If you are thinking of becoming a gambiteer
A little snippet from McGrew's article Dimensional Analysis:
When you select an opening, you are not selecting the position that arises at move 20 after best play by both sides. You are selecting the whole opening with all of its traps and twists, its side lines and main lines.This seems to be right all around.
And you are selecting it to play against flesh-and-blood opponents who will very frequently deviate from best play – probably early. Which raises a very important question, supposing they do deviate from best play, what will happen then?
The answer depends on what I will call the “Caltrop Coefficient,” or CC for short. For readers not familiar with military history, I should explain that caltrops are mid-sized pieces of metal shaped rather like gigantic jacks with sharpened points. Canny soldiers camping just on the other side of a river from their enemies would sow the riverbed liberally with caltrops so that an enemy cavalry charge across the river would be demolished as the horses stepped on the caltrops and went down. Mutatis mutandis, every wild-eyed gambiteer uses this strategy in chess as well. The more caltrops the better, particularly at blitz or bullet time controls! Let’s agree to say that an opening with a high proportion of moderately well-hidden traps has a high CC.
Two factors determine whether you should take the CC seriously in selecting your openings. The first is the speed of the game. The faster the time control, the better the chances that an opening high on CC but low on SES [standard evaluation symbols] will lead to success. Since many of us play thousands of fast games on the internet every year, this factor probably applies to most readers of this column. Second, the level of your opposition is important both as an index of their likely familiarity with your weapon of choice and as a measure of how well they are likely to cope with