I'm just a beginner at chess and am just starting to get into the king's gambit but there seems not to be much information on this line probably because I'm not very good and the same with my opposition. I'm used to this line

[FEN ""]
1. e4 e5
2. f4 exf4
3. Nf3 g5

and so on but recently I have been running into this

 [FEN ""]
1. e4 e5
2. f4 exf4
3. Nf3 Nc6

I have run through this on Stockfish but I'm curious if anyone could explain the theory behind the next move.

  • 1
    There's nothing wrong with 3...Nc6. The most natural reply would be 4.d4 but that's probably what your opponent is expecting. Instead you might try 4.Nc3!? (transposing to the Vienna Gambit) and if Black plays 4...g5 you might get into positions similar to the ones you're used to.
    – bof
    Jun 28, 2018 at 23:10
  • 3
    A friendly tip: don't bother too much with the theory. As a beginner you should focus on a general opening rules: 1) Get control over the center, 2) Develop your minor pieces, 3) Ensure your king's safety. King's gambit is not the best choice for beginners as it tends to be very sharp and inbalanced - very easy to confuse a beginner
    – Pijotrek
    Jun 29, 2018 at 12:26

3 Answers 3


I remember reading about it in an old Chessbase Magazine edition (circa 2010 I believe). They examined a game where White played Bb5 at the right time, pinning the Knight then later exchanging it for weak queenside pawns, kinda like in the Ruy Lopez. I've used this idea fairly often, at least it's another option to Bc4, the normal development move that might later run into ...Be6 in this case, and it's not like exchanging and playing on the queenside is forced then.

If Black also develops their f8 Bishop, c3 and b4 also take space on the queenside, threatens b5 to kick the c6 Knight, and restrict both the Bishop and the Knight's activity.

In any case, there's nothing wrong with taking the center with 4.d4. As the f1 Bishop might want to go to b5 later, the first question to answer is how should the queenside be developed? c3 reinforces d4 and allows a Qb3-Bc4 battery, but Nc3 brings the Knight to a more active position (controls d5 in particular) than Nd2 where it would block the c1 Bishop. Take back the pawn with Bxf4 at some point (if ...g5, h4), and at this point, it should be clear where your light-squared Bishop can or should go.

At that point, White has completed development and has the center, whereas Black has trouble finding active play for his pieces. White should have a slight, lasting advantage, which should be converted in the long term. The rest is up to what themes you want to play around, but keep in mind the Bb5 idea.

  • 1
    There is something wrong with taking the center with 3.d4, namely, 3.d4 Qh4+ 4.Ke2 d5. I think maybe 3.d4 was a typo and you meant 4.d4 after 3.Nf3 Nc6. In fact the "main line" of the 3...Nc6 King's Gambit goes 4.d4 d5. How do you get an advantage for White after 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.d4 d5?
    – bof
    Jul 7, 2018 at 0:02
  • Right, I meant after Nf3 indeed, I'll edit it.
    – Umlin
    Jul 7, 2018 at 22:47
  • @bof As for 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.d4 d5, it looks like another move order for the Modern Defense, against which I'd probably play 5.exd5, intending something like 5...Qxd5 6.Nc3 (6.c3 {also plausible}) Bb4 7.Bd2 Bxc3 8.Bxc3. Honestly, I know the King's Gambit more from experience than from theory, so if you know more about this line, feel free to write your own answer.
    – Umlin
    Jul 7, 2018 at 23:05

https://drive.google.com/open?id=12b2b-36pMWDd7fQHSCCEvXf1cGOV7ddK is an excerpt from McDonald's book "King's Gambit". There are two lines which are suggested.


I would strongly suggest that you consider 3.Bc4 instead of 3.Nf3. Do not be afraid of Black's queen check, you will simply move your king to f1. This is how Fischer played the King's Gambit. IM Timothy Taylor recently published a book on the King's Bishop's Gambit, if you can get a copy.

  • 1
    3. Nf3 is a well established move in the King's Gambit. It's in the spirit of the opening and objectively (by engines & master) a stronger move than 3. Bc4, which is a super-risky move in an already risky opening. Furthermore, there aren't very many King's gambit games by Fischer as white at all (I think 5) and out of them he played the Bishop's gambit twice, not difficult to claim Fischer weighs in on this.
    – acye
    Jul 9, 2018 at 20:14

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