The Evans Gambit is a chess opening that is named after its creator, William Davies Evans, who introduced it in the early 19th century. It is a sharp and aggressive opening that seeks to control the center and attack the opponent’s king as quickly as possible. The Evans Gambit has been popular throughout history, and even today, it is still played at the highest levels of chess.
The opening starts with the moves 1. e4 e5 2. ♘f3 ♞c6 3. ♗c4 ♝c5 4. b4. This move is a gambit, meaning that White sacrifices a pawn in exchange for a lead in development and control of the center. Black can either accept the gambit by taking the pawn with 4. … ♝xb4 or decline it by playing 4 … ♝b6.
The gambit can be countered by Black in the most apparent and customary manner by accepting it with the move 4 … ♝xb4. After this move, White responds with 5. c3, and Black typically follows up with 5. … ♝a5.
This is probably the least common response to the Evans Gambit. It doesn’t bring too much advantage to Black, as the knight is usually forced to retreat instantly, losing a tempo.
Alternatively, one option is to reject the gambit by playing 4 … ♝b6, followed by the typical continuation of 5. a4 a6. However, many experts believe that declining the Evans Gambit is inferior to accepting it and returning the pawn later, as it results in a loss of tempo.
The Evans Gambit has been played at the highest levels of chess, and has been employed by famous players such as Paul Morphy, Mikhail Tal, and Garry Kasparov. It remains a popular opening today, and is often seen in blitz and rapid games, where the tactical complications can favor the side with better intuition and quicker calculation.