Openings

Englund Gambit

1.d4 e5

The Englund Gambit is an opening for Black against White's 1.d4. Although similar in appearance to the Budapest Gambit, the Englund is not a sound opening and, therefore, not popular among stronger players. However, the Englund Gambit does contain traps that can catch many players off guard and result in quick wins.


Starting Position

The Englund Gambit starts after the moves 1.d4 e5. Black's idea is to develop their queenside knight to c6, hitting the e5-pawn and following it up by either focusing on development or setting up a trap.

Englund Gambit Chess Opening
The starting position of the Englund Gambit.

With this opening, the game can end quickly if White falls for one of Black's traps. However, Black will be positionally lost if White knows how to deal with their opponent's threats.

Pros

  • Can catch beginners and intermediate players off-guard
  • Black can win quickly if White falls for one of the opening's traps

Cons

  • It's not hard to avoid the traps and get an excellent position for White
  • Black's position is also strategically bad if they opt not to go for the trap lines

Main Variations Of The Englund Gambit

After Black plays the Englund Gambit, White can decline it by playing 2.d5, transpose to the Center Game with 2.e4, or accept it. The most critical lines happen after White takes the free black pawn with 2.dxe5. Black then plays for a quick win by setting up traps or chooses to play quietly. Below you can learn more about the two critical traps of the opening and its quieter variation:

Englund Gambit Traps

Black sets up the Englund Gambit traps with the moves 1.d4 e5 2.dxe5 Nc6 3.Nf3 Qe7. From there, White can go wrong in a few different ways if they don't know how to respond to Black's threats. Below you can see the most common traps after the moves mentioned above:

If White plays the correct 5.Bd2, their position will be superior to Black's in all continuations. The main line continues with 5...Bb4 6.Rb1:

Englund Gambit With 6...Nb4

After 1.d4 e5 2.dxe5 Nc6 3.Nf3 Qe7 4.Bf4 Qb4+ 5.Bd2 Qxb2 6.Nc3, Black can deviate from the main line and try one last trap with 6...Nb4. With this move, Black threatens a winning fork with 7...Nxc2+. White's right response is 5.Nd4, defending the c2-pawn and once more getting a better position.

Englund Gambit With 3...d6

Black can also try a quieter line with no traps after White accepts their gambit. This variation begins after 1.d4 e5 2.dxe5 Nc6 3.Nf3 d6, when Black reinforces their intention of sacrificing a pawn. The idea behind Black's third move is that if White plays 4.exd6, they can respond with 4...Bxd6, developing a piece and gaining a tempo.

However, White's best continuation refutes 3...d6 and once more results in a better position for the first player. White can play the intermediate move 4.Bg5+, virtually forcing Black to respond with 4...f6, losing a pawn with no compensation.

History Of The Englund Gambit

The Englund Gambit was popularized by the Swedish chess master Fritz Englund. Although never popular at elite-level play, the gambit has recently had a surge in popularity among club players, in part because of IM Levy Rozman's video on the opening.

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