Want to learn more about chess gambits, with emphasis on the "Romantic" 19th century gambits, the method of opening a chess game that was the norm in the days of Paul Morphy and Adolf Anderssen?
This site is, with time, intended to develop as a one-stop source for those who want an introductory coverage of various gambits and related lines, with some helpful hints regarding the critical lines, and selections of illustrative games (with some annotations, mainly covering the opening phase) that are made available for PGN download. I also offer links to sources that offer a more in-depth analysis of the theory of the lines, for those who are interested. The openings covered vary considerably in soundness, but I make it clear in my introductions which ones are sounder than others- some are suitable even for high-level tournament games while the relatively dubious lines may be suitable mainly for casual/rapid games.
My analysis is error-checked with the Rybka and Fritz computer engines and draws upon a variety of sources, which are cited wherever I make use of them.
This site is "work in progress" and is frequently being updated. The newer articles use ChessBase 12 to provide illustrative replayable games embedded into the website itself, while the older ones tend to provide links to games/analysis hosted at an external site and I am working on updating those to the newer format, as well as updating my coverage of the relevant lines in the process. I also intend to produce coverage of a wider range of lines as time goes on.
Why use these openings?
These opening systems have largely fallen into disuse at grandmaster level, because defence is so good that the well-prepared defender can usually find ways to neutralise the opponent's attack- especially with the rise of modern computer-assisted openings preparation. For this reason, the top GMs generally select positionally sophisticated openings, in which grandmaster opponents and computers have difficultieis in neutralising the opponent's long-term positional advantages.
But for the vast majority of chess players, the above does not apply. Grandmasters account for less than 1% of all chess players, and at lower levels, players often don't defend particularly well, and forceful, attacking chess is more likely to succeed.
These openings offer a good training ground in tactical play, getting your pieces out as quickly as possible, and learning the art of attack and defence, to beginners and improving players. For players up to and including advanced club/county level, these openings can serve as openings for life, regularly getting you into unbalanced and tactical middlegames which, for players who thrive in such positions, can provide a lot of fun.
I am not quite one of those players who must play gambits or give up chess. There are many other ways of creating unbalanced positions- for example, trading a weakened pawn structure for increased piece activity, castling on the opposite side to your opponent, or accepting weaknesses in one area of the board in return for getting strong outposts for your knights.
One argument for frequently playing 19th-century style gambits is that it is one of the most reliable ways of heading for unbalanced and tactical positions (unless you are playing at a very exalted level) and many of these lines offer a lot of creative scope, particularly as they have often been neglected at the top levels of play in recent decades.
However, most 19th-century gambits can be declined, and when your opponents decline your gambits you must be prepared to search for other ways to unbalance the position. Also, developing a good knowledge of how to play gambits also helps when it comes to defending against them, and accepting opponents' gambits (rather than trying to decline them and reach equality) can often be an effective way of getting unbalanced positions.
My other chess site
I also have a chess site at http://tws27.50webs.com/chess/introduction.html which covers a wide range of these gambits, offering introductions to the opening lines and providing encyclopaedic-style coverage of the key lines in PGN format. My "old" site will probably remain the more comprehensive of the two for a while, as I slowly work on expanding this "new" site. I hope, though, that eventually this site will cover a wider range of lines than my "old" one.
My chess blog
My chess blog is located at http://tws27.blogspot.co.uk/ and I blog mostly about these sort of 19th-century gambits, but also throw in some general chess articles too.