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Scandinavian with 2...

Nf6 [B01]
This month I look at the Scandinavian or Center Counter Defense from White's point of view. I was taught that the Center Counter usually refers to 2...Qxd5, while the Scandinavian refers to 2...Nf6 as a "counter," but I believe the names are interchangeable. I am restricting myself to the 2...Nf6 line. 1.e4 d5 Black immediately challenges White's center and opens lines for the Black queen and c8-bishop. It is a great system for the club level since most players spend most of their time studying 1.e4 e5 or the Sicilian, and often the Scandinavian is low on the list. If White is unprepared, Black can often get a free, easy game with play on the d-file. 2.exd5 White does not want to waste a tempo on moving the pawn or defending it. If 2.e5 Bf5 Black is totally okay, and 2...c5 3.d4 e6 transposes to an Advance French. 2...Nf6
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The Openings Explained


Abby Marshall

ECO B by Chess Informant

Scandinavian Defence by Curt Hansen

[FEN "rnbqkb1r/ppp1pppp/5n2/3P4/8/8/ PPPP1PPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 3"]

The point here is to develop and not spend time moving the queen to the center only to have her kicked away by Nc3. 2...Qxd5 is the other main move. Black will lose time moving the queen, though Black has created an interesting unbalanced game with Black having the open d-file and White having the e-file. Play through and download the games from ChessCafe.com in the ChessBase Game Viewer. 3.d4 3.c4 is what I play, not with the idea of hanging on to the pawn but in order to reach a familiar position by transposition. A) 3...c6 4.d4 If 4.dxc6? Nxc6.
The Scandinavian by John Emms

[FEN "r1bqkb1r/pp2pppp/2n2n2/8/2P5/8/ PP1P1PPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 5"]

This is well-known to be bad for White despite the extra pawn. Visually it makes a lot of sense: Black has two pieces out and control over the dark squares. White's c-pawn blocks the f1bishop as well. After 4. d4 then 4... cxd5 5.Nc3 is the Panov-Botvinnik attack in the Caro-Kann. B) 3...e6 4.d4 (4.dxe6 Being greedy makes more sense here than it did after 3...c6, since after Black recaptures there will not be the same bind on the d4square. Still, I am wary of Black's lead in development after the bishop recaptures.) 4...exd5 5.Nc3 This is the Exchange French. 3.Bb5+ is an interesting idea that challenges Black right away. White develops with tempo and wants to disrupt Black's development and influence on the d-file. Chris Baker recommends this move in A Startling Chess Opening Repertoire. A) 3...Nbd7 This move anticipates White's idea and puts a harder question to White than 3...Bd7. With no immediate threat, White needs to find a good plan. Black can get untied quickly with ...a6/b5. There are two other move four alternatives to the main line: A1) 4.c4 looks logical since it is difficult to see how Black can take advantage of the lead in development. 4...a6 5.Ba4 b5 This if of course the idea. Black counts on breaking up White's center and using the lead in development provided by the two knights. 6.cxb5 Nxd5 7.Nc3 White develops and challenges one of Black's developed pieces. 7...N5b6 8.Bc2 axb5 9.Nxb5 Ba6 10.Nc3 e5 I am not so happy with this position as White, since I like to be the aggressor, rather than have my opponent be. I would say Black has definite compensation for the pawn due to piece activity and control over the center. A2) 4.Nc3 looks natural as well since it defends the d-pawn but it is out of place here. Usually White will end up pushing d4 and c4 at some point, so the knight is just blocking the c-pawn. 4...a6 5.Be2 Nb6 This gives Black the dfile control I do not like. A3) 4.d4 White does not use time defending the extra pawn and instead gets control of the center and develops. 4...Nxd5 5.Nf3 A3a) 5...c6 Black decides to get on with development on the queenside. 6.Ba4 N7b6 7.Bb3 a5 The threat is ...a4. 8.a3 As someone who is used to playing with isolated d-pawns (IQP), this position is a real treat since in IQP positions the knight often stays forever on d5, but here it can be kicked away. 8...Bf5 9. c4 Nf6 10.Nc3 e6 11.h3 This move is not aimed at preventing a ...Bg4 pin but rather moving Bf4 and if Black plays ...Nh5 White can drop back to h2. 11... h6 12.00 Be7 13.Bf4 00 14.Qe2 Re8 15.Rfe1 Here it's about equal or slightly better for White because of extra space, although the b3-bishop doesn't look the greatest. 15...Nbd7 16.Rad1 Qb6 17.Ba2 Qa6 18.Ne5 Bf8 19. g4!? Violence in a position that has previously been relatively contained! I like this move a lot. Black made moves that seemed okay, but here is this shot for White. It's justified since Black has no way of striking back in the center. 19...Bh7 20.h4 Rad8 21.g5 hxg5 22.hxg5 Nxe5 23.Bxe5 Nd7 24.Bc7 Rc8 25. Bg3 (25.Bf4 seems faster since the g-pawn is now protected. 25...Be7 26.Kg2 White has not given up anything for this attack.)

