Danish Gambit game

Hello Boris,

Thanks for your series. It has helped my game very much. Years ago my friend, NM John Lenchner suggested that I study gambits to learn tactics. I studied the King’s Gambit and won many games (see my web page). But it seems the King’s Gambit has been undone by the Falkbeer Countergambit– Fischer’s Defense is only OK, I think).

In any case, I’m an old horse at 44 but still love the game. The gambit series has certainly helped my game. It is fun to play tactically and smartly, regardless of the opening.

In response to your request for example games, here is one from ICC “five-minute” blitz against an old rival “Bliv”. It is a Danish Gambit. And it worked out very well for white. The most difficult move for me to find was 10 Nc3. Otherwise, I simply centralized on the open lines, and black was pretty much forced to resign in less than twenty moves. What more could a chess player ask for?

Here it is: 

Busterfriendly (1900) vs. Bliv (1797) October 15, 2008, ICC Five-Minute

1. e4 e5 2. d4 ed 3. c3 dc 4. Bc4 cb 5.Bb2

5…Nf6 6. e5

I’m not sure this is book, but who cares? I thought: Open lines. Have fun.

6… d5? 7.  ef dc 8. Qd8+ Kd8 9. fg Bb4 + 10. Nc3

In the past, blocking the bishop might have stopped me from making this move; but I learned this OK from your series. The latent potential of the knight cannot be underestimated.

10…Rg8 11. 0-0-0+ (ouch) Ke8 12. Nf3 Bc3 13. Bc3 Be6 14. Rhe1

Centralization; open lines. woohoo! The beauty…

14… c5 15. Ng5 Ke7 16. Nh7  Resigns.

Many thanks.

Nickola Pazderic

Danish Gambit Part 3

1. e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 cxb2 5.Bxb2 Bb4+


6. Nd2 Another attempt. White is keeping the long diagonal opened; the pawn g7 is under attack.  

6…Qg5 A very aggressive approach. Black aims at the pawn on g2 and seems that nothing could stop it’s intention of trading the Queens after 7. g3 Qd2! going into a simple ending up two pawns.  

Indeed as we were seeing before white prefers to continue the development:

7. Ngf3! white is going to sacrifice another pawn for the speedy development and a strong initiative, using one of the most important attacking principles of the First WC Wilhelm Steinitz:

 “If you have the advantage, you have not only a right to attack, but also a duty to attack, otherwise there is the risk of losing the advantage.“


7…Qxg2 8.Rg1

At the moment black is three pawns up, but the g7 pawn is unprotected  




After 8….Qh3 9. Bg7 white gains the decisive material advantage. So… the last chance to mix up the opponent could be  8…Bxd2+

Now if 9. Kd2 then Queen Escapes from the trap with the check 9…Qf2,

While 9. Qd2 leaves the knight f3 suddenly unprotected. 9. Nd2 is also bad, because of 9…Qg1+.


Indeed white has prepared an effective refutation: 9. Ke2!! A strong intermediate move! At the moment black has a huge material advantage, but his only developed pieces under attack. 




10. Qxd2 Look at black’s pieces all ugly placed on the back rank.



White’s advantages contains:


A huge development advantage;


A clear superiority in the center;


Nice targets f7 and g7 pawns for his powerful bishops. 


10…Nf6 11.Bxf7+!  A very natural combination.


Frankly speaking, we have seen similar tactical hits many times already.


But be careful: The immediate 11.Ng5 fails after 11…Qh5+! And black might survive.



If 11… Kf8, trying to hide the King on the Kingside, then 12.Qg5 Qh6 13. Qh6 gh 14.Bf6 leading to huge material loses.


12. Rxg7 Knight f6 is hanging, so black is opting for the following desperate effort.




The King is cramped by its own pieces and pawns, which gives white a chance to come with a decisive strike, once again in the shape of a neat queen sacrifice.


13. Qg5+ distracts the knight from the f6 square when after


13… Nxg5



Danish Gambit Part 2

 Game #1

 1. e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 cxb2 5.Bxb2 Bb4+


With this temping move Black intends to complete the development of his Kingside as soon as possible.


