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Center Game (C21)
1 e4 e5 2 d4 exd4

Number of games in database: 598
Years covered: 1834 to 2021
Overall record:
   White wins 50.7%
   Black wins 34.1%
   Draws 15.1%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Jacques Mieses  35 games
Blackburne  28 games
Frank Marshall  27 games
NN  14 games
Emanuel Lasker  6 games
Mikhail Chigorin  6 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Charousek vs J Wollner, 1893
Bird vs Lasker, 1892
Blackburne vs NN, 1863
Stevenson vs A Marriott, 1868
J Schwarz vs Tarrasch, 1883
J Perlis vs Blackburne, 1907
<< previous chapter next chapter >>

 page 1 of 24; games 1-25 of 598  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell ½-½511834LondonC21 Center Game
2. J Robertson vs E Williams 0-1251841corr Portsmouth-BristolC21 Center Game
3. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  1-0301850CalcuttaC21 Center Game
4. Cochrane vs Mohishunder 1-0311850CalcuttaC21 Center Game
5. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  1-0441850CalcuttaC21 Center Game
6. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  0-1491850CalcuttaC21 Center Game
7. S Boden vs R Brien  1-0471851Provincial tC21 Center Game
8. P Journoud vs Kieseritzky 0-1421852ParisC21 Center Game
9. Saint-Amant vs C Stanley 1-0361852New York mC21 Center Game
10. Von der Lasa vs Staunton 0-1391853MatchC21 Center Game
11. Cochrane vs Mohishunder  0-1461854CalcuttaC21 Center Game
12. Anderssen vs H Pollmaecher 1-0181855LeipzigC21 Center Game
13. Falkbeer vs Zytogorski 1-081856LondonC21 Center Game
14. R Franz vs C Eliason  1-0511856Berlin chC21 Center Game
15. Schoenhals vs Paulsen 0-1251856Blindfold simul, 2bC21 Center Game
16. R Franz vs S Leow  0-1541856BerlinC21 Center Game
17. Falkbeer vs C Ingleby 1-0381858BirminghamC21 Center Game
18. O Koerber vs F Amelung  0-1291858ArsenburgC21 Center Game
19. Owen vs Loewenthal  0-1521858BirminghamC21 Center Game
20. Lindehn vs E Herr 1-0221860Casual gameC21 Center Game
21. Lindehn vs Kolisch 1-0311860ParisC21 Center Game
22. A G Puller vs B W Horne  1-04418603rd BCA TournamentC21 Center Game
23. J Thompson vs J A Leonard  0-1271860New YorkC21 Center Game
24. Lindehn vs S Bergh  0-1281860UnknownC21 Center Game
25. E Pindar vs P Birch 1-0261860Manchester CC ch mC21 Center Game
 page 1 of 24; games 1-25 of 598  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-07-06  Kriegspiel: Well, this game (1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Qxd4) is also known as the Center Gambit. It is titled thus, for example, in Gabor Kallai's Basic Chess Openings, Vol, 1. As he says, "Why is this a gambit? Well, White sacrifices not material, but time..." Is Grandmaster Kallai simply regurgitating erroneous dogma?

But if you don't like argument by quotation of expert opinion, consider what a "tempo" is: 1 tempo = 1 move. Since moves are compulsory in chess, loss of tempo must refer to a wasted move. What constitutes a wasted move? One may, after all, lose a tempo even after development has taken place. But in the opening, any move that does not free a piece, develop a piece, help control the center, or (efficiently and of necessity) parry a threat, is usually regarded as a wasted move. 2...exd4 is generally accepted as the appropriate move in this circumstance, and it assists Black in his struggle to control the center.



Jan-07-06  Kriegspiel: <Swapmeet> There are two forms of Scotch Gambit after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4: (a) 4.Bc4; (b) 4.c3; and (b) is also known as the Goering Gambit. But it is nevertheless a form of the Scotch Gambit. So we are both correct, except insofar as you imply that "Scotch Gambit" is not correct.

The line cited by <DeepBlade> was: 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.c3 dxc3 5.Nxc3; and this is a transposition into the Scotch Gambit, type (b), aka Goering Gambit.



