The Icelandic Gambit by GM Arun and GM Magesh

The Icelandic Gambit by GM Arun and GM Magesh‎

GM thamizhan
29 | Opening Theory

Today we will take a look into another uncommon opening, The Icelandic Gambit. Even though this variation is not as sharp as the Kings Gambit opening that we studied a couple of weeks ago, this opening has its own sharp pit falls. Personally I (Magesh) have encountered this opening quite a few times and I have realized that this can be a potentially dangerous opening especially in the shorter form of the game.


We will study some of the basic ideas behind black's intentions in giving up the pawn, and also look into the options white has to nullify black's initiative.

To begin with we shall have a look into the alternatives of the Scandinavian Defence and the Icelandic Gambit to provide the readers with better understanding about this system.

Our first game is a fantastic example for Black's play.  Black just did what needs to be done hence this can be seen as a model game for this opening.

When pieces are properly placed in their favourite squares they win the game themselves. This is proved in the above game. In our next game we shall see black's idea against white's safe setup with 6.d3

So far Black was just dominating in this system. White was always in danger, while on the other hand Black always enjoyed a comfortable position just by sacrificing a pawn. This time it is white's turn to "pay back" and it was none other than our own David Pruess (I dont think he needs an introduction) who shows white can still benefit from black's inaccuracies.

3.c4 has lost its popularity due to the Icelandic gambit. Black after sacrificing a pawn achieves rapid piece development and initiates an early struggle even before white completes his development. For 2. ... Nf6, 3. d4 seems to be the perfect choice which promises white a better opening position. Hence 3.c4 is not recommended unless white is ready with a new opening idea to refute the Icelandic Gambit.

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