A few days ago I was visiting the Chessville site (which is great, BTW) and came across an interesting article by Clyde Nakamura on the Devon Gambit…never heard of it; it runs: 1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.g4 Nxg4 5.Nf3. Nakamura wrote, “With 3.g4 White offers a pawn and if Black accepts the gambit pawn then White will have quick development, control of the center, a half open g-file and a chance for a kingside attack.” He gives some analysis and a few Blitz games he won online playing it.
I was kind of intrigued so let Houdini and Naum run
overnight to see what they came up with.
It was not too surprising to see there was no direct refutation, but it
looked to me like Black always maintained a slight advantage. You can download
a 15 page pdf booklet of the analysis HERE.
The real test was to see how it worked in practice so I
tried it in a couple of 10 minute games on one of the servers. In the
first game my opponent set up a K-Indian type formation and during the
post-game analysis the engines showed me as having a slight advantage. The only trouble was I could not seem to,
either during the game of afterwards, come up with any worthwhile ideas and
gradually drifted into a cramped and inferior position and lost.
After a couple more games I inveigled another
unsuspecting opponent into the Devon Gambit.
This time Black used a Q-Gambit type set up. Once again I had what the engines considered
to be a satisfactory position out of the opening but, just like in the other
game, I couldn’t seem to get my pieces onto good squares or find a workable
plan. I ended up just sort of shifting
pieces around. Black found a way to
crack open the center and after a series of rather aimless moves on my part I
finally thought I caught him in a little swindle and had equalized. It would have been a nice swindle, too, if he hadn’t had a B standing
idly by on f5 that shot down to c2 checking my K which was standing on a4 where
it was attacking his a-Pawn. Turned out
the check was a mate. 0-2 with the
You might have better luck though.