The Danish Gambit

The Danish Gambit

Feb 6, 2010, 11:46 PM |

The Danish Gambit is a very aggressive line in the King's Pawn Opening.  Beginning 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3, black immediately has the chance to gain a pawn, but if he does so, white will be able to easily gain the initiative.  If accepted, this aggressive opening often results in a win for white due to the tremendous lead in development he often achieves.

Rarely, if ever, played at the modern master level, this opening should serve as a strong addition to any amateur repertoire.  It can teach one many valuable lessons, namely the importance of piece activity, coordination, development, and mobility.  The material advantage is useless if the pieces are inactive or undeveloped.  Sometimes, it's better not to have pawns blocking your rook's files or your bishop's diagonals, and even a knight could (occasionally) dominate without pawns!

So, without further ado, here is the first game, one between masters in the early days of the gambit!

Notice how black's rooks and queen never left the 8th rank, and the a8 rook didn't even move! All of black's developed pieces were traded away, and black was on the defensive the entire time. On the other hand, white's pieces dominated the board, and he enjoyed many plusses, the least of which were enhanced mobility and control of key squares, ranks, and files.

In the next amateur game, white simply equalizes and uses the open files to overwhelm black with back rank threats. Although not as aggressive as most Danish Gambit games, this still should demonstrate how white has complete control of the game. Instead of going for a crazy king hunt as above, white decides to dominate the queenside and then advance the rooks. Many situations could result from the Danish, and this game exemplifies how white can attain a lead in any of them.

Clearly, the Danish can leave white ahead even without firm control of the initiative throughout the game.

Anyway, the Danish is all about immediate aggressive king hunts, so below I have supplied another one.

White uses every piece, and despite original material deficits, is able to easily win.  Besides working in perfect harmony with the others, each piece finds the best square and works there until no longer needed.  Then, even in "death", it serves the greater cause and takes out a defender.  Furthermore, there were several unneeded "in between" moves, or zwischenzug, that helped end the game even quicker.  Such techniques of giving the opponent the opportunity to make the maximum amount of mistakes works magnificently, especially at sub-1600 (Class C) levels.

Myself, I sport a 100% win rate with this opening, so I must be doing something right!  That is not too hard to attain, though!  Adopt this opening, and you can quickly win a lot more games!  Try it!

All in all, the Danish Gambit is a great tool for gaining the upper hand, both on the chessboard and psychologically.  However, it is not for the faint hearted.  As has been said many times, "The brave will inherit the earth".  So be one of them!