Top 10 Chess Gambits
Chess Openings

Top 10 Popular Chess Gambits to Try Out

Top 10 Popular Chess Gambits to Try Out

Gambits involve a player sacrificing material (especially in the opening) in exchange for an advantage.

This advantage can either be a positional or tactical advantage with tempo being the main catalyst of the advantage.

Some chess gambits will quickly reflect the advantage, while, in other cases, it’s hard to get a definitive advantage and a player will have to work extra hard to squeeze it out. Now let’s take a look at 10 of the gambits to try out.

Top 10 Chess Gambits to Try Out

10. Englund Gambit

This gambit involves Black sacrificing his e-square pawn. In comparison with other chess gambits, the compensation for this gambit is rather hard to identify as White can easily develop his pieces with relative ease.

If the gambit is accepted, there are multiple variations Black can use to approach the game.

Hartlaub-Charlick Gambit


In this variation, Black attempts to lose both central pawns to gain activity for his two bishops.

Both bishops will be aligned with an attack on White’s kingside, making it difficult for White to consider kingside castling.

This line is rather less famous as most players tend to follow the chess rules of using both pawns to control the center.

Soller Gambit


Soller Gambit involves Black trying to exchange White’s e5-pawn with the f6-pawn.

Compensation from this line includes Black still having the d-square pawn to fight for the center. The knight will be developed after 3.exf6 3…Nxf6.

The main disadvantage is that the king will be exposed to the light squares, giving room for the white bishop and queen to exploit it.

9. Blackmar–Diemer Gambit

White opts to sacrifice his e4-pawn with compensation, being an open position and also a quicker development structure.

If accepted, White has options to set up multiple traps involving his bishops and knights.

This chess opening is typically played among beginners and club players. This gambit is also capable of transposing into relatively famous lines like the French Defense.


Gedult Gambit

In this variation, White opts to activate his pieces on the kingside. Black has two options:

One is to take the f3-pawn, allowing White to come with a full attack. The second option is to play 3…e5, destroying White’s center; also potentially exchanging queens in the process. This will reduce Whites’ attacking resources and give Black the advantage.

This is a rather risky chess opening for White to play. It requires a deeper understanding of the position to be able to materialize something.

Also, read about the Halosar Trap here.


Hübsch Gambit

In this variation, White makes his intentions clear by first exchanging knights. This removes one of Black’s main defenders.

The follow-up includes 5.Bc4, attacking the f7-pawn. Black is behind in development and has lost a lot of tempi in this position.

This gives White the privilege to launch an all-out attack on Blacks’ kingside. For Black, to bounce back on the position, the king must be safe.

He will also need to develop his pieces even if it means having to sacrifice a pawn in the process.


Ryder Gambit (Halosar Trap)

This variation tests how greedy the opponent from the black side can get. White lures Black to capture free pieces while forgetting developmental rules.

On move 5, we see White using his queen to recapture, offering Black the chance to capture the d4-pawn.

After Black captures the d-square pawn, this gives White the chance to develop his dark-squared bishop and also offers his king a chance to castle queenside as the kingside is exposed to attacks.

Black’s thirst for more pawns leads him to attack the b5-pawn. This gives White the chance to complete a sufficient development by castling the king and starting an attack.


8. Danish Gambit ―One of the Most Famous Gambits for All Players

This chess gambit mainly focuses on Black sacrificing the d4-pawn. The compensation is an open position and an edge in development.

This line’s structure is almost similar to the Smith-Morra Gambit in terms of positioning.

White can use the same structure knowledge to launch an attack on Black in those two gambits.

This means the player using this gambit has to now prepare two of them in case they want to have strong preparations.


Halasz Gambit

3.f4 signifies that White plans to use his developmental advantage to attack the kingside.

While there are question marks concerning this variation, tactical players can utilize it to get a quick win.


7. Grünfeld Gambit


The Grunfeld Defense provides a closed position that requires positional play. In chess gambits, we need something more.

So, in the Grunfeld Gambit, Black’s idea is to sacrifice the c-pawn in an exchange. This will leave Black with some activity and also a tempo advantage in return.

6. Evans Gambit


White sacrifices the b4-pawn. Compensation mainly includes control of the light squares, which will lead to a strong attack that prevents Black from castling kingside.

