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The Evans gambit
The Evans gambit was one of the romantic openings, and one of the most popular openings in the days of Morphy, Andersen and Blackburne.
It developed from the Italian game, in the Greco setup:
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3
This setup is not played at top level anymore, because it leads to slightly inferior positions for white, or a forced draw, if Black knows the lines. However, the game is sharp, and leads to a very tactical game, much like the Kings Gambit.

Nowadays, the Italian game is mostly played with the move 4. d3, which leads to a much quieter game (which is the translation of Giuoco Piano), sometimes transposing to a Ruy Lopez.
The Evans Gambit was invented by captain Evans, and probably first played in a tournament in 1824.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 In the first years, it seemed as if white had found an almost unstoppable way to attack, and there were speculations that it was the refutation of blacks 3. .. -Bc5. Even Steinitz, who believed that every gambit had to be unsound could not refute it; his attempts to do so only made the gambit more popular.
The idea of this pawn sac is that white can play 5. c3 with the gain of a tempo, and thus getting a firm grip on the centre. It opens the diagonal c1-a3 for the bishop, which often can play an important role at b2 or a3. Another plan is playing the rook to the semi-open b-file.
The Evans gambit has been played for over a hundred years, and its not been refuted yet. However, it has lost much of its popularity because lines have been found, especially by Lasker, where black returns the pawn, and obtains an equal position. Its not completely out of top chess yet. The opening has been played by  Timman, Shirov, Short and Morozevich.
The most famous game from the last decade is probably Kasparov's win against Anand in 1995.


The Evans Gambit can be divided in two sections, see links below.

 

Evans Gambit Accepted ] Evans Gambit Declined ] Chessbase Evans gambit page ]

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