The elephant gambit
The elephant gambit is one of those weird openings that makes you wonder what is going inside your opponent’s head. However, is also a very tricky line if you don’t know how to play it with white.
The elephant gambit is an opening that black can choose to go against the king’s pawn by white. It actually involves a really logical move following the principles of chess in complete stoicism.
The problem is that as it accomplishes some principles, it breaks others, so things become a little complicated. There are very few games with this opening, and this line could be considered refuted.
Just like other weird openings like the Sodium attack, despite having a good intention, the idea is really bad. You should really think twice before playing the elephant attack against someone unless you are trolling.
It doesn’t mean that isn’t playable, it means that if white knows how to play properly he can get an advantage quickly. If you want to get to know this interesting weapon against white’s king pawn read this post until the end.
Mainlines of the elephant gambit
To enter the elephant gambit the following moves have to appear:
And we are in the elephant gambit. As we have said, one of the opening principles states that we must challenge our opponent’s central pawns.
But in this case, black simply doesn’t have enough development to take advantage out of this pawn break. Actually, another principle states that if you have a development advantage, opening the position should be in your favor.
So you are going against another opening principle of chess too, the game may continue in two ways, depending on what white chooses:
Playing exd5 is one of the most common things, and white here simply takes the central pawn, taking the advantage that black is offering. The game could continue with:
And white are better but have to invest some time to develop correctly.
There is something important about the elephant gambit: You must not try to hold onto the e4 pawn, if you try to desperately defend it things are going to be really bad for you.
That pawn is practically lost, and this is one of the reasons why the opening can’t be considered as more as a blunder. If there was a real way to maintain the e4 pawn there it would be a whole different story, but move 4.Qe2 is too strong pinning the pawn to the king.
Now, if our opponent plays the interesting Nxe5 still has an important advantage, but that advantage is simply better with exd5. However, it doesn’t mean that white doesn’t have strong lines here, for example:
And white have a strong center and a very promising position.
Plans and ideas of the elephant gambit
The elephant gambit has the idea of destroying white’s center very early on in the game. Even if you have to gambit a pawn, you leave white with absolutely no center, which is something that we can’t deny.
Even if it’s true that white still has some problems to develop, black doesn’t have a little development. This makes it really hard to take some advantage of black, white’s development may become dangerous if you play incorrectly.
We don’t recommend anyone playing this opening, even if it does achieve some things from the psychological point of view, the elephant gambit is really dubious. If you want to play like this in a different opening and better conditions, you should learn the Marshall Gambit in the Spanish opening.
And what happens is that the opening doesn’t quite achieve the objective. Even though white is unable to take the center with the pawns, white still can control it with the pieces.
Make sure to use this opening against someone new to chess, if you want to stand real chances.
Sample games of the elephant gambit
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