The Variations of the King's Gambit

Here's a zip-through the main lines of the King's Gambit, using complete games. I have tried where possible to use games from Joe Gallagher's popular book.

Play through games here:
http://exeterchessclub.org.uk/x/pgn4web/collection.html?pgnfile=http://exeterchessclub.org.uk/x/PGN/booklets.pgn?initialGame=115

  There are three basic classes of defence:

 

  • accept the Pawn

 

  • counter-gambit

 

  • get on with development

 


Accept the Pawn

Steinitz always said that the best way to refute a gambit is to accept it, and accepting the Gambit is probably the most popular response at all levels. Steinitz would hang on to Pawns with total commitment, but the pragmatic Lasker advised letting your opponent waste time and effort getting it back, when you may have material equality but a superior position.

  Because of the check at h4, White normally plays 3. Nf3, but there are some alternatives.


King's Bishop's Gambit

Polgar,J - Flear,C [C33] Hastings/SW,11,22,/1989
1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Bc4 Nf6

After 3...d5 the Polgars have been playing 4. exd5, getting into a line of the Modern Defence.

4. d3

 

rnbqkb-r
pppp-ppp
-----n--
--------
--B-Pp--
---P----
PPP---PP
RNBQK-NR
This modest move intends to reach a playable middlegame with an extra central Pawn. Black is objectively equal but can be outplayed.

4... d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Nf3 Nb6 7. Bb3 Bd6 8. Qe2+ Qe7 9. Nc3 Bg4 10. Qxe7+ Kxe7 11. Ne4 Bxf3 12. gxf3 Nc6 13. Nxd6 cxd6 14. Bxf4 Nd4 15. Kf2 Nxb3 16. axb3 a6 17. Ra5 Kd7 18. b4 Rhe8 19. c4 Re6 20. b5 axb5 21. Rxb5 Kc6 22. Rc1 Ra2

 

--------
-p---ppp
-nkpr---
-R------
--P--B--
---P-P--
rP---K-P
--R-----
23. Rb3 Nd7 24. d4 Rf6 25. Bg3 b6 26. Re1 d5 27. cxd5+ Kxd5 28. Re7 Kc4 29. Rc3+ Kb4 30. Rc2 Kb3 31. Rd2 Ra7 32. d5 b5 33. d6 Rf5 34. Rd3+ Kc2 35. Rc3+ Kxb2 36. Rc7 1-0

 


King's Knight's Gambit

Again, there is a basic choice of strategy:

  hang on to the Pawn (Kieseritsky Variation (3...g5), Becker Variation (3...h6))

  central counter (Modern Defence (3...d5))

  get on with development (Schallop Defence (3...Nf6), Defence with 3...Nc6, Cunningham Variation (3...Be7))


Kieseritsky Variation (3...g5)

Holmes,D - Hebden,Mark [C39] British/Championship, 1989
1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 g5 4. h4

The alternative 4. Bc4 leads most often to the Hanstein variation, which JG reckons is no winning attempt after e.g.

Groeneveld K - Jerabek P (corres TT/88\3, 1991): 1.e4/e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 Bg7 5.h4 h6 6.d4 d6 7.c3 Nc6 8.0-0 Bg4 9.Qb3 Na5 10.Bxf7+ Kf8 11.Qa3 Kxf7 12.Qxa5 Bxf3 13.Rxf3 c5 = (Hoi) 14.Qxd8 Rxd8 15.d5 Be5 16.g3 g4 17.Rf1 f3 18.Bf4 Bxf4 0-1

Oddly, BCO2 gives the archaic Double Muzio Gambit the nod e.g.

Shirov,A - Lapinski,J: Daugavpils, 1990: 1.e4 e5 2.f4/exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.0-0 gxf3 6.Qxf3 Qf6 7.e5 Qxe5 8.Bxf7+ Kxf7 9.d4 Qxd4+ [9...Qf5]10.Be3 Qf6 11.Bxf4 Ke8 12.Nc3 Nc6 13.Nd5 Qg6 14.Rae1+ Be7 15.Bd6 Kd8 16.Qf8+ Bxf8 17.Bxc7# 1-0

4...g4

5. Ne5

  The Allgaier gambit

5. Ng5 h6 6. Nxf7

  is a brave but probably insufficient try; the idea though is sound in other positions (see 3...h6).

Terry - Barlow B (corres GBR, 1988)

/

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ng5 h6 6.Nxf7 Kxf7 7.Nc3 d6 8.Bc4+ Kg7 9.d4 Be7 10.Bxf4 Bxh4+ 11.g3 Bg5 12.Qd2 Bxf4 13.gxf4 Bd7 14.0-0-0 a5 15.f5 Be8 16.Nd5 Nd7 17.e5 Ra6 18.Nf4 1-0

  White gets good practical chances in any event; the line reminds me of Cochrane's line in the Petroff. (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nxf7).