Jan-07-06  Kriegspiel: <Swapmeet> Regarding the Center Game losing a tempo for White, I happen to be at the library, and here is an additional quote from Nimzowitsch's My System (21st Century Edition), from Part I, Chapter 1, Section 3 ("To be ahead in development is the ideal to be aimed at"), pp.3-4:

"...Accordingly, we force our opponent to lose time if we make a developing move which at the same time attacks a piece which he has already moved. This very typical situation arises after 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3."

Of course, this is the Scandinavian Defense but the analogy to the Center Game is quite literal. In the next Section 4 ("Exchange with resulting gain of tempo") he goes on, after calling the previous illustration "the most compact form" of this, to give a similar example:

"1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nf6 3.cxd5! ...and now if 3...Qxd5 then that Black will be forced to answer by wandering about."


Jan-07-06  Swapmeet: No, 4.c3 is not "a form of the Scotch Gambit". It is called the Goring Gambit. End of story.

Jan-08-06  DeepBlade: C44
Scotch Opening, Goering Gambit

Jezus, you guys almost made me feel sorry for posting the opening line!

This is some kind of counter-gambit by Black

1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. c3 d5
Chessops gives this gambit an question mark, and gives Blacks reply an exlamation point!

5. exd5 Qxd5 6. cxd4 it transposes in an DANISH GAMBIT DECLINED Sorensen Def. (Variation)

Jan-10-06  Kriegspiel: <Swapmeet> Let me say this one more time, citing an authority (not you): the Goering Gambit and the Scotch Gambit are the *same thing*; the only difference is that in some forms of the Scotch Gambit the move 4.Bc4 is interpolated (e.g., 4.Bc4 Bc5 5.c3 dxc3 6.Nxc3).

Both forms (with and without the interpolation) are described as the Scotch Gambit in Grandmaster Gabor Kallai's Basic Chess Openings, Vol. 1, "Scotch Game", p.15.

Why should I accept your claim that this nomenclature is incorrect? What are your bona fides? Because "end of story" just doesn't cut it.



Jan-10-06  Kriegspiel: <DeepBlade> Kallai gives 4.c3 d5!?, but though there is no notation mark assigned to White's gambit, he goes on to describe various lines resulting from it and says "The moral is: a Scotsman should not sacrifice!"



Jan-11-06  Swapmeet: <Kriegspiel> Alright. this is a silly argument. But since we're citing specific books now, you can check MCO, which lists the Scotch Gambit under the Scotch Game, and the Goring Gambit as its own separate opening. How you'd like to determine which source is more credible is up to you I suppose. You say tomato....
Jan-11-06  DeepBlade: The opening is Scotch (game/opening), but the gambit played is the Goering/Göring/Goring gambit.

You dont call the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit a ''Queen's pawn game''

We can go like this for eons!

Anyway I have some funny games with my gambit.

[White "Steve Neezly"]
[Black "NN"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Event "InstantChess"]
[BlackIFlag ""]
[WhiteIFlag "NL"]

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Nf3
c5 4.c3 dxc3 5.Nxc3 b6
6.Bf4 Nc6 7.Nd5 d6 8.e5 dxe5
9.Nxe5 Nxe5 10.Bxe5 f6 11.Nc7+
Kf7 12.Qxd8 1-0

[White "Steve Neezly"]
[Black "NN"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Event "InstantChess"]
[BlackIFlag ""]
[WhiteIFlag "NL"]

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Nf3
d5 4.Qxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bb4
6.Bd3 Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 Nxe4 8.Ba3
Nf6 9.O-O Bg4 10.Rfe1+ Kd7
11.Ne5+ Ke6 12.Nc6+ 1-0

[White "Vegas_BloodMoney"]
[Black "NN"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Event "InstantChess"]
[BlackIFlag "MA"]
[WhiteIFlag "NL"]

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Nf3
Nc6 4.c3 dxc3 5.Nxc3 Bb4
6.Bc4 h6 7.O-O Nf6 8.Re1 O-O
9.e5 Nh7 10.a3 Bc5 11.Qc2 d6
12.Rd1 Be6 13.Nd5 a6 14.Ba2 f6
15.Bf4 Kh8 16.Nh4 Qe8 17.Bb1 g5
18.Qxh7# 1-0

Premium Chessgames Member
  ganstaman: I recently faced the Danish Gambit in a tournament. The opening went: 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 cxb2 5.Bxb2 d5 6.Bxd5 Nf6 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qxd8 Bb4+ 9.Qd2 Bxd2 10.Nxd2

While I have heard that this is good for black (is this true?) I did not enjoy it. I like having pieces on the board to play with, and this position looks rather boring. So I started to think of a better, more exciting resonse for black. Instead of wasting time grabbing pawns (that I will give back anyway), why not develop and take the offensive?