This opening gambit tends to lead to a rich position. Hence a lot of top-level players, including World Champions, have used it as part of their repertoire.

Black always has the option to play e6 and counter the gambit. This stops White from controlling the light squares temporarily.

It also gives Black the chance to castle and make sure his king is safe.

Watch here to learn the best-attacking ideas in the Evans Gambit.

5. Giuoco Piano

The Giuoco Piano game has been around since the dawn of the game of chess.

Over the years, players have managed to come up with a different variation, so it is now containing 3 gambits.

These chess gambits are, namely:

  • The Italian Gambit
  • The Moller Gambit 
  • The Jerome Gambit.

Now we will take a look at each gambit in depth.

Italian Gambit


In this gambit, White decides to sacrifice the d4-pawn. The position then offers a variety of options considering what Black accepts the gambit with.

If Black uses the e5-pawn to capture, then the position will transpose to a Scotch Game Gambit, with White also offering the c-square pawn.

If Black uses the knight or bishop, then White simply just castles and prepares to launch an attack.

You can learn the best Scotch Gambit Traps by watching this video lesson.

Moller Gambit


Black’s minor pieces get misplaced in this gambit. Many average and lower-rated players will leave their pieces hanging if they are not careful.

White’s objectives include misplacing Black’s minor pieces, attacking the e-file with the rook, and also preventing Black from castling.

This again is fueled by a potential Bf7+ sacrifice with Ne5+ or Nf5+ to follow.

Jerome Gambit


White sacrifices a bishop out of the blue with compensation, so Black can not castle.

In modern chess, among all gambits, this one is becoming less and less famous as Black has multiple ways to stop the incoming attack.

These methods include manual castling on the kingside or just keeping the king in the center and focusing on developing pieces.

4. Halloween Gambit ―One of the Most Shocking Gambits!


White sacrifices a knight for a central pawn in the opening. Because of the Four Knight’s slow development structure, it is easier for White to have compensation.

4…Nxe5 5.d4, attacking the knight, then Nc6 is met by 6.e5, forcing Black to retreat all his pieces and give White space.

White will need to come up with long-term tricks to avoid Black developing and potentially castling his king.

Have you ever seen Magnus Carlsen playing chess gambits? Well, he has done it! Watch the video lesson Magnus Carlsen SHOCKED his opponent with the Halloween Gambit!

3. Queen’s Gambit Accepted


In the Queen’s Gambit, White diverts Black’s d-pawn from the center. White will also aim to recapture the pawn with his bishops.

Any attempts from Black to protect his pawn will result in a collapse on his queenside.

This is mainly due to the underdeveloped environment the black pieces are presented.

In the long run, Black can develop his pieces while White tries to recapture the pawn.

There is one trap in this gambit, which not many chess players know. It is the BEST Opening Trap in the Queen’s Gambit and you can learn all about it here.

2. Budapest Gambit


Black sacrifices his e-square pawn and the compensation, being the only one with active minor pieces.

Overall, Black will be ahead in the development of minor and major pieces.

White will have to give back the pawn to avoid being in a cramped position with tactics favoring Black.

There are several plans and strategies that both sides can implicate. Black can opt to go for a full-out attack on White’s kingside.

White can just focus on building a strong center.

1. Smith-Morra Gambit ―One of the Most Played Gambits


Among all chess gambits, this is currently the most frequently played gambit by players of all levels (mostly in faster time controls).

While Black gains a pawn, White recovers with developmental tempo. If executed properly by White, most of Black’s pieces, including the queen, will have fewer squares to operate with, leaving the opponent frustrated.

The Smith-Morra is one of the gambits which doesn’t limit White to only attacking the king.

It allows White to attack any pieces that are vulnerable and launch multiple traps, making it hard for Black to defend.

Conclusions about How to Play These Chess Gambits

Chess gambits need a deep understanding of both positional and tactical play. As the player implicates the gambit, you will also need to study the gambit and also find alternatives in case your opponent doesn’t respond accordingly.

If you have accepted a gambit, the key is to make sure your king is safe at all times. This can be achieved by castling.

If the gambit prevents you from castling, then the key is to keep a lot of minor pieces around it until your opponent’s attack completely depletes. 

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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