The counter-gambit arises after the moves:
- 1. e2 – e4 e7 – e5 2. f2 – f4 d7 – d5
Instead of capturing the offered pawn on f4, Black himself offers a pawn to take important squares from white pieces and to take the initiative . Siegbert Tarrasch's opinion that this sharp form of rejection would permanently refute the King's Gambit, could not prevail.
White must beware of capturing the pawn on e5 on move three:
- 3. f4xe5? immediately loses because of Qd8 – h4 +, after 4. g2 – g3 Black wins a whole rook with Qh4xe4 +. After the fourth Ke1-e2 Dh4xe4 + 5 Ke2-f2-c5 + Bf8 wins Black by 6. d4 + Lxd4 the lady (6 Kg3 leads to Matt ).
- In the third e4xd5 e5xf4 sometimes the game goes through diverter in the "modern defense" over - after the fourth g1-f3 in the modern defense of the king Springer gambits and after the fourth L f1-c4 in the modern defense of the King Bishop gambits . An alternative is 4. Bf1 – b5 + c7 – c6 5. d4xc6 Nb8xc6.
The main line comes after 3.e4xd5:
- 3.… Qd1xd5 the queen develops like in the Scandinavian defense . It can follow 4. Nb1 – c3 Qd5 – a5 5. Ng1 – f3 e5xf4.
- 3.… Bf8 – c5 !? was first played in 1882 by the grandmaster and expert of the King's Gambit Michail Chigorin . White has to play the next moves very carefully.
- 4. Nb1 – c3 !? exf4
- 4. Ng1-f3 e5-e4
- 4. Qd1 – e2! with ideas similar to the Metz attack in the Nimzowitsch counter-Gambit .
3.… e5 – e4 , the actual gambit . The advanced pawn on e4 prevents the natural development of the white king knight, which is why the white man tries best to break up black's center position with 4. d2 – d3 .
- 4.… e4xd3 ?! 5. Qd1xd3 and White has an extra pawn in a balanced position.
- 4.… e4 – e3 ?! 5. Qd1 – f3! and white can conquer the pawn.
- 4.… Qd8xd5
- In theory, 5. Qd1 – e2 Ng8 – f6 6. Nb1 – c3 Bf8 – b4 7. Bc1 – d2 is preferred, which leads to the following variant by changing moves :
- 5. Nb1 – c3 !? with an attack on the queen d5. 5.… Bf8 – b4 ties the knight c3 to the king. 6. Bc1 – d2 and the knight is no longer pinned. 6.… Bb4xc3 7. Bd2xc3 White takes the pair of bishops . The c3 bishop now attacks the undefended g7 pawn.
- 4.… Ng8 – f6 5. dxe4 Nxe4
- 6. Be3
- 6. Ng1 – f3 Bf8 – c5 with the threat… Ne4 – f2 (forks queen and rook) or… Bc5 – f2 +. 7. Qd1 – e2 ties the knight to the king e8. 8.… Bc8 – f5 9. Nb1 – c3 ( 9. g2 – g4? Attacks the defender of the knight e4. (9.… Bf5xg4? Is followed by 10. Qe2xe4 +) 9.… 0–0! 10. g4xf5 Rf8– e8 sets up a series of threats.… Ne4 – f2 attacks the rook h1. The queen cannot capture because of the peg. 11. Nf3 – e5? is followed by 11.… Qd8 – h4 + !. The best move is 11. Qe2 – g2 Ne4 – f2 + 12. Bf1 – e2 Nf2xh1 13. Qg2xh1 Qd8xd5 with advantage for Black.)
- 3.… c7 – c6, the Nimzowitsch counter-gambit
- Paul Keres : three knights game to the king's gambit. Sportverlag, Berlin 1977, 4th edition, pp. 322–336.
- Alexei Suetin : Russian to King's Gambit. Sportverlag, Berlin 1989, 2nd edition, pp. 235–243, ISBN 3-328-00270-7 .
- John Shaw : The King's Gambit. Quality Chess, Glasgow 2013, pp. 560-584, ISBN 1-906552-71-1 . (engl.).