KGA: Hanstein Gambit


Playing a game in a King’s Gambit tournament, I opened with 1.e4 e5 2.f4 (the mandatory moves) followed by 2. ..exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4, hoping for g4, so I could play the Muzio Gambit. My opponent decided otherwise, and chose the solid 4. ..Bg7. Still following the spirit of the Muzio I castled short, and arrived in what seems to be called “King’s Gambit: Accepted, Hanstein Gambit”. Not knowing any theory (let alone knowing this opening had a name), I improvised my way through this game – and enjoyed.


Note that the key-move in this game is 8.Bxf7+, which is funny enough, the key-move as well in the Double Muzio Gambit. The engine considers my bishop-sacrifice as a blunder, but it would be one blunder I don’t regret. The move gave me a lot of tactical opportunities, and my opponent plenty of room for mistakes. I don’t think I would have had any chance of outplaying my (much higher rated) opponent in a positional game, but this conversion to a tactical field served me well. Here’s the game with some annotations.

Conclusion: I can’t say a lot about the efficiency of the Hanstein Gambit, as I didn’t follow nor know the standard lines. I’d be willing to give it a second try though. But regardless of the mathematical incorrectness of my 8.Bxf7?? blunder, I would say the following: When hesitating between two moves, go for the one that challenges your opponent and is likely to lure him into making mistakes. And also go for the move that’s the most interesting and the most fun. After all we play chess because we enjoy it, so let’s keep it that way!