5...Nf6 6. d4 d6 7. Nd3 Nxe4 8. Bxf4 Qe7 9. Qe2 Nc6 10. c3 Bf5

 

r---kb-r
ppp-qp-p
--np----
-----b--
---PnBpP
--PN----
PP--Q-P-
RN--KB-R
This is the critical line of the Kieseritsky. Black does not stand badly and the most that JG claims for White here is that Black will find it difficult to win after 13. Nxe4 (!). The main game is widely cited as the antidote to White's plans. I offer some recent experiences as a starting point for folk who hope to win as White with it.

11. Nd2 O-O-O

[11... Nxd2 12. Kxd2 h5 13. Bg5 Bh6 14. Bxh6 Qxe2+ 15. Bxe2 Q-Q Vockler M - Sobeck G/corres DDR/BRD 1972/(25)]

12. O-O-O

[12. Nc4 h5 13. Ne3 Bg6 14. O-O-O Bh6 15. Bxh6 Rxh6 16. Nd5 Qf8 17. Qe3 Re8 18. Qf4 Nd8 0-1 Wittmann W - Rodin E/corres/ARG 1980]

[12. Nxe4 Qxe4 13. Qxe4 Bxe4 14. Nf2 Re8

[14... f5 15. Nxe4 fxe4 16. h5 Be7 17. Kf2 Rdf8 18. Kg3 d5 19. Be2 Rhg8 0-1 Schmelz - Hanison/corres CIF 1990/(27)]

15. Kd2 f5 16. Nxe4 Rxe4 17. g3 Ne7 18. Bd3 Re6 19. Rae1 Kd7 Q-Q Bangiev A - Neumann G/corres USSR 1989 (26)]

/

12... Re8 13. Re1

[13. g3 Nxc3 14. Qxe7 Nxa2+ 15. Kb1 Rxe7 16. Kxa2 Bxd3 17. Bxd3 Nb4+ 18. Kb3 Nxd3 0-1 Hajek - Buresh/cr/1961]

[13. Nc4 Qf6 14. Ne3 Bh6 15. Qe1 g3 16. Nd5 Qg7 17. Qe3 Bxf4 18. Qxf4 Bg4 19. Re1 f5 0-1 Skotorenko V - Reprinuev/corres ARG 1983 (44)]

[13. h5 Nxc3 0-1 Pantaleoni L - Bonatti A/corres/ITA/CSA 1983]

[13. d5 Nxc3 14. Qxe7 Nxa2+

[14... Nxe7 15. bxc3 Nxd5 16. c4 Nc3 17. Re1 Rxe1+ 18. Nxe1 Nxa2+ 19. Kb2 Nb4 0-1 Craig T - Ivanez Rico F/corres EUR/1991 (40)]

15. Kb1 Nxe7 16. Kxa2 Nxd5 0-1 Hurt,E - Baca,D/cr/1987]

[13. Nxe4! = Qxe4 14. Qd2

[14. Qxe4 Rxe4 15. g3 Bg7 16. Bd2 Re7 17. Nf4 Be4 18. Bg2 f5 19. Rde1 Rhe8 20. Re2 Bh6 21. Bxe4 Rxe4 22. Rxe4 Rxe4 23. Nd5 Bxd2+ 24. Kxd2 Nxd4 0-1 McLean - Hindle/corres GBR/1990]

14... Bg7 15. h5 h6 16. Rh2 Qd5 17. Kb1 b5 18. Ka1 a5 19. g3 Be4 ... 1-0 Pablo - Gilg,J/Tarrassa (2) 1989 (42)]

/

13... Qe6 14. a3 Qa2 15. Qd1

[15. g3 Bg7 16. Nxe4 Rxe4 17. Qxe4 Bxe4 18. Rxe4 Qb3 19. Rh2 a5 0-1 Maes W - Winants L/Huy op 1992 (38)]

/

15... h5 16. g3

[16. Qb3 Qa1+ 17. Nb1 Be7 18. Qd5 Bg6 19. Rxe4 Bd8 0-1 Carroll C - Curnow D/corres GBR 1989 (35)]

/

16... Bg7 17. Rh2 Nxc3 18. bxc3 Qxa3+ 19. Kc2 Bxd4 20. Qa1 Nb4+ 0-1

 


Becker Variation (3...h6)

Vrenegoor T - Van Gisbergen S [C34] Enschede,/1991
1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 h6

  Black signals an intention to hang on to the Pawn with ...g5 and ...Bg7.

4. d4 g5 5. Nc3 d6 6. g3 fxg3 7. h4 g4 8. Ng1 g2 9. Bxg2 Be7 10. h5 Bh4+ 11. Ke2 Bg5 12. Bxg5 Qxg5 13. Qd2 Qxd2+ 14. Kxd2 Ne7 15. Nge2+/=

 

rnb-k--r
ppp-np--
---p---p
-------P
---PP-p-
--N-----
PPPKN-B-
R------R
better for White, says Korchnoi, but...

