The Latvian Gambit


I have played a few games using this opening and tried a few variations and I have fallen in love. What an opeing. I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments on this intriguing, tactically rich chess opening.


It's unsound. Aside from that there's nothing wrong with it, besides everything. How many GMs have you seen playing it lately in serious games? 

BUT, I used to play it routinely OTB a few decades ago vs 1.e4 with very good results, in fact I went from USCF class-B to class-A with that and another barely sound opening - the Budapest Defense vs. 1.d4. You can probably get away with the Latvian OTB until you run into someone who knows just one of several very good lines vs it (that you don't) and disillusionment might start to settle in, but maybe not. 

If you plan on playing it routinely this is one opening you should seriously considering purchasing a book about


Probably good suggestions from NimzoRoy. This opening is a lot of fun, at least for folks on the wood-pusher level like me. As far as soundness goes, I'll leave that subject to others. You might also like a related line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5. ...... Oops! Gotta' go. Keep watching the skies!


if you like the positions you get from it, but are unsure about using an unsound opening you may drop in the long term, theres always the jaenisch/schliemann defence in the ruy lopez which is quite sound.

although you would need to deal with the vienna, italian and a few others.


Speaking of the Budapest and Latvian Gambits, those should be the first openings you study (well, if you play 1.e4 then Damiano refutation first), especially the Budapest for 1.d4 players as it's a tricky opening, but that's for another forum topic entirely. 

Schiller recommends 3.exf5 vs. the Latvian gambit, and he said that it's hard to refute over the board, so in other words it's good to study the opening from the white side just in case.  


If you don't bother studying the theoretical refutation (3.Nxe5- white gets a clear advantage, but some lines are tactical and a little clumsy to memorize) then you can simply play 3.Nc3, which is simple chess: White develops a piece, threatens ef5 and/or d4, and calls Black to show his bluff.

Since 3...fe4 4.Nxe5 Nf6 5.Ng4! loses a pawn for very little, Black has to continue playing speculative nonsense, hoping that white will blunder something. The problem is- it's rather difficult for white to blunder something, his position is extremely easy to play....

Schiller recommends 3.exf5 vs. the Latvian gambit

Who cares what Schiller recommends? His openings' books are just about the shallowest around, horrible pulp some 99% of them.

Just for the record, 3.ef5 is illogical (I have played it once, but this doesn't make it a good move).


Try busting this, then.

It's a footwork, but surely much preferrable to the utter nonsense which are included in the Chessvibes article.