[FEN "2r1r1k1/1p1nbppb/q1p1p3/p5P1/ 2PP1B2/P1N5/BP2QPK1/3RR3 b - - 0 26"]

25...Be7 26.Qh5 Bg6 27.Qh4 Nf8 28.Kg2 Nh7 29.Re5 Since White played a little slowly on move 25 this awkward move is played. 29...f6? Now the bishop on a2 by accident finds itself on the right diagonal. (29...Qb6 is better; Black should move the queen back to the kingside.)

[FEN "2r1r1k1/1p2bppn/1qp1p1b1/p3R1P1/ 2PP3Q/P1N3B1/BP3PK1/3R4 w - - 0 30"]

30.Rxe6 Nxg5 31.c5! Nxe6 32.Bxe6+ Bf7 Should White now exchange this bishop for the c8-rook? You've got to be kidding! 33.Bf5 Qc4 34.Qh7+ Kf8 35.Qh8+ Bg8 36.Rh1 Kf7 37.Bg6+ Black will be checkmated on h5 after taking the bishop. Retreating to f8 runs into Rh7. 10, Starostits,I-Spacek,P, Germany 2008. A3b) 5...g6 Black is going to let the light-squared bishop sit out on b5 for a little while and pursue development another way. 6.00 Bg7 7.Re1 00 8.h3 a6 9.Bf1 b5 10.a4 White's play has been pretty constrained so far with the idea that Black does not have many targets so White will slowly chip away at Black's weaknesses. These include no pawn in the center and awkward development. 10...b4 11.c4!? bxc3 12.Nxc3 White accepts an isolated d-pawn to get the open c-file and also isolate Black's a and c pawns. White is a little better here. B) 3...c6 This leaves Black a little awkwardly placed. 4.dxc6 bxc6 5.Be2 e5 6. d3 Bc5 7.Nf3 Nbd7 8.00 00 9.Nc3 Black has one pawn in the center to Black's advantage, yet I am not sure where the knight on d7 is going. White's bishop on e2 is slightly passive. However I like having the extra pawn and the pawns on a7 and c6 are not looking too healthy. C) 3...Bd7 The natural response that develops a piece. 4.Be2 It looks like White wasted time but this move is the point: White feels that the inclusion of ...Bd7 only hinders Black. There are other choices of where to retreat the bishop, but I like this innocuous looking move since it prevents ...Bg4 pins in the future. C1) 4...Nxd5 5.d4 Black has played several moves here.

