Danish Gambit - Part 1

Position after:

(1) [C21]

Chess is not an easy game if you like to be greedy. Here we have a look at Danish Gambit, an opening where White offers some pawns for free but gets a DANGEROUS attack in return! Okay, let's have a look, so here goes. The first few moves are 

1.e4 e5 2.d4 Is this a good move? Yes, even some of the best players in the world play this move. Moving the pawn into the centre opens up lines for the rest of the pieces. White is also threatening 3. dxe5! 

2...exd4 Black usually takes. We'll have a look at other moves in part 2. 

3.c3 The Danish Gambit. It was called that since most of the players first to look at it were from Denmark ...Surprising! The main line goes: 

3...dxc3 4.Bc4 cxb2 5.Bxb2 This is the start position. Have a look at it carefully. White has been very generous giving away two pawns, but Black must be VERY careful. The plan is to develop his pieces like so Nc3, Nge2, 0-0, Qb3, Rad1, etc. Blacks main choices are: 1. 5...Nf6?! 2. 5...d5!! 3. 5...d6 4. 5...Bb4+ *

Position after:

(2) 5...Nf6?!

5...Nf6?! This allows white to play the annoying 6. e5 making the horse move again. 

6.e5 Ng4 7.Nf3 Bb4+ 8.Nc3 0-0 9.0-0 Nc6 10.Nd5 White has a brilliant position. All his pieces are active and black has big trouble getting his pieces out. Look at the bishop on c8. What does it think it is doing? *

Position after:

(3) 5...d6!!

5...d5!! A very GOOD move! The idea is to give BACK a pawn to free Black's game. It took the Danish chess players a long time to find this sneaky move. 

6.Bxd5 Have a think. Not 6...c6?? Woah. BIG mistake! Can you see the best reply? 7.Bxf7+! Ke7 8.Ba3+!!. Uh-oh! The Black king will have to move and then the queen will be taken! 6...Nf6!! This looks as bad as the move before but have a CLOSER look! There is a difference. 

7.Bxf7+ Yes, got the queen again. But have you? 

7...Kxf7 8.Qxd8 Bb4+ Discovered attack! Gotcha 

9.Qd2 Bxd2+ 10.Nxd2 After all that, material is equal. White has more control over the centre though. *

Position after:

(4) 5...d6

5...d6 6.Nc3 Nc6 7.Nge2 Nf6 8.0-0 Be6 9.Nd5! White pieces are very ACTIVE! *

Position after:

(5) 5...Bb4+

5...Bb4+ 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.Nge2 7.Bxf7+ was also a good move. Can you see why? 

7...Nxe4 Black really must be in a greedy mood! 

8.0-0 Nxc3 It took black two moves to get his knight to e4, right. Now he swaps the piece off. Black has lost two moves (or two 'tempi' as the pro's say). 

9.Nxc3 Bxc3 10.Bxc3 0-0 Wow! Black must have been happy here, three pawns ahead. But wait, white has a force to WIN! 

11.Qg4 What's that? White threatens checkmate next move with 12.Qxg7++ 

11...g6 That stops it, but black can't relax just yet. 

12.Qd4 How can Black stop 13.Qg7++ checkmate next move? Doah! He can't play 13...f6, pawn is PINNED! Black resigned here. Okay, you've seen Danish Gambit in action. It's a very tricky opening and a good surprise weapon!!! After 1.e4 e5 2.d4 Black doesn't have to take the pawn though. We'll have a look at some of the other moves in part 2. See you then! *

All games on this page as PGN here

Contributed by Lee Jones of Koala Chess Club, a division of Australian Chess Enterprises