From Chesspedia, the Free Chess Encyclopedia.
The Danish Gambit is a chess opening that begins with the moves
- 1.e4 e5
- 2.d4 exd4
Although it may have been known earlier, Danish player Martin From essayed the gambit in an 1867 Paris tournament and he is usually given credit for with the opening. The Danish gambit was popular with masters of the attack including Alekhine, Marshall, Blackburne, and Mieses, but as Black's defenses improved it lost favor in the 1920s. Today it is rarely played in top-level chess.
White will sacrifice one or two pawns for the sake of rapid development and the attack. With care, Black can accept one or both pawns safely, or simply decline the gambit altogether with good chances.
|Main line after 5.Bxb2|
The Danish Gambit is a variation of the Center Game that is important enough to be treated on its own. It is C21 in the ECO classification.
After 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3, Black can safely decline the gambit with 3...d6 or 3...d5 (Sörensen Defense). If Black enters the Danish Gambit Accepted with 3...dxc3, the main possibilities are
- 4.Nxc3 (Half Danish)
- 4...d6 (Göring Gambit, by transposition)
- 4...Bc5 (Göring Gambit, by transposition)
- 4...Nc6 (Göring Gambit, by transposition)
- 4...Bb4 5.Nf3 Nf6
- 4.Bc4 (main line)
- 4...d6 5.Nxc3 (Scotch Gambit, by transposition)
- 4...cxb2 5.Bxb2
- 5...Bb4+ 6.Kf1 or 6.Nc3
- 5...d5 (Schlechter Defense)
Alekhine recommended that White play the Half Danish by playing 4.Nxc3. This line often transposes into the Göring Gambit of the Scotch Game.
White can instead offer a second pawn with 4.Bc4. The second pawn can be safely declined by transposing into the Scotch Gambit. Accepting the pawn allows White's two bishops to rake the Black kingside after 4...cxb2 5.Bxb2. White will often follow up with Qb3 if possible, applying pressure on Black's b7 and f7 squares. Combined with White's long diagonal pressure on g7, this can make it difficult for Black to develop his bishops.
Schlechter found the most reliable defense for Black; by returning one of the pawns with 5...d5 Black gains time to complete development. After 6.Bxd5 Nf6 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qxd8 Bb5+ 9.Qd2 Bxd2+ 10.Nxd2 c5, Black regains the queen. Most theorists evaluate this position as equal, but some believe that the queenside majority gives Black the advantage in the endgame. If White instead plays 6.exd5, his light-square bishop is blocked and after 6...Nf6 7.Nc3 Bd6 Black can complete development relatively easily. The popularity of the Danish plummeted after Schlechter's defense was introduced as the resulting positions are not what White generally desires from a gambit opening.
- Lutes, W. John (1992). Danish Gambit, Chess Enterprises. ISBN 0-945470-19-3.
- McGrew, Tim (2003). The Gambit Cartel: Danish Pastry (pdf). ChessCafe.com.