15... Na6 16. Rhf1 O-O 17. Rae1 Kg7 18. Nf4 c6 19. Rg1 Rg8 20. Bf1 Nc7 21. Be2 Kf8 22. Rg2 d5 23. Rf1 Bd7 24. e5 Rg5 25. Rfg1 Ne6 26. Nxe6+ Bxe6 27. Bxg4 Bxg4 28. Rxg4 Rxh5 29. Ne2 Rh2 30. Rf4 Re8 31. Rgf1 f5 32. exf6 Rxe2+ 33. Kxe2 Ng6+ 34. Kd3 Nxf4+ 35. Rxf4 Kf7 36. c4 dxc4+ 37. Kxc4 Re2 38. Kc3 Re6 39. d5 cxd5 40. Rf5 Rxf6 41. Rxd5 Kg6 42. Rd7 Rf7 43. Rd6+ Kg5 44. Rd5+ Kg4 45. Rd1 Rc7+ 0-1

 

Bangiev A - Karolyi T [C34] Kecskemet,/1987
1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 h6 4. b3

 

rnbqkbnr
pppp-pp-
-------p
--------
----Pp--
-P---N--
P-PP--PP
RNBQKB-R
A recently popular counter, which meets no effective opposition in this game.

4... d6 5. Bb2 Nf6 6. Nc3 Nc6 7. Qe2 Be7 8. O-O-O O-O

 

r-bq-rk-
ppp-bpp-
--np-n-p
--------
----Pp--
-PN--N--
PBPPQ-PP
--KR-B-R
9. g3 Bg4 10. Qf2 Ne5 11. Be2 fxg3 12. Qxg3 Nh5 13. Qf2 Bxf3 14. Bxf3 Bh4 15. Qf1 Nf4 16. Rg1 c6 17. Bg4 Nfg6 18. Bf5 Bg5 19. Kb1 Ne7 20. d4 N5g6 21. Bc1 Bxc1 22. Kxc1 d5 23. e5 Nxf5 24. Qxf5 Ne7 25. Qg4 g6 26. Rdf1 Qc8 27. Qh4 Nf5 28. Qf6 Kh7 29. Ne2

 

r-q--r--
pp---p-k
--p--Qpp
---pPn--
---P----
-P------
P-P-N--P
--K--RR-
29... Qe6 30. Rxg6 Qxf6 31. Rxf6 Ng7 32. Rxf7 Kg8 33. Rxf8+ Rxf8 34. Rxf8+ Kxf8 35. Kd2 Ne6 36. Ke3 Kf7 37. c4 Nc7 38. Nf4 b5 39. Kd3 a5 40. cxd5 cxd5 41. a4 b4 42. Ke3 Ke8 43. Nd3 Ne6 44. Nc5 Nd8 45. Nd3 Nc6 46. Nf4 Ne7 47. Ne2 Kf7 48. Kf4 Kg6 49. Ng1 Nc6 50. Nf3 Kf7 51. Kf5 Ne7+ 52. Kg4 Ke6 53. Nh4 Nc8 54. Nf5 Nb6 55. Nd6 Nd7 56. Nb5 Nb8 57. Kf4 Nc6 58. h4 Ne7 59. Nd6 Nc6 60. Nf5 h5 61. Kg5 Nxe5 62. Ng7+ Kd6 63. dxe5+ Kxe5 64. Nxh5 Kd4 65. Nf4 Kc3 66. h5 Kxb3 67. h6 Ka2 68. h7 b3 69. Nd3 1-0

Modern Defence (3...d5)

Long thought an effective reply, but I sense players of Black are finding this less promising than other lines. White has two Bishop moves at move 5, and JG claims both are good.
Kinlay,J - Nunn,J [C36] London,/1977
1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 d5 4. exd5 Nf6 5. Bb5+ c6 6. dxc6 Nxc6 7. d4 Bd6 8. O-O O-O 9. Nbd2 Bg4 10. c3 Bc7 11. Nc4 Ne7 12. Ba4 b5 13. Bxb5 Qd5 14. Na3 Qh5

 

r----rk-
p-b-nppp
-----n--
-B-----q
---P-pb-
N-P--N--
PP----PP
R-BQ-RK-
Nunn is so dangerous with the attack.

