Evans Gambit – Part 1

The Evans Gambit was invented by William Davies Evans, the first player to employ it more then 170 years ago. Did you also know that Captain Evans was also a professional Ship Master and strong amateur?

After 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 Captain Evans discovered the amazing idea of 4.b4! . 



The basic intention behind the move 4. b4 is to give up a pawn in order to secure a strong centre and bear down on Black’s weak-point, f7. Often, the idea of Ba3, preventing black from castling, is also in the air.


The Evans gambit has been played for over a hundred years, and it hasn’t been refuted yet. 

Morphy, Chigorin, Fischer, Kasparov, Timman, Shirov, Short and Morozevich have all successfully played the opening. 


I’d like to start the show from two games played by Bobby Fischer. 


Fischer needs no introduction, I believe. Just a few words about his play: he was a wholesome player who mastered each and every phase of the game. His play was harmonious and very instructive as well. 

Fischer as well as Paul Morphy fought for the initiative at every move, presenting his opponent with problem after problem until the game was his. 


Well before the phrase became a cliché, winning was the only thing for Fischer.The Evans gambit was one of his favorite openings. 


 Fischer,Robert James – Boatner,J [C51]

 Houston sim, 1964  


1. e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Be7

Black has a few relevant answers 5…Ba5, 5 … Be7 and 5…. Bc5, indeed recently the move 5… Bd6!? Has also become very popular. 

 6. d4 d6?

This move leads to an immediate disaster. 

There are a few key squares in Black’s position that are often under attack or provide a target for a sacrifice by White. These squares are f7, g7 and h7 . 

7. Qb3!

 The attack is to be directed against the weakest spot in the opposing position the pawn f7.  

7…Nh6 ?   

Temporally stops Bf7, but white simply eliminates that knight. Much better was 7…Na5.  

8. Bxh6 gxh6 9.Bxf7+ Kf8 10.Bh5!  


There is no good way to stop Qf7, when after 10…d5 Black is going to lose all his center pawns…

 Black resigned.


11 Responses

  1. In the Fischer v. Boatner game, it is indicated that 6…d6 is a bad move. Could you give some examples of why it is bad. What are some lines for what that make 6…d6 bad?

  2. Hi Robin, d6 move allows white to start an immediate attack by playing 7.Qb3 after which the best continuation must be 7…Na5! 8. Bf7 Kf8 9.Qa4! Kf7 10.Qa5 , when ‘Blacks King lost his castling rights and Black has to spend time much more time for completeing his development.
    By the way later on Fischer even played an intermediate 7.de and in case 7…de 8. Qb3 becomes even much stronger! Besides the common problem with the f7 pawn , Blacks e5 pawn will be also hanging in many variations.

    [Event “Davis sim”]
    [Site “Davis”]
    [Date “1964.??.??”]
    [Round “?”]
    [White “Fischer, Robert James”]
    [Black “Celle, O.”]
    [Result “1-0”]
    [ECO “C51”]
    1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bxb4 5. c3 Be7 6. d4 d6 7. dxe5 Nxe5 8. Nxe5! dxe5 9. Qh5 ! and White gets a huge advantage … black can’t save e5 pawn due Qf7 # threat.

  3. what about 5…Ba5 6.0-0 d6 7.d4 Bb6

  4. ztshanks, on November 29th, 2008 at 7:26 pm Said: Edit Comment
    what about 5…Ba5 6.0-0 d6 7.d4 Bb6

    This we call the Lasker defence , one of the best lines against Evans Gambit .
    Still white could fight for advantage with the best 6. d4!

  5. Hello

    I was just wondering what were the best alternatives when black declines the gambit; 4:b4 Bb6 (sometimes my opponent also play 4… Be7).

  6. Hi there,

    I’m a little new to all this, but hoped someone could help 🙂

    With the Evans, why is the following supposed to be bad for black?

    1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Bc5 6. d4 PxP 7. PxP Bb4+

    Thanks a lot for any help 🙂


    • Hello Tim, The 7. …Bb4+ was considered bad for black because of the ’embarrassement of riches (Tim Harding) Dr Keres’s 8.Kf1!? gives white an agressive game, but 8.Nbd2 is considered best. After 8.Kf1 d6 9.d5! i won a lot of knights

  7. […] after a Captain William Davies Evans in the early 1800s.  The basic idea is this (thanks to GM Boris Alterman, from whom I jacked the picture): The Evans […]

  8. how about after Qb3 black play Na5 followed by Kf8 after check by bishop.

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