Stafford Gambit

Trap 2 – To ‘Pack a Punch’ in the Petroff in only 8 moves!

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 Nc6!

This is known as the Stafford Gambit and certainly packs a trapper’s punch especially against the unwary opponent and is an excellent choice in blitz play! We will only consider its acceptance.

4. Nxc6 dxc6

If now (A) 5. Nc3 Black can play 5… Bc5 (when Ng4 is threatened). e.g. if 6. Bc4 Ng4 and f2 is hard to defend.

7.0-0 allows 7… Qh4! whilst 7.Rf1 invites 7… Qf6! with a great game (but not 7… Nxh2 8. Qh5! and White wins).

Also many White players, when facing this gambit line for the first time, will not wish to play
(B) 5. e5 fearing they could become overextended in the centre. In response 5…Nd5 is probably sounder but 5…Ne4!? is the trappier move.

If 6. d3 Bc5! 7. dxe4?? Bxf2+ 8. Ke2 Bg4+ winning.

If instead the safer (C) 5. d3 Bc5! and now

(C1) 6. Bg5?? then 6… Nxe4! and Black is winning!

e.g. 7. dxe4 Bxf2+! 8. Ke2 Bg4+ wins the queen or 7. Bxd8 Bxf2+ 8. Ke2 Bg4 mate!

If (C2) 6. Nc3? then 6… Ng4! with very good play (how is the pawn on f2 going to be defended?).

If (C3) 6. h3? to stop Ng4 then 6… Bxf2+! 7. Kxf2 Nxe4+ which looks scary.

Perhaps the main line is (C4) 6. Be2! when Black can play the trappy 6… h5!?

If now 7. 0-0? then 7… Ng4!

Black now has full compensation.

8. h3? Qd6! Now all moves lose on the spot except for the less obvious 9. e5 which is about equal after 9… Nxe5.

Many online blitz games have seen 9. g3 which loses immediately to 9… Qxg3+.