Dutch, Staunton Gambit


1.d4 f5 2.e4


The Staunton Gambit (A82) is probably the sharpest reaction to the Dutch Defence. Through sacrificing a pawn, white hopes to get a lead in development and take  advantage of black's weakened kingside by the early move of his f-pawn. The Staunton Gambit can be a dangerous weapon! You can imagine that's just want I want to play with white. In one of my first games on this site, I saw an opportunity to play this gambit.

The complete text of the game analysis:

1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4

Best move.

3.Nc3 Nf6

Not 3...d5 because of 4.Qh5+ and 5.Qxd5.


White doesn't care to regain his pawn and is focussing to get the initiative. The alternative is trying to regain the pawn by playing 4.Bg5 or 4.g4. For example: 4.Bg5 g6 5.h4 d5 (5...Bg7 6.h5 Nxh5 7.Rxh5 gxh5 8.Qxh5+ Kf8 9.Nd5 Nc6 10.Bc4 and white is better. Or 6...d5 7.h6 Bf8 8.Qd2 followed by 0-0-0 and f3.) 6.h5 Bf5 7.hxg6 Bxg6 8.Nh3 white has compensation, but black's position is solid enough. And after the sharp 4.g4 (Tartakower's Variation) h6 5.h4 d5 6.Bh3 Nc6 7.Bf4 g5 8.Be5 (if 8.hxg5 hxg5 9.Bxg5 Bxg4) Be6 and it's an equal game.


Not good! Better is to follow one of the following ideas: A) Holding on to the extra pawn by playing 4...exf3. B) Keeping a pawn on the e4 square by playing 4...d5. C) Giving the pawn back and attacking the centre by playing 4...Nc6.

5.fxe4 Bb4 6.Bd3

Perhaps is 6.e5 Nd5 7.Qd3 0-0 8.Bd2 better!? But I was focussing on the idea of playing 7.e5 and 8.Qh5+.


An interesting continuation is: 6...Nxe4 7.Qh5+ (After 7.Bxe4 Qh4+ and 8...Qxe4) g6 8.Qe5 Nf6 9.Nge2 0-0 10.Bh6 Nc6 11.Qg5 Nd5 12.Qg3 Rf7 13.Bxg6 (13.0-0-0 and probably white slightly better) hxg6 14.Qxg6+ Kh8 15.Qxf7 Qh4+ 16.g3 Qxh6 17.0-0 and white is slightly better.


Not the best move. Better is 7.Nf3 or even 7.Ne2, but I already decided to go for my plan (making the path for my LSB free, attacking h6 and playing Qh5 to help in the attack.


This move I expected, but black can do so much better with 7...Ne4 8.Bxe4 Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Qh4+ 10.Kd2 Qxe4 11.Qe2.


Attacking h6 and preventing the black Queen to check on h4.

8...g6 9.Bxg6 hxg6 10.Qxg6+ Kh8


I remember looking at this position and deciding to play 11.Qh5+ or not. If I only had done it. After 11.Qh5+ Kg8 12.Bh6 Rf7 13.Qg6+ Kh8 14.Qxf7 Qh4+ 15.Ke2 Qxh6 16.Nxd5 exd5 17.c3 and white is winning. Or 12...Qe7 13.Bxf8 Qxf8 14.Nge2 and white is better. Also white can force a draw by playing 11.Qh6+ Kg8 12.Qg6+ Kh8 13.Qh6+, but I believed in my winning chances.


An alternative is 11...Bxc3+.

12.Qh6+ Kg8 13.O-O-O

An alternative is 13.Nge2.


Although you would expect that taking on c3 with the Knight is not good, because it clears the f6 square for white, it's very interesting te see how the game can continu: 13...Nxc3 14.bxc3 Ba3+ 15.Kb1 d6 (making a path for the black Queen to the b5 square) 16.c4 dxe5 17.Bf6 Rxf6 18.Qxf6 Qa4 (Treatening mate) 19.Qg6+ Kf8 20.Ka1 Qb4 (Threatening mate again) 21.Rf1+ Ke7 22.Qf6+ Kd7 23.Qf7+ Kc6 24.Qf3+ and a draw.

