King's Gambit, Fischer Defense

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Fischer Defense
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
d6 black pawn
e4 white pawn
f4 black pawn
f3 white knight
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
h1 white rook
Moves1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 d6
Origin1961, Bobby Fischer
Named afterBobby Fischer
ParentKing's Gambit

The Fischer Defense to the King's Gambit is a chess opening variation that begins with the moves:

1. e4 e5
2. f4 exf4
3. Nf3 d6

Although 3...d6 was previously known,[1] it did not become a major variation until Fischer advocated it in a famous 1961 article in the first issue of the American Chess Quarterly.[2][3]

In the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings, the Fischer Defense is given the code C34.


After Bobby Fischer lost a 1960 game[4] at Mar del Plata to Boris Spassky, in which Spassky played the Kieseritzky Gambit, Fischer left in tears[5] and promptly went to work at devising a new defense to the King's Gambit. In Fischer's 1961 article, "A Bust to the King's Gambit", he claimed, "In my opinion the King's Gambit is busted. It loses by force."[6] Fischer concluded the article with the famous line, "Of course White can always play differently, in which case he merely loses differently. (Thank you, Weaver Adams!)"[7] The article became famous.[8][9]

Remarkably, Fischer later played the King's Gambit himself with great success,[10] including winning all three tournament games in which he played it.[11][12][13] However, he played the Bishop's Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4) rather than the King's Knight Gambit (3.Nf3), the only line that he analyzed in his article.

Ideas behind the opening[edit]

Fischer called 3...d6 "a high-class waiting move".[14] It allows Black to hold the gambit pawn with ...g5 (unless White plays the immediate 4.h4) while avoiding the Kieseritzky Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5). Fischer asserted that 3...g5 "is inexact because it gives White drawing chances" after 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 Nf6 6.d4 d6 7.Nd3 Nxe4 8.Bxf4 Bg7 9.c3! (improving on Spassky's 9.Nc3) Qe7 10.Qe2 Bf5 11.Nd2, which, according to Fischer, "leads to an ending where Black's extra pawn is neutralized by White's stranglehold on the dark squares, especially [f4]".[14]

After 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 d6 the most common response is 4.d4.[15] If White now tries to force transpositions to Becker Defense (3...h6) or Classical Defense (3...g5) positions, then White can end up in difficulties. Fischer analyzed 4.d4 g5 5.h4 g4 6.Ng5 f6 7.Nh3 gxh3 8.Qh5+ Kd7 9.Bxf4 Qe8! 10.Qf3 Kd8 "and with King and Queen reversed, Black wins easily".[14]

Another popular move is 4.Bc4. Fischer recommended 4...h6 in response, which he dubbed the "Berlin Defence Deferred".[14] Black's third and fourth moves stop the white knight on f3 from moving to the two dangerous squares e5 and g5.

A quite recent idea is 4.d4 g5 5.Nc3. White intends to leave the bishop on f1 for a while, play an improved version of the Hanstein Gambit (3...g5 4.Bc4 Bg7 and later g2–g3), and, after forcing Black's f-pawn to move, develop the queenside with Be3, Qd2, and 0-0-0.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ For example, George H. D. Gossip and S. Lipschütz noted that 3...d6 was "a move advised by Stamma, and which Mr. Löwenthal thinks may be safely adopted", and that "the game is even" after 4.Bc4 or 4.d4. G. H. D. Gossip and S. Lipschütz, The Chess-Player's Manual (3rd ed. 1902), David McKay, p. 491. OCLC 3727518.
  2. ^ Bobby Fischer, "A Bust to the King's Gambit", American Chess Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Summer 1961), pp. 3–9.
  3. ^ A Bust to the King's Gambit. Retrieved on 2009-11-16.
  4. ^ Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer (1960)
  5. ^ Carl Schreck; Moscow Patzer: A Bread Run With the Great Bronstein {, which cites:
  6. ^ Fischer, p. 4.
  7. ^ Fischer, p. 9. Fischer was alluding to a statement by Adams, author of the controversial book White to Play and Win, who famously claimed that White won by force with best play, and that if Black played differently from the lines given by Adams, he "merely loses differently".
  8. ^ Nick de Firmian refers to "A Bust to the King's Gambit" as "Bobby Fischer's famous article". Nick de Firmian, Modern Chess Openings (15th edition), McKay Chess Library, 2008, p. 3. ISBN 978-0-8129-3682-7.
  9. ^ Andrew Soltis calls it "a celebrated article". Andrew Soltis, in Karsten Müller, Bobby Fischer: The Career and Complete Games of the American World Chess Champion, Russell Enterprises, Inc., 2009, p. 29. ISBN 978-1-888690-68-2.
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ Fischer–Evans, 1963–64 U.S. Championship. Retrieved on 2009-02-16.
  12. ^ Fischer–Minic, Vinkovci 1968. Retrieved on 2009-02-16.
  13. ^ Fischer–Wade, Vinkovci 1968. Retrieved on 2009-02-16.
  14. ^ a b c d Fischer, p. 5.
  15. ^ [2]
  16. ^