I don’t usually like to play openings where I grab a pawn and defend for dear life trying to hold onto it. In some openings though, this approach is best. Bobby Fischer’s article “A Bust to the King’s Gambit–Bobby Fischer” presents one such option. I’m not saying that Fischer advocated taking pawns all the time–just in this one case as far as I know. There are other
I’m not saying that Fischer advocated taking pawns all the time–just in this one case as far as I know. There are other gambit systems for White that are even more dubious and you can take the pawns, but those discussions are for another post.
In any case, the Fischer Defense is a solid option for Black. It takes a bit of getting used to, especially if, like me, you tend to prefer active positions and early piece development. In the Fischer Defense you’ll make several early pawn moves at the expense of development, and this is a reason that I often consider going back to the Falkbeer Countergambit or something else more active. But the reason that I keep going back to the Fischer Defense is that I seem to get a winning position in almost every game.
But the reason that I keep going back to the Fischer Defense is that I seem to get a winning position in almost every game. Of course, I have lost many of those winning positions, because in the King’s Gambit, one little slip-up, and you can not only lose your slight advantage but also you can lose heavy material and/or get mated in the process. White often will try for early h-pawn pushes against the Fischer Defense to rapidly open up attacks on f7 and your King. With correct play, Black still has a better game in these positions, but they are much trickier to play. We’ll also have to save those lines for another post because they are so crazy and detailed.
Below is a game that I just played where Black gets everything he wants in the Fischer Defense: up one pawn, relatively safe king, solid kingside, knights on good squares, weaknesses protected (particularly the light-square diagonals around the king). In the game, I don’t play the best moves (and neither does my opponent), so this isn’t an example of how all your games will go, but it shows the opening moves, some common patterns, and some ideas to watch out for as Black. Below the video are some links to other resources as well.
Bobby Fischer’s article, “A Bust to the King’s Gambit“
SeanG Godley’s 3-Part Video Series on Bobby Fischer’s Article
ChessExplained’s video overview of his recommendation for 1…e5 Players, the Falkbeer Countergambit
Some ideas behind the King’s Gambit opening