Dangerous & Rare Chess Opening | Halloween Gambit

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If you’re a chess player who loves to strike fear into your opponents and leave them in awe of your tactical prowess, then the Halloween Gambit is the perfect opening for you!

This daring and deceptive chess opening can humiliate your opponents like no other, snatching victory from seemingly certain defeat. In this lesson, we will explore the Halloween Gambit, its uncanny effectiveness, and the devastating attacks it unleashes on unsuspecting opponents.

The Halloween Gambit arises from the Four Knights Game, a common opening encountered in many chess games. It happens after the following moves: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6, and the magic begins with the seemingly reckless move, 4.Nxe5.

At first glance, 4.Nxe5 appears to be a blunder, as Black can capture the knight and gain an advantage. Even those familiar with the gambit often regard it with suspicion, expecting a quick refutation by Black.

However, the Halloween Gambit has a mysterious power hidden within. Surprisingly, it boasts the highest win rate for White compared to any other move in this position. It defies explanation, but there seems to be a touch of dark magic at play.

The true strength of the Halloween Gambit lies in its ability to create a long-lasting, powerful attack rather than relying on specific traps. By sacrificing the knight 4…Nxe5 and following up with 5.d4, you chase away Black’s knights and gain significant space for your own pieces.

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► Chapters

00:00 Halloween Gambit: Aggressive Chess Opening
01:02 Highest win rate for White
01:29 Main idea of the Halloween Gambit
02:39 1) If Black plays 5…Nc6
04:36 1.2) If Black plays 6…Ne5
07:26 If Black doesn’t play the Four Knights Game
08:42 2) If Black plays 5…Ng6
10:59 If Black develops their bishop

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56 Comments

  1. 4:45 what if black moves the knight to B4 then A6? Guarding the c7 pawn cleverly? I face it a lot and is hard to break through. If there is an update video please elaborate on this. Thanks.

  2. After 11:05, the pawn doesn't deprive the f6 square for black because the queen pins that pawn. Am I missing something?

  3. @7:01 the best move for black is Qxb5, then Bxb5 axb5, Qe2 to hit the pawn. The game is dead even material and position wise after that. Most players won't find that move in the heat of battle though so well worth playing the gambit.
    @9:00 where black makes the best move of Ng6 and the other knight is forced back, after Bc4 is played, black could play d5 to open up the light-square bishop going to e6 square on the next move or playing c6. Again, most lower elo players won't see that move so the gambit is still worth playing for fun. And no, taking back en-passant won't be good for white as the dark-square bishop takes the pawn back and black can develop their pieces normally with a +2 point advantage. That's how to counter it as black though, in case you were wondering. It's definitely not fun playing black if you don't have a clue so by all means have fun with it. Any time you take material early instead of developing pieces, you run the risk of falling way behind in development. That's exactly what white wants in this gambit. As black you have to figure a way to keep 1 or 2 points and get your development going as soon as possible. A great explanation and example game where black crushes white is shown here: https://www.chessable.com/blog/halloween-gambit/

  4. Tried it today and won nicely. Black king went for a walk early

  5. Dear sir, can you please make a detailed video on Traxler counter attack

  6. I love playing the Halloween gambit! I always enjoy watching new content on this opening. Thank you!

  7. So what's the defense for black?

    Is it to just avoid opening four knights?

  8. So what would be the right move for black after you sacrifice your knight on e5

  9. be carefull with queen e7 , first time when i played the haloween gambit it shocked me i didnt realy knew what to do but because im not realy that high elo (740) i did one mistake in the gambit early and it backfired horribly i got checkmated by the queen on e7 i hope i will improve in the future for now i will continue learning this gambit because it seems worth learning i just played that one bad ig

  10. Instructions unclear:
    I have no idea what Marvin is doing

  11. OMG your videos are so awesome. Thank you so much I learn so much from you. You explain everything so well.

  12. My friend unironically calls it the ballistic missile Halloween gambit💀

  13. Finally I've wanting to learn more about Halloween gambit and your videos are much more easier to understand for me tnx

  14. Yes please improve new version of halloween gambit i really like it

  15. Thank you so much for sharing this video on the Halloween Gambit. I won all 6 of my games with this opening and I love it! Great job GM Igor and I am truly thankful to you for all your great videos!