White has two obvious answers: 6. Nc3 and 6.Nd2. Dubious should be 6.Bc3, which only reduces white’s attacking chances on the Kingside after 6…Bc3 7.Nc3 d6.


While you possess the initiative it is better to avoid simplifications. Every exchange should be rationalized. Meaning, it should bring some positional or tactical dividends.


6. Nc3

White completes his Queenside’s development. The knight is well placed on c3 from where it could control the center and in the nearest future the move Nd5 could become a reality.  


6… Nf6

Despite the fact that white has a clear superiority in the center black is challenging the e4 pawn.


Black invites white’s pawn to advance. After 7.e5 Qe7 8.Nf3 d6 and thanks to the pin on the “e” file white would obtain nothing special.  


7. Nge2 Indeed, white is opting for the sharpest line, sacrificing another pawn.



7…Nxe4? The trap is successful! Being 3 pawns ahead black will found himself in a losing position very soon. The main reason is well knows: Development.




White perfectly finishes his development, when black’s minor pieces on the Queenside have no chance to be involved in the battle.


8… Nxc3 9.Nxc3 Black has a difficult choice: How to move the King away from the center files, where white already intends to use his heavy artillery.



The 9… 0-0 effort will be met by 10.Nd5! White has too many threats where it’s a very difficult task to repair the all problems at once, for instance 10…Bd6 11. Qg4 g6 12. Nf6+ Kh8 13. Qh4 and nothing could save black’s King


9… Bxc3


10. Bxc3 The pair of bishops in an open position is a serious advantage.

White is aiming to eliminate the pawn on g7 or to start a mating attack with the Re1 check, leaving black’s King without castling.



10… 0–0 Black could think that everything is fine and the main danger has just passed away, but …. White has the bishop’s pair aiming at the black king, and the queen is only a move away!


If we look at the position carefully we discover certain combinational motifs, which are provoked by the shakiness of the black’s Kingside.


At first glance 11.Qd4 looks very powerful aiming at the frail g7 pawn. However black has the defense 11… Qg5 or even 11…Qf6 covering the dangerous diagonal.


That gives us a clue of how to prepare a killing blow. White has to provoke moving the pawn g7 and only then to set a battery on the long diagonal a1-h8.


11. Qg4! g6 The only way to stop Qg7 mate. Now, when the long diagonal is totally exposed white performs the main threat.


12. Qd4!  After which black is totally hopeless.



Black was going to play 12… f6, but the pawn f7 is pinned by the Bishop c4.There are no any good defenses against the inevitable 13.Qg7 or 13.Qh8 mate. 


Game # 2


After we’ve accurately concluded that 10…0-0 leads grave trouble, lets check another defensive recourse.


10…Qg5 Black protects the pawn on g7.


As it’s often happens, fixing one problem leaves another one unresolved.  

Black’s King is stuck in the center and white easily takes advantage of this factor.


11. Re1+

Remember that open lines benefit the better-developed side. Now black’s King is losing the right to castle, and white easily spreads its control over the whole board.


11… Kd8


Also loses is 11…Kf8 12.Bb4+ d6 13.Bd6 cd 14.Qd6 Kg8 15.Re8 mate. 




White is getting rid of pawn g7’s only defender.


12…Qxh4 13.Bxg7 white takes the pawn, attacks the rook on h8 and prepares a very nice combination.


13… Rg8 Black has to move the rook, thus attacking the bishop g7. Instead of moving the bishop back, white comes up with a crucial blow.


Look at the current position.

Let’s imagine that at some way white could distract the Queen from the d8-h4 diagonal, then the further Bf6 move checkmates black King.




For such a goal white could perform some extraordinary action:


14. Qg4! A Queen sacrifice. Although if black captures the Queen 14…. Qg4 15.Bf6 leads to the checkmate. 


14… Qh6 Black is trying to keep control over the f6 square, but the discovered check


15. Bf6+ crushes the position. The Rook g8 is hanging.


15… Qf6 


16. Qg8 checkmate.






Danish Gambit Part 1

1.e4 e5
In the openings where black is trying to counter the 1. e4 move with  1… e5 the result is often very sharp and open positions.
2.d4! White immediately challenges the center pawn e5, getting control over the center. 