15. Bd3 Ned5 16. Nc4 Rae8 17. h3 Ne3 18. Bxe3 fxe3 19. hxg4 Nxg4 20. Nce5 Rxe5 21. dxe5 e2 22. Bxe2 Bb6+ 23. Qd4 Qh6 24. Rae1 Rd8 25. Bc4 Rxd4 0-1

 

Hebden M - Geller E [C36] Moscow,/1986
1. e4 e5 2. f4 d5 3. exd5 exf4 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bc4 Nxd5 6. O-O Be6 7. Bb3 Be7 8. c4 Nb6 9. d4 Nxc4

 

rn-qk--r
ppp-bppp
----b---
--------
--nP-p--
-B---N--
PP----PP
RNBQ-RK-
10. Bxf4 O-O 11. Qe2 b5 12. Nc3 a6 13. a4 Nc6 14. axb5 Nxd4 15. Nxd4 Qxd4+ 16. Kh1 Rab8 17. Rxa6 Bd6 18. Ra4 Bxf4 19. Bxc4 Qd6 20. Rd1 Qe5 21. Bxe6 fxe6 22. Re4 Qg5 23. g3 Bd6 24. Rxe6 Qf5 25. Kg2 Bc5 26. Rd5 Qf2+ 27. Qxf2 Rxf2+ 28. Kh3 Bd6 29. Re2 Rxe2 30. Nxe2

 

-r----k-
--p---pp
---b----
-P-R----
--------
------PK
-P--N--P
--------
Better for White, but in the end Hebden was struggling to draw.

30... Re8 31. Nc3 Re6 32. Kg2 Kf7 33. Rf5+ Kg6 34. g4 Re3 35. Rh5 h6 36. Kf2 Rd3 37. Ke2 Rd4 38. h3 Rb4 39. Nd1 Kf6 40. Kd3 Be5 41. Nc3 Rxb2 42. Ne4+ Ke6 43. g5 g6 44. Rxh6 Kf5 45. Rh7 Rxb5 46. Rf7+ Ke6 47. Rh7 Rd5+ 48. Ke3 Ra5 49. Kd3 Ra3+ 50. Kc4 Kf5 51. Nc5 Rc3+ 52. Kb4 Rc1 53. Nd7 Bg3 54. Nf6 Rb1+ 55. Kc4 Rh1 56. Kd3 Be5 57. Ng4 Bg3 58. Nf6 Ra1 59. h4 Ra3+ 60. Ke2 Ra4 61. Rf7 Bh2 62. Kf3 Rf4+ 63. Kg2 Rxh4 64. Nh7+ Kg4 65. Nf8 Bd6 66. Nxg6 Rh2+ 67. Kf1 Kxg5 68. Ne7 Rd2 69. Nf5 Bf4 70. Ng7 Q


Schallop Defence (3...Nf6)

An unpopular line, but the games aren't always as one-sided as this one!
Bangiev A - Podrezov [C34] corres ARG,/1986
1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e5 Nh5 5. d4 d5 6. c4 g5 7. g4 Ng7 8. Nc3 Bb4 9. Rg1 h5 10. h3 dxc4 11. Bxc4 c5 12. d5 Nd7 13. Bd2 Nb6 14. Qe2 hxg4 15. hxg4 Bd7 16. a3 Ba5 17. Ne4 Bxd2+ 18. Nfxd2 Qe7 19. d6

 

r---k--r
pp-bqpn-
-n-P----
--p-P-p-
--B-NpP-
P-------
-P-NQ---
R---K-R-
1-0

 


Defence with 3...Nc6

Not a popular line - I could find no games in my database, although/this may be because after 4. Nc3 we are in a line of the Vienna Gambit.
Gallagher,J - Hresc,Vladimir [C34] Gent/<BEL> (07), 1991
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Nc3 g5 5.h4 g4 6.Ng5 h6 7.Nxf7 Kxf7 8.d4 f3 9.Bc4+ d5 10.Bxd5+ Kg7 11.gxf3 Bb4 12.Be3 Nf6 13.Bc4 Qe7 14.Qe2 gxf3 15.Qxf3 Bg4 16.Rg1 h5 17.e5 Nxe5 18.dxe5 Qxe5 19.0-0-0 Bc5 20.Rd7+ Nxd7 21.Qf7# 1-0

 


Cunningham Variation (3...Be7)

This venerable line is considered a safe way to play for equality.
IbbencanCoRqoBaM1FeRNaNqezGaRciak[C35]banPabman,1987
1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 Be7 4. Bc4 Nf6! 5. e5 Ng4 6. O-O Nc6 7. d4 d5 8. exd6 Bxd6

[8...Qxd6 is always the alternative]

9. Qe1+

 

r-bqk--r
ppp--ppp
--nb----
--------
--BP-pn-
-----N--
PPP---PP
RNB-QRK-
9... Kf8 10. Nc3 Bf5 11. Nh4 Qg5 12. Nxf5 Qxf5 13. Qe4 Qxe4 14. Nxe4 Rd8 15. c3 Na5 16. Nxd6 Rxd6 17. Be2 Ne3 18. Rxf4 Re6 19. Bf3 c6 20. b3 Nd5

 

-----k-r
pp---ppp
--p-r---
n--n----
---P-R--
-PP--B--
P-----PP
R-B---K-
21. Ba3+ Kg8 22. Bxd5 cxd5 23. Rf5 Ra6 24. Rxd5 g6 25. Rd7 Nc6 26. Bb2 1-0

 


Fischer Defence (3...d6)

