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King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham (C35)
1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 Be7

Number of games in database: 594
Years covered: 1749 to 2022
Overall record:
   White wins 46.3%
   Black wins 38.4%
   Draws 15.3%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Joseph G Gallagher  11 games
Anthony Santasiere  6 games
David Bronstein  6 games
NN  10 games
Henry Bird  9 games
Mark Hebden  6 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Morphy vs Bird, 1859
Spassky vs Kholmov, 1964
Lutikov vs Korchnoi, 1951
G Spreckley vs A Mongredien, 1846
Iverhov vs Ilianako, 1957
F Riemann vs Tarrasch, 1883
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 page 1 of 24; games 1-25 of 594  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Philidor vs NN 1-0221749Analyse du jeu des ÉchecsC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
2. Philidor vs NN 0-1401749Analyse du jeu des ÉchecsC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
3. Philidor vs NN 0-1441749Analyse du jeu des ÉchecsC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
4. NN vs D Ponziani 0-1101769?C35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
5. D Ercole Del Rio vs Portocarrero 1-0191790ModenaC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
6. Rabinovich vs Kieseritzky  1-0401823St PetersburgC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
7. Von Guttceit vs Kieseritzky 1-0251832DorpatC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
8. P Bilguer vs Mayet  1-0211838BerlinC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
9. P Bilguer vs NN 1-0291840Bilguer Simul 3b, BerlinC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
10. von der Lasa vs W Hanstein 1-0201842BerlinC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
11. von der Lasa vs C Jaenisch 1-0201842Berlin Congress GCFC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
12. C Jaenisch vs von der Lasa 1-0221842UnknownC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
13. F J Devinck vs Kieseritzky  0-1271842ParisC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
14. E Rousseau vs Kieseritzky  0-1331843Offhand gameC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
15. E Rousseau vs Kieseritzky  0-1461843Offhand GameC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
16. G Spreckley vs A Mongredien 0-1151846LiverpoolC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
17. Morphy vs J McConnell 1-0111849Casual gameC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
18. H Buckle vs NN 1-0221849LondonC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
19. C Naret Oliphant vs A Wentel  1-0431851AmsterdamC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
20. Morphy vs Bird 1-0461859Simul, 5bC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
21. H Clemenz vs F Amelung 1-0181862Dorpat Chess ClubC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
22. H Clemenz vs F Amelung  1-0381862Dorpat Chess ClubC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
23. J Wisker vs Bird 0-1481868BCA-02.Challenge CupC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
24. J L van Eck vs C Tinholt 1-0201869corrC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
25. G MacDonnell vs Bird 0-1221870GreatC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
 page 1 of 24; games 1-25 of 594  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 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-16-04  Dick Brain: If I were playing for fun, I'd play 4. Bc4 Bh4+ 5. g3 fxg3 6. 0-0 gxh2+ 7. Kh1

If I were playing to to make the best moves, I'd play 5. Kf1

Premium Chessgames Member
  cu8sfan: <Benzol> I actually meant the game Gallagher - Faure, Geneva 1989 which is not in this database. It starts like this:

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.♘f3 ♗e7 4.♘c3 ♗h4+ 5.♔e2 c6 6.d4 d5 7.♕d2 dxe4 8.♘xe4 ♘f6 9.♕xf4 ♘xe4 10.♕xe4+ ♕e7 11.♔d3 ♕xe4+ 12.♔xe4.

Here Gallagher writes <Like in the good old days, the monarch leads his army in to battle. Although Black may be able to gain some time attacking the king it is, nevertheless, well centralised for the endgame.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <cu8fan> I see. With the Queens off a centralized King in the endgame would be advantageous.
Jul-17-04  refutor: there's an old saying by spassky (quoting zak) "if you don't like having your king on f1, don't play the king's gambit"

<dick brain> that line isn't best, but morphy got the better of it in Morphy vs Bird, 1859, definitely an interesting line

Jan-20-05  drukenknight: More Kings gambit, last night I ran into one of these maniacs who plays the Rosentretter, the problem with KG players is that they never get tired of beating me in this and will play it all nite. There are only two known ways to stop them, 1) tell them you are conducting a thematic correspondence tournament for FIDE and would they be interested?, 2) play the same kings gambit on them and make them look stupid.

I played the KG on him and he did a Cunningham:

1. e4 e5
2. f4 exf4
3. Nf3 Be7
4. Qe2 (only one game in database with this move)

4... Bh4+ (a novelty)
5. Kd1 Nc6
6. d4 d6
7. Nc3 Bg5
8. h4 Bh6
9. d5 Na5
10. Qb5+ c6
11. Qb4 c5
12. Qa4+ Kf8 (probabaly safer than 12....Bd7 13. Bb5 but...?)

Still anybody's game, the crap pc, favors black very slightly.

