Latvian Gambit: Poisoned Pawn

Feb 11, 2012, 10:56 AM |

The Latvian Gambit is among my favorite openings to play.  It is not the soundest, and is described as "aggressive but dubious" on Wikipedia.  But the sharp games are extremely exciting.  Often both sides are sacrificing pieces in an all-out war to attack the King.

The Gambit begins with 1. e4 e5  2.  Nf3 f5!?   The main line is simply Nxe5, as Black has left the pawn hanging.  But the sharpest variation is the Poisoned Pawn, in which White first attacks f7 with 3. Bc4.  What follows is usually a great attacking game which lasts well under 20 moves.  Here's a typical Poisoned Pawn opening.


In a recent game on, my opponent went into the Poisoned Pawn and lost quickly.  He did not attack quickly enough and, while I was down an Exchange, I got to attack his King first.  This is a good example of a small mistake losing the game, which happens often in the Latvian.


As you can see, it was a sharp game.  Both Kings never moved, and one side just got there first.  I hope you enjoyed, I will probably show some more Latvian Gambit games later.