Alternate King's Gambit Lines

Dec 15, 2011, 7:16 PM |

The King's Gambit is one of those openings that's generally considered to be over the hill.  It's cool every time someone revives it, but for the most part it's not seen at GM level.  There is one main reason for this:  Fischer came up with a defense which kills the main line, and there are also many other refutations.  Many of these leave Black a pawn up with an attack of his own.  Here are a few.  First, the Fischer Defense:


Black's got a lead in development and an extra pawn.  Here's another one:


In this variation, Black ends up playing Bg7 and may still castle Kingside.  He has a solid Kingside and an extra pawn.

So what is there to do besides hope that one's opponent doesn't play d6 or h6?  One good way to avoid these is play an alternate variation after 2. . . exf4.  There are a few crazy ones.  While all of them are wild, a few of them don't deserve much attention.  But there are some which most definitely should be recognized as good alternatives.  Here's, in my opinion, the best one:


This may look strange.  Why is the King on f1 so early in the game?  But this has a plus side:  The King is actually safe on f1 for the time being, while White plans to play Nf3 on the next move, attacking the Queen and developing with tempo.  The win percentage on this line is a bit worse than that of 3. Nf3, but this makes for an interesting game.  Here's an example of the King's Bishop's Gambit in one of the most famous games of all time, The Immortal Game.  Enjoy!


This game is old.  However, it shows the general ideas of this opening:  Keep the enemy King in the middle, develop, and attack it with everything.  Material is usually going to take a backseat to development and attacking. 

Here's another alternative, one which has never been popular but is worth a try:


This looks a bit like the Bongcloud Attack, but it may actually work.  The Knight will come to f3, the Pawn will go to d4, and maybe the King will find some safety besides on e2. 

Finally, we need to discuss the craziest one:  the Tumbleweed Gambit.  Also known as the Drunken King's Gambit, or the King's Own Gambit.  It looks ridiculous but actually works:


This gives White 4 open files to use.  In exchange, he is down by 3 pawns and has an exposed King.  Here's a game played out of this opening.


All these are crazy, and of all of them, I'd reccoment 3. Bc4.  But they are all fun to try in blitz games.  Hope this helped.  Good luck with your chess.