 20. … Be6 could provide a defense against White’s threats.
  20. Bxf3 Bg4  
21. Rcxf6 Qe4   Black goes through his plans oblivious of White’s threats!
  21. Rcd3 a6  
22. Qd2! Kh8   Black vacated g8 square to position his Rook but White continued to be one step ahead!
  22. Na3 b5   The Knight has practically been forced out of the game!
23. Bxf7 Rac8   Black was hoping to get his QR to the 7th rank at c2 as the option of Rg8 has been taken away.
  23. R3d2 c4   Black’s pawns keep marching ahead, severely restricting the movement of White pieces.
24. R6f2 Rcd8   White defends his KNP and prepares his Queen to take control of the open g-file.
  24. Qc3 Qh5  
25. Qg5 Rd6   Black prevented 26. Qf6# but did not anticipate White’s stunning response!
  25. Bxg4 Nxg4   White had to give in to allow the Knight’s move.
26. Bd5!! Resigns   Black cannot handle the mating threats by White Rook at f8 and by White Queen at g8.   26. h3 Nf6  
    27. Rd4 Rd6  
    28. Nc2 Re8  
The last board position is shown below.   29. Qa5 Rxd5   White kept alive a mating threat on Black’s base rank and threatened to decimate Black’s Queenside pawns.
QGDgame7   QGDgame6
    30. Rxd5 Nxd5  
    31. Rd2 Qg6  
    32. Rxd5 Qxc2   White accepted the exchange of Knights hoping to save his KP by virtue of his threat of baseline mate of Black King.
    33. Re5? Qd1+   White resigned as he cannot avoid losing his Rook. White could offer greater resistance by 33. Rd8 Qc1+ 34. Kh2 Qxe3 35. Rxe8+ Qxe8 36. Qxa6 though Black would retain a marginal advantage because of his extra pawn.
The last board position is shown below.



  1. Pieter Bruce says:

    queen’s gambit theory to practice is missing moves for second game. where can I fnd these moves?

  2. Pieter Bruce says:

    Re theory into practice for Sicilian, Nimzo-Indian and Queen’s gambit declined, each post shows two games, but omits the moves for the second game when the second game varies from the first. Why are my comments on this being deleted; where can I find the missing moves?

  3. ChessTeacher says:

    @Pieter the moves are there, what are you talking about? We always approve appropriate comments and we never delete a comment without reading. Your comments took time to appear because I check blog control panel late night time EST (Eastern Time Zone)

  4. ChessMaster says:

    @Pieter Bruce

    I replied to your comment on the article re: Sicilian Defense. The other two articles also show all the moves in two columns – one left and other right. Since you are having the same problem in seeing the right column in all three articles, it must be a display problem particularly if you have a small screen. But in such a case, a horizontal scroll bar is supposed to appear. All three articles use a table width of 650 pixels for displaying the two columns.

  5. mario torre says:

    i have the same problem with bruce – i could only see the moves for the first game but the second game’s is entirely missing! i could see that the first game finished in 26th move while the second game is what — 29th? i don’t know.

    what must i do to get it? i am using iexplorer, the latest version. any suggestions?


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