Evans Gambit (C51 – C52)

The Evans Gambit is a chess opening characterised by the moves: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4

The Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings has two codes for the Evans Gambit, C51 and C52.

C51: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4
C52: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5

The Gambit is named after the Welsh sea Captain William Davies Evans, the first player known to have employed it. The first game with the opening is considered to be Evans–McDonnell, London 1827, although in that game a slightly different move order was tried (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.0-0 d6 and only now 5.b4). In 1832, the first analysis of the Gambit was published in the Second Series of Progressive Lessons (1832) by William Lewis. The Gambit became very popular shortly after that, being employed a number of times in the series of games between McDonnell and Louis de la Bourdonnais in 1834. Players such as Adolf Anderssen, Paul Morphy and Mikhail Chigorin subsequently took it up. After Emanuel Lasker's simplifying defense to the opening in a tournament in 1895, it was out of favour for much of the 20th century, although John Nunn and Jan Timman played some games with it in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and in the 1990s Garry Kasparov used it in a few of his games (notably a famous 25-move win against Viswanathan Anand in Riga, 1995), which prompted a brief revival of interest in it.

The Evans Gambit is an aggressive variant of the Giuoco Piano, which normally continues with the positional moves 4.c3 or 4.d3. The idea behind the move 4.b4 is to give up a pawn in order to secure a strong centre and bear down on Black's weak-point, f7. Ideas based on Ba3, preventing Black from castling, are also often in the air. According to Reuben Fine, the Evans Gambit poses a challenge for Black since the usual defenses (play ...d6 and/or give back the Gambit pawn) are more difficult to pull off than with other Gambits. (Interestingly, Fine was beaten by this Gambit in a friendly game against Bobby Fischer, in just 17 moves: Fischer–Fine 1963 1–0.)


Evans Gambit

C51 Evans Gambit

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4

Study Games for Eco Code C51



Evans Gambit with 4...Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5

C52 Evans Gambit with 4...Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5

 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bxb4 5. c3 Ba5

Study Games for Eco Code C52