Wing Gambit

The Wing Gambit is a White gambit against the Sicilian Defence as an anti-Sicilian variation. It has a poor reputation as being unsound, and is rarely seen in tournament chess. More commonly seen is the Morra Gambit, which has a better reputation and is often declined by Black. The Wing Gambit is related to:

Wing Gambit (Normal Line)

Diagram: Wing Gambit

Lines: Black can accept or decline, but accepting is probably better given the gambit’s unsound reputation! Black should accept the first pawn in the Wing Gambit (c5xb4), and then decline the second one (b4xa3 is the “Wing Gambit Accepted”).

Wing Gambit: a3 line

The main line of the Wing Gambit is where White immediately plays “a3”, which is looking like a Benko Gambit reversed.

Diagram: Wing Gambit

But this is well met by “3..d5” in the center (Wing Gambit Declined).

Other White Variations of the Wing Gambit

Other Variations: Can White defer the a3 move instead? White could try other third moves:

  • 3.d4 … claiming the center immediately.
  • 3.Nf3 … ignoring the b4 pawn, intending development with Bd3 (or Bc4) and O-O.
  • 3.Bc4 … also a development line.

Wing Gambit vs the Benko Gambit

It seems a little odd that the Benko Gambit has such a great reputation for Black, whereas this line for White, the Wing Gambit (or Wing Gambit Deferred) has such a poor reputation. The Benko sequence “b5 cxb5 a6” is the mirror reverse of the Wing Gambit’s sequence “b4 cxb4 a3”. Why cannot White play the Benko strategy? The Benko plan for Black is a long-term positional pawn gambit, with a fianchetto of the King’s Bishop and strategic pressure on the Black queenside pawns. Can White do that strategy? Theory doesn’t seem to think so.

The b4 gambit move can also be deferred to the next move, as in the “Wing Gambit Deferred”.

Other Anti-Sicilian Lines

The Wing Gambit is often called an “anti-Sicilian”. Other types of Anti-Sicilian Openings include:

Related Chess Openings Topics

Read more about these related chess openings, strategies, chess puzzles, and other chess topics: