Eisenberg's Gambit

      One of the oddest, yet intriguing variations in the King's Gambit Accepted is one discovered by Louis Eisenberg.

             Louis R. Eisenberg

     On page 293 of "Emil Kemeny: A Life in Chess,"  John Hilbert quotes William Ewert Napier’s "Pittsburgh Dispatch" chess column of August 4,1904:
     Mr. Eisenberg was born in Odessa in 1876 and after graduating from Nicholas College pursued journalisn until,
in 1902, he journeyed to Monte Carlo to participate in the international masters’ tournament played there under the auspices of the "Cercle des Étrangers."  His victory on this occasion over Pillsbury, the American Champion, was his best effort. Coming from within a few hours ride of Kishinev, Mr. Eisenberg is naturally well informed on the subject of the recent disturbances there (the Kishinev Pogrom of 1903) and in this connection was interviewed in Chicago and his opinions given wide publicity. Like most of his countrymen of the educated class he is a splendid linguist, speaking seven languages. As Mr. Eisenberg is a full citizen of the United States he will be eligible to all national events, and we are much mistaken if affairs chessical do not enjoy a notable enlivenment so long as he remains in our midst.

    The previous year Eisenberg had moved to Pittsburg where Napier also lived. [Napier was born in England in 1881, moved to the US in 1886, then to Brookly in 1895. In 1900, he moved to Pittsburgh. He would become a US citizen until 1908] Again, according to Hilbert, this time in "Napier: The Forgotten Chessmaster," Eisenberg and Napier met for two games in 1903, both ending in draws. Or, as "Checkmate: Monthly Chess Review"  put it in their Sept., 1903 issue:  Eisenburg, a former Russian expert, is now a resident of Pittsburg, Pa., where he is making it warm for Napier.


     "The British Chess Magazine" of June, 1901 informs us of a suggestion of a new variation in the KG published in the "Schachmatny Journal" [A Russian periodical once edited by Schiffers] in February, 1901 by Louis R Eisenberg of Odessa.

Next "BCM" tells us: M. Eisenberg gives three moves in reply to this, which are the result of tests in the shape of club play in Odessa. He gives (a) 3...g5, (b) 3...d5, and 3...Qh4+




     M. Eisenberg in recommending this new move either as given or in the Vienna Gambit variation, expresses the hope that it will be tested by chess players in actual play. He gives the following games, played in the Odessa Chess Club, in illustration of the opening:

     In all the databases I consulted, I could find only one master level game employing this gambit.  I wasn't surprised to see is was Tarakower.  The result was a draw.


     This opening seems to defy established chess axioms such as A Knight on the Rim in Dim, as well as gambiting a pawn for no real development,  but it's hard to find a real refutation.  Then again, possibly because of it's oddness and superficial dysfunctionality, it doesn't seem to have been analysed properly to find the refutation.

     Below is some amateur analysis by these chess.com members and member Stevoristich

     It seems the best line for Black and a good starting point is:


    Alternate lines might go:

     It would be interesting, in the absence of master games, to see any other ideas in seeing how or if this opening might be refuted. Feel free to post them here.


  • 3 years ago


    Bat girl Tarrasch is know in grave lol i hope that now tarrasch is playing vs capablnca in hell anyways i have some friends in hell i will tell them that you thank him !

  • 3 years ago


    In all honesty, this is a completely dreadful opening line.  

    Just casually glancing through the variations, in c), what is to prevent Black from playing 10...0-0, when they are vastly ahead in development and White has multiple weaknesses?  

    Or in b), instead of 7...Bd6 followed by 8...0-0, Black can either play 7...Be7, when White has insufficient compensation for the pawn, or play 8...Bg4, when 9. Qb3 is countered with 9...0-0.  White can win his pawn back, but Black will gain a strong attack.  

    Considering I'm only rated 2029 USCF and it took me all of two minutes to find these, imagine how brutally any modern-day master would bust this variation in a serious tournament.  

    That's why you hardly ever see anyone play this variation.  (That, and it's a move that ignores the whole point of the King's Gambit)

    By the way, you do realize that in the one master-level game you cited (Tarkatower-Gruenfeld), Gruenfeld is simply an entire pawn up for nothing  after trading queens?

    Tarkatower saves the draw after several mistakes by Gruenfeld allow him to obtain an opposite color bishop and build a fortress, but he was completely lost after the opening.  

  • 3 years ago


    Thank you Herr Tarrasch. 

    Siegbert talked big, but was a decent gambiteer himself:

  • 3 years ago


    what is the object of playing a gambit opening?... To acquire a reputation of being a dashing player at the cost of losing a game

  • 3 years ago


    Yikes, Lobo, I must have been drinking when I wrote that and asleep during the proofreadings.... thanks. I corrected the text.

  • 3 years ago


    The established chess axiom is "knights before bishops," not "bishops before knights," so the opening doesn't violate that one.  On the other hand, the rationale for the axiom is that it's usually more clear where a knight belongs - and h3 usually isn't that square.

    Interesting stuff; thanks.

  • 3 years ago


    As weird as 3.Nh3 looks, it's apparently is quite playable. It's surprising how rarely it turns up in serious games. 3...g5 was own my knee-jerk reaction to this idea, and it certainly is risky. I found this in chessgames.com:

  • 3 years ago


    Nh3 is interesting and counter intuitive. Thanks for posting this.

    I haven't gone through all the games provided but did notice the below correction (provided I'm not missing something).

    Game 1 | Odessa Chess Club | 1-0
    The move  13.Bxf7# should probably replace the text 
    13.Qxf7+ Kd8 14.Qxf8# { Last 2 moves not given } 

  • 3 years ago


    How do you get those hyperlinks down the side of the page?

  • 3 years ago


    this looks cool 

Back to Top

Post your reply: