In this lesson we're going to teach you some of the world's most VIOLENT openings.

They're called GAMBITS.

The word GAMBIT comes from an Italian word meaning, roughly, to trip someone up by their legs.

In a GAMBIT we SACRIFICE something, usually a pawn, at the start of the game.

Here's our first GAMBIT.

On your left you see a VERY DANGEROUS WEAPON.


Let's take a look at WHAT White's going to SACRIFICE, and WHY.

We start with the moves 1. e2-e4 e7-e5
2. d2-d4 when Black's best move is e4xd5, giving this position.

Now White could take the pawn back (the CENTER GAME) but Black could drive the Queen away with Nb8-c6.

So instead White plays...

... 3. c2-c3. Let's say, for the moment, that Black takes the pawn: d4xc3. Now White could play Nb1xc3 when he has given up one pawn for a lead in development.

But in the DANISH GAMBIT White instead plays 4. Bf1-c4. Now Black can take another pawn: c3xb2 - and now White has no choice: 5. Bc1xb2.

You should now have the position on your left on a chess board in front of you.

If not, why not?

Stop and look at this position for a few minutes.

Just look at those fantastic Bishops! I think you'll agree that White has a big LEAD IN DEVELOPMENT and could well set up a strong attack.

BUT - Black has two extra pawns. If White's attack fails to break through Black will eventually be able to exchange some pieces off and win the ending.

A VERY INTERESTING position. Would you rather play White or Black here?

Black really has to watch out for quick attacks on f7 or g7 in this position - it's very easy to lose very quickly.

But first, a quick question. Without moving the pieces, tell me what you'd do if Black played Bf8-c5 here?

If you got it right, well spotted! White not only takes the pawn, but traps the Rook on h8 as well!

Black has to watch out for this sort of thing. He also has to be careful not to get mated on f7!!

There's no better opening than this for you to practise your attacking and defensive skills, so why not go and play some games from this position when you've finished the lesson?

But the opening is not played very much by stronger players. The reason is that Black has a couple of ways to defuse the attack.

Let's have a look.

The more complicated of the two ways starts from here.

Black plays 5...d7-d5, returning one of his extra pawns.

Remember this move, it's often a good reply to gambits.

White will probably play 6. Bc4xd5 (e4xd5 is possible but blocks in one of his lovely bishops) and then Black plays Ng8-f6.

We've reached this position - White is now only one pawn up but Black's starting to get his pieces out.

There's a slight problem for Black though - White can win his Queen!! Do you see how? (Clue - think back to an earlier lesson).

Yes, that's right, an EXPLOSION ON f7!

Black's best move is to take the Bishop (After Ke8-e7 White could 'win the Queen' with Bb2-a3+ but probably does better to trade queens).

Then, of course, White takes the Black Queen.

So, why are we suggesting that Black should lose his queen?

Read on!

Here's the position. What do you think Black has in mind here?

Yes, Black wins the Queen back with an AMBUSH (Class 6 again!).

Now White has to play Qd8-d2 (otherwise he's a piece behind) and the resulting position is about level.

Black has returned his two extra pawns to reach an equal position with the queens exchanged.

But there's another - and simpler - way to defuse the Danish.

Returning to the position after White's 3rd move, c2-c3, rather than taking the pawns he can strike back in the center at once. Can you see how? (There was a clue earlier!)

Yes, d7-d5 is the other way for Black to play. Instead of trying to win some pawns he strikes back at the center and ensures that he can get his pieces out quickly.

A very sensible move, and one reason why stronger players don't choose the DANISH GAMBIT.

For the record, White usually plays e4xd5, Black replies with Qd8xd5, and White will be left with an ISOLATED PAWN after c3xd4.

Now we'll show you another violent opening: the KING'S GAMBIT.

Don't worry, you're not going to GAMBIT your KING - that wouldn't be a good idea!

We're just going to GAMBIT a pawn on the King side.

This opening led to many brilliant games in the 19th century and is still sometimes played by Grandmasters today.

Here it is - White has played f2-f4 on his second move, letting Black take a pawn.

Yes, I know. White's moved FOOLISH FREDDIE.

So he has to be VERY CAREFUL. This is a REALLY SCARY opening - you can lose quickly with either White or Black if you're not careful.

This time we'll start by looking at what happens if Black DOESN'T take the pawn.

Bf8-c5 is one move Black might play. Tell me, if White played f4xe5 here how would Black reply?

Yes! You should be able to see from here (without moving the pieces) that if White plays f4xe5, Qd8-h4 is totally crushing (The FATAL DIAGONAL!). White has made the mistake of opening the line between h4 and e4. Now if Ke1-e2, Qh4xe4 is CHECKMATE - a complete disaster for White!

And if g2-g3, Qh4xe4+ will win the Rook on h1 for starters.

Instead White should play Ng1-f3 stopping any annoying checks. And, as you'll see later, Black should defend e5 again rather than taking on f4.

Another 2nd move for Black is d7-d5 (remember that one?), called the FALKBEER COUNTER-GAMBIT.

Tell me kiddo, which pawn should White take now?

The d-pawn
The e-pawn
The frogspawn
The toadspawn

I hope you got that one right!!

Again, f4xe5 allows Qd8-h4+ and White will die horribly and painfully!