2… ed
3.c3! This is a surprise move. Black was going to benefit from the early Queen’s development after 3. Qd4 Nc6! , But white has something else in mind.
 3.dc 4. Bc4! This energetic opening system is called The Danish gambit.
 4. cb 5.Bb2
The so-called “Accelerated variation of Danish gambit” with two pawns ahead black
hopes to realize the material advantage in the endgame.
However white has serious positional dividends such as:

Huge development and mobility advantage; 

Significant control over the most important central squares;
White’s Bishops are nicely placed to put pressure on the center and Kingside;  
The open lines and diagonals are avenues along which White could develop very unpleasant threats. 

Now black has a wide selection of options:We will start from the most obvious and greedy attempt:
5… Qg5 

Black is intending to grab the third pawn,
otherwise if white would decide to defend it with the 6.g3? 
By moving that pawn white allows black to follow a well-known principle Which the side with the material advantage should go after: 
If you have a material advantage it is often better to exchange and enter an early endgame where you can make your advantage count. An advantage of seven pawns against six is significant but an advantage of two pawns against one is fifty per cent more.

So,after 6… Bb4 7. Nd2 Qd2! 8. Qd2 9. Kd2 Nf6 Black is keeping the clear material advantage, while Queens are of of board already. So white’s chance to create an attack are very limited.
Do not forget that it is the spirit of the player with the initiative that fulfills this promise, or does not. Opening with an attacking gambit system and then playing cowardly moves is a sure recipe for disaster.
Indeed, the 5… Qg5 move should have a drawback.
Look at the next important opening principle:
Don’t develop your Queen too early, it’s could be an option only when you could achieve a good target. Would be pawn g2 such a great target?
Remember the main opening principle: Develop all your pieces rapidly!
Thus continuing our thought let’s considers the move:
 6. Nf3!

Allows black capturing the pawn on g2, which actually leads to the very instructive position.
 6…Qg2 At the moment black is 3! Pawns up. Nevertheless! after
7.Rg1 There are not many squares where black’s Queen could go to.
7…Qh3. I would like you to pay attention to this position.

 I have found from my experience that in their early chess development many chess players get too concerned about positions like this one.
Black has 3 pawns up, but look at his minor pieces. In the first 7 moves black played 4 moves with the pawns and 3 with the Queen.
Undoubtedly white has a clear development advantage, which should be converted into something more.
 The most difficult thing is to know the method – how to transform your positional advantage.
Many would play simply 8.Bg7 Bg7 9. Rg7 Nh6! Covering f7 square, asking later where did I go wrong? Where did I spoil my huge initiative and why it brought me only a pawn back?
The answer is a simple one. Before starting your calculation, ask yourself – what should I assault? Where is my target?
Usually when you could correctly label the aim, you are  half way to the success.
In the current position we could discover:
The obvious threatened pawn on g7,
Bad position of the Queen on h3
And the hanging pawn on f7.
This clues lead immediately to 8.Ng5! As a good option, alas after 8… Qh2 black is fighting back by aiming the rook on g1.
Obviously the Ng5 idea rather could be performed with the immediately smashing –
8. Bf7+!


Eliminates the pawn f7 with the check, while after 8… Kf7 white comes with the nice fork 9.Ng5+! Winning the Queen. Black might just move his King.
8… Kd8, indeed white continues to bring more power into the g7 square.
Pretty good is the immediate 9.Bg7 Bg7 10.Rg7, but after 10. Nf6 black is still in the game.
Thanks to the fact that Rh8 is stuck, we could perform a nice tactical blow: 

9. Rg7! Increases the advantage.

 Black has two answers but both lead to a hopeless position.9… Bg7 10. Bg7 wins the rook on h8.

9… Ne7 Doesn’t help either :  10. Rg3!


Creating a double threat: Queen h3 is aimed, when at the same time the rook h8 is suspended.
Black resigned