Alapin-Diemer Gambit: 3. Be3!?

"Alapin's idea. The sacrifice of the pawn seems to be correct, for after 3... dxe4 4. Nd2 Black would get a very difficult game if he tried to keep the pawn with 4... f5, while 4... Nf6 5. c3 and 6. Qc2 recovers pawn with good game."
- R. Teichmann

There is one major problem in the classical DDG: Black often plays the bishop to b4 to pin the knight on c3, and usually White gets doubled c-pawns, which are hard to protect. Therefore, I developed the following plan. First of all, the e-pawn shall be sacrificed in any case. Because the c4-move weakens the d4-pawn, White could play c3 instead. After that, the knight has to be played to d2 -- and before that, the bishop to e3. The improved plan starts with 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Be3.

Later I was told that the opening is known as the Alapin French Variation. BDGers, who use to play f3, call this the Alapin-Diemer Gambit (ADG). The back cover of Tim Sawyer's Alapin French, Tactics for White (1995) says: "Quick slashing attacks which often win in 20 moves."

ADG on the Web:


After the obvious 3... dxe4, the game may continue as follows.

4. Nd2

4. Nd2 Nf6 (4... f5! 5. f3 Nc6 6. Bb5 Nf6 -/+ Keres) 5. c3 b6 6. g3 Bb7 7. Bg2 Be7 (7... c5!? with good chances for Black) 8. Qc2 O-O 9. Nxe4 =, Mieses - Janowsky, Wien 1896.

5. f3

If White plays c4 later on, the game may transpose to rare DDG lines.

4. f3

4. f3 c6

The Caro-Kann Fantasy (Tartakower Variation) 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 would transpose to the ADG after 3... dxe4 4. Be3 e6. MCO/13 (1990) says: "The fantasy variation is not theoretically critical; it is not as outlandish as it looks and can be a surprise weapon." Unorthodox Openings (1997) called this the Maroczy Variation. Pitt has over 200 Caro-Kann Fantasy games.

4. Nc3

4. Nc3