From's Gambit

Jun 24, 2011, 10:34 AM |

This week’s opening is the From’s Gambit. The From’s Gambit only takes one move to begin, 1. f4 e5!? White weakens the e1-h4 diagonal with 1. f4, so black sacs a pawn to open files and diagonals for his pieces. I don’t think this is the soundest Gambit ever, but the fact that many white players play 2. f4!? transposing to the king’s gambit says something.


Here is the basic theory:


Okay, so we have the moves 1. f4 e5!? 2. fxe5 d6! 3. exd6 Bxd6 4. Nf3 This is the main starting point for this gambit 


Now, black has 2 choices a) 4…Nf6 and  b) 4…g5

NOTE: For some reason, the 4...Nf6 line below isn't posting. I will post that into the comments.


So, after examining 4…Nf6 I have concluded that if white plays simply (avoiding complications with 6. g3 and 7. e4) with 6. Qd3 and aim for an ending white will be better. Black will win his pawn back but will be forced to defend a worse endgame.


After 4…g5 if white stays in the main line, he will reach a position where black only has partial compensation for the pawn.


Now for some examples:


So, white made some mistakes that allowed black his advantage, and with correct play white would have emerged out of the opening better. Still, the above game nicely illustrates how if black can blockade white’s mighty center, he has great chances for counterplay against white’s king.


So, after analyzing this opening, I can conclude that this gambit really isn’t very sound, and thus isn’t seen on the highest level. I found 2 games in my database [Mega 2011] with 2500+ vs. 2500+ encounters, one of them shown above. Then again, the Bird itself (1. f4) doesn’t appear on the board often, so if you do like this gambit you wouldn’t have to use it much. Despite all my criticism, I am not saying this is an unplayable opening that should be avoided like the plague. The majority of people (like myself) reading this are amateurs (<2000) players , and although you may not see this position in a game between Anand and Carlsen, at our level these openings are often just fine, and although I wouldn’t play it, that doesn’t mean you can’t. Just watch out if we play!