King’s Gambit | Ideas, Principles and Common Variations

King’s Gambit | Ideas, Principles and Common Variations


Hello everyone! Stjepan here. Today I’m starting a new series, and the series
will be on the King’s Gambit. This will be an introductory video where I
will cover all the basics of the opening. I will also go through all the main variations,
but, each variation will be covered in detail in a separate video. So, the series will be 10 videos, and we are
going to go over all the main variations for white and for black. So, the King’s Gambit. We are going back to the romantic era of chess,
after having covered several main line openings, which are commonly played on the highest level. The King’s Gambit is, you could argue, an
unsound opening. According to the engines, it doesn’t give
white as big of an advantage as lets say the Ruy Lopez or the Italian would give. So, lets get into the opening. Pawn to e4, pawn to e5. The normal response by black. Preventing a central expansion by white. The main aim of the move e5, same as of the
move c5, which is the Sicilian Defense, is to prevent the easy d4 for white. And if white manages to get the move d4 in,
if you imagined these two pawns being in the center, then white is going to have a comfortable
central spacial advantage, and a lot of control in the center, controlling all the key squares. And black wants to prevent that. That’s why black plays e5. Now, in normal openings, the most common move
is Nf3. The point of the move Nf3 is to put pressure
on the e5 pawn, and try to put pressure on the center later on. For example, weaken the d4 square later on,
and then be able to push through with d4 and if black does nothing, white can capture the
pawn and continue that way. The King’s Gambit has a much more straightforward
approach. The King’s Gambit simply forces away the e5
pawn with pawn to f4. And, with this move, you’re accepting a lot
of disadvantages, you’re accepting a lot of weaknesses, especially on the kingside, especially
on this key diagonal towards your king, and you’re giving black an opportunity to create
an attack himself, but, as Neil McDonald has put it wonderfully in his book on the King’s
Gambit: “White is pushing away the black, white is forcing away the black e5 pawn, preparing
to overrun the center and slay the black pieces in their beds.” And, that’s poetically said, but it’s basically
what the opening is about. You’re preparing to gain central control,
while accepting a pawn gambit, and, if you can imagine white having these two pawns in
the center and all of his pieces open. The bishops open and the queen open, then
white indeed does have an opportunity to create a swift attack. Now, the problem is that this idea of attacking
chess and romantic chess did work in the 19th century when the opening was first developed,
lets say. It has been played in the Renaissance as well,
but the 19th century is basically when the beginnings of the theory were developed. And it did work back then because the analytical
approach to chess openings wasn’t there yet. Nobody really studied the theory that much,
except for maybe the greats, such as Paul Morphy or somebody else. And, this opening, the King’s Gambit, has
been revived, lets say, in the 20th century, and there have been several books written
in the 20th century. For example, Viktor Korchnoi wrote one on
the King’s Gambit, and the theory has definitely improved and developed. So, it’s no longer an opening in which white
risks everything in order to gain a quick win. Black has ways to defend, white has ways to
equalize, regardless of his opening sacrifice, opening gambit, opening risky play. So, the main idea of the opening for white
is to get rid of black’s central pawn, to be able to gain a huge center. So, the main response, of course, exf4, immediately
gives white the option to play d4, now, this isn’t such a good move, because of several
reasons, we will get to them. The main move is Nf3, but the goal has been
accomplished. You have removed the defender, and you are
now free to expand in the center. And for black, when black accepts the gambit,
black has to either try and hold on to the pawn, or get an advantage with an attack. So, ok, there are two options for black. Black can either, after pawn to f4, accept
or decline the sacrifice. That is where the opening branches out. Exf4 is King’s Gambit Accepted. We are going to go over the King’s Gambit
Accepted in 7 videos. And two other options, let me get to this
position. Sorry, whoever is challenging me, for declining
your challenges, I’m recording right now, so you can understand. And after f4, two other options are d5, the
Falkbeer Countergambit, which also has a very cool name, which either goes into this position:
exd5 exf4, which is now the Modern Transfer, the modern treatment of the Falkbeer Countergambit,
or, after exd5 for black to play c6, which is the Nimzowitsch Countergambit. Two very exciting openings. Once again, we are going to go over them in
