Blackmar-Diemer Gambit

As one of the common gambits, the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit begins with the Queen’s Pawn Opening (1.d4). After Black responds with 1…d5, both sides develop their Knights (2.Nc3 and 2…Nf6), and White offers a pawn by pushing the e-pawn to e4 (3.e4). Blackmar-Diemer is considered an aggressive opening, similar to other gambits. It is one of the rare gambits that starts with 1.d4.

Blackmar-Diemer Gambit

Blackmar-Diemer Gambit took its name after a chess player in the 1800s; however, it was popularized in the early 1900s once a chess master improved its theory. It is not considered a viable option at the top level because Black can easily equalize and even press for an advantage with precise play.

Winning percentages on both sides

Master Games Statistics

Results Rate
Victory for White 25%
Draw 32%
Victory for Black 43%

Statistics from 17 Million Amateur Games

Results Rate
Victory for White 50%
Draw 3%
Victory for Black 47%

Main Ideas of the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit

The main idea of this gambit is to open up the f-file, improve the pieces rapidly as soon as possible, and create problems for the opposing party. If Black captures the e4-pawn, White typically plays f3, hoping to force a Queen to move to e1 and h4 and cause trouble for the enemy King. Black typically seeks to consolidate the structure, exchange pieces, and press at the endgame to reach a victory.

Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Theory

3…dxe4 4.f3 line aims to strike Black’s Kingside and have a quick development as White. Black often seeks to consolidate. These games can be tactical, and White must act fast to prove their compensation.

The 3…Nxe4 line allows Black to have an extra pawn on e4-square. White usually aims to capture the pawn back or try to exploit Black’s weaknesses while they try to protect it.

The 3…e6 variation transitions to the Classical French Defense, where Black aims to strike back with the c5-pawn push. It is often used to avoid complications, and this gambit’s theory.

Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Accepted: 3. e4 dxe4 4. f3

It starts with the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, and Black captures the e-pawn (3…dxe4) with the d-pawn. Then, White typically plays f3-pawn push (4.f3) to generate rapid improvement and attacking chances.

Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Accepted 3. e4 dxe4 4. f3

Black usually meets this aggressive move by capturing the f-pawn (4…exf3). However, Black can also play 4…Bf5 to hold on to the e4-pawn. In that case, White can push the g-pawn to g5 with a tempo (5.g4 and 6.g5), kick the f6-Knight away, and then capture the e4-pawn back with the c3-Knight.

Once f3 (4…exf3) is taken, White recaptures with the Knight (5.Nxf3) and then develops the f1-Bishop to preferably to c4 (6.Bc4) to castle the King on the short side (7. O-O) in the next turn. In the meantime, Black often goes for a solid set-up with 5…g6, 6…Bg7, and 7…O-O to avoid potential threats to the Black King.

Once both sides castle, White needs to act quickly and create problems. Since they have the semi-open f-file for their Rook and easy access to many of the critical squares due to open diagonals, they can strike with Qe1-Qh4 to exchange the c1-Bishop on Bh6-Bg7 and create threats on the enemy King by going Ng5 (Attacking the h7-square combined with the Queen), eliminate the f6-Knight (It has to be taken to release the protection of the h7-square, possibly with Rxf7), and checkmate the King by moving the Queen to h7.

Unfortunately, if Black plays correctly, White can be stopped, and Black would remain with an extra pawn in a better endgame.

Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Accepted: 3. e4 Nxe4

It begins similarly to the 3…dxe4 line, but in this variation, Black captures the e4-pawn with the f6-Knight (3…Nxe4).

Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Accepted 3. e4 Nxe4

White often eliminates Black’s strong e4-Knight (4.Nxe4), which Black recaptures with the 4…dxc4. Black is objectively better; however, the games often lead to complications and imbalances due to the fight over that e4-pawn.

White usually picks 5.Bc4 (improving the Bishop) to develop the Bishop and create problems on the f7-square. One of the ideas behind this move is to bring the Queen to b3 and create menace on both the b7-pawn and the f7-pawn at the same time once the f8-Bishop leaves its spot to protect the e4-pawn.

Against 5.Bc4, Black has two main responses. They can either play 5…Bf5 (to guard the e4-pawn and put the Bishop outside the pawn chain once the e6-pawn push occurs) or 5…Nc6 (It is usually chaotic once White goes for d5 and f3 to exploit Black’s underdevelopment).

