Queen's Gambit

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Queen's Gambit
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
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
d5 black pawn
c4 white pawn
d4 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 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.d4 d5 2.c4
Originbefore 1497
ParentClosed Game

The Queen's Gambit is a chess opening that starts with the moves:

1. d4 d5
2. c4

The Queen's Gambit is one of the oldest known chess openings. It was mentioned in the Göttingen manuscript of 1490 and was later analysed by masters such as Gioachino Greco in the 17th century. In the 18th century, it was recommended by Phillip Stamma and is sometimes known as the Aleppo Gambit in his honour.[1] During the early period of modern chess, queen pawn openings were not in fashion and the Queen's Gambit did not become common until the 1873 tournament in Vienna.

As Wilhelm Steinitz and Siegbert Tarrasch developed chess theory and increased the appreciation of positional play, the Queen's Gambit grew more popular, reaching its zenith in the 1920s and 1930s, and was played in all but two of 34 games in the 1927 World Championship match between José Raúl Capablanca and Alexander Alekhine.

After the resumption of international chess activity following World War II, it was less frequently seen, as many Black players moved away from symmetrical openings, tending to use Indian Defences to combat queen pawn openings.

The Queen's Gambit is still frequently played and it remains an important part of many grandmasters' opening repertoires.[2]


With 2.c4, White threatens to exchange a wing pawn (the c-pawn) for a centre pawn (Black's d-pawn) and dominate the centre with e2–e4. This is not a true gambit, as Black cannot hold the pawn, for example: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e3 b5? (Black tries to guard his pawn but should pursue development with 3...e5!) 4.a4 c6? 5.axb5 cxb5?? 6.Qf3! winning a piece.

The Queen's Gambit is divided into two major categories based on Black's response: the Queen's Gambit Accepted (QGA) and the Queen's Gambit Declined (QGD). In the QGA, Black plays 2...dxc4, temporarily giving up the centre to obtain freer development. In the QGD, Black usually plays to hold d5. Frequently Black will be cramped, but Black aims to exchange pieces and use the pawn breaks at c5 and e5 to free his game.


After 1.d4 d5 2.c4:

Technically, any Black response other than 2...dxc4 (or another line with an early ...dxc4 that transposes into the QGA) is a Queen's Gambit Declined, but the Slav, Albin Countergambit, and Chigorin Defense are generally treated separately. There are so many QGD lines after 2...e6, that many of them are distinctive enough to warrant separate treatment. The Orthodox Defense and the Tarrasch Defense are two important examples. See Queen's Gambit Declined for more.

There are many other possible responses:

  • The Slav Defense is a solid response, although many variations are very tactical. If Black plays both ...c6 and ...e6 (in either order), the opening takes characteristics of both the Slav and the Orthodox Defense and is classified as a Semi-Slav Defense.
  • The Albin Countergambit is a sharp attempt for Black to gain the initiative. It is not common in top-level chess but can be a dangerous weapon in club play.
  • The Chigorin Defense takes the game away from the normal positional channels of the QGD, and has been favoured by Alexander Morozevich at the top level; it appears to be playable for Black.
  • The Baltic Defense is offbeat but playable.
  • The Symmetrical Defense is very rarely played. Although it has not been definitely refuted, the play seems to favour White.
  • The Marshall Defense is weak. Named after Frank Marshall, who was the first to devise the move, he briefly played it in the 1920s before abandoning it.
  • 2...g6?! 3.cxd5 Qxd5 (3...Nf6 4.Qa4 +/−) 4.Nc3 Qa5 5.Nf3 Bg7 6.Bd2 c6 7.e4 Qb6 8.Bc4! Bxd4 9.Nxd4 Qxd4 10.Qb3 Qg7 11.0-0 +/− (Minev).[4]

If White chooses to fianchetto his king's bishop, the game transposes into the Catalan Opening.


  1. ^ Sarratt, J. H. (27 Jan 2006). The Works of Damiano, Ruy-Lopez, and Salvio on the Game of Chess. T. Boosey, (the New York Public Library) (Digitized). ISBN 9781145601765.
  2. ^ S., Tevis, Walter (2003). The Queen's gambit (1st Vintage Contemporaries ed.). New York: Vintage Contemporaries. ISBN 9781400030606. OCLC 51844969.
  3. ^ Benjamin, Joel; Schiller, Eric (1987). Unorthodox Openings. Macmillan Publishing Company. p. 97. ISBN 0-02-016590-0. Queen's Gambit Declined: Alekhine Idea 1 d4 d5 2 c4 g6
  4. ^ Matanović, Aleksandar, ed. (1987). Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings. D (2nd ed.). Yugoslavia: Chess Informant. p. 44. ISBN 86-7297-008-X.

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