separate videos. And the second option to decline the King’s
Gambit is to play Bc5, which is the Classical Variation, which is, you could argue, the
soundest one for black. The safest one, and the least risky option. But, it’s not as active, you’re not accepting
the sacrifice, and in the romantic era, this just… this would be frowned upon. Today it’s ok. But… Lets go over the King’s Gambit Accepted, this
is the main reason why black is fine in the opening, you have to accept the gambit. White has two moves. Lets go over one sideline first. The second most popular move is Bc4, which
is the Bishop’s Gambit. Now, one disadvantage of the move is clear
immediately – the fact that you’re accepting a queen check on h4, and you basically have
to be aware that your king is going to be stuck on f1 for the rest of the game. Black has three moves here. Black can either play Nf6, not using the check
immediately. After which Nc3 c6 and the position is sort
of normal. White is a pawn down, black is going to expand
with d5, but white has definite compensation. You can already see that white has compensation. White has two developed pieces and white is
perhaps going to be able to play d4 or d3, and open up his other bishop and then attack
f4. The second option for black after Bc4 is the
move d5, putting pressure on the bishop immediately, and after Bxd5 Qh4+ Kf1, you can see what
I was talking about. In this position, black has given the pawn
back, but the white king is never able to castle, and black is, as in every King’s Gambit
position, slightly, slightly better. And the third option, after the Bishop’s Gambit
is the move Qh4+ immediately, after Kf1 to play d6, not giving the pawn back, and after
Nf3, moving the queen and once again, black is slightly better in this position. He hasn’t even given back the pawn, but after
the queen moves, then white is going to be able to play d4, achieving his great center
and putting pressure on the f4 pawn. So the Bishop’s Gambit is definitely one of
the two best moves. I would argue that it’s even more comfortable
to play than Nf3 on move three for white, and in fact, Bobby Fischer, when he played
(and he rarely did) the King’s Gambit, he almost exclusively employed the Bc4 line. And the main move, after the King’s Gambit
and the Accepted King’s Gambit, exf4, is the move Nf3. Now, this is the main reason why the opening
was invented, I would say, you have given up a pawn. Black has captured on f4, but, you have prevented
black’s main threat of Qh4+, and, you are going to push through with d4 at some point. And, now what black has to do is he has to
decide whether he wants to hold on to the pawn at all costs, or if he wants to create
an attack. And black has several options. The move g5 is considered the main line in
this variation, which is called the King’s Knight Gambit. And g5 is simply defending the pawn and trying
to push away the f3 knight with g4 later on. Main variations branch out from the move g5. We are going to go over this move in one,
or maybe even two videos, because there are five very important gambit lines which arise
from that, and one more which is sort of a sideline. Those are the Kieseritsky Gambit, which is
one of the main lines, the Allgaier Gambit, the Phillidor Gambit, the Hanstein Gambit,
and several others. So, there is going to be a lot of theory in
this line, and, as I said, g5 is considered the main line, and g5 is the best way for
black to play. Let me show you just one sample continuation. The main move here for white is h4, challenging
the g5 pawn. This might look like the Semi-Slav in reverse. Where black in some positions pushes a5 to
weaken the control of c5. This is a common plan. And after h4, black continues with g4, and
here white can either play Ne5 or Ng5, these are some sample continuations. This, for example is the Allgaier Gambit,
and we are going to go through these openings in a separate video in great detail. This is one of the best variations for black
to play. There are several other options. After the move g5, white doesn’t have to continue
with h4, white can continue with the move Bc4, and here black has two options. One of them is Bg7, which is the soundest
one. And here white could either continue with
h4, which is the Phillidor Gambit, or, after Bg7 white could play 0-0, which is the Hanstein
Gambit. Both are very comfortable positions for both
sides, and both lead to very exciting games. Another option after Bc4 is that black doesn’t
have to play Bg7, which is the safest move, black can play the move g4. And now, you have probably the most exciting
positions in all of chess, because white can either play it safely. Safely still looks very risky, castles is
the main move believe it or not, gxf3, white gives up a piece, Qxf3, this is called the
Muzio Gambit, we are going to go over this in great detail. So this is one line. Another line after g4 is that white could
immediately sacrifice a piece with Bxf7, and after Kxf7, Ne5+ and the main move is here. If black doesn’t go here, he could be in a