One sample on the 5…Nc6 variation could be 6.c3 (paving the way for the entrance of the d1-Queen to the Queenside and protecting the d4-pawn), 6…e5 (challenging the center and opening up the scope of the Bishops, the best move for Black), 7.d5 (expanding in the center and kicking the c6-Knight from its place), 7…Ne7 (protecting the Knight), 8.f3 (since the e4-pawn limits White’s development in the Kingside, White intends to have a rapid development while Black’s pieces look unorganized), 8…exf3, 9.Nxf3, 9…Ng6 (to open up the f8- Bishop and castle later on), and 10.h4. In the resulting position, White intends to create problems with the light Bishop and pressure Black’s Kingside by utilizing the h-pawn and the semi-open f-file.

One model line for the 5…Bf5 could be 6.c3, 6..e6 (opening the f8-Bishop), 7.g4 (kicking the Bishop away), 7…Bg6, 8.Qb3 (attacking the b7-pawn and creating a hidden threat on the b1-h7′ diagonal), 8…Qc8 (protecting the b7 pawn), and 9.Ne2. White would intend to go for Nf4, h4, and h5-pawn pushes, forcing Black to play their h-pawn to create a square for the Bishop, capture the g6-Bishop with the Knight, and ruin Black’s pawn structure in the Kingside.

Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Declined: 3. e4 e6

Black initiates the variation with the move 3…e6, attempting to evade the Gambit by transitioning to the Classical Variation of the French Defense.

Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Declined 3. e4 e6

White may pushe the e-pawn forward (4.e5) and play for the central space.

4.Bg5 can also be played, and it would be a simplified version of the French if sides decided to trade pieces after 4…dxe4, 5.Nxe4, 5…Be7 (unpinning the f6-Knight), 6.Nxf6, 6…Bxf6, 7.Bxf6, and 7…Qxf6.

If Black replied with c6 instead of e6, the opening would transpose to the Caro-Kann Defense.
One sample line in the 4.e5 variation could be 4..Nfd7 (protecting the Knight and aiming to go for the typical c5-pawn push), 5.f4 (gaining space in the short side), 5…c5 (Putting pressure on the d4-pawn), 6.Nf3, 6…Nc6, and 7.Be3.

In these French types of positions, Black usually tries to attack the d4-pawn and expand on the Queenside, and White typically tries to expand on the Kingside.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
White can create tactical opportunities and win early if the opponent is unprepared. White is objectively worse.
White can attack from both Queenside and Kingside in diverse variations. Black can avoid the gambit and transpose the opening to another variation.
This opening can catch the enemy off-guard. If the Queen’s are traded-off, Black is usually significantly better.
It is a useful tool to improve tactical and calculation abilities at the beginner level. To attack, White typically creates long-term weaknesses near their King.

Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Trap

This trap starts with the Blackmar Gambit Accepted Variation (1.d4, 1…d5, 2.Nc3, 2…Nf6, 3.e4, 3…dxe4, 4.f3, 4…exf3). Instead of the typical Nxf3, White captures it with the Queen (5.Qxf3). Black captures the unprotected d4-pawn (5…Qxd4), and White intends to play 6.Be3 (developing the c1-Bishop with a tempo) and castle (7. O-O-O) on the short side in the next turn. The d4-Queen moves to b4 (6…Qb4) in the meantime. After White castles, the d1-Rook and the f3-Rook are on the same diagonal (‘d1-h5’). If Black plays 7…Bg4 to win material, this would be a big blunder because White can sacrifice the Queen to deliver a checkmate by going 8.Nb5. Once Black captures the f3-Queen (8…Bxf3), 9.Nxc7 would be a checkmate since the d1-Rook covers all the exit squares of the Black King.


The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit opening paves the way for a strong initiative and fast improvement in exchange for gambiting a pawn for White. If White can create problems for the enemy in the first ten moves, they can force their opponent to make a bad decision. If Black consolidates, they will likely be better at the endgame with extra material. This opening is not used at the elite level; low-level players often deploy it in their games.

Written by
Emre Sancakli, Сhess Coach
has a rating of 2400+ on and, making him one of the top 5000 players in the world. He teaches many chess enthusiasts and even creates educational courses. As a writer, he keeps bringing his 'A game' to the content you will face on this website.
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What is the point of the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit?

The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit is a chess opening aimed at quickly seizing an aggressive and initiative-driven position by sacrificing a pawn early in the game to develop pieces rapidly and launch an attack against the opponent’s king.

Who invented the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit?

The gambit was developed by two chess players, Armand Blackmar, who introduced the gambit in the 1880s, and Emil Josef Diemer, who significantly refined and popularized it in the 20th century.

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