When dealing with gambits, especially ones where your opponent could have a lot more active pieces to pressure you. Is declining the best approach?

A friend of mine usually always wrecks me with the Danish Gambit, especially whenever I accept and before I know it, she's literally attacking with way more pieces than I can handle and to be honest it does seem like a solid sacrifice (3 pawns for 2 very active pieces (the bishop pair) while I literally have nothing to show for the first 3 moves).

Is there a solid way to exploit the fact that white is down 3 pawns? Or even better, what is the best approach to fighting back when the pressure is too much and I'm so behind in development?

  • 2
    After 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 cxb2 5.Bxb2 White is only down 2 pawns, not 3, Programming Champ! :-)
    – bof
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 6:50
  • What do you exactly mean with "exploited"? Since you seem to be speaking from Black's side, perhaps you mean "refuted"? Exploitation means: 1) "the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work", and 2) "the action of making use of and benefiting from resources". Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 15:59

4 Answers 4


The Danish gambit isn't very popular these days because of the Schlechter Defense. The idea is to take the gambit pawns but return them quickly.

  1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Bc4 cxb2 5. Bxb2 d5

5...d5 initiates the Schlechter Defense. The mainline continues 6.Bxd5 (6.exd5 Nf6 closes the position and lets Black develop, still a pawn up) Nf6 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qxd8 Bb4+ 9.Qd2 Bxd2+ 10.Nxd2 c5. Black regains the Queen and steers the game to an equal endgame. White has no attack and the position is not even remotely close to tactical, which is psychologically depressing for gambit players.

[FEN ""]

1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Bc4 cxb2 5. Bxb2 d5 6. Bxd5 (6. exd5? Nf6) Nf6 7. Bxf7+ Kxf7 8. Qxd8 Bb4+ 9. Qd2 Bxd2+ 10. Nxd2 c5

The only downside of this defense is, if you keep using it, your friend might not want to play with you anymore.


If you are feeling more ambitious then the bizarre looking 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 Qe7!? is recommended by Viktor Bologan (former 2700 player). Having looked into it a bit, I believe him when he says it's better for black.

That said Allure's answer is a simpler line to learn in some ways and is very reliable - quite an interesting endgame too.


The line given by Allure is the standard refutation of the Danish however the line given by Hamish might be even better. That line was played by Capablanca and I don't realistically see white having any winning chances.


After 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 cxb2 5.Bxb2 the main line continuation is 5...d5 6.Bxd5 Nf6 as already pointed out. However, your opponent may or may not dislike the endgame. It is still a very dynamic one with passed pawns and winning chances for both sides, and if your opponents knows this position (he probably played it a million times before), you could be in big trouble.

There are however a few lines that give Black the edge, like 5...d5 6.Bxd5 Bb4+!? I suggest you to look at a database and check a few of the games by the strongest polayers

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