The Blumenfeld Gambit is a chess opening that begins with the moves 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. d5 b5, although there are around 30 different move orders that can reach the same position. Black immediately plays for the initiative in the game, looking for a win.
It is a rich opening with a history spanning over one hundred years, named after the Russian master Benjamin Blumenfeld. It was later played by Alexander Alekhine.
This “defense” is closely related to other openings which have been extremely popular in modern times, including the Benko Gambit and the sharp Benoni.
The battle for the center begins immediately, and is a fierce fight! It’s an ideal opening for club and tournament players because if the opponent isn’t familiar enough with it, they can easily go wrong and fall to a crushing defeat.
In the Blumenfeld Gambit, Black sacrifices a pawn to establish an imposing center with pawns on c5, d5 and e6. The natural development of the bishops to b7 and d6, combined with the half-open f-file for a rook, tend to facilitate Black’s play on the kingside.
White, on the other hand, will typically look to counter in the center by playing e4 at some point, while his additional queenside pawn also offers him some initiative on that side of the board.
With the Blumenfeld Gambit, you will always be one step ahead of your competition. While your opponent stares at the board trying to figure out the next logical move, you will already know the winning sequence and correct plans, paired with flawless execution.
You can just relax and enjoy the game… It is a much better position to be in! It not just takes the stress out of your game. This opening preparation gives you an instant confidence booster.
The Blumenfeld Gambit Accepted
In this video, IM William Paschall takes a look at the Benko-like opening, and, in particular, he focuses on the traditional main line in the accepted variation, as well as some sidelines. Let’s take a look. 1.d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. d5 b5 5. dxe6 fxe6 6. cxb5, reaching the position in the diagram to the left. Here, we’ve entered the traditional accepted variation of the Blumenfeld.
6…d5. Alternative moves include 6…Bb7, 6…a6 and even 6…Be7, all of which IM Paschall covers in other areas of the full course. Here, let’s stick with …d5.
7. e3 is the most classical response from White. 7. g3 and the most aggressive option, 7. Nc3, are also possible. Traditionally, Black gets a very good kingside attack going because the pieces are more active, with the bishop moving to d6. 7…Bd6
8. Nc3 – not 8. Be2, which has been played but is a rather passive move. White really needs to be more active and strive to play e4 at some point. Sometimes, Nc3 can be played before e3.
After Black castles 8…0-0, White now plays 9. e4. The knight on c3 supports the e4 advance. The idea is to force Black’s pawns to become fractured or segmented, creating weaknesses for Black, and creating outposts for White’s pieces. See the position on the right.
Black’s general idea is that it is best to keep the tension in the center of the board. This is a pretty normal idea in many openings. The best option for Black here seems to be 9…Bc7, making sure the bishop and knight won’t get forked on e5.
10. Bd3 Nbd7, and we see Black is really striving for control over the e5 square, much as we would see in a Slav Defense, or a Rubinstein-like structure.
What’s next? You’ll have to watch the video! In the video, IM Paschall gives his expert analysis on the Blumenfeld Gambit, so don’t miss it!
Best Chess Openings: The Blumenfeld Gambit
If you want to play a truly fighting opening, the one that your opponents aren’t well-prepared for The Blumenfeld Gambit is exactly what you need! It has been gaining popularity and if you understand the key plans and ideas, it will become your #1 weapon for black in no time!
In his full 6 hour course, IM William Paschall arms you with a dynamic, yet sound, repertoire for Black against 1.d4. This opening is meant to be played sharply and for the initiative, but IM Paschall does not recommend unsound sacrifices or speculative continuations. With the Blumenfeld Gambit, you will always be one step ahead of your competition.