Staunton Gambit (A82-A83)

The Staunton Gambit is a chess opening characterized by the moves:

1. d4 f5 (the Dutch Defence)
2. e4!?

White sacrifices a pawn for quick development, hoping to launch an Attack against Black's kingside, which has been somewhat weakened by 1...f5.

Black can decline the Gambit with 2...d6, transposing to the Balogh Defence: or 2...e6, transposing to the Franco-Hiva. But accepting the pawn with 2...fxe4 is considered stronger than transposing to either of those offbeat defenses.

Although the Staunton Gambit was once a feared weapon for White, it is rarely played today, since theory has shown how to neutralize it, and White scores only about 50 percent.

Howard Staunton (1810 – 22 June 1874) was an English chess master who is generally regarded as having been the world's strongest player from 1843 to 1851, largely as a result of his 1843 victory over Saint-Amant. He promoted a chess set of clearly distinguishable pieces of standardised shape—the Staunton pattern promulgated by Nathaniel Cook—that is still the style required for competitions. He was the principal organiser of the first international chess tournament in 1851, which made England the world's leading chess centre and caused Adolf Anderssen to be recognised as the world's strongest player.

From 1840 onwards he became a leading chess commentator, and won matches against top players of the 1840s. In 1847 he entered a parallel career as a Shakespearean scholar. Ill health and his two writing careers led him to give up competitive chess after 1851. In 1858 attempts were made to organise a match between Staunton and Morphy, but they failed. It is often alleged that Staunton deliberately misled Morphy while trying to avoid the match, but it is also possible Staunton overestimated his chances of getting physically fit and of making time available for a match.