The best way to play against the Vienna Gambit

MatthewFreitag

pfren wrote:

I started meeting 1.e4 with 1...e5 recently (say some 45 years ago), and honestly, i never bothered for something other than 1...e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4 d5 against the Vienna.

Everything else is of purely academical interest.

Perhaps I phrased the forum title the wrong way. I still believe the best counter is the falkbeer variation. But I do think this line was disregarded wrongly, due to d4 not being that good.

jatait47
pfren wrote:

I started meeting 1.e4 with 1...e5 recently (say some 45 years ago), and honestly, i never bothered for something other than 1...e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4 d5 against the Vienna.

Everything else is of purely academical interest.


Not at all. Obviously 2...Nf6 3 f4 d5 is a standard equalizer for Black, but 2...Nc6 3 f4 exf4 is objectively even better, as it's then White who has to try and equalize. So it all depends how you want to answer moves other than 3 f4.

a) 3 Bc4 — 2...Nf6 allows Black to play 3 Bc4 Nxe4, if you want to go for the Frankenstein-Dracula perhaps; but more often Black plays 3...Nc6 anyway, in which case 2...Nc6 first is just as good – and gives Black other options too, such as (from my point of view) 3 Bc4 f5!?.

b) 3 g3 — if you're aiming for a quick ...d7-d5, then 2...Nf6 makes sense; but with other set-ups there is value to holding back the g8-knight, e.g. if Black wants to push ...h7-h5-h4, or indeed ...f7-f5 again.

c) 3 Nf3 — this time 2...Nf6 allows Black to avoid the Three/Four Knights and play 3...Bb4, but if you're not bothered about that then, again, 2...Nc6 is just as good.