Apr-01-05  Knight13: After 1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 Be7 4. Bc4 Bh4+ 5. g3 fxg3 6.O-O gxh3+, why do people don't play 7. Kxh2 and play 7. Kh1? What's the reason.
Apr-01-05  aw1988: After 7. Kxh2?? black has Bg3+!! Kxg3 Qh4+!! winning in 50 moves. Be not ashamed, dear reader, no one has opened your eyes and ears until now.
Apr-01-05  get Reti: Knight13, Kh1 exposes your king for a great attack. <aw1988> when you wrote that last sentence, was that to imply you were kidding?
Apr-01-05  aw1988: No, I was being serious. I am a horrendously bad player.
Apr-01-05  Whitehat1963: Don't feel alone <aw1988>. Every day, I discover just how bad I am, too!
Sep-02-05  Capafan9: I prefer the reformed cunningham here. we have a player at my club who plays the kings gambit with a fair amount of sucess and i havent gotten a chance to play a line with him but im going to choose this one. The reformed puts a nf6 in before anything else. the main line goes 1 e4 e5 2f4 exf4 3 nf3 be7 4 bc4 nf6 5 e5 (better than nc3 nxp!) Ng4 and i think with a well timed d5 or a nc6 putting more pressure on the pawn will assure black some advantage and i certainly would welcome comments and suggestions on how i should continue.
Sep-26-05  refutor: Kh1 is the move, hiding behind the enemy h-pawn as a shield.
Sep-26-05  capanegra: <Capafan9> I agree completely with you. 4.Bc4 Nf6 looks to me the best reply, more natural and secure than the classic 4…Bh4+. White can choose 5.e5 Ng4 6.0-0 Nc6 7.d4 d5, or (maybe better) 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.0-0 (6.d4 Nxe4 is also possible) 0-0. Here are some games with these variations which are worth to study:

Llanes vs J Durao, 1993
T Kosikowski vs M Starczewski, 1990
Y Berthelot vs K Steczkowski, 1989
P Gebauer vs W Verreck, 1961
T Duran vs P Bazant, 1996
C Rother vs D Troltenier, 1991

I also think like <seoulmama> that we should pay more attention to the interesting 4.Be2

Dec-07-05  KingG: According to Neil McDonald in his book on the King's Gambit, the following line is virtually a refutation of the Cunningham gambit(4...Bh4+ 5.g3).

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 Be7 4.Bc4 Bh4+ 5.g3?! fxg3 6.0-0 d5!(White is hoping for 6...gxh2+) 7.Bxd5 Nf6 8.Bxf7+(8.Nxh4 Nxd5 ) Kxf7 9.e5(9.Nxh4 Qd4+) Bh3 10.exf6 Bxf1 11.Qxf1 gxh2+ 12.Kh1 Bxf6 and Black has a winning material advantage.

Jul-01-06  DeepBlade: Let the black pawns advance and lock them up

[White "DeepBlade"]
[Black "NN"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Event "InstantChess"]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3
Be7 4.Bc4 Bh4+ 5.Kf1 b6 6.d3
g5 7.Nc3 Ba6 8.Bd5 c6 9.Bb3
Nf6 10.g3 fxg3 11.h3 d5
12.e5 Ne4 13.Nxe4 dxe4 14.Kg2
exf3+ 15.Qxf3 O-O 16.Be3 Qc7
17.e6 fxe6 18.Bxe6+ Kh8
19.Bd4+ 1-0

Feb-18-09  m0nkee1: I've played this a lot on black and agree with seoulmama: It looks like a good attack, but actually blacks king stays annoyingly safe on f1 no matter how you attack. It is very easy to over attack as black and loose.
May-19-09  Smothered Mate: How does the black king get to f1 in the opening?
Feb-08-12  drukenknight: The cunningham still remains a problem for me as white, has anyone tried 4 g3 and blown up those pawns? It looks scary to leave swiss cheese on the K side but actually black seems to slow down for a while. Also exchanging pawns is good in theory. No games shown in the data base here.
Feb-08-12  King Death: <drukenknight> Here are a few games with 4.g3.

Feb-08-12  drukenknight: wow! thank you..
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Opening of the Day

King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.♘f3 ♗e7

click for larger view

May-30-14  fgh: Komodo beating Stockfish with white in this opening:

May-30-14  DWINS: I've always liked the Cunningham because it seems that White's loss of castling and the extra time it takes for white to activate his h1 rook should be a serious disadvantage. I guess that's not really an issue for the stronger players.

In the December 1969 edition of "Boys Life", Bobby Fischer, responding to a reader's question as to why he couldn't find 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 Be7 4.Bc4 Bh4+ in "Modern Chess Openings" had this to say, "This is called the Cunningham Defense in the King's Gambit Accepted. It isn't really very effective because after 5.Kf1, Black's the one who's in a precarious position with his bishop out on h4 doing nothing but 'hanging' there, and after d4 his pawn on f4 will fall pretty soon. Besides, White will have a tremendous center, will be ahead in development, and Black has a very difficult game. Also, notice that Black cannot move his knight out normally to e7 or f6, because the bishop on h4 would be lost.

If I remember correctly, a Russian player recommends instead of 4.Bc4, 4.Nf3 Bh4+ 5.Ke2. And again white's king is safe and he has a promising game in the center.

If the Cunningham Defense isn't in "Modern Chess Openings", as you say, it's simply because it's a very weak variation for Black and not worthy of mention. White's loss of his castling privilege isn't significant because Black can't get at White's king."

Jul-05-19  Chesgambit: dumb opening
fischer defense better
Aug-15-19  Chesgambit: d4 varition is solved black is winning
( black playing with black color bishop 10 times)
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