Chess gambits

The game begins, and your rival seems to offer you a piece early. Will you take it? Watch out! Chances are it’s not free material at all, and you’re dealing with a gambit. Further, we explain the idea behind chess gambits and how they are classified.

Chess gambits

The essence

The intention of using a gambit is to execute an aggressive move. Yet it is disguised as an act of negligence or lack of experience. The player lets the opponent capture a piece for the sake of acquiring positional advantage. The majority of gambits are based on sacrificing one or a few pawns. However, some schemes involve giving up more valuable chess pieces.

Types of chess gambits

When applying this technique, there are several ways of development during a particular game. The rival can choose to accept it and take the sacrifice offered. Or else, it can be ignored. For example, if the player realizes what’s going on on the chessboard. In such a case, the gambit becomes declined. If it happens, the attacker doesn’t necessarily suffer a disadvantage. Often, there’s neither loss in tempo, nor in positions for any of the parties.

Besides, gambits have the quality of being sound when the lost material is adequately compensated. It can be achieved through many different ways further in the game. For example, taking the leading position in development or gaining one/several tempi. Also, a gambit sometimes allows for increased activity on the board and a space advantage.

Finally, the opponent may inadvertently develop some structural weaknesses. That’s what sound gambits are able to bring into the process.

On the other hand, there are unsound ones. They don’t lead to enough compensation for the sacrificed piece or pieces. For instance, the Halloween Gambit refers to this category.


Chess gambits are a powerful tool you can apply against your opponent. While being one of the most common tricks in chess, it’s still highly effective. For that reason, it makes sense to master this aspect properly. When implemented correctly, gambits can save your game at any level of play. Chess clubs in Mission Viejo, CA are open to beginners and experienced players.