Ideas behind the King Gambit
Richard Reti Masters of the Chessboard
The Kings Gambit Accepted is founded upon sound chess ideas. In the King Gambit Accepted, 1 e4 e5 2.f4 exf4, Black has gained a pawn at the expense of a tempo. If this game goes into an endgame that extra pawn may prove decisive. So what has white gained ?
The trouble with Blacks F4 pawn is that it is hard to hold on. It’s place in the early stage of the game is awkward. It doesn’t have any good natural defenders, it can’t be defended by a developing knight move ie Nf6 and it is not in the bishops field of defense. The only protected move within one tempo is the pawn move g5 or the awkward Queen to f6 which would sit in the spot normally reserved for a knight. Although white can not play it immediately, he has at his disposal d4 strengthening his center while creating a discovered attack by his bishop on f4.
A common theme in the King Gambit Accepted is the struggle for control of the F-file . The F4 pawn clogs the file and once gone white can quickly build a strong attack against F7, the weakest spot on blacks uncastled King Position. Moves like Castling puts a rook on the semi-open file at f1, Queen - f3, Bishop c4, Knight at e5 all are honing in on F7. Blacks awkward F4 pawn,as serving as a shield against a portion of this attack. Much play can revolve around holding this pawn until black can cobble together a stronger defensive position.
Another common theme in the King Gambit is Blacks Check on h4 Qh4 or bh4.
Now although white would like to apply pressure on f4 right out away by playing d4 he doesn't because Q-h4 check forces a King Move to e2 which puts white on the defensive. Before white plays d4 to reduce the impact of Qh4 by playing one of three moves. 3. Nf3 the Knight Gambit, 3. Bc4 the Bishop Gambit or lesser played 3.Nc4 which is a Vienna style game.
I normally play 3. Nf3 which defends the h4 square preventing the immediate check. It also prepares the Knight for a move closer to the front Ne5 or Ng5
and brings white a step closer to Kingside castling. 3.Bc4 teases black to play Qh4+ where after Kf1 blacks Queen is awkwardly placed.The bishop also help build a strong center, attack f7 and possibly brings white closer to Kingside castling. It is generally believed that whites positional gains outweighs the inconvenience of losing the castling rights. 3.Nc3 forces the King to move to e2 but the Knight stabilizes the shielding e pawn. Nc3 leads to some tactical games which although interesting I know little about.
So with the KGA Knight Gambit if Black wants to protect his investment on g4 he can start playing as part of the Kierseritzky Continuation 3….h5. Note this post does not cover the ideas of liquidating the center: The Falkbeer, the Modern or other ideas in the Cunningham, Fisher where black does not immediately play g5. G5 actually provides false protection since it can be forced to move by the immediate 4.h4. If black were to try to protect by 5…h6 this would provide false protection since after hxg hxg , boom white Rook takes Rook. Forcing the protecting G pawn to g4 to loosen blacks Kingside Pawn structure is a common theme in the KG. White must move to h4 immediately otherwise black will play Bg7 now protecting the rook and allowing the move h6.
White needs to maintain the initiative and the advantage of the extra tempo it has. This is critical to whites success. Extra pawn moves, defensive non developing moves, imprecise moves will kill whites game.. White needs to build a strong center and fight for the f file.
The forced move 5.g4 creates a problem for white, whites knight of f3 is under attack. White has some options ignore it and develop which lead to the 101 unsound gambits that I love (covered in a future post), move to g5 after h6 leads to a Knight Sac on f7 the speculative Algaier Gambit and for those who want to play the more sound winning chess Ne5. This is the base of the Kierseritzky gambit and where it starts to branch out.
More to follow on the K Gambit,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, I will also come back to correct gambit names spelling etc.