[FEN "rn1qkb1r/pppbpppp/8/3n4/3P4/8/ PPP1BPPP/RNBQK1NR b KQkq - 0 5"]

C1a) 5...e6 White has received what was desired. Black develops as if all is normal but now the d7-bishop is blocked in by the pawn. 6.Nf3 Be7 7.00 0 0 8.c4 Nf6 9.Nc3 a5?! (9...c5 10.Be3 cxd4 11.Nxd4 Nc6 This looks far more typical and a better way for Black to play. This is roughly equal since White has more active pieces while Black is holding solid in the center.) 10.Ne5 Nc6 11.Be3 Be8 12.f4 The Ne5 paired with f4 plan is seen also in IQP positions. With the pawn on c4 it seems even better since Black can't even question the e3-bishop with ...Nd5. 12...a4 13.Bf3 a3 14.b3 Ra5 15.Qd2 Black's silly plan has let White build up a huge attack. 15...Bb4 16.Nd3 Be7 17.Ne2 Ra8 18. Rad1 Rb8 19.g4! White has paralyzed the center and Black's play on the queenside is much too slow. 19...h5 It's hard to say what else to recommend for Black. (19...Bd7 20.g5 Ne8 21.d5 Take a second to be sure, but, yes, the knight is trapped.) 20.h3 I give the rest of the game to show how White plays this position. 20...hxg4 21.hxg4 b5 22.Kg2 bxc4 23.bxc4 Nb4 24.Ne5 Nd7 25. Rh1 Nxe5 26.fxe5 Ba4 27.Rc1 Qd7 28.Nf4 Bg5 29.Be4 f5 30.exf6 Rxf6 31. Nh5 Bc6 32.Bxc6 Qxc6+ 33.d5 exd5 34.Bxg5 dxc4+ 35.Kh3 Rf3+ 36.Kh4 g6 37.Nf4 Kg7 38.Qd4+ 10, Turov,M-Kondenko,A,Maikop 2004. C1b) 5...Nb6 This move anticipated c4 to counter it in an imaginative way. 6. c4 (6.Nf3 avoids Black's idea but runs into a 6...Bg4 pin.) 6...e5!? 7.dxe5 Nc6 Black does have three pieces out to only one white piece. 8.Nf3 Bb4+ 9.Nbd2 Qe7 10.a3 White forces Black to give up the two bishops. 10...Bxd2+ 11. Qxd2 000 (11...Nxe5 12.Nxe5 Qxe5 13.Qf4 Qxf4 14.Bxf4 000 15.00 I wouldn't try to claim a White advantage, but I like the two bishops and the chances for queenside expansion.) 12.Qc3 Rhe8 13.Bf4 f6 14.00 Now things start to turn violent in White's favor. 14...Qf7 15.a4 g5 16.Be3 g4 17.Nd2 Nxe5 18.a5 Na4 19.Qb4 Qh5? Black has put all the focus on the attack but this is too slow. (19...f5 20.Bg5 Nc6 21.Qxa4 Rxe2 Black has more chances in this position than in what happened in the game.) 20.Rxa4 Bxa4 21.Qxa4 Rg8 22.a6 b6 23.Kh1 Rd6 24.c5 Rd7 25.cxb6 cxb6 26.Nc4 White went on to win fairly easily. 10, Arutyunova,D-Jordanova,S,Sunny Beach 2009. C1c) 5...Bf5 A natural developing move. C1c1) 6.Nf3 This can also be played before a3. 6...e6 7.00 Be7 8.a3 00 9.c4 Nb6 10.Nc3 Bf6 11.h3 Nc6 12.Be3 Qd7 (12...a5 13.b3 This is a common way to stop queenside expansion. If Black plays ...a4 now, White can push past with b4. 13...e5 If not this White can simply build up and enjoy a space advantage. 14.d5 e4 Simplifying in the center. White's knight on c3 is attacked. 15.Nd4 Nxd4 16.Bxd4 c5 This gives White a passed d-pawn yet it stops White's queenside expansion ideas. 17.Bxf6 Qxf6 18.Qc1 Rae8 19.Qe3 White is just a little better here because Black's queenside pawns are targets and Black is a little cramped.) 13.b4 Rfd8 14.Qb3 So here we get to see a different White plan: play on the queenside and gain space. 14...a5 The correct move, challenging White's control. 15.Rad1 axb4 16.axb4 Qe8 17. Rfe1 h6 18.d5 Bxc3 19.Qxc3 Ne7 20.Bxb6 cxb6 21.Nd4 Rac8 22.dxe6 fxe6 23.Nxf5 Nxf5 24.Qe5 After the central push on move 18 White has a winning position. Black has weak pawns and the weaker minor piece. 24...Qf7 25.c5 bxc5 26.Bc4 Rxd1 27.Rxd1 Re8 28.bxc5 Kh8 29.Re1 Qd7 30.Bxe6 Qd2 31. Re4 10, Erdogdu,M-Muzychuk,A,Kalamaria 2009. C1c2) 6.a3 This move is played to stop the knight from jumping to b4. 6...e6 7.c4 Nf6 8.Nc3 Be7 9.Nf3 h6 10.00 00 11.Qb3 Rather than advancing with the b-pawn, White tries to pressure Black's queenside with pieces. 11...Qc8 12.

