The Gambit of Giulio Cesare Polerio
In „Das Schachspiel des XVI. Jahrhunderts. Nach unedirten Quellen bearbeitet, Verlag von Julius Springer, Berlin 1874“ Antonius van der Linde wrote on page 186, in the overall context of the (re-) discovery of (several) Polerio manuscripts (MSs), concerning an opening described actually by Polerio, the following:
i) The king is landing precisely on g1.
ii) Polerio may have thought that the fifth move of White (or Black, anyhow, the person making the 1st move of the match) is so excellent.
First, there is not dissagreement with van der Linde that the Italian text following behind 6.Qxf3 means in modern terms, more or less, +-, or +/-, i.e. Polerio assessed the position of „White“ (or the person who lost the piece) as favourable. This is, overall, so obvious to Polerio that he is preventing himself giving any further move.
Second, I do not want to start a discussion about castling rules in Italy, or Spain, at the mid to end of the 16th century. However, Polerio wrote, in place of 5.0-0!, rather
„N: salta in parte di Rè come s’usa„.
With my limited knowledge of Italian language as of the 16th century I would translate this as „Black: (He/she/it) jumps in direction (?) of the king as usual/as one is using.“ (Note: 1st. In modern Italian the jump is ‚il salto‘, to jump ’saltare‘. 2nd. Game starts with „N: p.di Rè.2.“ Black: King’s pawn 2). As to the question of the castling: Not interesting: A modern quad-core intel processor, and Fritz, will find the position after „5.0-0“ gxf3 6.Qxf3 as slightly favourable for black – relatively independent from the question whether the King stands on g1 or h1.
And final consideration, still under „second“: „im klaren Bewusstsein der Heftigkeit des daraus entstehenden Angriffs“ (see van der Linde above: „in clear awarness of the acuteness of the attack resulting thereof“):
Is the attack resulting from „5.0-0“ more acute with a king on g1, or more acute with a king on h1?
More URGENT, according to current theory, it is with a white king on g1.
It’s not me discussing castling rules, it is van der Linde above („Die Handschrift 1623 enthält Bl. 78 ein fehlerhaftes Spiel mit norditalienischer Rochade(footnote 4)„/The MS of 1623 contains, folio 78, a defective match with North-Italian castling [5.K->h1, R->f1] „al modo italiano“).
1. Let jump the Rook to f1 (or g1). King? Put it on g1, h1, h3, f2, or let Scotty beam him up to the Klingonian Empire: The match is lost for BLACK. And please, don’t bother me with further variations (such as Scotty is beaming down the King on Earth with move 17). It is lost! Sic!
2. If so, what Black can do?
Improve some moves earlier.
And here – in terms of both MS van der Linde C, or Sanvito 2 (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. Città del Vaticano, Italia. Segnatura Tomo Boncompagni 3) – Polerio is clear:
# 12 is what van der Linde (and Baffioni) have seen and described.
# 13, 14, and 15 are analysing, in terms of # 13, „Gambitto che in Ispag(n)a si chiama Guspatara et è molto frequentato.„, i.e. 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.d4 Qh4+ 4.g3 fxg3 5.Scotty is beaming up the King to g2. Overall 3 detailed analysis of the Guspatara by Polerio, obviously a gambit attrackting either a lot of kibitzers, or chess journalists, or both.
#16 „Difensione di Gam(bitt)o.beliss(im)a hauuta, e giocata in Ispagna diuerse uolte da molti gio(cato)ri.“ In summary, a very beautiful gambit’s defense occuring several times in Spain: in brief, „Salvio’s gambit“ (note, not Salvio’s defense) with the move order 1.e4 e5 2.f4 gxf3 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.Ne5 Nh6.
# 17 – and here I see a difference in-between what van der Linde and Baffioni actually have seen … Baffioni wrote:
„17. Difensione di Gam(bitt)o.n(ost)ra, la quale è la più forte di tutte altre à giuditio d’ogni sano, e giu:ditioso giocatore.
(((Our defense of gambit, which (the defense in female grammar gender) is the the strongest among all the other (defenses) according to the judgement of any sane, and judicious player.)))
It follows: 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 Bg7 5.h4 h6 6.d4 c6 7.Nc3 d6
Robert Fischer highly likely would have busted the King’s gambit in another move order else than Polerio (such as 3. – d6 in place of 7.- d6). Eventually Polerio and Fischer may also disagree on the square where the King stands after 5.0-0, i.e either in the Klingonian Empire or on g1. Both may disagree, as well, on the question whether White already has won after 6.Qxf3 – or it is a draw only. Fisher lost with 3.- g5 but not Polerio. Polerio busted the classical King’s knight’s gambit only by 4.- Bg7.
My opinion, and my opinion as well: 4. – g4! Brilliant! Wins quicker. Who found that move?