[FEN ""]

1. d4 e5

I have been playing this gambit for over 8 months with extensive analysis and have come to the conclusion that it is a very playable opening and, in many cases, black can achieve a position that gives him attacking chances. Why don't people play the Englund Gambit then?

  • 4
    Because they do! I do I know others who do, but we all do it in blitz and rapid games only - its too unsound for serious chess at even little below Candidate Master level, like player with 2000+ rating has good chances to beat you, especially if you play this regulary and he prepares for the game - 1-0 will be result. Could not decide if this is worth the answer or just comment :) – Drako Oct 9 '20 at 6:14
  • 1
    Could you provide a summary of your analysis? Unless you've found something fascinating, there are a few lines where White gets a slight advantage – David Oct 9 '20 at 6:25
  • 2
    "Playable" is not enough to be common at top-level. It also needs a reason to be better than the alternatives – David Jan 10 at 10:50

A part of it has to be that white doesn't have to keep the pawn.

[FEN ""]
1. d4 e5 2. dxe5 Nc6 3. Nf3 Qe7 4. Nc3 Nxe5

4.Nc3 is actually the most popular move in lichess database. Black Queen is placed a bit strangely on e7, it is blocking the development of the dark-squared bishop and not supporting the d-pawn if it wants to move to d5. Black can double white pawns with Nxf3, but white has plenty of activity to compensate for it. White has many promising continuations, but here is one:

[FEN ""]
1. d4 e5 2. dxe5 Nc6 3. Nf3 Qe7 4. Nc3 Nxe5
5. Bf4 Nxf3+ 6. gxf3 Qb4 7. Qd2 d6 8. e4

This position is not exactly a gambiter's dream, since white is much more active, and also stockfish gives it 1.5.


Many people play this gambit.
Even some grandmasters.

At the highest level white's scoring chances are overwhelming. That says the gambit is unsound.

At lower levels black does a little better which says the players skill has a small bit to determine the outcome. But the gambit is still unsound and only has shock value in fast games to make it worth trying.

If you are doing well it is because your level is well below master and your opponents are likewise.


I am 1900+ on chess.com and 2100+ on lichess in blitz and bullet. I play the Englund gambit almost exclusively against white's 1. d4. It is 100% playable. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

  • 1
    I'm slightly higher rated, and I've played it successfully against 2000 FIDE OTB @ 90+5, but I consider it completely unsound. – Mike Jones Jan 10 at 11:58
  • 1
    This answer misses the question. Even assuming the Englund's Gambit is a sound opening, playing it oneself doesn't explain why many others don't play it. More references outside of personal experience would help make a stronger point. – Umlin Jan 11 at 14:01

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