14.bxc3 Qf7

White threatened 15.c4 and 16.Bf6.

15.c4 Nf4

Not good! Better is 15...Nb6 16.Bf6 Qh7 17.Qxh7+ Kxh7 18.Rd3 and equal.


Not good! White completely misses the winning continuation: 16.Rf1 Nd3+ 17.Kd2 Qxf1 18.Bf6+ Rxf6 19.exf6 Qc1+ 20.Kxd3 Qa3+ 21.c3 Qf8 and white wins the game. Or 16...Qh7 17.Qxh7+ Kxh7 18.Rxf4 and white is clearly better.


Not good. Better is 16...Ng6 17.Nf2 Qg7 18.Ne4 Qxh6 19.Bxh6 Rf7 20.Nf6+ and white is clearly better.

17.Kb2 Nc6

Better is 17...Qg7 or 17...Qh7.


White is fixating on capturing the black Knight on e2, but this is so much easier after 18.Bf6 Qh7 19.Qg5+ Kf7 20.Qg4 (making space for white's Knight on g5, forking the black King and Queen.) Ke8 21.Qxe2.

18...Qh7 19.Rhf1

Again white misses the direct chance to take over the game. Better was 18.Qxh7+ Kxh7 19.Rhe1 Nexd4 20.cxd4 and white is clearly better.

19...Rxf1 20.Rxf1 Qxh6 21.Bxh6 Nexd4

Black doesn't want to wait on white to capture his Knight.

22.cxd4 Nxd4

Better was 22...b6 to make way for black's LSB. Now black will be mated: 23.Rf8+ Kh7 24.Rf6 followed by 25.Ng5+ and 26.Rf8#.


Ofcourse this wins too, but it could have been so much easier.

23...b6 24.Ng5 Bb7 25.Rf7

Better is Rf6!

25...Kh8 26.Rh7+ Kg8 27.Rg7+ Kf8 28.Rxd7+ Ke8 29.Rxd4

Black resigns. 1-0


White could decide the game much earlier, but it's nonetheless a nice game where white is going for the attack and succeeds. It proves that the Staunton Gambit can be an effective weapon against the Dutch.


  • 4 years ago


    @SWJediknight: Again I agree with you about 4.f3 and 4.Bg5. Your description of these variations are correct. I played 4.f3 because it has an element of surprise, but perhaps I should consider 4.Bg5. The bishop-move is a good continuation of the Staunton Gambit.

    Thanks for the link. I will play those games on my board and learn from it.

    I love to read something from you too. Do you publish on this site?

  • 4 years ago


    I'm reading your articles with a lot of interest as I've been writing about these early e-pawn gambits recently too.

    4.f3 works quite well except against 4...d5!, when I think White struggles to get enough for the pawn. A good source to illustrate what I mean is Mark Morss's "Hard Chess" site from 1999: http://correspondencechess.com/campbell/hard/h990830.htm

    Instead I would prefer 4.Bg5.  The main idea in most cases isn't to regain the pawn, but to try and get into improved versions of the 4.f3 lines.  For instance after 4.Bg5 c6, 5.Bxf6?! exf6 6.Nxe4 d5 is good for Black, but White instead continues 5.f3, and ...c7-c6 has taken the best square away from Black's queen's knight. Similarly, 4...g6 5.f3.

    Black most often meets 4.Bg5 with 4...Nc6 intending to meet 5.f3 with 5...e5, so White normally continues 5.d5 Ne5 and after 6.Qe2, intending 6...Nf7 7.h4, the position becomes complicated very quickly. 

    The Staunton Gambit fell out of favour at high levels during the mid to late 20th century but it appears to be fully sound, and quite dangerous.

  • 4 years ago


    Very nice game

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