Monday, April 04, 2005

The Kings Gambit

Today I talked with Nezha by E-mail. He is interested in the Kings Gambit. Well, maybe you are too, so why not make things public?
I write in my normal, subjective way. As 1700 player who plays against persons with max 2000 and who has a result of 70% with it. So I'm very enthousiastic.

Let's try to make some idea's behind the opening clear.

1. e4 e5
2. f4 exf4
3. Pf3 (diagram)

So what this is all about?
You have a central pawn of black seduced to go to a strange place, where it doesn't do very much.
Which means that white now can obtain a strong center.
Black has to make a major decision. If he gives the pawn back without a fight, he's positionally worse. Because of the center, a space advantage at the kingside, pressure against f7, an open f-line white just seems to have everything. If black wants to hold on to the pawn, he has to play g5 at some moment, which makes his kingside weak and make his development troublesome.

If he is not used to the positions after g5 black can easily fell prone to optical illusions.
Sometimes black thinks he has a major attack, especially when white make kingmoves like Kf1, Kd1 or Kf2. But while black starts an attack he forgets to develop. And because of the strong center, a black attack bleeds to death at a certain moment, after which you can mop up his wrecked position.

If black comes up with g5, white has two choices. He can opt for the Muziogambit, where white sacrafies a knight for a crushing attack, but GM Joe Gallagher says that black has some drawish lines then. I don't now which lines that are, because the position looks very wild to me. Gallagher advices to challenge black's pawnchain with h4 instead, which I follow.

If you start for the first time with the KG, you will find it probably a nerve-wracking experience.
But once you find out the strenght of white's position confidence will grow.
Until on a certain day you notice you don't have the courage anymore to answer 1.e4 with e5 as black because you are afraid that somebody might play 2.f4 . . .
That's why I play 1.e4 d5 with black!

If you are interested in the PGN-files I used to train the KG, draw me a line.
My E-mail adres is in the sidebar.
These files are my choice, derived from Joe Gallagher's "Winning with the King's Gambit", which I can recommand to anyone, but it seems to be out of print.


  1. The danger of the King's Gambit, for white, can be analyzed with one document, Fischers analysis of the Kings Gambit after his loss to Spassky with the black pieces. He completely refutes it, giving white a +/- position in play.

    I strongly recommend looking into it, it was recently republished, but it is not in PGN format.

  2. Oops, I meant, it give a win for black... hehe, how dumb of me. The next move by black should be d6, which might seem wierd, but is crushing in Grandmaster play.

  3. Yes, I know that document. But new analysis by Gallagher shows otherwise. The Fischerdefense (d6)isn't causing much trouble to me in practice.

  4. It is still very uncommon in Grandmaster play, however, and that is because for every move in the Fischer defense, all of the possible variations for white have been resolved, and found to be, at best -/+ or =/+.

    Of course, you're not going to see these captured by black by B, A, or heck, even Expert players. It is extremely complex to learn, as would any opening refutation.

    Even Kramnik once lost, as white, to 1. e4 2. a6?

    I'll find the game on and add a link to it someplace.