King's Gambit, Falkbeer Countergambit

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Falkbeer Countergambit
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
d5 black pawn
e5 black pawn
e4 white pawn
f4 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
Moves1.e4 e5 2.f4 d5
Named afterErnst Falkbeer
ParentKing's Gambit

The Falkbeer Countergambit is a chess opening that begins:

1. e4 e5
2. f4 d5

In this aggressive countergambit, Black disdains the pawn offered as a sacrifice, instead opening the centre to exploit White's weakness on the kingside. After the standard capture, 3.exd5, Black may reply with 3...exf4, transposing into the King's Gambit Accepted, 3...e4, or the more modern 3...c6.

A well-known blunder in this opening is White's reply 3.fxe5??, which after 3...Qh4+, either loses material after 4.g3 Qxe4+, forking the king and rook, or severely exposes the white king to the black pieces after 4.Ke2 Qxe4+ 5.Kf2 Bc5+.

The opening bears the name of Austrian master Ernst Falkbeer, who played it in an 1851 game against Adolf Anderssen.[1] The Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings codes for the Falkbeer Countergambit are C31 and C32.

Old Main line: 3...e4 [edit]

In this variation, Black's compensation for the sacrificed pawn primarily consists of his lead in development, coupled with the exposure of White's king. A typical line may run: 4.d3 Nf6 5.dxe4 Nxe4 6.Nf3 Bc5, where Black aims for the weakness on f2. In Maehrisch-Ostrau 1923, a game between Rudolf Spielmann and Siegbert Tarrasch continued: 7.Qe2 Bf5 (this was condemned by the Handbuch des Schachspiels because of White's next, though Black had already got into difficulties in the game RétiBreyer, Budapest 1917, where 7...f5 8.Nfd2 Bf2+ 9.Kd1 Qxd5 10.Nc3 was played) 8.g4?! (in retrospect, prudent was 8.Nc3) 8...0-0! 9.gxf5 Re8 and Black has a tremendous position, as he is bound to regain material and White's positional deficiencies will remain.[2]

This line fell out of favour after World War II, as Black encountered difficulties, with players eventually turning to the next idea.

Nimzovich Counter Gambit: 3...c6 [edit]

This has become the most commonly played move after 3.exd5, with its most notable advocate being John Nunn. It is usually attributed to Aron Nimzowitsch, who successfully played it in Spielmann–Nimzovich, Munich 1906.[3] However, Frank Marshall actually introduced the move to master play at Ostend 1905, defeating Richard Teichmann in 34 moves.[4][5] Annotating that game in his 1914 book Marshall's Chess "Swindles", Marshall described his 3...c6 as, "An innovation."[6]

Although Black won both of those games, 3...c6 languished in obscurity for many years thereafter. White can respond with 4.Qe2, despite the drastic defeat inflicted on the young Alexander Alekhine by Paul Johner at Carlsbad 1911, although 4.Nc3 exf4 is much more common. The resulting positions are analogous to the Modern Defence of the King's Gambit Accepted, in which White strives to utilise his 4–2 queenside pawn majority, with Black relying on his piece activity and cramping pawn at f4 to play against White's king. Theory has not reached a definitive verdict, but the resulting positions are believed to offer Black more chances than 3...e4.

See also[edit]


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