You’d be very hard-pressed to find a more romantic chess gambit than the King’s Gambit.
And like any good romance, it packs a surprising and powerful punch for the unwary.
There’s hardly any chess player who hasn’t heard of the King’s Gambit and most have dreamed of being able to play it.
Now you can embrace this swashbuckling chess style of play and rip apart any opponent who dares to play 1…e5 against you.
What Is A Chess Gambit?
Chess gambits are played in a chess opening for a variety of reasons.
The main reasons are to:
- Divert an opponent’s pawn from controlling a center square.
- Help you develop faster and slow down your opponent’s development.
- Open files for you to attack on.
- Create more space for your bishops, which thrive in open positions.
The most common gambits in the opening involve the c-pawn and f-pawn.
After 1.d4 d5 2.c4, we have the Queen’s Gambit while 1.e4 e5 2.f4 is the King’s Gambit.
In both instances, white offers a side pawn to entice black to give up a center pawn. This will make it easier for white to gain control of the center.
Gaining space and greater control of the center makes it easier for you to develop your pieces because they don’t get in each other’s way.
The central pawns also act as a protective shield while you prepare your pieces for an attack.
If you are interested in learning all of these ideas and more, the 4-hour course on the King’s Gambit by GM Marian Petrov will certainly be of great help.
Why Play Gambits In The Opening?
Gambits are very helpful in teaching you the importance of opening principles and particularly:
- Control of the center.
- Rapid piece development.
These two concepts are essential to playing the opening well.
If you play a gambit opening you will experience first-hand the power of good development and be surprised at how many chess players neglect their development.
Learning how to play a pawn down will help you become a stronger all-round chess player.
We all have games where we fall behind in material. Playing gambits will teach you not to panic if it happens in a game.
The biggest challenge in playing a chess gambit is being patient. You mustn’t rush to regain the material.
When playing a gambit it’s important to trust that the benefits offer full compensation for the sacrificed material.
Trusting your position is something you develop from a thorough understanding of the opening and excellent opening instruction.
There is nobody more suited to teach you the King’s Gambit than GM Marian Petrov.
The King’s Gambit Accepted
When choosing to play any opening you must become aware of your plans and your opponent’s resources. This is especially important if you are giving up material.
The starting position of the King’s Gambit is reached after the moves 1.e4 e5 2.f4
This move forces black to decide if he will accept the gambit with 2…exf4 or decline it with 2…e6 or even offer a counter-gambit with 2…d5.
Moving the f-pawn exposes your king to a check from the h4-square. Even if you castle you need to be vigilant against checks from a bishop on the c5-square.
Always remember that after 2…exf4 the black pawn prevents you from blocking …Qh4 check with g3 because the h-pawn is pinned.
White is in no rush to win back the pawn on f4. Rapid development and control of the center (often with d4) are the main priorities for white.
White will often sacrifice another pawn and sometimes even a piece in the King’s Gambit.
The Bishop’s Gambit 3.Bc4
By developing the bishop on move 3 in the King’s Gambit Accepted, White has the option of meeting …Qh4+ with Kf1.
Although this gives up castling rights White will gain time by attacking the black queen with the natural developing move Nf3.
White can easily castle by hand with moves like Kf2, and Rf1 or Re1, followed by Kg1.
The bishop on c4 does more than provide the king with an escape route.
On c4 the bishop eyes the vulnerable f7 square and controls the center square d5.
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Black has three main replies to 3.Bc4 –
Bishop’s Gambit 3…d5
The response 3…d5 shows that black wants to challenge white for control of the center. White does best to capture with the bishop or else the pawn will block the bishop.
White continues to develop rapidly and prioritize control of the center.
There’s no need to rush into capturing on f4 because white can obtain full compensation for the sacrificed pawn.
Notice how white uses the two central pawns to tie down the black rooks in the following game between Morozevich and Almasi.
Bishop’s Gambit 3…Nf6
Developing instead of clinging to the material is always a sound approach in any opening. 3…Nf6 indicates black wants to develop as quickly as possible.
This time instead of a central pawn duo white uses his extra space to centralize his pieces.
The move 5.Bd3 is a good example of prophylaxis. White doesn’t want black to play …d5 with a gain of tempo by attacking the bishop on c4.
Bishop’s Gambit 3…Qh4+
It’s hard to fault the logical 3…Qh4+ since white has left the h4-square undefended. However, the white king is perfectly safe on the f1-square.
Black loses a lot of time moving the queen to h4 and then back again to safety. This loss of tempi undoubtedly works in white’s favor.
The following game is a good reminder not to neglect the queenside. Notice how well white centralizes his rooks on the two central files.
Final Words On The King’s Gambit
Playing the King’s Gambit needn’t be a lifelong romance although we are certain you will fall heavily for its charms.
GM Marian Petrov will introduce you to an attacking opening based on the sound principles of central control and rapid development.
Along with the King’s Gambit Accepted – Bishop’s Gambit, you will also learn how to play the other two mainlines – the Classical (3.Nf3 g5) and Fischer’s Defense (3.Nf3 d6).
The sidelines are covered too! Study this course and you will be ready to overwhelm black no matter what defense your opponent chooses.
Mastering the attacking skills by playing this beloved opening of the Romantic school will serve you well in your chess career.
Let GM Marian Petrov teach you how to play your own Immortal Game with the venerable King’s Gambit. You can get the full 4-hour course with 50% off here now.