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Chess Openings: A Comprehensive and Offbeat Repertoire for White Against the Scandinavian (Center-Counter) Defense

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About the Scandinavian

The Scandinavian or Center-Counter Defense is an opening that is somewhat related to the Caro-Kann Defense and its concepts. Generally, black's idea is to trade white's e-pawn for black's d-pawn and for black to create a strong pawn triangle with pawns on e6 and c6. The Caro-Kann has a similar strategy in some lines, but it is also less committal and thus more flexible, so black has more options in how to progress.

The Caro-Kann is also known to be more sound and solid, objectively speaking, and so it happens to be more popular at the higher levels. The Scandinavian, on the other hand, often loses time compared to Caro-Kann, as there are relative drawbacks for black whichever way black intends to recapture the white pawn on d5 after the sequence, 1.e4 d5, 2.exd5. If black captures the d-pawn with the queen (seen here), black must move the queen again if it is attacked with 3.Nc3, which happens to be the main line. Similarly, if black gambits the pawn (often only temporarily) with the move 2...Nf6 (see the Marshall Gambit), then the knight in the center of the board often becomes a tempo-gaining target to moves like c4.

This is not to say that either of these variations of the Scandinavian or the Scandinavian as a whole is by any means unsound. In fact, my purpose in writing this blog post is to express some of the difficulties that I've had in finding a sufficient response to the Scandinavian Defense. As you might know, the solid pawn triangle black creates in this opening and those aforementioned Caro-Kann variations makes it difficult for white to progress. That is, black often willingly trades off the light-squared bishop in both openings and then places pawns on e6 and c6 (light squares) to make up for that exchanged bishop. Despite white often getting the bishop pair in the Scandinavian Defense, the compact nature of black's pawn structure makes it difficult to crack.

So rather than playing a very long and forcing theoretical line that only leads to rough equality anyway, I am going to propose a solid and easy-to-remember repertoire against the Scandinavian that has helped me no longer fear this so-called "second-tier" opening. It may not fight for the biggest advantage, but it does give white something, and in my opinion white's position is often much easier to play.


My Easy-to-Remember System Against 2...Qxd5

It is pretty well established that the only way for white to play for any significant advantage against the Scandinavian Defense is to take the d-pawn (2.exd5), and this is what I will be recommending. After 2...Qxd5, I am recommending that white kick the queen with 3.Nc3. From here, black has three major third move options: In order of popularity, they are 3...Qa5, 3...Qd6 and 3...Qd8. There are other squares to which the queen may go, but they are considered highly inferior because they often allow white to develop with even more tempi on the queen. For example, 3...Qe5+ and 3...Qe6+ are rare possibilities that are sometimes seen at lower levels and in blitz, but after a continuation like 3...Qe5+, 4.Be2 Bg4, 5.d4! Bxe2, 6.Ngxe2, white is already significantly better. Therefore, I will only discuss my recommendations for black's three main third move options.

The overall summary of my recommended repertoire is for white to play slowly and prophylactically so as not to create many weaknesses. In some of the variations, there is the option for white to castle kingside for a safer game or queenside for a more aggressive game, and the lack of provocative moves from white in my recommended lines does sometimes keep black guessing about the style in which white will play.

Against 3...Qa5 and 3...Qd6, the thematic moves of my recommendation are very similar to those recommended by IM Andrew Martin (seen here). On that webpage, he classifies this recommendation as "strategic," and I agree that it is also. The responses to these two black third move options are characterized by the moves 4.Nf3 and often 5.h3. Then white has the intention to develop their light-squared bishop to c4 and play their pawn to d3 should black permit this, which black usually does. Again, playing moves like an unprovoked h3, and playing d3 when white sometimes ends up playing d4 later on does mean that white isn't fighting for the objectively largest advantage possible, but it also means that you will not overstretch and be worse early on either. Furthermore, many of the lines that I am recommending keep more pieces on the board while having clear and intuitive strategic plans to follow early on. This means that there is less to study and remember.

With black's move 3...Qd8, I recommend a slightly different strategy. Here, I will be recommending that white not play with the move 5.h3. Often the line continues 3...Qd8, 4.Nf3 Nf6, 5.Bc4. The immediate Bc4 instead of h3 means that black can't play 5...Bg4 anyway because of the tactic 6.Bxf7 followed by 7.Ne5+ and 8.Nxg4, where white wins a pawn, exposes black's king and is probably objectively winning. (Oddly, 6.Ne5 is also quite advantageous for white.) Therefore, it doesn't make sense for white to prevent a move that black can't play anyway; meanwhile, white develops a piece instead and creates some latent threats to black's king.

I have looked into other offbeat responses for white to 2...Qxd5 in the Scandinavian, such as the idea 3.Nc3 followed by 4.g3. However, I was never satisfied with the resulting positions, as they aren't necessarily solid and they don't give white much of anything if anything at all. Therefore, I have adopted this "system," and I will discuss the subvariations in detail in the sections below.


Black's Main Options Following 2...Qxd5, 3.Nc3 Qa5, 4.Nf3

The continuation 2...Qxd5, 3.Nc3 Qa5 is the most common line overall in the Scandinavian Defense for black. Again, this easy-to-remember system that I am recommending has white play 4.Nf3 no matter which of the three main options black chooses in the 2...Qxd5 line. Also, remember that against 3...Qa5 and 3...Qd6, white will likely play 5.h3 unless black does something unusual on move four. As you will see, often the way to determine whether to play 5.h3 in either of those variations is based on these cases: 1.) If black can still play Bg4 in a single move (i.e. if black's light-squared bishop has not moved yet); 2.) If the potential pin on the f3-knight can be easily broken (i.e. if black has played g6, when after Bg4, pinning, h3 forces the bishop to take the knight or break the pin); and 3.) If white playing Bc4 creates a tactic on f7 should black pin with Bg4 (e.g. the line 2...Qxd5, 3.Nc3 Qa5, 4.Nf3 e5, 5.Bc4 Bg4??, 6.Bxf7+ Kxf7, 7.Ng5+, winning a pawn and exposing black's king).

Generally, moves like h3 and a3 are questionable unless very justified, as they otherwise only waste a move and potentially weaken your castled king. Often, weaker players will be overly cautious and play such moves regularly, but my point in recommending the prophylactic h3 so regularly is to maintain the integrity of white's kingside while reducing black's options; this gives white more options with how to progress during the game. Also, in the Scandinavian, black often applies pressure to white's d-pawn because of black's open d-file, so the move h3 prevents tactics and complications that would undermine white's center. In these and other lines, such moves could be called "useful waiting moves," as white often wants to determine how black will develop before making committal moves in the center.