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 Nf6!?
I see only one game like this so far:
Captain Evans vs G Perigal, 1839. However, in this game after 4.e5, it continued Ne4. I would think that 4.... Qe7 would be better, followed by d6.

White has many choices for his fourth move, but I like all of them for black. Any move that doesn't defend the e4 pawn is followed by 4....Nxe4.

4.Nd2 meets dxc3 and 5.bxc3 leaves white down a pawn with bad queenside pawns and no better development than black.

4.Bd3 dxc3 5.Nxc3 may transpose to normal Goring Gambit positions (I don't really know them well), but I feel that the bishop of d3 instead of c4 really takes a lot away from white's position, making it less likely that he got compensation for the pawn.

4.Qxd4 Nc6 and now the queen must go to d3 or e3 to keep the e4 pawn protected. But black is better developed and I think the pawn at c3 will really be pain to white's queen's knight.

Any thoughts on 3....Nf6?

Jan-31-06  RookFile: I've seen a few games that go something like this: 1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 Nf6 4. e5 Qe7 5. Nf3 d6 6. Bc4 d5 7. Be2 Ne4 8. cxd4.

It's a game. White's better here.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ganstaman: Hmmm, I'm going to look at 6...Bg4 instead (1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 Nf6 4. e5 Qe7 5. Nf3 d6 6. Bc4 Bg4). At first glance it may be good, but I'll try to analyze a few lines when I get back (unfortunately, I seem to keep on choosing the worst moves for white, I hope I can overcome my bias :) ).
Premium Chessgames Member
  ganstaman: So, I started to look at that 6...Bg4.

7.0-0 dxe5 8.Re1 Nbd7 9. h3 (9.cxd4 0-0-0 10.dxe5 Nxe5) Bxf3 10.Qxf3 0-0-0 and being down two pawns white may try 11.cxd4 but will run into Qb4.

Better may have been 8.cxd4 but I like Nbd7 9.dxe5 Nxe5 10.Re1 Nfd7 11.Bf4 0-0-0.

So maybe a different 7th move for white? 7.cxd4 dxe5 8.dxe5 Qb4+. After 9.Nc3 or 9.Nbd2, I think Ne4 can get interesting. As long as black keeps his queen from being trapped, I think things are at least equal (and definitely enough tactics to be exciting). Also, 9.Bd2 Qxc4 10.exf6 gxf6 leaves black up a pawn and in a position to fianchetto his king's bishop and be safe IMO despite having a pretty bad pawn structure.

Another try in this line would be 8.0-0 Be6 9.Bxe6 (9.d5 Bg4 and I think the pawn is less useful on d5) Qxe6 10.dxe5 Nfd7 and black should be able to develop and castle safely with queens still on the board.

I put some of this into Chessmaster 8000, and it recommends 6...dxe5 7.0-0 c5 8.Ng5 Be6 where black gets doubled e pawns but a 2 pawn advantage. (Actually, it prefers 5.cxd4 d6 6.f4 Nd5 7.Nf3 dxe4 8.fxe4 Be6 9.Bd3 Qb4+ and then I forget, but I like black's pawn structure better here anyway).

Feb-16-06  EmperorAtahualpa: The Danish gambit kind of reminds me of the consultation game!

See the game here: me to play chessforum

Premium Chessgames Member
  ganstaman: That consultation game was a Smith-Morra Gambit. The difference between that and the Danish is in the e and c pawns for black -- in the Smith-Morra, black can play e6 to try and blunt white's light square bishop. Also, the c-file is fully open, and so black can try to challenge white for control of it.

In the Danish Gambit, the c-file is only half open, and so black has a pawn there to defend/advance/whatever. Also, black has no e-pawn, and so must find another way to counter white's light square bishop.

And now that I looked back over the game, I see one more thing: The Goring Gambit is when white recaptures the pawn with Nxc3. The Danish Gambit features white offering the b2 pawn as a sacrifice too.

But yes, they are similar. I like them because they have easy, logical development, and a nice spatial advantage. And a pawn isn't too much for all that.