If you want to play the KING'S GAMBIT with either color you have to watch out for Qd8-h4+!

But e4xd5 is OK - Black can either play e5xf4 or sacrifice a pawn himself with e5-e4, preventing Ng1-f3.

But Black can also take the pawn - which may well be his best move.

Here's the position. What COMPENSATION (important word!) does White have for the pawn? The main reason White's played a GAMBIT is to gain CONTROL OF THE CENTER!

White has persuaded Black to move his pawn away from the middle of the board.

White's plan is to play moves like Ng1-f3, d2-d4, Bf1-c4, Bc1xf4, 0-0 with a strong PAWN CENTER and an attack on f7 via the f-file.

Black has to act to prevent White setting up this sort of position.

What should White play here?

If he plays something like d2-d4 straight away Qd8-h4+ is awkward.

The usual move is Ng1-f3, but Bf1-c4 is also possible - planning to meet Qd8-h4+ with Ke1-f1.

Let's take a look at the position after Ng1-f3 and consider Black's choices.

Here's the position - Black has quite a wide choice of good moves here. If you want to see them all go and read a book! We only have room for a few here.

As usual, d7-d5 is a simple reply - and after e4xd5 Black should play Ng8-f6 rather than Qd8xd5 (bringing the Queen out too soon!)

Ng8-f6 is possible - but after e4-e5 Black should play Nf6-h5 (a KNIGHT ON THE RIM is not always DIM!) to defend the f5 pawn.

Bf8-c5 would be a poor move - White could just play d2-d4 gaining time and taking over the center.

But perhaps the most interesting move is g7-g5.

This seems to break all the rules of good opening play - but it's still one of Black's best choices.

The BIG IDEA is to play g5-g4 and, when the Knight moves, Qd8-h4+.

White's usual move is h2-h4, and, after g5-g4, Nf3-e5 (THE KIESERITZKY GAMBIT).

A really violent plan instead is Bf1-c4, and, after g5-g4, SACRIFICE THE KNIGHT by playing 0-0.

This is the MUZIO GAMBIT - White gets a very strong attack for the Knight! Why not try it out yourself?

Now a quick look at an opening closely related to the KING'S GAMBIT.

This is called the VIENNA GAME.

Black usually plays Ng8-f6 here. Then Ng1-f3 could lead to a boring FOUR KNIGHTS' GAME.

Instead a more interesting move for White is f2-f4, just like in the KING'S GAMBIT.

This is rather different from the KING'S GAMBIT.

In that opening, taking the pawn on f4 was fine for Black, but in this position it's a mistake: White has a move giving him the advantage. Can you find it?

If you didn't get that one right this is another idea you need to get used to - you'll meet it in lots of different positions.

White should play e4-e5, when the only square for the Black Knight is back on g8.

White can then follow up with Ng1-f3 (to prevent Qd8-h4+ again!), d2-d4 and Bc1-f4, with an advantage in both SPACE and TIME.

In fact Black only has ONE good move in this position - are you clever enough to find it? (You've had some clues already!)

You've had enough hints about d7-d5 being a good move against these gambits!

It really is the only good move here.

Against anything else White can get the advantage with best play.

So why not try playing the Vienna Game next time you're White?

Here's another GAMBIT - this time from the Italian Game.

We reach it with 1. e2-e4 e7-e5 2. Ng1-f3 Nb8-c6 3. Bf1-c4 Bf8-c5 and now 4. b2-b4!

This is called the EVANS GAMBIT - named after William Evans, a 19th century Welsh sea captain.

The idea is, after Black takes the pawn, to gain time to play c2-c3 and d2-d4.

In many lines the White Queen will come to b3 to THREATEN Bxf7+.

Here's the position after Black takes the pawn and White plays c2-c3.

In this position Black could move the Bishop to a5, c5, d6 or e7.

They're all possible, but the disadvantage of Bb4-c5 is that d2-d4 gains more time for White.

Again, it's a very interesting position to try out in your own games.

White has a couple of gambits to choose from in the SCOTCH GAME.

In this position (after 1. e2-e4 e7-e5 2. Ng1-f3 Nb8-c6 3. d2-d4 e5xd4) White can, of course, play the obvious and good Nf3xd4.

But he could also choose one of two gambits: Bf1-c4 is the SCOTCH GAMBIT - Black could turn it into a variation of the TWO KNIGHTS' DEFENSE with Ng8-f6 but also has other choices.

And c2-c3 is the GÖRING GAMBIT - a close relation of the DANISH. Again Black can take the pawn or play our old friend d7-d5.

Both these openings are dangerous - if you've studied them and your opponent doesn't know them you have a good chance of scoring a quick win.

Right, it's time for some revision.

What's this opening called?

Danish Gambit
Finnish Gambit
Swedish Gambit
Norwegian Gambit

And what about this one?

King's Gamble
King's Gamelet
King's Gambon
King's Gambit

Which is the WORST of these moves for Black?

d7-d5 Bf8-c5

Ng8-f6 g7-g5

The name of this opening, please!

Vienna Game
Venice Game
Venezuela Game
Victoria Game

And, finally, what's this called?

Jones Gambit
Davies Gambit
Evans Gambit
Williams Gambit


You have now completed the GAMBITS assignment.