lot of trouble, lets say this position. Here white could even give up the knight this
way, and black could be fine in some positions if he manages to get a draw transferring his
king from a6 to b6, but, a lot of risky lines could arise from this, from the Bc4 line. So, after g5, white has an array of moves
to choose from. Bc4 and h4 aren’t the only two moves. Another great way to play is d4, which is
the Rosentreter Gambit. A very risky line for white, but if black
doesn’t know what he is doing, then he could lose very soon. Another line after g5 is the move Nc3, the
Quade Gambit. So, the move g5 is the main line for black. And white, if he knows what he is doing, then
I believe that up to some point of maybe international master or fide master level, if you know all
of these variations in depth, you’re definitely going to have an advantage over your opponent,
who, perhaps wasn’t even prepared for you playing the King’s Gambit, and perhaps this
is as far as he knows the theory, that the move g5 is the main line. So, if you study all of these lines, you are
definitely going to have an edge over your opponent, so, g5 will be covered in one or
two videos in great detail. Now, black doesn’t have to play g5. After the move Nf3, there are five more defenses
which are fine for black. Probably the best alternative to g5 is the
move d6. And this move was popularized by Bobby Fischer,
hence the name Fischer Defense. And he actually introduced it in his book
“My 60 memorable games”, where he wrote about the move as the way to neutralize the King’s
Gambit. He said that d6 refutes the King’s Gambit. It’s not true, of course, but d6 is definitely
one of the two best ways to fight the King’s Gambit. So, the FIscher Defense. A sample continuation, d4, white expands using
the fact that black has taken, accepted the gambit, g5, defending the f4 pawn because
d4 expands in the center and also attacks the f4 pawn. H4, weakening g5, g4, Ng1, Bh6, Nc3, you can
see that these positions are very complex and, if you know what you are doing, you are
going to have an edge over your opponent. So this would be the Fischer Defense, an alternative
to g5. Another great way for black to play is the
move d5. This is the modern defense. This is perhaps the most aggressive way, and
this is, as if black says: “I’m not going to hide against you. You played the King’s Gambit, I’m playing
even more aggressively.” So, the Modern Defense is a very aggressive
way to play. Exd5 Nf6 Bc4 Nxd5 0-0, this is a sample continuation. Another way for black to play, Be7, the Cunningham
Defense, Ne7, can also be played. This is the Bonsch-Osmolovsky Variation, h6
is another way to play, this is the Becker Defense. So, black definitely has a wide range of replies
to the King’s Gambit. It’s not as if white is playing a forced gambit
line which black has to accept; there is only one forced variation in which white is slightly
worse but black is fine etc. No, this is a very complex opening. It revolves around many theoretical ideas,
and it requires a deep positional understanding of the position. It’s not only the risky aspects of the gambit
for white, or the extra pawn for black. It’s much deeper than that, and if you study
the theory, as black, of course, you might not be able to use it as often, because you
can’t force your opponents to play the King’s Gambit, but as white, if you know these positions,
then you are going to have an amazing weapon in your repertoire. Because the King’s Gambit isn’t played at
the highest level as often, and that causes the lower rated player, the club players,
such as me, not to play it at all, and people seem to think that the King’s Gambit is unsound
and that they shouldn’t play it. The truth can’t be more opposite. Especially against lower rated opponents,
up to lets say Fide Master level, if you know the theory in the King’s Gambit you have a
great surprise weapon and you have a great edge straight out of the opening. If you play the Ruy Lopez, everybody is going
to know that. If you play the Italian, most people are going
to know the theory. If you play the King’s Gambit, and lets say
your opponent play the Fischer Defense, you can’t tell me that they will be as prepared
as in the Breyer Ruy Lopez for example. People don’t play this as often, so learn
this, learn every variation and you are going to have a huge weapon in your opening repertoire. As I said, this was just an introductory video. I wanted to give you the basics of the opening. Every single one of the variations which are
written on the right side of the screen are going to be covered in a separate video. And I’m going to go through the series in
the next couple of weeks. I hope you like it. Let me know what you think. Let me know if you’ve had any experience with
the King’s Gambit yourself, and yeah, that’s it. Let me know which variation you are looking
forward to the most. Thanks very much and stay tuned for more chess! Bye bye!

