Italian Gambit

The Italian Gambit is a somewhat dubious gambit that offers an alternative line to the main Giuoco Piano lines or the Evan’s Gambit. The Italian Gambit Accepted (Bxd4) is quite interesting, but Black can play more quietly with “exd4”, when it will transpose into the Max Lange Attack or the Scotch Gambit (at White’s option).

Diagram: Italian Gambit

Black has three main replies:

  • 4..Bxd4
  • 4..exd4
  • 4..Nxd4?

Line: 4..Bxd4

Black’s best reply is 4..Bxd4 when White will get the minor exchange as compensation for the pawn after Nxd4.

Diagram: Italian Gambit with Bxd4

Line: 4..exd4

Black’s 4..exd4 transposes to the Scotch Gambit or the Max Lange Attack, at White’s option.

Diagram: Scotch Gambit (from Italian Gambit)

Instead of 5.c3, White can play 5.O-O, whereupon Black’s 5..Nf6, then “6.e5” is the Max Lange Attack, an old opening that is well-known.

Diagram: Max Lange Attack (from Italian Gambit)

Line: 4..Nxd4?!

The reply 5…Nxd4 runs into 5.Nxe5!, which is strong for White.

Diagram: Italian Gambit

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