We all know that the Vienna defense is annoying as black refuses the free f3. The result is a difficult choice for white, as he has the choice between the berserker attack with g4, sometimes followed up by the even more-than-hara-kiri h4. The other choice is the quiet fxe4, but also here, white is not without problems.
1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.Nc3 Bf5 5.fxe4 Nxe4 6.Qf3 Nxc3
The other option is 6...Nd6, protecting both the b6 pawn and f5 bishop.
7.bxc3 e6 (diagram)
In my book, I had given 8.Qxb7 Nd7 9.Nf3 as equality, but I am not so sure anymore now. Let's have a closer look.
The alternative line 8...Qh4+ offers no winning chances for black, eg 8...Qh4+ 9.Kd1 Be4 and white has the luxury of choice between 10.Qc8+, 10.Qxc7 and 10.Bb5+. So back to our main line after 8...Nd7 9.Nf3 (diagram)
It is now black who has the luxury of choice. Let's consider today black's most challenging continuation 9...Rb8. The white majesty can go to c6 or capture on a7 - my silicon assistant prefers the capture after a long thought.
9...Rb8 10.Qxa7 (diagram)
The problem is that black now has 10...Bxc2 and white has no more development moves. Ideally, the white bishop wants to be developed to d3, but this is one of the few lines where this is not possible. Also, 11.Bg5 is not so good as black simply replies 11...Be7 and it is black who can castle first.
So, are we facing a simple, yet effective antidote against our beloved gambit ? It surely seems so.