Hi Shorbuck - excellent post.
Good to see someone who has experience playing it coming on.
I played it once seriously v an IM - lost but it was not the opening it was me.
(and his good play).
The Chess Addicts in CHESS magaizine found out I had a league
match on the 31st of October in '96 so wanted me to play the HG
on Halloween night.
I agreed. V O. Penrose (brother of Jonathan). he played 2.....Nf6,
I played the gutless 3.Nc3 trying to swing it back into a 4 Knights.
He played 3....Bb4 (the Three Knights) - I lost.
I know th HG carries a lot of venom as it's not too uncommon a move
in Scotland. It's certainly worth a punt under 2000.
I'd still put it in the 'Trap' class. Funnily enough I discuss what
I consider a trap on the latest Corner.
If 4.Nxe5 is the best move in that position then it's not a trap.
(also 150 years of opening theory and opening principles have just
been tossed out of the window).
I was not kidding with the 'Trick or Treat' variation - which I made
up as I was writing. Black is no way forced to take the Knight.
A few years back I happened upon a crowd of juniors analysing this
and watched them slaughtering Black after 4.Nxe5 Nxe5 5.d4. Ng6 6.e5.
"See if you can so that to me?" I offered and sat down amongst them.
This happened, I'm Black.
That was enough to convince them they had not refuited Chess.
(the whole thing is a trap from the Petroff - you must know your Traps)
Of course it's not all forced (it is after 6.e5?) the HG is one big trap,
for both sides!
And that brings me nicely onto today's hot tip:
When faced with a sacrifice your first consideration must be.
"What happens if I don't take it?"
Is it as good as The Latvian? Yes.
The variations of the Latvian I play (as both colours) are very trappy. So is the HG.
Of course Black gets his Latvian in before the HG.
After 2.Nf3 you might see a Petroff, Philidor, Elephant (2...d5) or
indeed a Latvian. So you need a sharp line v the Petroff
(the Cochrane Gambit - 3.Nxf7!?)
Keep playing the HG if you enjoy playing it and thrive on the messy
positions it can toss up. And it t looks like you can - Good Luck.