53 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Ohh yeah! The king of all Kings is here!! Thank you Stjepan for giving us this great video! Great research and easy to understand explanations!

  2. Very good overview of this opening and it's cool that you are covering it this detailed. But I think it would also be nice to add something to your Ruy Lopez series because I think there are a lot of variatons you didn't cover. For example the open Spanish, the classical, the Steinitz and even sidelines like the Cozio or the Bird would be nice.

  3. King's Gambit was my first chess opening and I used to play it against my dad when learning how to play the game itself. Very fun chess back in the day.

  4. Seriously, buddy you are doing some amazing work! Thank you. Do you have a patreon or something we can contribute to?

  5. Nice series do you think the kings gambit is actually unsound? And I hope you do the chigorin defence against the queens gambit one day

  6. You're too good to us, rolling out more opening videos! 🙂 Thank you so much!! Your teaching style is both unique and helpful.

  7. I played the King's Gambit once in a club game and lost in about ten moves. Looking forward to a deep dive into the opening.

  8. I have been looking for someone to break down the Kings Gambit! I seriously can't wait for the rest of your videos on it! Seriously! This is the only opening that I use and there is literally no videos on the Kings Gambit and you're just so good at delivering the information! I learn so much from you! Please keep them coming and I am literally waiting at the edge of my seat for the next Kings Gambit variation videos! Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart! This is exactly what I have been looking for! You're the best! I bow to you!

  9. Thank you so much for the videos. Honest to god, perfect timing that I find your channel. I am desperately trying to build a repertoire, and you have helped tremendously. Now I have moved from c4 to e4 ( scored 0.5/3 with c4 at last open tourney), and even adopted the Italian because you showed that it ain’t that boring 💪 keep up the great work.

  10. A huge thank you to you man. Have you thought about doing a live stream playing some blitz or rapid chess? I think itd be awesome to watch you playing live

  11. Good job man! Thank you for the video. Personally I am waiting for the scotch :-).

    I would like to take the opportunity and dare to propose a video series about endgame theory. For example videos targeting different themes, motifs, etc in endgames. After all was the great Capablanca who suggested that one should study the game backwards. Meaning first study the endgame and after focus on the middle game and opening. For me makes sence. You first master each piece individually or few pieces at the same time. Understanding each piece, enables better understanding positions involving many of them (opening, middlegame).
    A different thing to consider of course is the feasibility of making such videos. But based on how you are presenting the openings I have to say I have faith in you!

    PS I also dare to say that I believe the most weak aspect of the game of the majority of the (let's say) below-2000-ELO-points chess players is their endgame technique

  12. The only opening I like as it makes for crazy games. Thanks for analyzing it. One of my first chess books: The King's Gambit Korchnoi, Zak got me excited about the opening a very long time ago.

  13. Fantastic video. I really like your style. I'm a pretty weak beginner who is trying to take my study more seriously, and I love the way that you explain WHY moves are undertaken. Many chess videos stop after saying "this is the best line" or "this is the most common variation." This doesn't help people learn the underlying principles, so thanks for being really good at that. Never subscribed to anyone before, but looking forward to seeing more content from you.

  14. We meet one day per week in our chess club and I prepared this during two weeks by stuying different lines and then I try on the club's evening and just win every game. But then I put the book back to our club's collection and it is like I lost everything I know about this opening. I am not sure, if I should relearn it. My biggest poblem after 1. e4 is that I am bad against Sicilian Defense. So now play kingsgambit, but black says no, we play Sicilian. I mean maybe it is not the right time for me to study it now.

  15. Thanks a lot for the videos. Lately I've gotten hooked. Everyone always talks about theory for this or that but it's hard to find videos that actually go over it. Not to mention the kings gambit is my all time favorite opening for almost ten years so it's wonderful how you did it in full in this series. A lot of this stuff I had to learn through trial and error so it's nice to finally know what's what. thanks

  16. sir can u please share the link to download the same chess software with engine that you are using in all your vedeos

  17. It's great help ,Could u perhaps provide a PDF though I have watched video but it's good to have notes ready

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