Best Chess Opening Against 1.e4 Refuted [Rousseau Gambit Declined]
Chess Openings

Best Chess Opening Against 1.e4 Refuted? [Rousseau Gambit Declined]

Best Chess Opening Against 1.e4 Refuted? [Rousseau Gambit Declined]

A year ago, I recorded a couple of videos about the shameless Rousseau Gambit where you play 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 f5, violating all the classical opening rules and yet winning the majority of the games, which leaves your opponent feeling completely stupid. Now, since that time, those few couple of videos became really popular, were watched by a couple of million people, and the aggravation is terrorizing innocent chess players.

Introduction to the Rousseau Gambit

The Rousseau Gambit occurs after the following moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 f5:

Rousseau GambitSome people dare to question the Rousseau Gambit, claiming it is unsound. They argue that if one knows the right way to handle it, they can defeat you easily. In this lesson, we will explore the fascinating world of the Rousseau Gambit, its strategies, and how it defies conventional chess wisdom. To truly delve into the depths of this opening, check out the video lesson below for comprehensive insights:

Below, you can find the variations shown in the video:

The Rousseau Gambit’s Deceptive Nature

The good thing about the Rousseau Gambit is that it emerges from the most popular opening moves, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4, and your opponent is hoping to play the Italian game or something similar. But you shock them by playing pawn to 3…f5. Now, if you play the Vienna Gambit with White, then you may notice that it’s actually the Vienna Gambit with reversed colors. At first, it may seem like White’s development advantage should give them some hopes for an attack. Still, somehow, it often backfires and becomes a liability rather than an asset.

For example, the most common move for White is 4.exf5. However, this actually backfires because you can push the pawn forward 4…e4, chase away the knight, and it doesn’t have that many good squares to go to.

Rousseau GambitIf it goes back to 5.Ng1, you can go forward with 5…d5 and now take advantage of the exposed c4-bishop. White’s pieces, which were supposed to be developed and be an asset, you can use to attack them and gain tempo for your own development. That’s why the Rousseau Gambit is so tricky; you can fool your opponent badly.

Challenging the Rousseau Gambit

Nevertheless, let’s assume that your opponent is aware of this variation or that they’re smart enough not to take on 4.exf5. They play other moves that are more challenging for Black. For example, they might play 4.d3 or 4.d4, seeking counterplay right away.

Rousseau Gambit CounterSo, how can you deal with this? In the video lesson, you can find detailed explanations and strategies on facing challenging moves like this.

White’s Best Response Against the Rousseau Gambit

The computer suggests that the best move for White is to counter the Rousseau Gambit with 4.d4. In this case, you can continue with 4…exd4. And the best move for White is 5.e5, which is very hard to find. Here, you still counter White in the center with 5…d5. This attacks White’s c4-bishop and also allows you to develop with tempo.

Rousseau Gambit DeclinedYou can find the tricky continuation of this variation in this video lesson.


The Rousseau Gambit, with its unconventional and sometimes devilish opening moves, is a formidable weapon in your chess arsenal. While this blog-post gives you a glimpse into its deceptive nature, the full range of strategies and tactics can be better understood through the video tutorial. Remember, chess is a game of strategy and tactics, and the Rousseau Gambit embodies this philosophy.

Keep your opponents guessing and, as always, let’s keep the secret of the Rousseau Gambit among ourselves. Crush your opponents and let them wonder how you do it.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want GM Igor Smirnov to help you get better at chess, watch this Masterclass.

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