Danish Gambit 101 - Part 1

Danish Gambit 101 - Part 1

Mar 3, 2014, 12:34 PM |

The Danish Gambit



If you are rated below 1500 and like to play positionally, chances are you haven't heard about the Danish Gambit. This is a hyperaggresive opening and that means it doesn't suit everybody's style. Why? Because white gambits two pawns for an early attack. See:


This is the position we call Danish Gambit Accepted.

Now we'll have a look how Black can decline the gambit.

After 2.d4:


So Black's best response is 2...exd4.

After 3.c3:


So Black should play 3...dxc3

After 4.Bc4:


Those were all the ways Black could decline the gambit.

Now - to the actual gambit!

Main Ideas


  • More or less ignore development and start an attack as fast as possible;
  • Target the weak square f7;
  • Do not exchange your bishops - they are your main weapon;
  • Do not leave Black time to protect himself.
The Schlechter Defense

Carl Schlechter
The main reason why you don't hear about the Danish Gambit at master level is the Schlechter Defense - widely known as a refutation to the otherwise dangerous opening. It comes after 1.e4 1...e5 2.d4 2...exd4 3.c3 3...dxc3 4.Bc4 4...cxb2 5.Bxb2 5...d5. Black sacrifices a pawn (not a problem, because he has a two pawn advantage) to get a nice position.
I'll let you guess what is white's best response:

Black is in a very dangerous position now. There are many traps, and if  he doesn't play correctly, he can fall in one of them.


As you can see, Black's bishops are paralyzed and the tactic is a serious threat.

Black's only good move is 6...Nf6.

Isn't the tactic still possible? The answer:


Until recently this position had been thought to be lost for white, but then the move Nc3! was discovered by a correspondence chess player.

Now the tactic Bxf7+ is again a threat because the discovered check is blocked by the knight:



That's it for part one. In part two we're going to look at some traps in the Danish Gambit, how to play correctly in the Schlechter Defence and how to deal with other fifth moves by black.

If you have any questions or critique - down in the comments belowSmile