This gambit can be very effective if played by booked up players against unprepared/lower ranked opponents -- particularly in rapid style games. Yes, if you're a titled player, you can safely play the 4. Bf4 Qb4+ lines. But if you're a 1700 playing against a 2000, you are probably going to get wacked. There are so many tricks to that line, that if you are underprepared, black can take advantage. I know this from personal experience :)
Another thing to keep in mind is many white players who start off with d4 are looking for a positional/strategic game. The 4. Bf4 response to this gambit allows black to immediately change the game to a tactical nightmare for white.
After losing 2x to higher rated players who know this opening far better than I do, I have switched up responses and have been very happy with results.
The point is that all of Black's tricks are now blunted by the fact that he has to tie down his queen to defending c6 (his best move is the sad Qd8). White continues development with Bf4, eventually castle queen side, put a rook on g1, and a clear advantage without having to worry about anything.
Much simpler solution than knowing every single tactical line associated with 4. Bf4.
I agree with your statement, maybe for an amateur white player its better to choose an easy way to get an advantage with playing 4.Nc3 to avoid all the complications arising in the main lines after 4.Bf4.
But has White really a "clear" advantage in the theory line youve showed...lets go a little bit further...
In my opinion white has a slight edge here and maybe this not the kind of position a gambit player is looking for, but i dont see a "clear" advantage.
Maybe you can improve the position for white.
to be honest...because of this i prefer the Blackburne-Hartlaub with 2...d6 and the Soller or the Felbecker with 2...f6 or 2...Nc6 3...f6.
Not because these variation are better from a theoretical point of view, but you have more practical chances in seeking the iniative in OTB- or blitz-games, while you stay passive in most of the main line variations with 2...Nc6 and 3...Qe7.
White can play 8.Qd4 instead of 8.Rg1, with the obvious intention of castling queenside. The move is good (despite suggested in the awful book "Unorthodox Openings" by Benjamin and Schiller).
But this would probably appeal to lazy people: white certainly has the advantage, but he's not winning, which is the case after 4.Bf4/ Bg5.
Agreeing with pfren though I would rephrase from "Lazy People" to "Amatures who don't have days of study to commit to all possible openings" :)
So, yes, I think white has advantage in piece development, king safety and space. As pfren says, it's not winning, but it's a heck of a lot better than being mated/totally lost due to an inacurrate move while under attack.
I play the Englund, sometime. The first time I played it against my brother, he wrecked me ... and he'd never seen it before.
If you like it, play it! Yes, sometimes your gonna get punished for it ... but the same thing happens in the Lopez.
The thing with the Englund Gambit complex after 1.d4 e5 2.dxe5 Nc6 3.Nf3 and now 3...Qe7, 3...f6 or 3...Nge7, is that White has one response against each that leaves Black in trouble, but in practice these critical lines only happen in a small percentage of the games, and in most of the other lines, where White plays sub-optimally around moves 4-8, Black is doing OK. In the Chesslive.de database Black is scoring pretty well with all those third moves.
It really depends on what people want to get out of chess. I can't recommend any form of the Englund complex for players who are striving for maximum results/improvement (you'll probably score well with this type of unorthodox line up to a certain level, and then start having off-putting bruising experiences), but for players who enjoy playing and analysing unorthodox lines, and whose main priority is enjoyment rather than results, it's a very different story.
At around the time of Stefan Bucker's 1988 book on the gambit, the line with 1.d4 e5 2.dxe5 Nc6 3.Nf3 Qe7 was looking in decent theoretical shape for Black- it is more recently that the strength of White's 8.Nd5 in the 4.Bf4 variation was recognised and placed it back under a cloud.
I just wonder what is the "sub-optimal way" to play the Englund as white. You know nothing about it, you have never analysed it, you have met it OTB. You do know the basic opening principles, and you just decide to follow them: 1.d4 e5 2.de5 Nc6 3.Nf3 Qe7 4.Nc3 (no pawn grabbing in the opening, just rapid development) 4...Nxe5 5.e4! (you just refuse to double your pawns on the f-file, and open the f1 bishop, gaining a few important central squares).
Guess what? White has a clear advantage (better development, better central control, easy squares for the pieces, plus a clumsy queen on e7, and lack of any real counterplay for Black), probably more than in the 5.Nd5 Nxf3+ etc variation, making absolutely no positional concessions.
There are two reasons I see for black to play this:
1. He somehow thinks white played 1.e4 due to vertigo or something, like maybe black had a lot of caffeine, sees stars, and has a headache and gets very dizzy if he stands up?
