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Gambits or No Gambits

  • 11 months ago · Quote · #1


    After many conversations with my chess friends I'm finally bringing the subject to the Chess.Com community. The topic is: When should gambits be taught to scholastic players under 1500 rating?

    One argument is that gambits should not be taught to scholastic players under 1500 because their lack of skill with tactics, position and simply making blunders. If the scholastic player gambits a pawn, the player later has no room to make any postional or loss of material errors in the game. The gambit can be refuteable by exchanging pieces. If a player plays a gambit as white and black plays the correct move order the game will go into an endgame favoring black to win. Leaving the gambit player to hope for blunders and/or cheapos to win. There are long variations to memorize the time can be better spent studying planning positions and solid openings played by most Grandmasters.

    Now on the other side of the debate. The argument in favor for gambits to be played by scholastic players under 1500. Is that they will learn tactics and attacking patterns. Being exposed to methods of developing pieces and understanding the power of tempo and initative. The gambit gives an element of surprise in the game and can create imbalance fairly quick. The gambit player has a chance to score many wins because most players do not study gambit lines of play.

    Ok here are the two arguments let me know what you think... 


  • 11 months ago · Quote · #2


    How do you figure that Bc4 will always win?

  • 11 months ago · Quote · #3


    Gambits should be taught in the context of playing styles and risk levels.

    Until a player can hold onto their material  (around 1500)  these issues are fairly meaningless.

  • 11 months ago · Quote · #4


    royalbishop wrote:

    How do you figure that Bc4 will always win?

    Who said anything about "always"?

  • 11 months ago · Quote · #5


    Gambits should be taught even to lower ranked players so that they quickly understand the risks associated with gambits.IF gambits are not taught then the player might encounter a gambit in match play and will be shocked.However gambits should be taught to players only to enable them to defend against them and they should be encouraged not to themselves play gambits till they improve.

  • 11 months ago · Quote · #6


    Adilbala wrote:

    Gambits should be taught even to lower ranked players so that they quickly understand the risks associated with gambits.IF gambits are not taught then the player might encounter a gambit in match play and will be shocked.However gambits should be taught to players only to enable them to defend against them and they should be encouraged not to themselves play gambits till they improve.

    Well, one can always decline a gambit that one does not understand.

  • 11 months ago · Quote · #7


    in a recent online game facing an opponent who outgraded me by 500 points an opportunity arose to play a gambit but i rejected it as it would have only given me a slight positional edge and i felt my adversary would survive and gain more of the game so i refused to do it very unlike me by just trying to keep my game solid i can gladly report a 2-0 win 

  • 11 months ago · Quote · #8


    A young player's development should follow the historical development of chess theory. Start with the Italian Opening, then move on the the King's Gambit.

  • 11 months ago · Quote · #9


    Some Gambits are ok for beginners others not, the Queens Gambit can be learned as far as the gambit part goes easily & it is no longer considered a true gambit as the pawn can be recovered with equality quite easily.

    However the Kings Gambit is likely to get a lot of ppl into a world of pain if they aren't at a level to handle the sharp tactics & positions it creates

  • 11 months ago · Quote · #10


    You are right David that one can always decline a Gambit that one does not understand..in fact that itself is the point...to decline or accept a GAmbit one should know that it is a GAmbit...hence the need to teach it even to lower ranked players...which is the subject of the topic...

  • 11 months ago · Quote · #11


    What is their to teach.

    In life when somebody offers you something the most likely want something in return. Some individuals give becuase it is the right thing to do. But in chess giving a pawn out of the kindness of your heart. lol

    Take the pawn from an experienced player and wathc the fireworks in that gambit.

    Now using a gambit that takes a lot of work as you have to learn both lines Accept and Decline each takes a while to study alone.

  • 11 months ago · Quote · #12


    At that low level one pawn has no significance. But most important is probably the tactics, gambits only give more tactical positions with more opportunity. Will be very hard to lose just because of the opening, even at my level.

  • 11 months ago · Quote · #13


    not letting kids play gambits?? hmmm, sort of like not letting dogs bury bones.


    it reminds me of the soviets forbidding blindfold play...when all masters play blindfold at the board every single game anyway.


    People under 1500 "gambit" pawns and pieces in most every game whether they mean to or not. They also blunder all the time when using "positional" openings


    if a kid doesnt learn gambits and attacking play and tactics when he is young...when will he learn them?


    I guess another point of view is....why not let the kids play what they want to play?? you mean they have to get permission to play a kings gambit?? I hope your joking


    The whole subject seems silly to me...almost like over-correct mollycoddling gone wild

  • 11 months ago · Quote · #14


    chess_gg wrote:

    When I first started playing chess (ages ago), I really enjoyed playing gambits. I particularly liked the Queen's Gambit and would delight in knowing that it was bait and that I would get to control the center and I'd soon get my pawn back!


