An Interesting Gambit Against The French

Here’s an interesting and little known gambit that I only found out about yesterday. White makes out that he’s playing for a Milner-Barry Gambit with 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Qb6 6. Bd3 but after 6…cxd4 plays 7.0-0 rather than 7.cxd4 Bd7 8.Nc3 Nxd4 9.Nxd4 Qxd4 10.0-0. Of course Black can capture on c3 with 7…dxc3 but after 8.Nxc3 White gets pretty good positional compensation for the pawn.

So most of the players who’ve had to face this with Black meet 7.0-0 with 7…Bd7, still hoping for regular Milner-Barry gambit territory after 8.cxd4 Nxd4 9.Nxd4 Qxd4. But White doesn’t have to do that and can instead continue to offer the c3 pawn with 8.Re1.

In the following encounter this line got quite a scalp in the form of the veteran Armenian GM, Rafael Vaganian. White was that well known gambiteer Jonny Hector who has been sacrificing pawns throughout his lively career:

Nigel Davies

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About NigelD

Nigel Davies is an International Chess Grandmaster living in Southport in the UK. The winner of 15 international tournaments he is also a former British U21 and British Open Quickplay Champion and has represented both England and Wales on several occasions. These days Nigel teaches chess through his chess training web site, Tiger Chess, which has articles, recommendations, a monthly clinic, videos and courses. His students include his 15 year old son Sam who is making rapid progress with his game. Besides teaching chess, Nigel is a registered tai chi and qigong instructor and runs several weekly classes.