Bf4 c6 13.Rac1 Nbd7 14.Rfd1 Rd8 15.h3 Ne8 16.Rd2 Bd6 17.Bxd6 Nxd6 18. Bd3 Bxd3 19.Rxd3 Qc7 20.Rcd1 Nf5 21.Qc2 Nf6 22.Qd2 Nd6 23.Qf4 Nb5 24.Ne5 Nxc3 25.bxc3 Rf8 26.Qh4 Rad8 27.Rg3 White has maneuvered around in the center and finally received some play around the Black king. 27...Kh7 28.Rdd3 Ng8 29.Rdf3 f6 30.Qe4+ f5 31.Qc2 Nf6 32.Rg6 Rde8 33. g4 Ne4 34.h4 Kg8 35.c5 Qe7 36.g5 h5 This pawn is now a target and costs Black the game. 37.Qe2 Rd8 38.Re3 Rd5 39.Qxh5 Rfd8 40.Rxe4 fxe4 41.Ng4 Rf5 42.Nh6+ Kf8 43.Nxf5 Qf7 44.Qh8+ Qg8 45.Qxg8+ Kxg8 46.Rxe6 Rf8 47.Ng3 Rf3 48.Nxe4 Kf7 49.Re5 Rf4 50.Nd6+ Kg6 10, Seppeur,R-Schulz, K, Germany 1985. C1d) 5...g6 I see this move quite often in the Scandinavian. 6.c4 Nb6 7.Nc3 Bg7 8.c5 If Black is going to play from the wings, White should take over the center and push Black back. 8...Nc8 9.d5!? An ambitious approach! (9.Nf3 This is more positional and probably just as good. 9...00 10.00 Bg4 11.Qb3 Nd7 12.Be3 b6 13.Rad1 Rb8 14.Qa4 Nf6 15.Rfe1 Nd5 16.Ne5 Nxe3 17.fxe3 Bxe2 18.Rxe2 Qe8 19.Nc6 Rb7 20.b4 Black can only respond to White and White is much better.) 9...c6 Black should address the pawns looming in the center. 10.Qb3 b6 11.Bf3 00 (11...bxc5? 12.Qb7 Nb6 13.dxc6) 12.Be3 cxd5 13.Bxd5 Nc6 14.Rd1 Qc7 15.Nb5 Qb7 16.Nd4 Rb8 17.Ngf3 e5 18.Bxf7+! This is a nice tactic that gives White an overwhelming advantage. 18...Rxf7 19.Nxc6 Bxc6 20.Rd8+ Bf8 21.Nxe5 bxc5 22.Bh6 Everything is under attack for Black: the queen, both bishops, the rook, everything. 22...c4 23.Qxb7 Rbxb7 24.Nxf7 Rxf7 25.Rxc8 Bxg2 26.Rg1 Bb7 27.Rxf8+ Rxf8 28.Bxf8 Kxf8 29.Rg5 10, Bronstein,D-Lutikov,A, Leningrad 1960 URS-ch. C2) 4...Bf5 Black may want to recapture on d5 with the queen. 5.Nf3 Qxd5 6. d4 e6 7.00 c6 8.c4 Qa5 9.a3 Be7 10.Nc3 This position is more like what happens after 2...Qxd5. 10...00 11.Bf4 Nbd7 12.b4 Qd8 13.Qb3 Ne4 14. Nxe4 Bxe4 15.Rfd1 Nf6 16.Ne5 Nd7 17.a4 Nxe5 18.Bxe5 Rc8 19.h3 Bf6 20. Qe3 Bf5 21.Bf3 Re8 22.c5 This move gives up the d5-square, but so what since Black has no knight to put there. This push ensures that Black's queenside pawns stay in place and that the f3-bishop will always have an eye on them. 22...Bc2 23.Re1 Bxe5 24.dxe5 Qd3 25.Qxd3 