This move was Fischer's famous "bust", hatched after a stinging defeat by Spassky. He describes it as a "high-class waiting move". After some peculiar digressions, players of White have settled on a fair strategy with 4. d4/ 5. h4, although JG suggests an intertesting alternative with 4. Bc4/5. d3.
Gallagher J - Jackson S [C34] GBR-ch/Blackpool, 1988
1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 d6 4. d4 g5 5. h4 g4 6. Ng1 Bh6 7. Nc3 c6 8. Nge2 Qf6 9. g3 f3 10. Nf4 Qe7 11. Bd3 Bg7 12. Be3 h5 13. Qd2 Nd7 14. O-O-O

 

r-b-k-nr
pp-nqpb-
--pp----
-------p
---PPNpP
--NBBpP-
PPPQ----
--KR---R
This is one of those peculiar positions that make the Gambit difficult to get a feel for. Black can make no use of the protected passed Pawn on the sixth(!).

14... Nf8 15. Rhe1 Bd7 16. e5 dxe5 17. dxe5 Ne6 18. Ne4

 

r---k-nr
pp-bqpb-
--p-n---
----P--p
----NNpP
---BBpP-
PPPQ----
--KRR---
White obedience to the principle of centralisation is striking.

18... Bxe5 19. Nxe6 Bxe6 20. Bc5 Qc7 21. Nd6+! Bxd6 22. Rxe6+ Be7 23. Bd6 Qxd6 24. Rxd6 Bxd6

 

r---k-nr
pp---p--
--pb----
-------p
------pP
---B-pP-
PPPQ----
--KR----
25. Ba6 O-O-O 26. Qc3 Ne7 27. Rxd6 bxa6 28. Rf6 Rhf8 29. Qc5 Rd7 30. Qxh5 Rfd8 31. Qxg4 Kb7 32. Qxf3 Nd5 33. Rxf7 Nb6 34. b3 a5 35. h5 a4 36. Kb2 axb3 37. axb3 a5 38. h6 a4 39. h7 axb3 40. cxb3 Ka7 41. Rxd7+

1-0

 

Gallagher J - Lane G [C34] Hastings Masters,/1990
1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 d6 4. Bc4 h6 5. d3 g5 6. g3

 

rnbqkbnr
ppp--p--
---p---p
------p-
--B-Pp--
---P-NP-
PPP----P
RNBQK--R
A classic undermining.

6... Bh3 7. Nd4 d5 8. exd5 Bg7 9. c3 Bxd4 10. cxd4 Bg2 11. Rg1 f3 12. Be3 Nf6 13. Nc3 O-O 14. Qd2 Re8 15. O-O-O

 

rn-qr-k-
ppp--p--
-----n-p
---P--p-
--BP----
--NPBpP-
PP-Q--bP
--KR--R-
15... Ng4 16. Rge1 Nd7 17. Bg1 Ndf6 18. h4 Rxe1 19. Rxe1 Nh5 20. Ne4 gxh4 21. gxh4 Qxh4 22. d6 cxd6 23. Nxd6 f2 24. Bxf2 Qxf2 25. Bxf7+ Kf8 26. Bxh5 Qxd2+ 27. Kxd2 Nf6 28. Bd1 h5 29. Re6 Ng4 30. Bb3 Rd8 31. Rg6 Ke7 32. Nf5+ Kd7 33. Rg7+ Kc8 34. Rh7 Nf6 35. Rh6 Rf8 36. Ng7 Nd5 37. Bxd5 Bxd5 38. Rxh5 Bxa2 39. Ra5 Bg8 40. Rxa7 Kc7 41. Ra5 Rd8 42. Kc3 Kb6 43. Rc5 Bd5 44. Nf5 Be6 45. Ne3 Bf7 46. Rf5 Bg8 47. Rc5 Bf7 48. Nc4+ Ka7 49. b4 Bg8 50. b5 Bd5 51. b6+ Kb8 52. Rc7 Bg2 53. Ne5 Bh1 54. Nd7+ Ka8 55. Rc5 1-0

Minor Variations accepting the gambit

It is important to have an idea how to proceed after these odd lines.
Schlechter C - Teichmann R [C34] Vienna gt,/1903
1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 f5 4. e5 g5 5. d4 g4 6. Bxf4 gxf3 7. Qxf3 Qh4+ 8. g3 Qg4 9. Qe3 Nc6 10. Be2 Qg6 11. Nc3 Bb4 12. d5 Nd8 13. O-O-O h6

 

r-bnk-nr
pppp----
------qp
---PPp--
-b---B--
--N-Q-P-
PPP-B--P
--KR---R
14. g4 Ne7 15. d6 Ne6 16. dxe7 Bc5 17. Qg3 Bxe7 18. gxf5 Qxf5 19. Be3 Bg5 20. Nd5 Bxe3+ 21. Qxe3 Kd8 22. Rhg1 Qf8 23. Rdf1 Qc5 24. Qf3 Rf8

