10 Best Gambits for White: Complete Guide

10 Best Gambits for White: Complete Guide

In this article, we will take a look at the 10 Best Gambits for White.

Gambits are fun and an effective surprise weapon. The best gambits for white offer dynamic and exciting play that can catch an unprepared opponent off guard. Since White has the advantage of the first move, Gambits for White are powerful and can give you quick victories.

Gambits can be dubious or sound but they all promise a fascinating battle.

1. Kings Gambit

1.e4 e5 2.f4


White employs a ‘no prisoners’ taken approach to the game. Black plays e5 to stop the advance d4 for free. White can still play d4, but Black can exchange it with exd4.

By playing f4 white is willing to sacrifice a semi-central pawn to achieve the ideal center with e4 and d4.


Black gladly accepts the challenge. Black argues that weakening the kingside is the price white pays to get the ideal center.

3.Nf3 Nf6

Best Gambits for White

White develops the knight before playing d4. Now there are many variations that White can choose. Let’s take a look at one variation where white gets good attacking chances.

4.e5 Nh5



Grandmaster Paul Keres introduced this move during the early days of his career. Keres won several fine games with this line.

In the following game, Black plays too slowly. He opts to fianchetto his bishop on g7. Fianchettoing the bishop costs Tempi and white uses the time to launch a quick attack against the Black forces.

2. Scotch Gambit

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Bc4


This is the starting position of the Scotch Gambit. It is one of the most popular gambits for white.

Instead of wasting a tempo to capture the pawn, White chooses to develop the pieces.

The strength of the opening is the knowledge you possess. There are many devious tricks and traps in this opening that Black can fall into.

You can set up several traps. Your opponent can go wrong immediately after 4.Bc4

A common mistake by Black is to play Bc5 after Bc4. This runs into a well-known tactical pattern.

The most important theme to remember in the Scotch gambit is to be always active. Play for the initiative and you will get good compensation for the pawn.

3. Danish Gambit

1.e4 e5 2.d4

White plays d4 and challenges Black for a tactical battle. Black can take the pawn now.

2..exd4 3.c3

Best Gambits for White

White doesn’t recapture back with the Queen. White has another idea in mind. Lead in development is the crux of white’s strategy. Now Black cannot avoid the capture on c3 because white will play cxd4 and gain the ideal center.

3..dxc3 4.Bc4

White sacrifices another pawn! If your opponent is facing this for the first time then the shock value alone will give you a huge psychological advantage. Black has to be careful now. He has spent all the tempi playing pawn moves while his pieces are not developed.

In the meantime, White has developed a piece and opened files and diagonals for his pieces.

4..cxb2 5.Bxb2


This is the starting position for the Danish Gambit. White has to produce a decisive attack. Black plans to weather the storm and realize his material advantage in the endgame.

In the following game, Black isn’t careful and chooses to attack without completing development. This backfires immediately as the game ends in a decisive checkmate.

4. Halasz Gambit

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.f4


The Halasz Gambit is a deadly gambit that is not analyzed very well or given much attention. It has some dangerous ideas and you can score some quick wins using this gambit.

This is certainly one of the best gambits for White at the club level. Players at this level don’t know much theory on this line.

White immediately mobilizes his kingside pawn majority with 4.f4. Black does have some trumps in the position but he has to play carefully.

A common recurring theme in the Halasz gambit is the Greek Gift Sacrifice. This follows from the scheme of development white follows.

White plays Nf3, Bd3, and 0-0. Then he plays for e5 push, this liberates the bishop on d3. The pawn move e5 also removes the f6 knight from its post.

5. Vienna Gambit

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4


This is the starting position for the Vienna Gambit. This is a delayed King’s Gambit where the moves Nc3 and Nf6 have already been played.

By playing Nf6, Black blocks the h4-d8 diagonal. So, all the lines that include Qh4+ are eliminated.

Black can counter white’s strategy in different ways. The games that arise are interesting and complex with chances for both sides.

Black can accept the gambit pawn. This is the Vienna Gambit accepted variation.

3..exf4 4.e5 Ng8

Best Gambits for White

White plays for the initiative and quick development.

6. Wing Gambit

1.e4 c5 2.b4


The Wing gambit is an ambitious attempt by White to take control of the center immediately. White sacrifices a flank pawn so that he can push both his central pawns to e4 and d4.

There are two systems that you can play. One is when you play b4 immediately after c5. The Second is where you aim to play b4 after playing 2.Nf3. This is the Deferred Wing Gambit.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.b4

Best Gambits for White

7. Queen’s Gambit

Best Gambits for White

Queen’s Gambit unlike the King’s Gambit is a strategic gambit to gain important positional factors. These factors include time, space, and development. White doesn’t incur any major weaknesses in his position.

This opening is deep and complex. It’s been played for centuries by top players and World champions. You can read this article to learn more about the Queen’s Gambit.

There are pure gambit lines in the Queen Gambit. The most notable is the Noteboom variation. Some variations of the Queens Gambit Semi-Slav system also contain gambit lines.

In the following game, Black accepts the gambit with 2..dxc4. This is the Queen’s Gambit Accepted variation. White plays energetically to exploit his advantage.

8. Evans Gambit

The Evan’s Gambit is a powerful opening in the hands of a natural attacker. It can generate many attacking positions.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5

White develops harmoniously with the Nf3 and Bc4.


Best Gambits for White

After completing basic development White decides to gambit a pawn with b4 to accelerate central expansion.

From here on, there is a heavy theoretical discussion. Black should accept the gambit.

In the following game, Fischer attacks the Achilles’ heel for Black in the Evans Gambit – the f7 square.

In the next game, Black goes pawn hunting in the opening. Fischer calmly develops his pieces and Black soon ends up in a difficult position. Fischer ends the game in his signature style – clinical and precise.

9. Morra Gambit

The Sicilian Defense is a labyrinth of variations and ideas. You can learn the Morra Gambit as an alternative to learning a ton of theory.

The specialty of the Morra Gambit is that it combines many tactical ideas with positional ideas.

After 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 we get the starting position of the Morra Gambit

Best Gambits for White

In this position, White has many positives. The only central pawn, lone developed piece, space advantage, and open files.

Black has to be careful and has to do his homework on the Morra. Otherwise, Black can quickly fall into a worse position or even lose quickly. Let’s take a look at one such game.

In this game, Black ignores development and plays in typical Sicilian fashion. It would’ve worked in other lines but not in the Morra Gambit.

10. Halloween Gambit

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nxe5

Best Gambits for White

Just like the Evans gambit, White prefers to develop calmly in the opening before playing the gambit. In this case, unlike anything we’ve seen before, you gambit a full piece!

The Halloween gambit is not objectively sound. Its strength is the psychological advantage it gives you. Your opponent expects a calm game but you change the character of the game in one move.

In most of the games, Black plays the opening wrongly and you get a slightly better position.

If Black plays the other common move then we get a promising position. White retains the initiative and has a chance to win the game.

We also recommend looking at 10 Things We Can Learn From Jose Raul Capablanca as well as 10 Things to Learn from Alexander Alekhine.


What is the most aggressive gambit for White?

The King’s Gambit is the most aggressive gambit by white. It weakens the kingside but gives you strong central control and a lead in development.

What is the best strategy for white in chess?

The best strategy is to play actively and develop all the pieces. This strategy ensures that we get a good position out of the opening.

What opening does Magnus Carlsen play as white?

Magnus Carlsen plays every opening that exists. He is a universal player who can play any opening and any style.

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Updated 01.24.2024