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Openings for Tactical Players: the Danish Gambit.

  • GM Gserper
  • | Sep 6, 2009
  • | 17540 views
  • | 24 comments

Today we are going to talk about the Danish Gambit. The main concept of the opening is very simple. After the initial moves 1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 dxc3 4 Bc4 cxb2 5. Bb2 White is down two pawns but he is ahead in development and his Bishops are dangerously looking towards Black's King's Side. When I was a kid I liked this gambit so much that I tried to play it even with Black. My games  started like this: 1. e4 d5 2. exd5 c6 3.dxc6 e5.  I doubt that this way to play is sound, but the games were sharp and interesting which at that point of my chess development was enough compensation for the sacrificed pawns.

Today the Danish Gambit is not played frequently.  Partially it is a matter of chess fashion, but also today most chessplayers defend much better than 120-130 years ago when the Danish gambit was extremely popular.  Nevertheless, since this opening is mainly forgotten, it can be a dangerous weapon against unprepared opponents.  In many lines just one mistake can be fatal. The next game is a good example:

As you could see in the previous game, the main point of the 5...d5 move was to trade the dangerous Bc4.  That's why in the next game White preferred to capture this pawn by 6.exd5 in order to keep the important Bishop.
A popular defensive strategy amongst modern Grandmasters is to accept just one pawn and ignore the second sacrifice. This way Black still has extra material and yet doesn't fall too far behind in development.  Yet, even in this case the game remains very complicated.  Look at the real slugfest that happened in the following game played by two leading US Grandmasters.
To sum up, if you are a sharp attacking player and getting an attack is more important for you than the question "is my attack sound?", then the Danish Gambit is exactly the opening for you!
Good luck!

Comments


  • 3 years ago

    ncmike2011

    never played it or against it and i just entered a thematic tourney for this gambit.....thanks for article....i'll figure it out as i go

  • 4 years ago

    sonty

    This game is missing in the post!

    <iframe border="0" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" width="574" height="519" src="http://www.chess.com/emboard.html?id=166971"></iframe>

    This was a cool game. Sacrifices!

  • 4 years ago

    sonty

    How can we attack the  black king if the player goes to complete his queenside development and hide there because all the white's peices concentrate on the king side.

    Thanks

  • 4 years ago

    cpitigala

    Danish gambit is really powerful. See my games collection on danish.

  • 5 years ago

    sonty

    Danish Gambit is not very good.

  • 5 years ago

    aieplm

    i guess i miss something? i don't see why black would not just trade Q's in the 1st game

     

    Rico, if he take the Queen his mate with the black bishop.

  • 5 years ago

    TomR

    I'm going to try this out a few times against a friend who is fairly even with me before I play it in comp or anything

  • 5 years ago

    cm2131

    well, for the people who like to start the day off with a game, they play chess

  • 5 years ago

    TheChimp

    Coffee and a Danish is an excellent start to a lovely day.  Chess should naturally be avoided.

  • 5 years ago

    chessbibliophile

    Dear friends,

    Would you please give serial number of moves on your comments? Others could also check the lines.

  • 5 years ago

    LokiMundane

    Rico if queens trade then Bfx7 Rxg7 Re8#

    or Bf6#

  • 5 years ago

    Philip_Lu

    trade?  no the white queen is lost, but so is the black king.

  • 5 years ago

    Rico7

    i guess i miss something? i don't see why black would not just trade Q's in the 1st game.

  • 5 years ago

    mark_sotto

    qg5+ makes it longer

  • 5 years ago

    chessbibliophile

    Here is a link to comparatively recent games:

    http://studimonetari.org/edg/danese.html

    But the format makes it difficult to follow.

    I shall be reviewing ultraCorr.3 CD which has a database of 106276 CC games. I shall also be doing the monthly review of ChessPublishing.com:

    http://www.chesspublishing.com/content/

    Let me see if Ifind something new.

  • 5 years ago

    Artdiok

    The Danish gambit has always been a part of my repertoire although oftentimes, I am the one facing it at chess.com with mixed results. even though i am familiar with its attacks, it is still dangerous from Black's point of view.

  • 5 years ago

    Gary_Seven

    One must be careful with this gambit. Dispaly more of these game from1930 to present day.

  • 5 years ago

    aansel

    Absolutely there are lines in the Danish that basically go straight to the endgame. Having said that there is nothing wrong with playing an endgame. Also it is amazing how many people do not know how to face the Danish--even in slow turn based games. I have won games in very few moves against 1800-2000 players here at chess.com

    In my opinion the book "Danish Dynamite" tries to cover everything in great detail but misses some good coverage on what I feel are some of the best lines. Also there is almost no text explanation. I am an active practitioner of this opening and my own reference source for most lines is Lutes. Not a whole has changed in this opening over the last 20 years. Much of the good analysis comes from Mieses. BCM in May or June of this year had a good bit on this opening and also learning from games such as the one by Nakamura keeps me up to date.

  • 5 years ago

    chessbibliophile

    The book by Lutes is dated 1992.The  other book, Danish Dynamite is dated 2003. Is there anything in the last 6 years? Wikipedia is not exatly the best source for dealing with the shifting sands of opening theory. But the following article at least attempts a classifiation of lines and also offers further links.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danish_Gambit

  • 5 years ago

    aansel

    Great article--great tactical examples.

    I love the Danish Gambit--I think it is good to help players understand the use of open files, lead in development and accurate piece play. There are several lines that I think lead to fairly drawish endgames but other equal lines offer plenuy of play for both sides.

    The best book for the Danish Gambit is by Lutes-which offers almost every line played and has a quite extensive bibliography. I encourage all players to at least try playing the Danish for White--it will help their long term chess development.

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