Feb-17-06  LluviaSean: This is a great opening. Black is at a disadvantage unless he has read up extensively on the Danish Gambit.
Feb-17-06  LluviaSean: Are there any examples of the Danish Gambit where Black successfully holds on to the 2 pawn lead? In some variations, Black gives up his d-pawn to help him to develop his pieces better. I'd like to see if anyone held on to the two-pawn lead.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <LluviaSean> Mieses vs Chigorin, 1902 & Mieses vs Chigorin, 1904

Check it ;>D

Apr-03-06  blingice: Here's a Danish Gambit game I played:

[Event "Yay happy funtime chess"]
[Site "FICS"]
[Date "2006.4.3"]
[Round ""]
[White "blingice"]
[Black "NN"]
[TimeControl "2 12 Blitz"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "oft "]

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 cxb2 5.Bxb2 Bb4+ 6.Nc3 Qe7 7.f3 Nf6 8.a3 Ba5 9.Qa4 Nc6 10.O-O-O Bxc3 11.Bxc3 a6 12.Ne2 b5 13.Bxb5 Bb7 14.Bc4 O-O 15.Rhe1 Nh5 16.Nd4 Nxd4 17.Bxd4 Bc6 18.Qa5 d6 19.Qxh5 Ba4 20.Qg4 d5 21.Qxg7# 1-0

12..b5? wasn't very good, and I didn't even see the possibility of a fork. I refuted it well though.

18. Qa5- I saw the pawn threat, but I didn't see the threat on the knight as well. Only after he moved 18..d6 to save his pawn did I see the free knight.

I also thought it was interesting for me to queenside castle, as it was the weakened side, but I thought that adding a rook to my central control would attack him still more.

Finally, before his final move 20..d5??, the position was this (copied from my post-mortem Chessmaster analysis program):

click for larger view

And Chessmaster suggests 20..g6, but he moves a pawn in front of the wrong bishop! I could tell he saw the mate, because he didn't take the rook, and he tried to block the bishop attack, but he didn't see the correct diagonal, apparently...

Well, I attacked in the fashion I have heard that is necessary for this opening, and I have also heard from someone (who I can't remember) that said that a person using the Danish Gambit should intend to win in 20 moves or less. I would likely have lost if I hadn't attacked.

I actually found a fantastic example of the Danish Gambit and the attack necessary to accompany it: Marshall vs NN, 1907

Also, when I had Chessmaster analyze this game for me, one of it's "Auto-Annotations" after 3..dxc3 was Chessmaster's comment: <Instead of declining the gambit with d3, this move adheres to the rule: 'To defeat a gambit, you must accept it.'> Has anyone heard of this before?

<tpstar> How do you get PGNs from your games on FICS? For this game, I used the "mailoldmoves" command, copied the moves emailed to me onto Notepad, played them on Chessmaster, copied the PGN from the Chessmaster interface to here, and I'd hope that there would be a more effective way to obtain the PGN.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <blingice:To defeat a gambit, you must accept it.>

I could be wrong, but I think it was Louis Paulsen who said this.

Apr-04-06  blingice: Hmm, I'd have no idea, because Chessmaster was the one who repeated it to me. Is there validity to that statement?
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <blingice> I checked the Oxford Chess Companion and the best I could find was that in 1860, Paulsen stated the belief that all gambits can be defended. I guess I'm wrong regarding the quote you mentioned.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ganstaman: To some degree, definitely. I think the idea is to make the gambiteer prove that he has compensation, while you greedily hold out for the endgame (thus hopefully defeating the gambit). Of course, the actual position matters most. From what I've heard, the Benko Gambit gives black (the one gambitting) an advantage. If white declines the gambit, he's the one with the advantage. In this case, the way to defeat the gambit is to decline it.

I guess it really has more to do with mentality than actual move advice. Put the onus on the other guy to prove the gambit's soundness. If you are unsure of whether to accept or decline, accept! You're not the one that has to show the gambit can win. Or something like that.

Maybe I just like pawns too much.

Apr-04-06  blingice: So then isn't a gambit just an opening that says "show me how agressive you are"? I suppose that's especially so with the Danish Gambit.
Jun-11-06  trumbull0042: I just got clobbered twice in Yahoo against the center game. An opening that isn't to be underestimated.
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