The curious Urusov Gambit seems something of a gimmick. A great article on it appears here

[Event "Urusov Gambit"]
[Site "Tehran IRI"]
[Date "2016.10.28"]
[Round "4.20"]
[White "Mashmooli, Kian"]
[Black "Nasri, Amin"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2137"]
[BlackElo "2248"]
[ECO "C44"]
[FEN ""]

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nf3

The same article observers "With that the opening fell into disfavour at the highest levels of master competition, and today it is mostly seen in club play, where it racks up quick scores against inexperienced or unprepared opponents."

Certainly there are many chess sites advocating its adoption as a quick way for WHITE to get ahead. It's considered a common 'opening trick' Yet "Estrin's analysis revealed, however, a possible equalizing method for Black (with Panov's 4....d5) and suggested that some of the deepest lines might end in equality with best play."

Even with (4....d5) it seems difficult for WHITE to re-obtain equality. The opening can evolve into a Two Knights Defense (with 4....Nc6), albeit with a pawn exchanged for tempo.


Does lack of play at senior levels really suggest the gambit is not sound? Does anyone know of GMs who favour such a gambit? And would anyone be able to take us through some of the possible lines from this point as WHITE?

3 Answers 3


The gambit doesn't lose but it also doesn't gain much advantage. Black can play Nc6 and transpose into the two knight defense which is seen in the Italian and the scotch gambit. These lines have a lot of theory and grandmasters are comfortable that they can draw them. Thus, white struggles to find an advantage using this opening at the top level.


It suggests that strong players believe it doesn't give White much of a chance for an advantage.


This gambit is PLAYABLE, but it clearly isn't winning for White. Black clearly has a way to equalise, or to gain a small edge, or else this opening would be played at top level.

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