Glimpse at the Urusov Gambit

  • jk00750
  • | Mar 10, 2009

The Urusov Gambit can prove to be a dangerous weapon to use against 2...Nf6 in the bishop's opening.  At the cost of a pawn can come a dangerous attack.  It is not as dangerous for white as the King's Gambit, itself.  The Urusov Gambit ensures a game full of tactics, and black will often find himself struggling to defend from attack.

The opening is shown below:














Now black has a number of responses.  For the sake of the article, I will present the two most common:



Nxe4 is the most natural response, but not the best.  Of course, Nc6 is an option for black, too.  Many books give Nxe4 as a sound response, but many modern chess players think white can give black a hastle.

























Now, let's take a look at 3...exd4.  This is a better response.  Although black wins a pawn, white wins an attack.  Good play by white here can give black major difficulties.  In this line, white gets a huge lead in development, a semi-open d-file and an open e-file on the black king.  White typically castles queenside in this line, although in chess, there are always exceptions to generalities.  If black isn't careful, he will fall victim to white's attack.  Careless play by black is punished by white's superior development and attack.  Below is one of my games as white where black played careless.  The game was less than 10 minutes.  Below is another game, also.  In fact, it is an old one.

















There are several variations of this particular 3...exd4 line.  They are shown below.













Here, 9.Rhe1 can also be played, which is the old main line.  Below is one last game, a master game with the Urusov Gambit.














There are many who might be unwilling to 'give up a pawn' in the opening.  Playing material down can be nerve-racking if one lacks self-confidence.  But it is clear that one gains compensation for the pawn he has lost in these lines given white plays accurately.  Black will find it difficult to fend off the attack.  For all those who strive for lively, tactically complex, exciting games the Urusov Gambit should be considered.

Hopefully this article has given you a good first look at the Urusov Gambit.  If anyone has any suggestions to improve this article, I would be grateful to receive input.


  • 5 weeks ago


    Last game was played between Boris Avrukh and Almira Skripchenko(-Lautier).

  • 4 years ago



  • 4 years ago


    why in the jk00750 vs. NN game why not play h6 instead of be7? Is there some sort of trap cause there are no games where thats played on the game explorer and it seems like a pretty obvious move

  • 5 years ago


    Hi - can you do an analysis with the Urusov against the Two Knights Defense?  1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nf3 Nc6 *

  • 6 years ago


    Thank you for this article. This will help me to win games.

  • 6 years ago


    Good article!

  • 7 years ago


    In the game Horowitz-NN, there is probably nothing truly obvious wrong with 11...h6.  In fact, it was probably better.


    8...g6, trying to maintain the material advantage...hmmm....  Good question.  I'll have to research that a bit.

  • 7 years ago


    Hey, nice article! I just have a couple questions:

    In the Horowitz game, what is incorrect about 11...h6 instead of 11...NxG5?

    Also, in the bookline after the Horowitz game, what is wrong with 8...g6 in order to keep the material edge. 8...dNe5 could be played later, couldn't it?  

  • 7 years ago


    Nice article, very informative. Thanks!

  • 7 years ago


    nice article

  • 7 years ago


    excellent article!

  • 7 years ago


    I have been playing a quiet line of the bishops opening as my primary white opening for some time (3. d3).  I have been timidly picking over the urusov for a while but I may well be adding this to my arsenal against Nf3 now.  The fast development and ability to castle queenside would lead to some nice opportunities to storm if black castled kingside.  Thanks for a very well done article.

  • 7 years ago


    Wow i enjoyed reading it i am favoriting thisSmile

  • 7 years ago


    Great article, excellent read. 5 stars, hope you make more like these Smile

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