Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Milner-Barry Gambit

This post is a collaboration with Mr Andrew Crosby who is an expert in chess gambits. Andrew usually plays them in his games with great success. He is also a member of our virtual club and takes active part in our online tournaments and matches.

Gambits play a large part in chess opening theory. There is a vast number as they often lead to success. They are very useful weapons to have in your armoury as they often take your opponents out of their comfort zone. They make chess more exciting and fun to play by avoiding boring and stodgy positions. To retain their surprise value don’t play them too often otherwise your opponents will know what to expect.

To succeed at chess you need to play a variety of different openings and gambits will ably assist you in achieving this goal. If you don’t currently play any gambits, it’s recommended that you try one with the white pieces and one with the black. Ideally, choose ones that will occur frequently as in the following three most popular responses to e4. In order of frequency play the Smith-Morra Gambit versus the Sicilian Defence, the Urosov Gambit versus e5 and the Milner-Barry Gambit when up against the French Defence. All three gambits are sound and would provide a high success rate against unprepared opponents. As black against e4, the Stafford Gambit contains many traps for the unwary while versus d4 the Benko Gambit is a good choice.

Today’s game features the excellent Milner-Barry Gambit that occurs in the Advance Variation of the French Defence. It is an aggressive pawn sacrifice to obtain very active pieces.

Gambits can lead to quick wins and often involve wild and unpredictable positions depending on the gambit line chosen. It is important to note that gambits can be declined or accepted so be prepared for both instances. So there are lots of good reasons for playing gambits, the most compelling being that they should lead to greater success. Good luck with your choices!

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