 

r-bk-r--
pppp----
----n--p
--qNP---
--------
-----Q--
PPP-B--P
--K--RR-
25. Rg8 1-0

 

Spassky,Boris - Seirawan,Yasser [C34]/Montpellier ct, 1985
1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 Ne7 4. d4 d5 5. Nc3 dxe4 6. Nxe4 Ng6 7. h4 Qe7

 

rnb-kb-r
ppp-qppp
------n-
--------
---PNp-P
-----N--
PPP---P-
R-BQKB-R
8. Kf2! Bg4 9. h5 Nh4 10. Bxf4 Nc6 11. Bb5 O-O-O 12. Bxc6 bxc6 13. Qd3 Nxf3 14. gxf3 Bf5 15. Qa6+ Kb8 16. Nc5 Bc8 17. Qxc6 Rxd4 18. Rhe1! Rxf4 19. Qb5+ Ka8 20. Qc6+ Kb8 21. Rxe7 Bxe7 22. Rd1 Rf6 23. Nd7+ Bxd7 24. Qxd7

 

-k-----r
p-pQbppp
-----r--
-------P
--------
-----P--
PPP--K--
---R----
24... Rd8 25. Qb5+ Kc8 26. Rxd8+ Bxd8 27. Qa4 g5 28. Qxa7 Rf4 29. Qa6+ Kb8 30. Qd3 Be7 31. Qxh7 g4 32. Kg3 1-0
Counter-Gambits If the Gambit is not accepted, it is usually met by one of these lines. For years the Falkbeer held centre stage, but White seems to have good chances in the main lines. But the recent fashion has been for 3...c6, attributed to Nimzo.

Falkbeer Counter-Gambit

David Bronstein - Tal,Mikhail [C32] URS-TCH/Riga, 1968
1. e4 e5 2. f4 d5 3. exd5 e4 4. d3 Nf6 5. dxe4 Nxe4 6. Nf3 Bc5 7. Qe2 Bf5 8. Nc3 Qe7 9. Be3 Nxc3 10. Bxc5 Nxe2 11. Bxe7 Nxf4 12. Ba3 Nd7
r---k--r
pppn-ppp
--------
---P-b--
-----n--
B----N--
PPP---PP
R---KB-R
13. O-O-O Be4 14. Ng5 Bxd5 15. g3!?
[15. Re1++/- ]
15... Bxh1 16. gxf4 c5 17. Bc4 Bc6 18. Nxf7 b5 19. Nd6+ Ke7
r------r
p--nk-pp
--bN----
-pp-----
--B--P--
B-------
PPP----P
--KR----
20. Nxb5 Rhf8 21. Nd4 Bb7 22. Ne6 Rf5 23. Rg1 Be4 24. Nc7?
[24. Re1+- ]
24... Rd8 25. Rxg7+ Kf6 26. Rf7+ Kg6 27. Re7 Nf6 28. Ne6 Rc8 29. b3 Rh5 30. Ng5 Bd5 31. Bd3+ Kh6 32. Bb2 c4 33. Bf5 c3 34. Bxc8 cxb2+ 35. Kxb2 Rxh2 36. Rxa7 Rf2 37. Ra4 Kg6 38. Rd4 h5 39. a4 h4 40. a5 Bg2 41. a6 Nh5 42. Bb7 Nxf4 43. Rxf4 1-0

