[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?

  • 5
    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
    Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 6:14
  • 2
    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
    Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 6:25
  • 3
    "Playable" is not enough to be common at top-level. It also needs a reason to be better than the alternatives
    – David
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 10:50

4 Answers 4


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.


Isn't the problem with the Englund gambit that the mainline is basically busted unless you play the chessbrah queen sac? If black does not go for the trap line but plays nc6 then f6 or Qe7 d6, at least black has fast development, stockfish doesn't hate it. But it seems to me most people who play it want to go for the trap line with Qd2 qg4, but after Bd2 Nc3 from white black is lost if he does not sac the queen. I am interested in what Mr 1900 above is playing, as in my experience everyone in that rating range knows the refutation to the trap.

  • 1
    What's the chessbrah queen sac?
    – David
    Commented Sep 18, 2021 at 14:58
  • @David Aman Hambleton pioneered the move Qxc3! after Rb1 in the main line where you sacrifice your queen for two pieces and get an extremely solid position. It shouldn't work, but the player with more experience is able to play better there, and Aman is always the player with more experience. Commented Sep 18, 2021 at 16:23

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.

  • 3
    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
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 11:58
  • 5
    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
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 14:01
  • You mean you defeat them after it's been refuted? Because I highly doubt there's anyone at that level who doesn't know the exact sequence of moves by heart. Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 20:02

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