Bxd3 26.Red1 Red8 27. Rac1 Kf8 28.b5 Ke7 29.Rc3 Bg6 30.Rd6 cxb5 31.axb5 b6 32.cxb6! Rxc3 33. bxa7 Ra3 34.b6 10, Barrientos Chavarriaga,S-Lotero,F, Buga 2009. Play could continue 34...Re8 35.Bc6 Rf8 36.Rd7+ Ke8 37.b7] 3...Nxd5 3...Bg4 is the other main move. Like White's move 3.Bb5+, it is meant to throw White off. 4.f3 This has to be the serious challenge to Black's move. It gains a tempo and possibly prepares g4 for the future. 4...Bf5 (If 4...Bh5 the bishop may become a target after Ne2-f4.) A) 5.c4?! Rather greedy. Black already has two pieces out and now the center can come under siege. 5...e6! 6.dxe6 If not this then White's last move-protecting the d-pawn--didn't make sense if the plan all along was to give it back. (6.Nc3 exd5 This is like a French Exchange with 4.c4 where White played f3 instead of Nf3. This isn't all bad for White, since sometimes a plan with Nge2-f4 and g4 enters the works. Black is well placed, however.) 6...Nc6 Energetic play, hitting the d-pawn. If you are already down a couple pawns don't waste time just recovering one of them. 7.Be3 (If 7.Ne2 Nb4 there is no way to defend both c2 and d3, and 7.exf7+ doesn't make much of a difference after Black recaptures. If anything, it opens the e-file for Black. 7...Kxf7) 7... Bb4+ (7...Nb4 8.Na3) 8.Nc3 Qe7 Black creates a pin along the e-file and prepares to castle queenside. 9.Bd3 Bxe6 (9...Bxd3 This is also possible with good attacking chances. 10.Qxd3 000) 10.Kf2 000 11.Nge2 Rhe8 12. Qd2 Bxc4!? An awesome tactical idea. Since I am not recommending this variation for White I don't want to spend time analyzing what is going on here, but let's look at a few more moves to see Black's idea. 13.Bxc4 Ne5 14. Bd3 Neg4+ 15.fxg4 Nxg4+ 16.Kg1 Nxe3 17.h4 f5 Black is down a piece with an attack. What's funny about this game is that it turns into a maneuvering struggle. Black eventually won. 18.Rh3 g6 19.Re1 Ng4 20.Rc1 Kb8 21.Qg5 Qe6 22.Nb5 Ba5 23.Qf4 Qd7 24.Na3 a6 25.Nc4 Bb4 26.Qf3 Bf8 27.Na5 c6 28.Nc4 Bh6 29.Re1 Qc7 30.Rb1 b5 31.Ne5 Rxe5 32.dxe5 Qb6+ 33.Kh1 Nf2+ 34.Kh2 Ng4+ 35.Kh1 Rxd3 36.Qxd3 Nf2+ 37.Kh2 Ng4+ 38.Kh1 Nf2+ 39. Kh2 Nxd3 40.Rxd3 Qc7 41.Kh1 Qxe5 42.Nd4 Qe4 43.Rbd1 Kb7 44.Nf3 Kb6

