Gambit chess openings like the Center Game and the Scandinavian Defense hold more exciting gambits. Like the Caro-Kann, Alekhine or Nimzowitsch Defenses, you can inject a sharpness into apparently dull openings with surprising moves.
The Center Game allows White if he wishes to open up the Queenside for his long range pieces to aim at Black's Kingside. This is seen in striking fashion in the Danish Gambit.
The Scandinavian Defense is a really clever concept in terms of trying to steal the initiative. Black also makes good use of trigonometry to move his Queen around early in the game.
The Danish Gambit or Nordic Gambit sees you gambit not one pawn but two. This gives you a huge opening initiative and you must capitalize. Your two Bishops are already in prime position on key diagonals bearing down on the Black Kingside.
Different lines see you castle on the short side or long. Nc3 on the way to Nd5 is a common theme as the pressure on f6 builds. Black often experiences difficulty in prepping castling Kingside. This is due to pressure on g7 but Black can sometimes deal with this with ...Bb4+ winning a tempo.
Qb3 is another thematic move. This threatens f7 directly and prepares the long castle. If you have Black the best way to neutralize the growing threats is to give back a pawn with 5...d5. This allows development with the recovery of one of those tempi. Don't worry, there are ways to counteract the Danish.
The Halasz Gambit is a little back road in the Danish. After your first gambit is accepted you can proceed with 3.c3 and head for the Danish. On the other hand you can advance on the other side with 3.f4. This brings about the starting position of the Halasz Gambit.
This move allows Black to support his pawn on d4 and he usually does this by 3...Nc6. This move scores respectably for Black restricting White to a success rate of barely more than half.
His second most played move, 3...d5, is even more successful. White wins just 3 games in 10 in this line. The move appears 43 times in my database.
Many of the players playing the Halasz Gambit, which appears 219 times, are in the 2100 - 2300 range. Results from the other main replies, 3...Bc5, 3...Bb4 and 3...d6 are much less encouraging for Black.
The Kotrc-Mieses Gambit dates back to the time of those two players. They operated around the end of the 19th Century into the early 20th Century. Emanuel Lasker also liked to play this line from time to time.
Black plays the Scandinavian Defense and after you take his d5-pawn he can play 2...Nf6 or take the pawn immediately in the Main Line with 2...Qxd5. If he goes with the Main Line then after 2...Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 you can take a sideline of the Scandinavian.
4.b4! takes the Scandinavian player out of book. Declining the gambit is problematic for Black as he has difficulty solving the problem of his exposed Queen while you develop. Accepting opens him up to all kinds of tactical and positional difficulties starting with 5.Rb1.
The Marshall Gambit is one of the most prominent variations in the Scandinavian Defense. After 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 their are two main continuations for you to consider.
You can take immediately with 2...Qxd5. It looks like this allows White to develop with tempo as 3.Nc3 prompts the Queen to move swiftly on. 3...Qa5 with ...c7 allowing a later ...Qd8 gets your Queen back to base and ...c7 also limits the scope of the c3-Knight.
The other option is not to regain the material straight away. You play 2...Nc6 entering the Marshall. This is a heavily theoretical opening with nearly 40,000 games reaching this position. White can try to hold the pawn with 3.c4, 3.Nc3 or 3.Bc4. Or he can let the pawn go and develop with 3.d4, 3.Bb5 or 3.Nf3. Several sidelines have also emerged over the decades.
The Icelandic Gambit is a variation of the Marshall Gambit. It comes about when White tries to hold the d5-pawn. White can accept the Marshall Gambit by playing 3.c4. Black can force a decision here with the move 3...e6.
This is the Starting Position of the Icelandic Gambit. White must take to justify 3.c4. Otherwise he will end up with doubled isolated d-pawns that will become vulnerable targets in the middlegame.
After 4.dxe6 Bxe6 you have two developed pieces to none. You also have tactical possibilities available due to the open e-file and the e7-square. You can move your Queen to e7 and you have a discovered attack against the White King that can be unleashed at any time.
The Portuguese Gambit is a way to attack White's Kingside with clever tactics. 4.Bg4 brings us to the Starting Position and White faces tricky problems already. He has three ways to ward off your immediate threat against his Queen.
4.f3 is one way but it weakens the Kingside and blocks in the f3-Knight. He can play 4.Be2, the most common reply.
The Bishops will be traded off and you have easy development and can pressurize the White Kingside. Some tactics in this line can revolve around the White Queen's poor location on e2 when the Black Queen comes to h5.
The other regular response sees White play 4.Nf3. This move is playable too but like the others, not without it's problems. You're moving into a pin with all the hardships that comes with.
The Tennison Gambit has a resemblance of sorts to the Lisitsin Gambit. Again the e-pawn is offered as a sacrifice with the added temptation of kicking the f3-Knight. The only difference is that the Black pawn in play here is the d-pawn instead of the f-pawn from the Lisitsin.
This does make it a different type of game. The f7 square will still be a target for you. Your light square Bishop often comes to c4 to strengthen the g5-Knight's attack on this square.
Black's Kingside is more secure here so you will be constructing your attacks in a different way. You play d3 in most lines, happy for Black to continue pawn grabbing as you develop your pieces. The trick is to get your pieces out as quickly as possible and strike at the central Black King.
Black can get a good game out of this opening but this involves handing the material straight back with an early ...e5. Not every player is ready to do this. Many will make the mistake of trying to hold the pawn.
The Center Game gives you an different game than most people would be used to. In the Scandinavian Defense you also see some novel positions, at least novel to many amateurs.
The gambits here should make you look at the Center Game and the Scandinavian Defense as perhaps plausible options for you to play regularly. Every so often you have to switch out your openings to keep things fresh.
Now we're going to switch wings and look at gambits played on the Queenside. These are gambits played in the Queen's Pawn Game.