index 2008
Letter #02 -  2008

Sub:    Two gambit questions
Date:   1/07/2008 7:39:54 P.M. MST
From:  Tom Griffin

I have two questions that I request answers posted for, if you agree they are of general interest.

1. Why is the King’s gambit somewhat out of favor, certainly relative to 100 years ago? I play it often in my casual games, and it often leads to a very powerful position for White. Does the opening have a particular weakness which top players can consistently exploit? I can’t understand why it isn’t played more frequently.

2. I am intrigued by the Danish gambit. But I have not seen it used (I don’t think) in high-level play. Can you comment on this opening, White’s prospects, and its weaknesses? Since white is giving up three Pawns for one, it had better lead to some dramatic prospects!

Thank you. Keep up the great work with the site!

Tom Griffin
Kennett Twp, PA

Dear viewer,

The King's gambit opening (1. e4, e5 2. f4....) has produced many exciting games than any other opening. It has a long documented history and has been analyzed in depth by Luis Ramirez de Lucena and Giulio Polerio in the 17th century.

This aggressive opening has lots of tactical possibilities for both sides however, is no longer very popular in tournament play or at a master Chess level because in a computer age, analysis shows that black pieces can get a significant advantage or equalize easily by returning the white's offered gambit Pawn and establishing a strong defensive position.

The Danish gambit (1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3) is a variation of the center game. Danish player Severin From essayed the gambit in an 1867 Paris tournament and he is usually given credit for the opening. Here, white sacrifices one or two Pawns for a rapid development and attack.

This opening was popular among GM’s of the attack including Marshall, Mieses, Blackburne, and Alekhine. The Danish gambit lost followers in the 1920s as the Black’s defenses improved and the Schlechter's defense was introduced. Today, is no longer played in top-level tournaments.

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