McDonnell Gambit

McDonnell Gambit

The McDonnell Gambit is a very aggressive variation in the King’s Gambit opening. It starts with the moves:

1. e4 e5
2. f4 exf4
3. Nf3 g5
4. Bc4 g4
5. Nc3

On the 5th move white decides to give up the knight in exchange for developing more material into the game and keeping black from developing their own pieces. It’s a fine line, and one that can backfire if you have not studied this opening deeply.

After 5. Nc3 the most common line that black will play is the accepted line, 5…gxf3. White then captures the pawn with their queen on f3. From this setup there are a few things to note:

– White has the only developed central pawn.
– White has both central pawns still in the game while black only has one.
– White has two minor pieces and one major piece developed. Black has none.
– Black has a weakened king side with the g-pawn missing.

So white is down a knight in material, but it’s clear there is compensation for that sacrifice. It is now up to white to execute and turn that into an advantage.

To watch an overview of the McDonnell Gambit you can check out the video below.