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Staunton Gambit

Staunton Gambit
a b c d e f g h
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Moves 1.d4 f5 2.e4
ECO A82-A83
Named after Howard Staunton
Parent Dutch Defence

The Staunton Gambit is a chess opening characterized by the moves:

1. d4 f5 (the Dutch Defence)
2. e4!?

White sacrifices a pawn for quick development, hoping to launch an attack against Black's kingside, which has been somewhat weakened by 1...f5.

Black can decline the gambit with 2...d6, transposing to the Balogh Defence; or 2...e6, transposing to the Franco-Hiva. But accepting the pawn with 2...fxe4 is considered stronger than transposing to either of those offbeat defenses.

Although the Staunton Gambit was once a feared weapon for White, it is rarely played today, since theory has shown how to neutralize it, and White scores only about 50 percent.

The ECO codes for Staunton Gambit are A82 and A83.

Gambit accepted

After 2...fxe4, play usually proceeds 3.Nc3 Nf6.

Main line: 4.Bg5

The main line runs 4.Bg5, first played by Howard Staunton against Bernhard Horwitz in London, 1846.

After 4.Bg5, a common trap is 4...d5? 5.Bxf6 exf6 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxd5 Qxd5 8.Nxd5 when White has regained his pawn, and since his knight is attacking the pawns on both c7 and f6, will come out a pawn ahead. Instead, Black usually tries to develop quickly and fortify his kingside, giving back the pawn if necessary, with 4...Nc6 5.d5 (White can regain the pawn with 5.Bxf6 exf6 6.Nxe4, but after 6...Qe7, white has no good way to defend the knight. Everything except for 7.Qe2 allows d5 or f5, winning a piece, while after the forcing 7.Qe2 Nxd4 8.Qd3 d5 9.Qxd4 Qxe4+ 10.Qxe4 dxe4, Black has an extra pawn and the two bishops for no compensation, and should win with best play.) 5...Ne5 6.Qd4 Nf7, while 6.Qe2 is a modern alternative.


White can also try 4.f3 in the style of the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, whereupon White gets good compensation after 4...exf3. So Black generally plays 4...d5! 5.fxe4 dxe4. Black can also try 4...e3, returning the pawn in order to hinder White's development.


4.g4?! (the Bayonet Attack or Tartakower Variation) fails to provide enough compensation after 4...h6!.

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