Queen's Gambit

Queen's Gambit

Dec 5, 2009, 2:41 PM |

The Queen's Gambit is a chess opening that starts with the moves

1. d4 d5
2. c4

The Queen's Gambit is one of the oldest known chess openings, as Lucena described it in 1497 and it is mentioned in the earlier Göttingen manuscript.

During the early period of modern chess, queen pawn openings were not in fashion, and the Queen's Gambit did not become common until the 1873 tournament in Vienna.

As Steinitz and Tarrasch developed chess theory and increased the appreciation of positional play, the Queen's Gambit grew more popular, reaching its zenith in the 1920s and 1930s, and was played in all but two of 34 games in the 1927 World Chess Championship match between Jose Raaul Capablanca and Alexander Alekhine.

After World War II, it was less frequently seen, as many Black players moved away from symmetrical openings, tending to use the Indian Defenses to combat queen pawn openings.

The Queen's Gambit is still frequently played and it remains an important part of many grandmasters' opening repertoires.

With 2.c4, White threatens to exchange a wing pawn (the c-pawn) for a center pawn (Black's d-pawn) and dominate the center with e2-e4. This is not a true gambit, as Black cannot hold the pawn, e.g., the following line: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e3 b5? (Black tries to guard his pawn but should pursue development with 3...e5!) 4.a4 c6? 5.axb5 cxb5?? 6.Qf3! winning a piece.

The Queen's Gambit is divided into two major categories based on Black's response: The Queen's Gambit Accepted (QGA) and the Queen's Gambit Declined (QGD). In the QGA, Black plays 2...dxc4, temporarily giving up the center to obtain freer development. In the QGD, Black usually plays to hold d5. Frequently Black will be cramped, but Black aims to exchange pieces and use the pawn breaks at c5 and e5 to free his game.


The Queen's Gambit is an American thriller novel by Walter Tevis. The bildungsroman coming-of-age novel was originally published in 1983 and covers themes in feminism, chess, drug addiction, and alcoholism.

In 1992, Scottish screenwriter Allan Scott acquired rights for a screenplay of a planned art house film. In 2007 and 2008, Scott was working with Heath Ledger (pictured) on what would have been Ledger's directorial debut. Production and principal photography were planned for late 2008 but were put on hold following the director's death on January 22.