Taking Out The Trash - Part 2 - The Elephant Gambit

A quick little refutation of a frequent guest in lower rated blitz play.

The Elephant Gambit

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d5?!

Check back soon for the most in depth analysis to date in Part 3 - The Smith-Morra Gambit.


  • 18 months ago

    NM ih8sens

    The line I provided in the comments for Bd6 is still good. White gets a simple game with a fairly big edge.

  • 18 months ago


    Regardless if White plays 3.Nxe5 or exd5, the best answer is 3..Bd6.

    There are 2 or 3 ways for White to achieve a good advantage, but he has to play very cautious and exactly.

    I dont know a single line in the Najdorf or in the QGD, but you can believe me, that i know how to play the dubious Elephant Gambit, cause it was my standard response to 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 for many years :-)

  • 19 months ago


    agree with dark falcon.

    if 3. Nxe5 then 3...Bd6

    3. exd5 is a different story of course

  • 2 years ago

    NM ih8sens

    Bd6 is a completely different line.  I don't even consider it part of the Elephant Gambit.  My analysis starts on move 4. 

    For those who are interested, however, the obvious 4. d4 followed by natural play leaves white with a perfectly good advantage.  

    A sample line could go:

    3... Bd6?! 4. d4! e4 5. Ne5 Nf6 6. Bb5+ Bd7 7. Nxd7 Nbxd7 8. c4 with a perfectly good avantage.  You guys can check this one yourselves, as there isn't a whole lot of danger for white.

    Thanks for your comment @Dark_Falcon ... It's nice to see people still read these :)

  • 2 years ago


    If the author wants to refute the Elephant Gambit, then he should play it correctly...

    the correct move isnt 3...e4?!, nor 3...Qxd5?

    Its 3...Bd6!

  • 3 years ago



  • 3 years ago


    My room mate and I are looking at the Elephant right now. We just spent an afternoon looking at 7...Qh5. This was the logical play out of this line:

    7...Qh5 8.Qb5 Bc5 9.Nb3 Nxe4 10.Be3 Bb4+ 11.c3 Qxb5 12.Bxb5 Bd6

    7...Qe6 is better for black. It's the only satisfactory way to avoid a queen swap.

  • 5 years ago


    A good analysis indeed..

    I have also encountered this gambit in blitz play often enough, but never in regular OTB games.

  • 5 years ago

    NM ih8sens

    Engine fought with me on that move, and it's possible Qb5 right away is as good... But try to find a productive move for black!  Be6 runs into Qb5, Bc5 runs into the variation given, and since an immediate Qb5 appears to run into Bc5 with some (pathetic) piece activity for the pawn, waiting for Be7 whilst having the option of g4 at some point (the queen isn't perfectly happy on h5 by any stretch) seems to be slightly more accurate.  

    Anyways, my conclusion was that a semi-useful waiting move would hurt black a lot more than white.  

    There are no practical games that I am aware of that reached that position, as most players opted for Nfd2 instead of Nbd2, seeing ghosts based on hanging a b4 bishop and castling long (I think).  

    Anyways in short, I included the move because Rybka decided it agreed with me after about half an hour, and I immediately took that as a moral victory and added the move lol.  

  • 5 years ago


    This is an excellent article.

    Indeed the best way against this try for stronger players, best results/percentages at higher levels and even computer suggestion all agree with the line you have given here. Looking through it a couple of times, I find it quite nice.

    I guess I have just one question - what made you choose 8.h3 instead of playing 8.Qb5 immediately? Is this a nuance that helps? It may prevent Black from putting his bishop on too aggressive a square (g4), but that's all I can see.


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