2. A beginner naively trying to apply From Gambit logic to 1.d4. I've stated many times elsewhere why the From is vastly superior to 1.d4,e5 mainly because 1.f4 not only isn't a developing move, but also seeks to exploit the weakened e1-h4 diagonal.
Like I said earlier just play 1...Nf6! and if 2.c4 (statistically more likely than other replies, even 2.Nf3, when a simple King or Queen's Indian setup will do) then go for the Budapest.
They have to be banking on their opponents to make sub-optimal moves/blunders rather than thinking it's the greatest opening ever. And if that never happened they probably wouldn't play it. It probably occurs more than the phantom refutations people warn about.
I played a Budapest gambit online a few months ago and won a pawn really quickly. I was going to be two pawns down with some active play because he moved his queen early but he ended up being a pawn behind right out of the opening.
I didn't even know the theory. I just got active pieces and the game pretty much played itself. I don't get quick wins like that when playing normal stuff.
The 4.Nc3 Nxe5 5.e4 line is essentially an inferior line of the Nimzowitsch Defence from Black's point of view: 1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 e5 3.dxe5 Nxe5 4.Nf3 Qe7 (4...Qf6 is an improved version for Black, since if 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Bd2 Ne7 with just a slight advantage for White) 5.Nc3.
I regard this response as White's second-best line (after 4.Bf4 with the accurate Nd5 follow-up) and it is one of two main reasons (the attraction of the rather sounder Albin Counter-Gambit being the other) why I largely gave up the "pure" Englund Gambit with 3...Qe7 about five years ago. I recall that Black can try to unbalance the play by castling long and advancing the kingside pawns in some cases but White's queenside attack is usually faster.
However for every game with 4.Nc3 Nxe5 5.e4, I would have at least ten where White played, say, 4.Qd5, 4.g3, 4.e3, or 4.e4 Nxe5 5.Nxe5?! (5.Nc3!) 5...Qxe5.
Whenever you win despite your opening you need to change it. Even Schiller admits in one of his books that he gave up the Englund for being terrible. Since most people play 2.c4 against 1...Nf6 just go for the Budapest. You'll get a sound repertoire with well coordinated knights and danger lurking around every corner (for white). Just make sure you play the mainline and not the Fajarowicz (4.a3! is still playable for black, but why deal?)
The Budapest has real sting in it and even when white knows the best lines you'll arrive at equal (or white having a slight advantage) positions you're familiar with.
If 2.Nf3 (like what I play) then there's nothing wrong with setting up a Queen's Indian, Bogo Indian, King's Indian, or whatever system you're most comfortable with.
I'm not sure about you, but if I'm playing a gambit, I would be more comfortable if I got a good position even with best play, rather than hoping for them to make inaccurate moves so that I don't get a bad position, and it's reasons like these as to why I never trust the Englund.
My posts have mainly been playing devil's advocate and standing up for those who find the Englund complex attractive, as I can see both sides of the argument- it all depends on one's tolerance for risk re. getting a bad position against accurate play and what one wants to get out of chess, as for instance many of these dubious lines are interesting to analyse and to try out in thematic and casual games.
Personally, I consider the Englund too risky to try in serious games- I used to play it because I genuinely thought it wasn't significantly less sound than the Budapest or Albin, only to be convinced otherwise about six years ago. For me, a moderate disadvantage with some counterplay is a risk worth taking, but not a big disadvantage. Thus, these days I mainly use the Albin Counter-Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5) combined with the Chigorin-esque 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nc6 (certainly worth considering as an alternative to the Budapest IMHO).
I play the Englund as one of my main responses against 1.d4...in every kind of chess...blitz, OTB and correspondence...
For sure, if i would only play the same variation in every game, it would be easy to figure out the critical responses.
Therefore i play different variations.
2...d6 (the Blackburne-Hartlaub), 2...f6 or 2...Nc6 and then 3...f6 (The Soller or Felbecker), sometimes even the main line with 2...Nc6 and 3.Qe7, although its way too passive in my opinion.
I also play the Albin and the Baltic Defence, so that i have a wide range of responses against 1.d4 and iam not too predictable for my opponent.
Of course its a risk to play unsound openings, sometimes it pays off, because your unwary opponent walks the wrong path (and this also happens to good players), sometimes ill get crushed.
Each players has an individual style and there is no dogma that allows to play only high fashioned openings.
I dont have to earn my money with chess and i dont want to achieve a GM title, so what...
Certainly makes you a dangerous opponent DF.
Even a warned player would have difficulties properly preparing against all these lines !
Even a warned player would have difficulties properly preparing against all these lines !
Thanks for your comment, mate...ironically i hate it to play AGAINST gambits, even against the ones, that i normally play... :-)