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Nakhmanson Gambit

Nakhmanson Gambit

The Nakhmanson Gambit is one of the most aggressive lines that white can take in the Italian Game. White looks to give up two pawns and a knight in exchange for rapid development and some deadly attacks on the black king. The opening usually starts with the moves:

1.e4 e5
2.Nf3 Nc6
3.Bc4 Nf6
4.d4 exd4
5.O-O Nxe4
6.Nc3

For this overview we will be looking the accepted lines after 6…dxc3 7. Bxf7 Kxf7 8. Qd5+. In this line white has given up two pawns, a knight, and now a bishop all for the thrill of a devastating attack on the black king.

In this position the black king has to move. We will cover each of the moves for the king.

8…Kg6

This is not a great move for black. White will continue with 9. Qxe4+. White is capturing material and putting the opponent in check. If they retreat back to Kf7 they will either lose their queen or lose the game.

8…Kf6

The computer says this is the best line for black to continue but it’s difficult to find. It’s rare for black to want to bring their king close to the center of the board so early in the game.

Now white will play 9. Re1. This gets more material involved into the game. If they try to hold onto their e4 Knight the game will be lost. Black needs to let the knight go, but even if they play something like Bd6 then white can take with 10. Rxe4 and white has much more material active with lots of mating threats.

8…Ke7

This is another terrible move for black. White can take with Qxe4+ followed by Ng5. There are multiple mating threats and no good moves for black.

8…Ke8

White will look to get the rook involved with Re1. This pins the knight to the King and black has to figure out how to hold onto the game. While black is up material for the early part of the game it is very difficult to keep white from overwhelming the black king.


The Italian Game is one of the most common chess openings. If you like to play aggressive gambits then this is a must use gambit. Check out the video below to get more in depth analysis of the Nakhmanson Gambit.

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