    Those were the days. I miss them. The people I play these days are just not as myopic as those that I played when I was a beginner.


    If I were to teach a chess beginner, I would definitely teach them gambits. Their eyes will light up. They are learning the inner secrets of chess! That's what I believed.

    this post raises an interesting question....one of the most positional and "safe" openings...is the Queens GAMBIT. Im picturing how confused a kid will be when he is told that gambits are evil but that the queens gambit is safe and politically correct


    omg they might lose a pawn and lose the game and their whole life will be marred forever. Maybe next we should outlaw tactics because they might backfire

  • 11 months ago · Quote · #15


    Yeah, not letting kids / new players play gambits is silly IMO.  That's usually when you learn there's more to chess than counting the pieces, not to mention initiative and attacking are fun.

    "But what if they don't have the attacking skills and lose in the endgame?"

    Oh come on.  Their opponents who are also new players / kids don't have technical / endgame skills.  I wouldn't worry about 1 pawn.  I mean don't force them play gambits, maybe they don't like them, but don't ban gambits.

  • 11 months ago · Quote · #16


    gambits should be taught right out of the gate as soon as people are ready to play in real otb tournaments regardless of rating

  • 10 months ago · Quote · #17


    I do not know how to anwser that question.

    I have been playing chess for a long time before i played online chess games. During that time i stayed away from Gambits for some reason. I found when i started playin online chess that my opponents felt too comfortable playin against me in games. So i did research and found Gambits exciting and reached way beyond their expertations that i needed in game play.

    In my first year playing them i thought i was as good as any player using them. Then reality came when i came to chess.com where players are knowlegable about the openings. Plus you can get help in public forums where you went wrong. Or how to defend against them.

    So should a beginner learn them ... if i had to say      it would be no. Having previous experience using other openings made it easier to gambits as gambits give your opponents more options which a newbie has to learn. Keep it simple. Once they .... the newbie is comfortable with 2 openings then and only then they may be ready to learn gambits.

  • 10 months ago · Quote · #18


    richie_and_oprah wrote:

    gambits should be taught right out of the gate as soon as people are ready to play in real otb tournaments regardless of rating

    I agree, at least insofar as openings should be taught at all to beginners. 

  • 10 months ago · Quote · #19


    royalbishop wrote:

    How do you (or Bronstein) figure (suggests) that Bc4 will (give you good practical chances) always win?

    it's not that 3.Bc4 will always win, but if the bishop is on c4, what key square is it eyeing? *Hint, The f file and black's weakest square. (f7).

    Okay and if white castles kingside, what file does that put white's rook on naturally? *Hint, The f file.

    And if white's queen starts off on d1, what square can it attack diagonally to add even more pressure against black's king if it moves along the d1-h5 diagonal to h5? *Hint, The weak f7 square again on the f file.

    And if what makes it the "King's Gambit" is the 2.f4, what file is opened if black accepts the gambit and white recaptures with the dsb, or if white either exchanges the f4 pawn or otherwise captures? *Hint: The f file.

    And instead of Qh5 attacking the f7 square, what will happen if white chooses to form a battery with the f1 rook after castling king side?

    *Hint: More pressure on black's weakest square f7 with doubled heavy pieces attacking on the, you guessed it, f file.

    I like it because the "idea" and basic "plan" is pretty straight forward.

    You can also get that position pretty frequently with other openings like the white side of the closed sicilian, but of course, I'm pretty sure you already knew that. Still it was fun to talk about some openings that can lead to some fireworks.

  • 10 months ago · Quote · #20


    Queen's "Gambit" most certainly.  I used to like the regular Wing Gambit (as opposed to my personal invention the Bird Wing where white has some grip over e5 with f4 and black doesn't bop at an e4 pawn with d5, though 1.f4,c5 2.b4,cxb4 3.a3,d5! is still a great move but isn't a refutation here) but the problem is 3.d5! So white obtains problems that don't involve queenside pressure, trading off darksquared bishops (leaving black weak on the a3-f8 diagonal), and dominating the center.  It's still somewhat playable for white so it isn't a refutation in the forced loss sense, but 3...d5! is difficult to play against. 

    The Manhattan Gambit is somewhat of a mirror image of the wing:

    1.d4,f5 2.Qd3,d5 (2...g6 3.h4! instead here) 3.g4!?,fxg4 4.h3,g3! is probably black's best as white doesn't get the open lines he seeks and white's forced continuation 5.fxg3 closes the g-file, but even this is fine for white. If 4...gxh3 5.Bxh3 then lightsquared bishops can be traded off, and the e6 square looks particularly weak (seasoned Dutch players such as myself are used to weak e6 squares however so keep that in mind)

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