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Bishop’s Gambit

Bishop's Gambit in King's Gambit Variation

The Bishop’s Gambit is the second most common line in the King’s Gambit Accepted line and begins with the moves:

1. e4 e5
2. f4 exf4
3. Bc4

Many players with white don’t like to play the Bishop’s Gambit because they don’t like to play against 3…Qh4+. That ends up being a good setup for white, though. There are a few variations that white should be aware of that black can play on the third move.

3…Qh4+

This is the common response from black as it forces white to play 4. Kf1, losing the right to castle. But after that black doesn’t have any strong threats and white will soon play Nf3, forcing the black queen to move back to a non aggressive square and a poor developed board state.

White on the other hand will have their pieces developed, control the center of the board, and will eventually be able to take the pawn back on f4 once they play d4 and open the attack from their dark square bishop on c1.

3…Nf6

While it may look tempting for white to play 4. e5, this would be a huge mistake. Instead, white should play Nc3 to protect the e4 pawn, develop more material and prepare for d4. This also stops black from trying to control the center of the board with 4…d5 which can now be met with 5. Nxd5 Nxd5 6. exd5.

If black tries to get cute with 5…Nxe4 then white can play 6. Qe2 and eventually win the black knight that is now pinned down to the king.

3…Nc6

There are no immediate threats to white’s pieces or setup so white should continue to be aggressive, control the center of the board, and get more pieces involved into the game. 4. d4 does all of those things and opens up for the bishop on c1 to retake the pawn on f4. Remember that it is ok if black comes down with Qh4+. White doesn’t normally get the rook on h1 involved in the game early on in the Bishop’s Gambit.

3…d6

White does have a few options after 3…d6 but 4. Nf3 is preferred followed by d4. This stops the threat of the Queen and Bishop both coming to the King side of the board and attacking white. Play it safe and start with knight first in this position.


The King’s Gambit is one of the sharpest openings in chess and it’s important to know all the main variations that you might run into.

Below you can watch all of the lines referenced on this page and see a much deeper analysis on the Bishop’s Gambit opening.