In order of popularity, here are some example games and lines:

2...Qxd5, 3.Nc3 Qa5, 4.Nf3:

4...Nf6, 5.h3: 5...c6 [5...Bf5, 6.Bc4 e6 (6...c6 transposes to the "main line")(6...Nbd7, 7.d3 e6, 8.0-0 c6 transposes to "main line"), 7.d3 c6 (7...Nd5?, 8.Bxd5 exd5, 9.Nd4!) transposes to "main line"][5...Nc6, 6.Bc4 Ne5, 7.Bb3 Nxf3, 8.Qxf3][5...g6, 6.Bc4 Bg7, 7.0-0][5...e6, 6.d4 c5, 7.Bd3][5...e5, 6.Bc4 Bb4 (6...Bd6, 7.0-0), 7.0-0][5...c5, 6.d4 cxd4 (6...e6 transposes to 5...e6 line), 7.Qxd4 Nc6, 8.Qh4], 6.Bc4 Bf5 (6...b5, 7.Bd3), 7.d3 e6 (7...Nd5?, 8.Bd2), 8.0-0 Nbd7 (8...Bd6, 9.Ne4 Bxe4 (9...Be7, 10.Re1 Nxe4 (10...0-0?, 11.Nxf6+ Bxf6, 12.g4 Bg6, 13.h4 h6, 14.Bd2), 11.dxe4 Bg6, 12.Bf4)(9...Nxe4??, 10.dxe4), 10.dxe4 Qc7, 11.Qe2 Nbd7, 12.c3), 9.Re1 Be7 (9...0-0-0, 10.Bf4: {Speelman v. Summerscale, Championship of Great Britain (1990)})(9...Bd6, 10.Bd2 {Ledger v. Pickersgill, Hastings Chess Congress (2005)})(9...h6, 10.Bd2)(9...Nd5, 10.Bxd5 cxd5, 11.Nd4 Bg6)(9...Bg6, 10.Ne2), 10.a3: 10...0-0, 11.Bd2: {Janos Havasi v. Janos Laszlo, Hungary Team Championship (1992): 1.e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. h3 Bf5 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O Nbd7 8. a3 c6 9. Re1 Be7 10. d3 O-O 11. Bd2 Qd8 12. Nh4 Bg6 13. Nxg6 hxg6 14. Qe2 Nb6 15. Ba2 Nbd5 16. Ne4 Qc7 17. Ng5 Bd6 18. c4 Ne7 19. Nf3 Rad8 20. d4 Qb8 21. Bc3 b5 22. Rad1 bxc4 23. Ba5 Rd7 24. Bxc4 Rb7 25. b4 Nfd5 26. Rc1 Qa8 27. Rc2 Rbb8 28. Ng5 Bf4 29. Ne4 Bc7 30. Bxc7 Nxc7 31. Ng5 Ncd5 32. Qe4 Qb7 33. Bxd5 Nxd5 34. Qh4 Nf6 35. Re3 Rfd8 36. Rf3 Rd5 37. Rc5 Rbd8 38. Rxd5 Rxd5 39. Rxf6 gxf6 40. Qh7+ Kf8 41. Qh8+ Ke7 42. Nh7 Rd8 43. Qxf6+ Ke8 44. Qh8+ Ke7 45. Qf6+ Ke8 46. Qg7 1/2-1/2}

4...Nc6, 5.Bb5: 5...Bd7 [5...Nf6, 6.Ne5 Bd7 (6...a6, 7.Bxc6+ bxc6, 8.d4), 7.Nxd7][5...a6, 6.Bxc6+ bxc6, 7.h3][5...Bg4?, 6.h3 Bh5, 7.g4 Bg6, 8.Ne5 0-0-0 (8...Be4??, 9.Rg1 a6, 10.Nc4 Qb4, 11.a3 Qc5, 12.d4 0-0-0, 13.dxc5 Rxd1+, 14.Kxd1)(8...Qb6??, 9.Nd5 Qc5, 10.Bxc6+ bxc6, 11.Nxc7+ Kd8, 12.Nxg6 hxg6, 13.Nxa8), 9.Nxc6 bxc6, 10.Bxc6], 6.a3 Nf6 (6...0-0-0, 7.0-0 a6, 8.Be2), 7.0-0: {Delgado Ramirez v. Romero Holmes, Magistral Internacional de Aje (2010): 1.e4 Nc6, 2.Nf3 d5, 3.exd5 Qxd5, 4.Nc3 Qa5, 5.Bb5 Bd7, 6.a3 Nf6, 7.0-0 a6, 8.b4 Qb6, 9.Ba4 Nd4, 10.Bxd7+ Nxd7, 11.Bb2 e6, 12.Ne4 Qc6, 13.Re1 Nf5, 14.Ng3 Nxg3, 15.hxg3 Qd5, 16.Qe2 Qh5, 17.c4 Nf6, 18.d4 c6, 19.Rad1 Rd8, 20.Qd2 Be7, 21.Re5 Qh6, 22.Qe2 0-0, 23.Nh4 g6, 24.Nf3 Nd7, 25.Re4 Bf6, 26.Nh2 Bh8, 27.Rh4 Qg5, 28.Ng4 h5, 29.Bc1 Qe7, 30.Nh6+ Kg7, 31.Nf5+ gxf5, 32.Qxh5 Kg8 1-0}

4...c6, 5.h3: 5...Nf6 [5...Bf5, 6.Bc4 Nf6 transposes to 4...Nf6 "main line"] transposes to 4...Nf6 "main line"

4...Bf5, 5.Bc4: 5...Nf6 [5...e6, 6.d3][5...c6, 6.d3][5...Nbd7, 6.d3], 6.d3 to be played like the 4...Nf6 line above, with the possible exclusion of h3

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4...g6, 5.Bc4: 5...Bg7, 6.0-0 Nf6, 7.h3 transposes to the 4...Nf6, 5.h3 g6 line

4...Bg4, 5.h3: 5...Bh5 [5...Bxf3, 6.Qxf3 c6, 7.b4!][5...Qh4??, 6.hxg4 Qxh1, 7.d4], 6.d4

4...e5?, 5.Bc4: 5...Nc6 [5...Bd6, 6.Ng5 Nh6, 7.d3 0-0, 8.Nge4][5...Bg4??, 6.Bxf7+], 6.d3


Black's Main Options Following 2...Qxd5, 3.Nc3 Qd6, 4.Nf3

For those who play the Scandinavian at the higher levels, the move 3...Qd6 has quickly become the most popular line for black, though admittedly the Scandinavian is still relatively rare in general; the reason for the Scandinavian Defense's rarity at all levels has already been mentioned in the introduction of this blog post. That being said, even Magnus Carlsen plays the Scandinavian Defense, having played two games as black against Fabiano Caruana. Magnus, however, seems to prefer 3...Qa5 and 3...Qd8, as those are the only games available in databases.

The move 3...Qd6 saw a surge in popularity several years ago, and it is still regarded as a formidable and highly viable option at all levels. This is likely because the queen on d6 plays a more active role in the game (as opposed to the 3...Qd8 lines) and because it doesn't get harassed as much as in the 3...Qa5 lines; that said, black must still take some measures to secure the queen's position on d6, and this often involves the move a6 or, more commonly, c6 early in the game to keep the knight out of b5.

Here are some example games and lines that showcase my recommendations for how to meet this variation:

2...Qxd5, 3.Nc3 Qd6, 4.Nf3:

4...Nf6, 5.h3: 5...c6 [5...a6, 6.d4 b5 (6...Bf5, 7.Bd3 Bxd3, 8.Qxd3)(6...Nc6, 7.Be3 Bf5 (7...e5, 8.a3), 8.Bd3 Bxd3, 9.Qxd3)(6...e6, 7.Bd3)(6...c5, 7.dxc5 Qxc5 (7...Qxd1+, 8.Kxd1), 8.Bd3)(6...g6, 7.Bc4 Bg7 (7...b5, 8.Bb3), 8.a4), 7.Bd3 Bb7, 8.0-0][5...g6, 6.Bc4 Bg7, 7.0-0 0-0 (7...a6, 8.a4), 8.d4 a6, 9.a4 c5, 10.dxc5 Qxc5, 11.Bb3][5...Bf5, 6.Bc4 c6 (6...a6, 7.0-0) transposes to the "main line"][5...Nc6, 6.d4 a6 (6...Bf5, 7.Bd3 Bxd3, 8.Qxd3) transposes to the 4...Nf6, 5.h3 a6 line], 6.Bc4 Bf5 (6...b5, 7.Bb3 a5, 8.a4 b4, 9.Ne2)(6...Be6, 7.Bxe6 Qxe6+, 8.Ne2), 7.0-0 e6 (7...Ndb7, 8.d3 e6 transposes to the "main line"), 8.d3 Nbd7 (8...Be7, 9.Ne2)(8...a5, 9.a4), 9.Ne2

4...g6, 5.Bc4: 5...Bg7 (5...Nf6, 6.0-0 Bg7 transposes to the 5...Bg7 line), 6.0-0 Nf6 (6...Bg4?, Bxf7+!), 7.Re1

4...c6, 5.h3: 5...Bf5 [5...Nf6 transposes to 4...Nf6 "main line"], 6.Bc4 e6 (6...Nd7, 7.0-0 Nf6 transposes to the 4...Nf6 line)(6...Nf6 transposes to the 4...Nf6 "main line"), 7.0-0 Nf6 transposes to the 4...Nf6 lines

4...a6, 5.h3: 5...g6 [5...Nf6 transposes to the 4...Nf6 line)(5...Bf5, 6.d4 Nf6 transposes to the 4...Nf6 line][5...Nc6, 6.d4 Bf5, 7.Bd3 Bxd3, 8.Qxd3 Nf6 transposes to the 4...Nf6 line], 6.Bc4 Bg7, 7.d4 Nf6 transposes to the 4...Nf6 line

4...Nc6, 5.h3: 5...Bf5 [5...Nf6 transposes to the 4...Nf6, 5.h3 Nc6 line][5...e5, 6.Bc4 Be7 (6...Be6, 7.Nb5 Qd7 (7...Qe7, 8.Bxe6 fxe6, 9.0-0 e4, 10.Re1), 8.Bxe6 fxe6, 9.0-0), 7.d3 Nf6, 8.0-0][5...a6 transposes to the 4...a6, 5.h3 Nc6 line], 6.Bb5

4...Bg4, 5.h3: 5...Bh5 [5...Bxf3, 6.Qxf3 Nc6 (6...c6, 7.Bc4 e6, 8.Ne4), 7.Bb5], 6.Nb5 Qb6 (6...Qd8, 7.g4 Bg6, 8.d3)(6...Qd7?, 7.g4 Bg6, 8.Ne5 Qc8 (8...Qd8, 9.Qe2 c6 (9...a6, 10.Bg2)(9...Bxc2??, 10.Qc4!), 10.h4!), 9.Bg2)(6...Qc6, 7.g4 Bg6, 8.d4)(6...Qe6+, 7.Be2), 7.d4

4...Bf5, 5.d4: 5...Nf6 [5...e6, 6.Nb5 Qd8 (6...Qb6, 7.Bf4 Na6, 8.Ne5), 7.Bf4 Na6, 8.c4][5...a6, 6.Bd3 Bxd3, 7.Qxd3][5...c6, 6.Nh4], 6.Bc4

4...c5?, 5.d4: 5...Nf6 [5...a6, 6.Ne4 Qc7, 7.Nxc5][5...cxd4, 6.Nb5], 6.Nb5 Qd8, 7.Bf4 Nd5 (7...Na6?, 8.dxc5), 8.Bxb8 Rxb8, 9.dxc5


Black's Main Options Following 2...Qxd5, 3.Nc3 Qd8, 4.Nf3

As previously mentioned, 3...Qd8 may be the most passive of black's three main third move options, but it also ensures that black's queen is not likely to be harassed any time soon. Furthermore, the 3...Qd8 lines have the reputation of being a highly solid option, though I personally would not recommend it for black, siding more with the 3...Qa5 and 3...Qd6 lines.

Another thing to mention about the lines that I will be recommending against 3...Qd8 is that, because they will tend to exclude moves like an early h3 for reasons that I have previously mentioned, these lines will more closely resemble the more popular main lines. That said, I will attempt to put my own twist on the variations in regards to straightforwardness and advantage.

2...Qxd5, 3.Nc3 Qd8, 4.Nf3:

4...Nf6, 5.Bc4: 5...e6 [5...g6, 6.Ne5 e6, 7.d4 Bg7, 8.0-0][5...Bf5?, 6.Ne5 e6 (6...Bg6, 7.Qf3 c6, 8.Qh3), 7.Qf3 Qc8 (7...Qd4, 8.Qxb7 Qxe5+, 9.Be2 Be4, 10.Nxe4 Qxe4, 11.Qxe4 Nxe4, 12.Bf3! Nxf2, 13.Kxf2)(7...c6??, 8.Nxf7! Kxf7, 9.Qxf5), 8.g4 Bg6 (8...Bd6?, 9.gxf5 Bxe5, 10.fxe6 fxe6, 11.d4! Bxd4 12.Rg1)(8...Bxc2?, 9.d3), 9.h4 Nbd7 (9...Nfd7, 10.Nxd7 Nxd7), 10.Nxd7 Nxd7, 11.Qe2!][5...a6, 6.d4 b5 (6...e6, 7.a4)(6...Nc6, 7.0-0 e6 (7...b5, 8.Bd3), 8.Re1 Be7 (8...b5?, 9.Bb3 Na5 (9...Be7, 10.d5 exd5, 11.Nxd5 Be6, 12.Nxf6+ Bxf6, 13.Qe2 0-0, 14.Bxe6), 10.d5 Nxb3, 11.axb3 b4, 12.dxe6 Bxe6 (12...Qxd1?, 13.exf7+ Kxf7, 14.Nxd1), 13.Qxd8+ Kxd8, 14.Ne2), 9.a3), 7.Bd3 Bb7 (7...e6, 8.a4 b4, 9.Ne4)(7...Nbd7, 8.Ne4)(7..c5?, 8.dxc5), 8. Qe2 e6, 9.Ne4][5...c6, 6.Ne5 e6, 7.d4][5...Nc6, 6.h3 Bf5 (6...e6, 7.d4 Be7, 8.0-0 0-0, 9.Re1)(6...a6, 7.a4 Bf5, 8.d4)(6...g6, 7.d4 Bg7, 8.0-0 0-0, 9.Bf4)(6...h6, 7.d4 e6 (7...a6, 8.0-0 e6 (8...b5, 9.d5 bxc4, 10.dxc6), 9.Re1)(7...Bf5?, 8.d5 Na5 (8...Nb4?, 9.Nd4), 9.Bd3 Bxd3, 10.Qxd3), 8.0-0)(6...e5?, 7.Ng5 Be6, 8.Nxe6 fxe6, 9.Bxe6), 7.0-0 e6 (7...a6, 8.d4), 8.d4][5...c5, 6.d4 cxd4 (6...a6, 7.dxc5 Qxd1+, 8.Nxd1)(6...e6, 7.d5 exd5 (7...Nxd5, 8.Nxd5 exd5 transposes), 8.Nxd5 Nxd5, 9.Qxd5 Qxd5 (9...Qe7, 10.Be3), 10.Bxd5)(6...Bf5??, 7.Ne5 e6, 8.Bb5+ Nfd7 (8...Nbd7, 9.g4 Bg6, 10.Bg5), 9.Qf3)(6...Bg4??, 7.Ne5 Be6, 8.Bxe6 fxe6, 9.0-0), 7.Nxd4][5...Bg4??, 6.Bxf7+! (or 6.Ne5 Be6, 7.Bxe6 fxe6, 8.Qf3) 6...Kxf7, 7.Ne5+], 6.d4 Be7 (6...c6, 7.Qe2 Be7 (7...Nbd7, 8.0-0)(7...Bd6, 8.0-0)(7...Bb4, 8.0-0)(7...b5, 8.Bd3), 8.0-0 0-0, 9.Re1)(6...a6, 7.a4)(6...Nbd7, 7.0-0)(6...Bb4, 7.0-0)(6...Nc6, 7.0-0)(6...Bd6, 7.0-0), 7.0-0 0-0 (7...a6, 8.a4)(7...c6, 8.a4)(7...Nbd7, 8.Qe2)(7...Nc6, 8.Re1), 8.Qe2 Nbd7 (8...a6, 9.a4)(8...c6, 9.Re1)(8...Nc6, 9.Rd1), 9.Re1: {9...Nb6, 10.Bd3: Morozevich v. Bruneau, Hyeres Open (1992)}

4...Bg4, 5.h3: 5...Bxf3 [5...Bh5, 6.g4 Bg6, 7.h4 f6 (7...h5, 8.Ne5 Qd6 (8...Bh7?, 9.Qf3), 9.d4)(7...h6, 8.Ne5 Qd6 (8...Bh7?, 9.Qf3), 9.d4), 8.d4], 6.Qxf3 c6 (6...Nc6?, 7.Bb5)(6...Qc8?, 7.d4), 7.Be2

4...c5, 5.d4: 5...e6 [5...cxd4, 6.Qxd4 Qxd4 (6...Bd7, 7.Bf4 Nc6, 8.Qe3)(6...Nd7?, 7.Bf4)(6...a6?, 7.Nd5)(6...Nc6?, 7.Qxd8), 7.Nxd4, almost always followed by 8.Ndb5][5...Nf6, 6.Bf4][5...a6, 6.dxc5 Qxd1+, 7.Nxd1, where white holds on to the pawn with moves like Be3 and/or a3 and b4][5...g6, 6.dxc5 Qxd1+, 7.Kxd1][5...Nc6?, 6.d5], 6.Bg5 Be7 (6...Nf6, 7.Bb5+)(6...Qb6, 7.Qd2 cxd4 (7...Nf6, 8.0-0-0)(7...h6, 8.dxc5 Bxc5, 9.0-0-0 hxg5 (9...Nd7, 10.Bb5)(9...Bd7, 10.Bb5), 10.Na4)(7...Nd7, 8.dxc5 Bxc5, 9.0-0-0 h6 transposes into the 7...h6 line)(7...Qxb2??, 8.Rb1 Qa3?, 9.Nb5), 8.Nxd4 h6, 9.Be3)(6...f6, 7.Be3)(6...Ne7?, 7.dxc5)(6...Qc7?, 7.Nb5 Qa5+, 8.Bd2 Qb6 (8...Qd8, 9.Bf4), 9.Bf4 Na6, 10.Ne5)(6...Qa5??, 7.Ne5), 7.Bxe7 Qxe7 (7...Nxe7, 8.dxc5), 8.Ne4

4...c6, 5.Bc4: 5...Nf6 [5...Bf5, 6.g4 Bg6 (6...Bd7, 7.Ne5 e6 (7...Nh6, 8.g5), 8.d4)(6...Bc8, 7.d4)(6...Bxg4, 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7, 8.Ng5+), 7.h4 h5 (7...b5, 8.Bb3 h5 (8...b4, 9.h5 Bxc2, 10.Qxc2 bxc3 11.dxc3)(8...h6, 9.Ne5), 9.Ne5 Qd6 10.d4)(7...h6, 8.Ne5 Qd6 (8...Qd4, 9.Qe2), 9.d4 Nd7, 10.Qe2)(7...Nf6, 8.h5 Be4, 9.Bxf7+ Kxf7, 10.Ng5+ Ke8, 11.Ngxe4), 8.Ne5 Qd6 (8...Qd4, 9.Qe2), 9.Nxg6 Qxg6, 10.g5][5...e6, 6.d4][5...b5, 6.Be2][5...Nd7, 6.0-0][5...Bg4??, 6.Bxf7+] transposes into the 4...Nf6, 5.Bc4 c6 line

4...g6, 5.Bc4: 5...Bg7 [5...Nf6, 6.Ne5 transposes into the 4...Nf6 line above][5...Nh6, 6.d4! Bg7 (6...Nf5, 7.Ng5 e6, 8.d5), 7.Bxh6 Bxh6, 8.h3], 6.h3 Nf6 (6...Nh6, 7.0-0 Nf5, 8.Ne4 0-0, 9.c3 with the idea of d4)(6...e6, 7.d4)(6...Nc6, 7.0-0 Nf6 (7...Nh6, 8.Ne4 Nf5, 9.c3), 8.d4)(6...a6, 7.d4 Nf6 (7...b5??, 8.Bxf7+! Kxf7, 9.Ng5+ Ke8, 10.Qf3), 8.a4), 7.d4 0-0, 8.0-0

4...Nc6, 5.Bb5: 5...Nf6 [5...e6, 6.d4 Nf6, 7.0-0][5...Bd7, 6.0-0 a6, 7.Bxc6 Bxc6, 8.Ne5 with similar ideas to the 5...Nf6, 6.0-0 Bd7 line][5...a6, 6.Bxc6+ bxc6, 7.d4][5...Qd6, 6.0-0 Bg4 (6...Nf6, 7.d4)(6...a6, 7.Bxc6+ Qxc6, 8.Ne5 Qd6, 9.d4), 7.d4 0-0-0, 8.d5 Ne5, 9.Be2][5...Bg4, 6.h3], 6.0-0 e6 (6...Bd7, 7.Re1 a6, 8.Bxc6 Bxc6, 9.Ne5 e6 (9...Qd6, 10.d4)(9...Bd7, 10.Qf3), 10.Nxc6 bxc6, 11.Qf3)(6...a6, 7.Bxc6 bxc6, 8.d4)(6...Qd6, 7.d4)(6...Bg4, 7.h3), 7.d4

4...Bf5, 5.Bc4: 5...e6 [5...Nd7, 6.0-0][5...c6, 6.g4 transposes into 4...c6, 5.Bc4 Bf5 line][5...Nf6? 6.Ne5 transposes into the 4...Nf6 line][5...Nc6, 6.d4], 6.0-0


My Easy-to-Remember and Solid System Against 2...Nf6

The move 2...Nf6 in the Scandinavian Defense signifies the Marshall Gambit, not to be confused with the Marshall Attack in the Ruy Lopez, or the Marshall Gambit in the Semi-Slav Triangle System. This variation of the Scandinavian Defense has always reminded me a bit of Alekhine's Defense because of the knight maneuvers that black often implements. Black's position can also take on the look of the Caro-Kann Defense, which is something that I mentioned early in this blog post. That being said, this opening variation is deceptively tricky for white to play against, especially for beginner and early-intermediate players, as is Alekhine's Defense. In fact, my first tournament loss came at the hands of this opening, and I quickly made it my mission to feel comfortable against the Scandinavian Defense, hence the motivation for this blog entry. One key is for white not to attempt to maintain the extra pawn in the main lines, as it is objectively questionable to do so (see: Icelandic Gambit); you will see a few exceptions below, but that is often when black has traded off their light-squared bishop, when black has removed their light-squared bishop from the c8-h3 diagonal, or when white has safely castled.

I previously mentioned IM Andrew Martin's repertoire recommendations in relation to this opening. For 2...Nf6, IM Martin recommends 3.Nf3, which I agree with, as it seems to be the most solid and advantageous continuation. However, after 3...Nxd5, he recommends 4.Be2, which is interesting and sound but which doesn't offer much of an advantage nor fit my eye. That continuation also has some forcing lines very early on, while the theme of this blog post is a solid and easy-to-remember system that preserves some advantage for white. Therefore, I am recommending the principled move 4.d4 in answer to 3...Nxd5.

Note that 2...Nf6, 3.Nf3 Qxd5, 4.Nc3 transposes into lines previously mentioned above. Also, 3...Nxd5 will be mentioned in the section just below.

2...Nf6, 3.Nf3:

3...Bg4, 4.Bb5+: 4...Nbd7 [4...c6, 5.dxc6 Nxc6 (5...bxc6, 6.Be2), 6.0-0][4...Bd7, 5.Bxd7+ Qxd7 (5...Nbxd7, 6.c4), 6.c4], 5.h3 Bh5 (5...Bxf3, 6.Qxf3 a6 (6...g6, 7.Be2 Bg7, 8.d4 0-0, 9.0-0), 7.Ba4)(5...a6, 6.Be2 Bxf3, 7.Bxf3 Ne5, 8.Nc3 Nxf3+, 9.Qxf3)(5...Bf5, 6.Nc3 a6, 7.Ba4 b5, 8.Nd4), 6.Nc3 a6, 7.Be2 Nb6, 8.0-0 Nbxd5 (8...Nfxd5, 9.Nxd5 Nxd5 (9...Qxd5, 10.b3) transposes to the main line), 9.Nxd5 Nxd5 (9...Qxd5, 10.d4 Qd8, 11.c4), 10.d4 e6 (10...Nf6, 11.c4 e6 transposes to the main line)(10...c6, 11.c4 Nf6, 12.Qb3)(10...Nb6, 11.a4), 11.c4 Nf6 (11...Nb6, 12.b3)(11...Nb4, 12.a3 Nc6 (12...Bxf3, 13.Bxf3 Nc6, 14.d5), 13.d5)(11.Bxf3?, 12.Bxf3), 12.Re1

3...c6, 4.dxc6: 4...Nxc6, 5.Bb5 Bg4 [5...Qb6, 6.Nc3 a6, 7.Bxc6+ Qxc6, 8.d4 Bg4, 9.d5][5...Bd7, 6.d4 a6, 7.Be2][5...Qc7, 6.0-0 a6 (6...Bg4, 7.h3 Bh5, 8.d4 a6, 9.Be2), 7.Bxc6+ Qxc6, 8.Ne5 Qc7, 9.d4][5...Bf5, 6.0-0 e6 (6...Rc8, 7.Ne5), 7.d3][5...g6, 6.h3 Bg7, 7.0-0 0-0, 8.d4][5...a6, 6.Bxc6 bxc6, 7.h3], 6.h3 Bh5 (6...Bxf3, 7.Qxf3 Rc8, 8.0-0 a6, 9.Bxc6+ Rxc6, 10.c3 Qd5 (10...e6, 11.d4), 11.Qxd5 Nxd5, 12.d3)(6...Bd7, 7.d4 e6 (7...a6, 8.Bd3 Bf5, 9.0-0)(7...Qa5+, 8.Nc6 e6, 9.0-0), 8.0-0), 7.0-0 e6 (7...Qb6, 8.Be2)(7...Qc7, 8.d4)(7...Rc8, 8.c3)(7...Qd5, 8.Be2), 8.d4

3...e6, 4.Bb5+: 4...Bd7 [4...c6, 5.dxc6 bxc6 (5...Nxc6, 6.0-0 or 6.d4 for a potentially more fighting game), 6.Be2], 5.Bxd7+ Qxd7, 6.dxe6 Qxe6+, 7.Qe2 Qxe2+, 8.Kxe2
4.dxe6 can also be played for a more fighting game if white finds that the pawn-up endgame is not yielding adequate results.


Black's Main Options Following 2...Nf6, 3.Nf3 Nxd5, 4.d4

A decent part of this section was explained in the section just above, but I wanted to add that this is the main continuation of the Marshall Gambit. Occasionally the lines from the section just above are seen -- thus my reason for writing it, but you will see this continuation or the 3...Qxd5 line (transposing into the earlier lines) almost always. Also, this section will be somewhat large, as it covers a whole main-line variation in itself.

Here, white can play very conservatively in this line with moves like c3, which are fine but which don't offer white much if any advantage. In first learning to play against this line, I started in that conservative style. However, from those positions, it is difficult for white to progress, and often the lack of pressure on black makes your task even harder; meanwhile, black can often still chip away at white's center if white plays too passively, meaning that black has clear ideas while white may not. This is a line where white should be playing for a more ideal setup with more space and better piece development, as I believe that white has many ways to secure a safe and stable advantage out of this line. Occasionally, establishing a strong yet relatively modest center is actually more flexible -- especially early on, as in this line, like many others, the center can then support itself while advancing if black plays to undermine it with moves like c5, e5 or Nc6. There are even ways where white may play somewhat tactically, sometimes sacrificing a pawn or more, but where the compensation is very evident.

Finally, some of the lines (especially the main lines) below will be somewhat longer and more complicated than the content above, but keep in mind that the PGNs here are for examples of middlegame play. It is more important to understand the style of the opening responses. I will add that the complexity of these lines was in order to preserve as large an advantage as possible while reducing counterplay; moves like h3 do this, but it is important to push here when possible, as black's d5-knight can be a strong piece and not a drawback if left in the center of the board.

2...Nf6, 3.Nf3 Nxd5, 4.d4:

4...g6, 5.c4: 5...Nb6 [5...Nf6, 6.h3 Bg7 (6...c6, 7.Nc3 Bg7, 8.Bd3 0-0, 9.0-0), 7.Nc3 0-0 (7...c6, 8.Bd3, 9.0-0)(7...c5, 8.d5)(7.b6, 8.Be2 Bb7, 9.0-0)(7...Nbd7, 8.Be2 0-0, 9.0-0)(7...Bf5, 8.g4)(7...e6, 8.Be2 0-0, 9.0-0), 8.Be2][5...Nb4??, 6.Qa4+], 6.h3 Bg7 (6...c5, 7.d5 Bg7, 8.Nc3 0-0, 9.Be3)(6...Nc6, 7.d5 Nb4 (7...Nb8, 8.Qd4), 8.a3 Na6, 9.Qd4), 7.Nc3 0-0 (7...c5, 8.d5 likely transposes into the 8...c5 line)(7...Nc6, 8.Be3 likely transposes into the "main line"), 8.Be2 Nc6 (8...c5, 9.d5 e6, 10.Bg5 Qd7 (10...Bxc3+, 11.bxc3 f6, 12.Be3 Na6, 13.0-0 exd5, 14.cxd5 Qxd5, 15.Nd2)(10...f6, 11.Be3 Na6, 12.a4)(10...Bf6, 11.Bxf6 Qxf6, 12.Qd2), 11.Rc1)(8...c6, 9.0-0 Be6, 10.b3 c5, 11.d5 Bxc3, 12.dxe6 Bxa1, 13.exf7+ Rxf7, 14.Qxa1)(8...Bf5, 9.Be3)(8...Re8, 9.Be3)(8...Be6, 9.d5 Bf5 (9...Bc8, 10.0-0), 10.Nd4)(8...e5, 9.Nxe5), 9.Be3 e5 (9...Na5, 10.b3 c5, 11.Rc1 cxd4, 12.Nxd4)(9...Re8, 10.Rc1 e5, 11.d5)(9...Bf5, 10.g4 Bc8 (10...Bd7, 11.c5 Nc8, 12.d5), 11.Qd2)(9...e6, 10.Qd2 with the idea of Bh6 and 0-0-0)(9...f5, 10.d5)(9...a6, 10.Qd2)(9...Nd7, 10.Qd2)(9...a5, 10.Qd2), 10.d5 Ne7 (10...Na5, 11.Nd2: {Szwed v. Vrana, 18th Pobeskydi Hamont Cup (2007): 1.e4 d5, 2.exd5 Nf6, 3.d4 Nxd5, 4.Nf3 g6, 5.c4 Nb6, 6.Nc3 Bg7, 7.h3 0-0, 8.Be2 Nc6, 9.Be3 e5, 10.d5 Na5, 11.Nd2 e4, 12.Rc1 Qe7, 13.a3 c5, 14.Ncxe4 Nd7, 15.Bf4 Bxb2, 16.Bd6 Qh4, 17.Rb1 Be5, 18.Bxf8 Kxf8, 19.Qc2 f5, 20.Nc3 Bg7, 21.0-0 Ne5, 22.Nb5 Bd7, 23.Nd6 b6, 24.f4 Ng4, 25.Nf3 Qe7, 26.hxg4 fxg4, 27.Ne5 Qxd6, 28.Bxg4 Bxg4, 29.Nxg4 Bd4+, 30.Kh1 Qe7, 31.g3 Re8, 32.Ne5 Kg8, 33.Rbe1 Rf8, 34.Nxg6 1-0})(10...Nb8, 11.h4)(10...Nb4, 11.0-0)(10...e4, 11.Nxe4 Ne5 (11...Qe7, 12.Ned2)(11...Na5, 12.b3!)(11...Qe8, 12.Nc5)(11...Re8??, 12.dxc6), 12.Nxe5 Bxe5, 13.Qd2)), 11.g4 f5 (11...Nd7, 12.Qd2 with the idea of Bh6 and 0-0-0)(11...e4, 12.Nxe4: Valerga v. Luconi, Argentine Championship (2008)), 12.Qb3 e4 (12...Kh8, 13.0-0-0: Rodriguez Vila v. Bademian Orchanian, Uruguayan Championship (1990)), 13.Ng5 h6 (13...f4, 14.Bc5:{Szava v. Vazquez, LSS WC (2014): 1.e4 d5, 2.exd5 Nf6, 3.d4 Nxd5, 4.c4 Nb6, 5.Nf3 g6, 6.Nc3 Bg7, 7.Be3 0-0, 8.h3 Nc6, 9.Be2 e5, 10.d5 Ne7, 11.g4 f5, 12.Qb3 e4, 13.Ng5 f4, 14.Bc5 Bxc3+, 15.bxc3 Re8, 16.Nxe4 Nf5, 17.Qc2 Nd7, 18.Ba3 Nf6, 19.Nxf6+ Qxf6, 20.0-0-0 Qa6, 21.Bb4 Nh4, 22.Rd4 Qf6, 23.Qd2 g5, 24.c5 a5, 25.Ba3 Bd7, 26.d6 c6, 27.Re1 Kf8, 28.Bd1 Rxe1, 29.Qxe1 Ng6, 30.Bb2 Re8, 31.Qd2 Qe5, 32.c4 Qe1, 33.Qc3 Qxc3+, 34.Bxc3 Ne5, 35.Bxa5 Be6, 36.Bc2 h6, 37.Bb4 Nd7, 38.Kd2 Bf7, 39.a4 Re5, 40.Kc3 Re2, 41.Bf5 Be6, 42.Re4 Rxe4, 43.Bxe4 Nf6, 44.Bd3 Kf7, 45.a5 Bd7, 46.Ba3 h5, 47.f3 hxg4, 48.hxg4 Be6, 49.Kb4 Nd7, 50.Be4 Nb8, 51.a6 1–0}), 14.0-0-0: 14...hxg5: {Glinz v. Carbajal, RCCA Silver email: 1.e4 d5, 2.exd5 Nf6, 3.Nf3 Nxd5, 4.d4 g6, 5.Be2 Bg7, 6.c4 Nb6, 7.Nc3 0-0, 8.h3 Nc6, 9.Be3 e5, 10.d5 Ne7, 11.g4 f5, 12.Qb3 e4, 13.Ng5 h6, 14.0-0-0 hxg5, 15.c5 Bxc3, 16.d6+ Ned5, 17.dxc7 Qf6, 18.cxb6 Bxb2+, 19.Kb1 Be6, 20.Rxd5, axb6, 21.Bc4 Qc3, 22.Qxb6 Qxc4, 23.Qxe6+ Kh8, 24.Rd6 Qxe6, 25.Rxe6 Bf6, 26.h4 Kg8, 27.hxg5 Bg7, 28.Rd1 Rac8, 29.Rd7 1–0}; 14...a5: {Pablo Marin v. Basto Auzmendi, Spanish Championship Premier North (2005): 1.e4 d5, 2.exd5 Nf6, 3.d4 Nxd5, 4.Nf3 g6, 5.c4 Nb6, 6.Nc3 Bg7, 7.h3 0-0, 8.Be3 Nc6, 9.Be2 e5, 10.d5 Ne7, 11.g4 f5, 12.Qb3 e4, 13.Ng5 h6, 14.0-0-0 a5, 15.d6 a4, 16.Qa3 Nc6, 17.c5 hxg5, 18.cxb6 Be6, 19.bxc7 Qd7, 20.Nd5 Ne5, 21.Kb1 f4, 22. Nb6 Qf7, 23.Bd4 Rae8, 24.Bxe5 Bxe5, 25.Bb5 Ra8, 26.Nxa8 Rxa8, 27.Rhe1 e3, 28.fxe3 f3, 29.Rf1 Bd5, 30.Qc5 Bxa2+, 31.Kc1 Qe6, 32.d7 Bxc7, 33.Qxc7 Qxe3+, 34.Rd2 1-0}

4...Bg4, 5.Be2: 5...e6 (5...Nc6, 6.h3)(5...Nb6, 6.h3)(5...c6, 6.h3)(5...c5, 6.c4 Nb6, 7.d5 g6 (7...e6, 8.h3)(7...Nbd7, 8.b3)(7...Nxc5??, 8.Qa4+), 8.Nc3)(5...g6, 6.h3 Bxf3, 7.Bxf3), 6.h3 Bh5 (6...Bf5, 7.a3 with the idea of playing a quick c4)(6...Bxf3, 7.Bxf3 )(6...Bb4+, 7.c3 Bxf3, 8.Bxf3), 7.0-0 Nc6 (7...Be7, 8.b3)(7...Bd6, 8.Re1)(7...Nf6, 8.c4)(7...Nb6, 8.Nc3 Be7 (8...Nc6, 9.Qd2 with the idea of reinforcing the d-pawn while also allowing for Ne5 without the queen hanging in likes like 9...Qd7, 10.Ne5)(8...c5?, 9.Bg5), 9.Ne4), 8.Re1 Be7, 9.Nbd2 followed by c3 with slow, maneuvering play to follow