Nimzovitch Counter-Gambit

Illescas Cordoba M - Nunn J [C31] Dubai ol,/1986
1. e4 e5 2. f4 d5 3. exd5 c6 4. Nc3 exf4 5. Nf3 Bd6 6. Bc4 Ne7 7. dxc6 Nbxc6 8. d4 O-O 9. O-O Bg4
r--q-rk-
pp--nppp
--nb----
--------
--BP-pb-
--N--N--
PPP---PP
R-BQ-RK-
10. Ne4 Bc7 11. c3 Nd5 12. Nc5 Rb8 13. Qe1 Re8 14. Qh4 Qxh4 15. Nxh4 Ne3 16. Bxe3 Rxe3 17. Rae1 Rxe1 18. Rxe1 g5 19. h3 Bh5 20. Nf5 Bg6 21. Ne7+ Kg7 22. Nxc6 bxc6 23. Na6 Rc8 24. Nxc7 Rxc7 25. Re5 f6 26. Rc5
--------
p-r---kp
--p--pb-
--R---p-
--BP-p--
--P----P
PP----P-
------K-
26... Be4 27. d5 Rd7 28. dxc6 Rc7 29. Bb5 Kf7 30. b4 Ke6 31. a4 Kd6 32. a5 h5 33. h4 Bxc6 34. Bxc6 Rxc6 35. hxg5 fxg5 36. Rxg5 Rxc3 37. Rxh5 Rc4 38. b5 Rc5 39. Rxc5 Kxc5 40. b6 1-0
Spassky,Boris - Polgar,Zsuzsa [C31]/Wellington, 1988
1. e4 e5 2. f4 d5 3. exd5 c6 4. Nc3 exf4 5. Nf3 Bd6 6. d4 Ne7 7. dxc6 Nbxc6 8. d5?! Nb4 9. Bc4 Bf5 10. Bb3 O-O
[10... Qb6]
11. O-O Bg4 12. Ne4 Nf5 13. c3 Na6 14. Bc2 Bc7 15. Nf2 Bxf3 16. Qxf3 Ne3 17. Bxe3 fxe3 18. Ng4 Qg5 19. Rae1 Rae8 20. Kh1 e2 21. Rxe2 Rxe2 22. Qxe2 Qxd5 23. Bb3 Qd7
-----rk-
ppbq-ppp
n-------
--------
------N-
-BP-----
PP--Q-PP
-----R-K
White has good attacking prospects, not least because Black cannot oppose Bishops.
24. Ne5 Bxe5 25. Qxe5 Nc7 26. h3 Qc8 27. Qe7 Kh8 28. Rxf7 Rxf7 29. Bxf7 b6 30. b4 a5 31. b5 h6 32. a4 Na8 33. Be6 Qb8 34. Bd5 Nc7 35. Bc6 Qc8 36. c4 Na8 37. Qb7 Qxb7 38. Bxb7 Nc7 39. c5 bxc5 40. b6 Ne6 41. Bd5 Nf8 42. Bc6 1-0 Get on with Development

Classical Gambit Declined

This is the safe way to proceed. Short and Speelman slid into this line (from the Vienna) a couple of times in their Candidates' Match, without Short showing anything special. This is not to say it's harmless...
Hebden - Lane [C30] London, 1987
1. e4 e5 2. f4 Bc5 3. Nf3 d6 4. Nc3 Nc6?!
It's got to be worth a punt with the King's Gambit when a player like Gary Lane can go wrong on move four.
5. Na4 Bb6 6. Bb5 Bd7 7. Nxb6 axb6 8. d3 Qe7 9. O-O Nf6 10. Kh1 h6 11. Qe1 O-O-O 12. a4 exf4 13. Bxf4 Nb8 14. Nd4 c6 15. Qc3 Ne8 16. a5 bxa5 17. Rxa5 Nc7 18. Bc4
-nkr---r
-pnbqpp-
--pp---p
R-------
--BNPB--
--QP----
-PP---PP
-----R-K
18... b5? 19. Bxb5 cxb5 20. Ra7 1-0
Hebden M - Martinovsky E [C30] London op,/1986
1. e4 e5 2. f4 Bc5 3. Nf3 d6 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. Bc4 Nc6 6. d3 O-O?! 7. f5
r-bq-rk-
ppp--ppp
--np-n--
--b-pP--
--B-P---
--NP-N--
PPP---PP
R-BQK--R
Another natural-looking move by Black is stamped as a mistake.
7... h6 8. Nd5 Nd4 9. Nxf6+ Qxf6 10. Nxd4 Bxd4 11. c3 Bb6 12. Qh5 c6 13. Rf1
r-b--rk-
pp---pp-
-bpp-q-p
----pP-Q
--B-P---
--PP----
PP----PP
R-B-KR--
13... d5 14. exd5 e4 15. d4 c5 16. g4 e3 17. dxc5 Bxc5 18. Ke2 b5 19. Bd3 Re8 20. g5 hxg5 21. Rf3 Bd7 22. b4 Qxc3 23. Rh3 Kf8 24. bxc5 Qxa1 25. Bxe3 Qxa2+ 26. Kf1 Qa1+ 27. Kf2 Qa2+ 28. Be2 Qxd5 29. Qh8+ Ke7 30. Qxg7 Kd8 31. Qxg5+ Kc8 32. Rh6 Qxf5+ 33. Qxf5 Bxf5 34. Bxb5 Rxe3 35. Kxe3 Rb8 36. Rc6+ Kd8 37. Bc4 Bg6 38. Ra6 Rb7 39. Kd4 Kc7 40. Bd5 Rb4+ 41. Kc3 Rh4 42. Rxa7+ Kb8 43. Re7 Rxh2 44. c6 Rc2+ 45. Kd4 f6 46. Rb7+ Kc8 47. Be6+ Kd8 48. Rd7+ Kc8 49. Rg7+ Kd8 50. Rxg6 Rxc6 51. Bf5 Ke7 52. Rg7+ Kf8 53. Ra7 Rc1 54. Kd5 Re1 55. Kd6 Re2 56. Be6 Rb2 57. Rf7+ Ke8 58. Rxf6 Rb6+ 59. Ke5 Rb5+ 60. Bd5 Ke7 61. Rf7+ Ke8 62. Rf6 Ke7 63. Ra6 Rb1 64. Ra7+ Kf8 65. Be6 Ke8 66. Kf6 Rf1+ 67. Bf5 Kd8 68. Rd7+ Ke8 69. Rd2 Rf3 70. Rc2 1-0

Variation with 2...Nf6

An uncommon line with transpositional possibilities.
Fischer,Robert - Wade,Robert [C30] Vinkovci/Rd: 1, 1968
1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nf6 3.fxe5
[3.Nf3 Nc6 (3...exf4 is the Schallop) ]
3...Nxe4 4.Nf3 Ng5 5.d4 Nxf3+ 6.Qxf3 Qh4+ 7.Qf2 Qxf2+ 8.Kxf2 Nc6 9.c3 d6 10.exd6 Bxd6 11.Nd2 Be6 12.Ne4 Be7 13.Ng5 Bxg5 14.Bxg5 h6 15.Bh4 g5 16.Bg3 0-0-0 17.Bb5 f5 18.Bxc6 bxc6 19.Be5 Rhg8 20.h4 g4 21.h5 g3+ 22.Bxg3 Rg4 23.Rh4 Rdg8 24.Rxg4 Rxg4 25.Re1 Kd7 26.Re5 f4 27.Bh2 Rh4 28.Bg1 Bd5 29.g3 Rg4 30.Bh2 f3 31.b3 a6 32.c4 Rxd4 33.cxd5 Rd2+ 34.Kxf3 Rxh2 35.dxc6+ Kxc6 36.Re6+ Kd7 37.Rxh6 Rxa2 38.Rg6 1-0 Minor Variations declining the Gambit

Keene's Variation

McDonald N - Bachmayr P [C30] Zug,/1991
1. e4 e5 2. f4 Qh4+
JG recalls advising NM about this move just before the game: "Don't worry, Neil, nobody plays that line!"
3. g3 Qe7 4. fxe5 d6 5. exd6 Qxe4+ 6. Qe2 Qxe2+ 7. Nxe2 Bxd6 8. Nbc3 c6 9. d3 Nf6 10. Bg5 Nbd7 11. Bg2 h6 12. Bf4 Bxf4 13. Nxf4
r-b-k--r
pp-n-pp-
--p--n-p
--------
-----N--
--NP--P-
PPP---BP
R---K--R
13... O-O [13... Nc5] 14. b4! Re8+ 15. Kd2 Ne5 16. b5 Bg4 17. bxc6 bxc6 18. h3 Bf3 19. Rhf1 Bxg2 20. Nxg2 Rad8 21. Rae1 c5 22. Rf5
---rr-k-
p----pp-
-----n-p
--p-nR--
--------
--NP--PP
P-PK--N-
----R---
22... Nc4+ 23. Kd1 Rxe1+ 24. Kxe1 Re8+ 25. Kf2 Ne5 26. Ne3 Re6 27. Rf4!
with the exchange of Rooks the active White Knights and weak Black Pawns add up to a difficult game for Black.
27... Ra6 28. Ra4 Rxa4 29. Nxa4 Ned7 30. Nc4 Nd5 31. a3 Nc7 32. Nd6 Kf8 33. Ke3 a6 34. Nb7 Nb5 35. Naxc5 Nxc5 36. Nxc5 Nxa3 37. c4 Nc2+ 38. Kd2 Nb4 39. Kc3 a5 40. d4 Nc6 41. d5 Ne5 42. Kd4 f6 43. d6 h5 44. Kd5 Ke8 45. Ke6 1-0

Bucker's Variation

Jenal J - Grossen K [C30] corres EUR,/1987
1.e4 e5 2.f4 Qf6
rnb-kbnr
pppp-ppp
-----q--
----p---
----PP--
--------
PPPP--PP
RNBQKBNR
An entertaining punt from the Vulture man.
3.Nc3 Qxf4
[4.d4 Qh4+ 5.g3 Qd8 6.dxe5 Nc6 7.Nf3 d6 8.Bg5 f6 9.exf6 gxf6 10.Bf4 Bg4 11.Be2 Qd7 12.Nh4 Bxe2 13.Qxe2 0-0-0 14.0-0-0 Nge7 ... (62) 1-0 Berthelot Y - Bucker S [C30] Eger op, 1989]
4.Bc4 Bb4 5.Nf3 Bxc3 6.0-0 f6 7.dxc3 Qg4 8.Bf7+ Ke7 9.Qd5 c6 10.Qb3 Nh6 11.h3 Qg3 12.Bh5 g6 13.Bxh6 gxh5 14.Ng5 1-0

Chess Quotes

"She hung up and I set out the chess board. I filled a pipe, paraded the chessmen and inspected them for French shaves and loose buttons, and played a championship tournament game between Gortchakoff and Meninkin, seventy-two moves to a draw, a prize specimen of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object, a battle without armour, a war without blood, and as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you could find anywhere outside an advertising agency."
— Raymond CHANDLER, The Long Goodbye, Chapter 24, final sentences.