How many gambits you said?
Do you have any idea how many chess gambits are actually around? I thought that would be a solid 20, perhaps 30. Turns out, there are at least 150 if you count them separately. Obviously, many of them are related to one specific opening line, still it in an insane number. It just shows how complex even the opening can be. Although many of these lines are complex and unsound, I still very much like the thrill of playing a King’s Gambit or a Budapest line against d4! You can feel your opponent freeze for a second (or more), trying to understand what just happened… The gambit is a great way to play chess, and is a lifesaver when you might be bored with the game.
You can feel your opponent freeze for a second (or more), trying to understand what just happened…
Original ideas in a gambit
Why do I bring up this topic? While analysing all the different gambits, I realised that many great champions had a gambit named ever themselves. Karpov, Kasparov, Paul Keres (!), and many more champions are part of this list. It shows that these men have done a lot of research to find new ideas, original concepts, to play over the board. A gambit can be used to spice up your repertoire, and also to learn something completely new. I was surprised by the depth of the lines I saw today, and it tells me that this year I should not only focus on the main lines of certain openings, but I should look at gambits as well.
Time for something new!
There is another reason why I bring up gambits. More and more we see that sports are trying to reinvent themselves. Soccer, tennis, hockey: all these sports have added new rules to their games in order to attract new players. Chess will go this way as well, and with rapid and blitz chess on the rise we will see more and more new competitors. With this rise of faster chess, gambits become more and more interesting to play. Obviously, in a 90 minute game, with increment, playing a vague King’s Gambit might not be very appealing. But with 25 minutes on the clock, chess becomes a whole different game. And trust me, if your opponents haven’t seen such an opening during their preparation, they will be in for a big surprise!
Match your style
So when you do study the opening, take some time out to find a gambit that suits you, and take some time to play it. With 150+ different choices, chances are you will find an interesting line on this page. Playing online is a great way to familiarise yourself with this opening. And yes, you will surprise your opponents, both online and over the board. Good luck preparing!