4...Bf5, 5.Be2: 5...e6 (5...c6, 6.0-0 e6 (6...h6, 7.c4)(6...Qc7, 7.Re1), 7.c4)(5...Nb4, 6.Na3 e6, 7.0-0 commonly followed by c3)(5...Nc6, 6.Nh4)(5...c5, 6.a3), 6.0-0 Be7 (6...Nc6, 7.a3)(6...Bd6, 7.Re1)(6...Nb4, 7.Na3)(6...c6, 7.c4), 7.a3 0-0, 8.c4 Nb6 (8...Nf6, 9.Re1), 9.Nc3 Nc6 (9...Bf6, 10.Be3 Nc6 transposes to the "main line"), 10.Be3 Bf6 (10...Bg4, 11.b3: {Bronstein v. Gipslis, Tallinn (Estonia) (1975)}), 11.h3: {Kosteniuk v. Muzychuk, Women's World Blitz Championship, Moscow (2010): 1.e4 d5, 2.exd5 Nf6, 3.Bb5+ Bd7, 4.Be2 Nxd5, 5.d4 Bf5, 6.a3 e6, 7.c4 Nb6, 8.Nc3 Be7, 9.Nf3 O-O, 10.O-O Bf6, 11.Be3 Nc6, 12.h3 a5, 13.b3 e5, 14.d5 e4, 15.Nd4 Nxd4, 16.Bxd4 c6, 17.d6 Nd7, 18.Qd2 Re8, 19.Rad1 b6, 20.Rfe1 Be5, 21.Bf1 Nc5, 22.Bxe5 Rxe5, 23.Qf4 Qf6, 24.b4 axb4, 25.axb4 Ne6, 26.Qe3 c5, 27.Nd5 Qd8, 28.Ne7+ Kh8, 29.Nc6 Qf6, 30.Nxe5 Qxe5, 31.Rd5 Qf6, 32.bxc5 bxc5, 33.d7 Rd8, 34.Qg3 h6, 35.Qe5 Qxe5, 36.Rxe5 Nd4, 37.Rxc5 Rxd7, 38.Rd5 Rxd5, 39.cxd5 Kg8, 40.Rd1 Nb3, 41.d6 Bd7, 42.Bc4 Nc5, 43.Ra1 g5, 44.Ra7 Kg7, 45.Rc7} or 11.Rc1: {Minasian v. Dudukin, 4th Open A, Moscow (2008): 1.e4 d5, 2.exd5 Nf6, 3.Nf3 Nxd5, 4.d4 Bf5, 5.Be2 e6, 6.O-O Be7, 7.a3 O-O, 8.c4 Nb6, 9.Nc3 Nc6, 10.Be3 Bf6, 11.Rc1 Qc8, 12.Qb3 Rd8, 13.Rfd1 Rb8, 14.h3 h6, 15.Qa2 Ne7, 16.Bf4 a6, 17.b4 Bh7, 18.Rd2 Nf5, 19.Rcd1 Nh4, 20.Nxh4 Bxh4, 21.Bf3 Nd7, 22.c5 Re8, 23.c6 bxc6 24.Bxc6 Re7, 25.Qc4 Nb6, 26.Qe2 Nd5, 27.Bxd5 exd5, 28.Qh5 Qd8, 29.Nxd5 Rd7, 30.Nxc7 Rb6, 31.Qc5 Qf6, 32.Be5 Qg6, 33.d5 Rb8, 34.d6 a5, 35.Bg3 Bxg3, 36. fxg3}

4...e6, 5.Be2: 5...Be7 (5...c5, 6.c4)(5...Bd6, 6.0-0 0-0, 7.Re1)(5...Nd7, 6.0-0)(5...Nf6, 6.0-0), 6.0-0

  • In these 4...e6 and other lines in this section, white should be conscious of black's check with Bb4, which could simplify the position, misplace white's pieces or be otherwise annoying. Therefore, I recommend that white castle before playing c4 unless black cannot give this check, as with the 5...c5 line.
  • Another thing to keep in mind is that with black's bishop or queen on the h2-b8 diagonal, black has the possibility to play Nf4 after c4, after which white loses the bishop pair. Therefore, I often recommend 0-0 followed by Re1 in such cases.

4...Nb6, 5.Be2: 5...Bg4 (5...g6, 6.h3 Bg7 (6...Nc6, 7.c4)(6...c5, 7.a4), 7.c4 transposes into the 4.g6 main line, while 7.a4 is also possible after 6...Bg7 and 6...Nc6)(5...Bf5, 6.0-0), 6.h3 transposes into the 4...Bg4, 5.Be2 Nb6 line

4...c6, 5.c4: 5...Nf6 (5...Nb6, 6.h3)(5...Nc7, 6.h3)(5...Nb4, 6.a3 Na6, 7.h3)(5...Qa5+??, 6.Bd2 Nb4, 7.a3), 6.h3

4...Nf6, 5.Be2: 5...Bf5 (5...Bg4, 6.h3)(5...e6, 6.0-0)(5...c5, 6.0-0), 6.0-0

4...Nc6, 5.Bb5: 5...e6 (5...Nf6, 6.0-0)(5...a6, 6.Bxc6+ bxc6, 7.0-0)(5...Nb6, 6.0-0)(5...Bd7, 6.0-0), 6.0-0

4...c5, 5.c4: 5...Nf6 (5...Nb6, 6.Nc3), 6.Nc3

How Did You Like the More Thorough Content of This Post?

In Conclusion,

I hope you found this blog post helpful and thorough. Much like my attempt in my last blog post on the Nimzovich Defense, here I attempted to research and write about more of my own lines and responses. I don't think that they will be totally sufficient or that all of them will meet your personal tastes, but they may give you some ideas and direction.

Another point to make about the thoroughness of some lines is that the shorter ones were made short based on a practical balance between the rarity of the line and its complexities and difficulties. That is, some lines you may never see, so there is little point in my writing theory fifteen moves deep on it (or you reading such theory). Moreover, you will notice that the main-line responses (mentioned first in their related sections) are much longer and comprehensive.

I have many ideas for new chess opening posts, many of which are currently in the works. I will also be updating and editing this and other previous blog posts in time. Keep an eye out for them, and as always, thank you for reading.

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