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While this is a terrible opening which gives up a pawn for nothing I would like to know if it has a name.

Wikibooks state that it is called O'Neill Gambit but its citations lead nowhere. The only citation it has is a 365chess page which just says B00: King's Pawn Opening

Is there a reliable source which verifies this? Any idea how it got the name?

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There's no name in Oxford Companion to Chess, so there was probably no name in general usage up to 1990 or so. It would be classified as a 'Royal Opening' by 1. e4.

There may be later names, but I know of no equally authoritative source. There's a certain cachet in opening names, so unless there are multiple sightings of a name, preferably independent, any finds should be taken with a grain of salt. (I find it unlikely that anyone would be in need of a name of this opening.) Of course, additional moves may produce a position that can also be reached in another opening, in which case its name may be more appropriate.

As the purpose of using a name presumably is telling someone what the opening is ... but unless the name is already accepted and well-known it obviously doesn't work. If there is a useful ECO code, it may be better than names. In this case, it would be a B00 opening, but I have to leave any further refinements to someone with an up-to-date ECO code table.

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  • I have ECO B from 1984, and Eric Schiller's Unorthodox Chess Openings and neither include 1. e4 b5.
    – Herb
    Apr 12, 2023 at 3:29

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