The Urusov Gambit


The Urusov Gambit is a line of the Bishop Opening in which White sacrifices a pawn early in the game.

In this aggressive Opening White will occupy the centre at the very beginning of the game and challenge Black’s central control.

After White introduces the Urusov Gambit on the chessboard, Black has two main options: taking on d4 with his pawn or taking on e4 with his Knight. The first option is the best and the most played one.

Taking on d4 is the most natural response for Black. White doesn’t want to take this pawn back with the queen since it would get in a very vulnerable position. Because of that, White sacrifices this pawn and develops his knight to f3 instead.

Taking on e4 in an alternative commonly played by those who are not aware of the Urusov Gambit and are taken by surprise while fighting it for the first time. This move is not a good option and gets Black in a worst position.

It is important for White to know what to do if this happens.

Why Play The Urusov Gambit?

The Urusov Gambit is an aggressive variation that you can use to catch your opponent unprepared.

Due to its aggressive nature, you could get a good advantage from your opponent’s mistakes. However, if Black knows what he is doing, he shouldn’t have a problem equalizing the game.

Since the Urusov Gambit is quite unknown, it can be a great weapon to surprise your opponents, especially in rapid and blitz games!

Every move explained

3… exd4

How To Reach It

This line happens after the following moves:

  1. e4 e5
  2. Bc4 Nf6
  3. d4 exd4

You can see these moves below:

Why play the 3… exd4?

This is the best option against the Urusov Gambit.

White is sacrificing the d4-pawn, and Black should take it in order to get a good position.

If Black knows what he’s doing here, he will get an equal or even slightly better position.

White's Moves

Go Nf3

White should not take back the d4-pawn with the queen. Instead, he should go for this move

Go e5

After White has placed a knighton f3 supporting the e5-square, it is a good idea to expand in the centre and attack Black’s knight with this move.

Black's moves

Go d5 and Ne4

The d5 advance offers Black some space in the centre and a very good square for the f6-knight

Go Nc6

Playing Nc6 is a great development move and allows Black to control important central squares.

3… Nxe4

How To Reach It

This line happens after the following moves:

  1. e4 e5
  2. Bc4 Nf6
  3. d4 Nxe4

You can see these moves below:

Why play the move 3… Nxe4?

This move might seem a good idea at first, however, White gets a really good position if he knows what he’s doing.

Black gets an overall worst position, since he has to waste some moves defending his position while White gets a nice development and strong centre.

If you want to play the Urusov Gambit it’s important that you are aware of this line, since this could give you great advantage when catching an unprepared opponent.

White's Moves

Take the e5-pawn

White should take advantage of the fact that Black didn’t take the d4-pawn and use it to capture on e5.

Develop pieces and castle

White should bring the Knights and Bishops to their natural squares and then castle on the Kingside

Black's moves

Bring the Knight to c5

The knight on e4 is vulnerable to attacks such as Qd5 and Qe2. Because of this, Black should retreat it to c5.

Expand with c6 and b5

Expanding on the queenside is a good idea for Black, especially since playing b5 will attack White’s c4-Bishop, forcing him to lose a tempo. Also, this move stops White from going Qd5.

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