The Halloween Gambit is a daredevil’s opening that will allow you to scare the soul out of your opponents! The name of this opening goes very well with its nature, it is really spooky to play against the Halloween gambit.
However, is not that spooky when you know the theory and the lines and moves to avoid being lost in the first move. The best player of France Maxime Vachier Lagrave recognizes the power of the Halloween gambit.
This is one of a good opening to try, and it’s sure very risky, but it can also give very good results. You will be surprised at how well this kind of opening can go, it’s something that goes against the nature of chess.
However, as we know, all of the chess openings have their ideas and their poison, no matter how weird they look. Today, we are studying the chess of Mikhail Tal, just sacrifice because we can.
If you want to learn the secret of the Halloween gambit make sure you read this post until the end!
The mainline of the Halloween gambit
To get into the Halloween gambit we have to pass the four knights game, and play a spectacular sacrifice:
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nxe5 Here things get really interesting, this questionable knight sacrifice gives white good chances actually! Of course, giving up a piece in the opening is always something suspicious, but the Halloween gambit has proved to have some potential.
Actually, the theory about this opening is very little, but we have many lines, the game here follows like this: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nxe5 Nxe5 5.d4 and now we have to choose over two options with black:
- Bb4 giving back the piece, an interesting idea
We will analyze Ng6 first because it is the most common move in this position. After this white immediately attacks in the center with e5, and the game continues 6.e5 Ng8 7.Bc4 d5 this is a necessary move for black, not striking back in the center would be too passive.
Normally, 7… d6 or d5 are the moves, this forces white to decide on his center, it doesn’t matter if you give up a pawn as black, your development goes first!
Instead of this a variation you can try, and this is the favorite of chess modules, is the following: Bb4 giving back the knight and trying to get some counterplay, is also possible, the game goes like this:
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nxe5 Nxe5 5.d4 Nc6 6.d5 Bb4 Allowing white his piece back, for our own good 7.dxc6 Nxe4 8.Qd4 Qe7 9.Qxg7 Nxc3+ 10.Be3 Nd5+ 11.c3 Rf8 and things get really messy!
Now, let’s go with the Nc6, I would actually not recommend this (unless you are going to play as the variation before. This allows white to have even more space! However, it is also playable, let’s see the variations: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nxe5 Nxe5 5.d4 Nc6 6.d5 Ne5 7.f4 Ng6 8.e5 Ng8 9.d6 cxd6 10.exd6 Qf6 11.Nb5 Kd8 12.Be3 and we reach the regular position of the Halloween gambit.
Black needs to be extremely careful here, the pressure is huge, for example, if black plays carelessly a logical move like 12… a6? Black is already doomed: 13.Bb6+ Ke8 14.Nc7+ Kd8 15.Nxa8+ Ke8 16.Nc7+ Kd8 17.Nxa6+ Ke8 18.Nc7+ Kd8 19.Nd5+ Black has been destroyed!
Now, let’s see some sample games to see the power of the Halloween gambit!
Sample games of the Halloween Gambit
Another one impressive game:
You may also like: