King Pawn Openings – King’s Gambit

During a game at chess club last week I decided to try the King’s Gambit opening. After a small analysis afterwards, James and I noticed some mistakes we both made. I initially made a mistake in the early King’s Gambit line. Not seeing how to capitalize, it was followed by a mistake. But we learned something and wanted to share. 

If you’re willing and able, please come out and join us Wednesday, 1/5/2022, for some games & lessons in chess at Pulpit Rock Brewing Company from 6-8:30pm.

King’s Gambit

The King’s Gambit begins with 1. e4 e5 2. f4

King’s Gambit

In 24 of the 36 lines that are explored in Modern Chess Openings 15ed by Nick de Firmian, the gambit is accepted. When accepted, it seems best to follow that by bringing the king side knight to f3. Let’s see why.

First, the accepted King’s Gambit: 2. … exf4. Instead of 3. Nf3, what if we instead try to take total control of the center with 3. d4, like in the following diagram? The logic being not only to try and dominate the center, but to also open up a path to retake the pawn on f4 with your bishop!

d4 is a mistake

Why doesn’t this work? See if you can find the response for black. If you see 3. … Qh4+ good job. What should white do in that case? It turns out that 4. g3 is a huge blunder and that the best move is actually 4. Ke2 which doesn’t seem like a good move at all, as it gives up the right to castle.

Instead, white should anticipate the Qh4+ move and develop a piece to prevent such a move. Hence, the popular line is 3. Nf3. The most popular responses for black are g5 or d6, where the free Stockfish engine on favors d6.

Since the rabbit hole is quite deep for the King’s Gambit, I’ll stop with any further analysis on King’s Gambit accepted and offer a few moves from black instead of accepting.

  • Falkbeer Counter Gambit 2. … d5
  • Gambit Declined 2. … Bc5

Other answers are not as good, and should be explored by the reader if interested.

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