  16. It should be called the Christopher Reeve gambit because of it's paralyzing effect.

  17. ► Chapters

    00:00 Halloween Gambit: Aggressive Chess Opening

    01:02 Highest win rate for White

    01:29 Main idea of the Halloween Gambit

    02:39 1) If Black plays 5…Nc6

    04:36 1.2) If Black plays 6…Ne5

    07:26 If Black doesn't play the Four Knights Game

    08:42 2) If Black plays 5…Ng6

    10:59 If Black develops their bishop

  18. This is very great Gambit. People are very uncomfortable when they're lack of spaces.

  19. For the last two months I have been watching your videos and my rating really improved.From 1200 to 1400.Thanks so much for your great videos ❤🙏

  20. Black has so many good movies that would take this gambit a part. Sorry not a good gambit

  21. His speech is faster and better now, his detours, however, are extreme. Efficiency is not an issue for him.
    For all viewers efficiency is essential but not for him, he expands where expansion is not needed. Your time is of zero concern to him here.
    Very good concept that could have made a great video. IF he had an editor go through and remove the verbiage this video would be good.

  22. after queen to a8 , what if black queen captures the pawn on c2?

  23. You can play this from the black side too, it's particularly effective against the Glek system (1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. g3.)

    I've even played the snappily named "doubly reversed halloween gambit in the reversed Glek system of the Gunsberg four knights game" 🙂

  24. Ha ha, unbelievable!! I need to practice this. Thanks

  25. I'm having problem playing as white. It seems everything I do gets counter by black.

  26. This was my first attempt at playing the gambit. 😂😂😂 I seriously have no fucking clue what the hell this man was thinking he was gonna do. He was even a decent rating of 1500 😂😂😂😂

    1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Bc5 4. Nxe5 Bxf2+ 5. Kxf2 Nxe5 6. d4 Qf6+ 7. Ke1 Qh4+
    8. g3 Qg4 9. Be2 d6 10. Bxg4 1-0

  27. When I was a kid I was playing the Halloween gambit and crushing a lot of beginners like me. It was really fun.

  28. LOVING this gambit! I'm trying this in my next game.

  29. ive been following your videos recently im new to chess but absoutely love it! your a good teacher easy to learn from and fun . thankyou

  30. What a beautiful game we have here eh guys <3

  31. Thank you for your effort idol gm igor i started to play chess 4months ago 400 to 1200 in just 4months thankyou for your effort 🙂

  32. I was waiting for you to make a video on Halloween gambit. Thanks gm igor

  33. NO WHY WOULD YOU EXPOSE THE BEST AND MOST EVIL OPENING TO THE PUBLIC

  34. This is quite a fun gambit, indeed, specially on low ELO, but it becomes useless if black knows how to play properly like a Grand Master.

  35. Wow! What a nice Halloween Gambit! Thanks a lot Igor! 😊👍♟

  36. im a beginner and when i first started all i saw in rooks was to move forward. now i know a bit more of the game and i only see rooks moving sideways. so i always struggle to remember that by default they protect the pawns in front of them. when you said to push the h pawn all i was thinking was the knight takes it. then a bit later you show that the rook takes it back. always forget that.. 🙁

  37. Should this gambit be renamed? I mean it´s tempting to call it the Helloween Gambit instead. But that probably isn´t politically correct. 😉

    Remote Chess Academy >>> May I ask you a question? I would like to hear your view on why we don´t see the Nesjmetdinov Gambit in the Siesta-variation of the Ruy Lopez played very much. It´s just that I wonder that all the theory I have about it probably wouldn´t have developed if it´s a completely trashy gambit. In that case for example the Englund Gambit wouldn´t have stood a chance.

  38. 11:36 what if they don't trade off their black bishop on b4 and the knight on g6 captures the pushed pawn on h4?

  39. I use it and I prefer it over other high risk, high reward openings like the deutz gambit because it is easy to remember and really limits Black's options. Pretty much every move is forced

  40. What an absolute jackass this gambit makes of the black side it's hilarious the powerful pawn surge up the centre controling the "mighty" night, great stuff I'm itching to try this tricksy little gambit❤😂😊👌👏👍

  41. Thank you for this beautiful gambit!! My elo quickly increased from 1450 to 1200 ;)))

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