Openings: One-Trick and Bad Gambits

Openings: One-Trick and Bad Gambits

Gambits. Gambits aren’t horrible types of openings to play, but problems can occur if you aren’t careful.

Gambits such as the Marshall Gambit, Queen’s Gambit, Benko Gambit, and many more are great gambits to play!

However, some gambits can put you in a weak position. The worst part about some of these gambits? Almost all beginners play them. Once a beginner understands how to go against these one-trick gambits, their rating will (probably) skyrocket. 

And how do you go against these gambits? Simple!

The Blackburne Shilling Gambit

Let’s look at a famous and popularized gambit, the Blackburne Shilling.

If you don’t know the trap, it’s played as black.

Nd4 creates the setup for the gambit because it tempts White to take the “free” pawn on e5. 

If White does indeed take the pawn on e5, Black plays Qg5, and White will soon be in trouble. However, this article isn’t about playing the Blackburne Shilling, but instead, going against it.

When Black plays Nd4, don’t capture the pawn! Castling, developing another piece, or getting a fair pawn structure with d3 are much better moves than capturing the pawn. The answer to going against this one-trick gambit may be easy, but there are more difficult ones.

The Englund Gambit

The Englund Gambit is also a one-trick gambit.

With Black responding to d4 with e5, the line continues BEST like this:

The most important thing for White is not playing Bc3 but Nc3. If the knight on c6 dares come to b4 after Black’s Queen takes on b2, don’t play Rc1, but rather Nd4. Usually, life is easier for the white pieces.

The Alekhine Gambit

This time, let’s take a look at the Alekhine Gambit. This gambit is almost downright horrible.

This gambit is for Black, and the line goes like this:

This line is quite abnormal, as the moves e5 and b5 are weird and uncommon. If one move goes wrong, the gambit is off the board, and Black gets an awful position. Instead of taking on c5 and falling into the fork, White should play a move like c4 to protect their bishop.

Gambits are fine openings to play as long as you know the theory and some lines. However, you have to be careful about what gambit you play and how to play against them!

-Austin Huang

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