45.Rd6 Bf4 46.R6d4 Qc2 47.b4 h6 48.R4d3 g5 49.Nd4 Qc4 50.a3 gxh4 51. Nxf5 a5 52.Rd4 Qc2 53.Nxh4 Bc1 54.R4d3 Bxa3 55.bxa5+ Ka6 56.R1d2 Qc1 + 57.Rd1 Qc2 58.R3d2 Qe4 59.Rd4 Qc2 60.R4d2 Qc5 61.Rd3 Qh5 62.g3 Be7 63.Rd4 c5 64.Rd5 Bg5 65.Ra1 Qg4 66.Ng2 Qxg3 67.Re1 c4 68.Ree5 Qh3+ 69.Kg1 Qb3 70.Ne1 Bf4 71.Rf5 Qe3+ 72.Kf1 Bg3 73.Ng2 Qe4 74.Kg1 c3 75. Rxb5 Qd4+ 76.Kf1 Qd1+ 77.Ne1 Qxe1+ 78.Kg2 Qe2+ 79.Kxg3 Qxb5 01 Liu Dede-Fernandes,A, Mallorca 2004. B) 5.Bb5+ For the moment White has a tempo. Black has three main ways to get out of check.

[FEN "rn1qkb1r/ppp1pppp/5n2/1B1P1b2/3P4/ 5P2/PPP3PP/RNBQK1NR b KQkq - 0 5"]

B1) 5...c6 6.dxc6 Qa5+ 7.Nc3 Nxc6 8.Qe2!? A move with an interesting idea. 8...000 9.Bxc6 bxc6 10.Qc4 The queen helps make short work of Black's queenside. 10...Qb6 11.Nge2 Bxc2? Black can't play this move with the f8bishop and the h8-rook sitting at home. 12.Be3 Bg6 (12...e6! No exclamation point because it is a blockbuster move, but just that it develops the kingside.) 13.Rc1 Kb7 14.d5! Qxe3 15.dxc6+ Kc7 16.Nb5+ Kb6 17.c7 Qd2+ 18.Kf2 Rc8 19.Qc5+ 10, Solomon,S-Watson,J, Parramatta 2009. B2) 5...Bd7 Black is moving the bishop around a lot and we get to a position similar to the 3.Bb5+ lines except White has gotten d4 in. 6.Bc4 b5!? The beginning of a funny idea. 7.Bb3 Bc8 From b7 the bishop will attack d5. The b5 pawn also attacks the c4 square if White is thinking about playing c4. I don't really believe in this for Black since the light-squared bishop is using so much time. 8.a4 b4 9.c4 bxc3 10.Nxc3 g6 11.Bf4 Bg7 12.Rc1 00 13.Nge2 Bb7 14.00 White just has nice development and a beautiful c-file. The cpawn will soon be lost. B3) 5...Nbd7 6.c4 Here is a main position of the 3...Bg4 line. Black has more pieces out and has the move. White has the center and the extra pawn. B3a) 6...e6 Here is one idea, to break up White's center and try to exert piece force on the center. 7.dxe6 Bxe6 8.d5 Conceding dark square control in the center, though gaining space and not worrying about the e6-bishop hitting the c4 pawn. 8...Bf5 9.Nc3 Bc5 (If 9...Bb4 10.Nge2 00 11.Bxd7 The light squared bishop is not the best anyway since White's pawns are on light squares. 11...Nxd7 12.00 Re8 13.Ng3 Bg6 14.Nce4 a5 15.Kh1 f5 16.Ng5 Nf8 17.Nh3 Qf6 18.Qb3 White is still up a pawn. Black's structure is looking shaky since White's knights are ready to jump into the weakened kingside dark squares and Black's queenside is under pressure from White's queen. 9... Be7 We will look at this in the first illustrative game.) 10.Qe2+ This is a good move. White can't castle kingside unless White can get Be3 in, or now the choice is extended to castling queenside. B3a1) 10...Kf8 Black is down a pawn so wants to avoid exchanges. 11.Be3 (11.Bg5 and castling long is also good.) 11...Qe7 12.Bxd7 Nxd7 13.Bxc5 Qxc5 14.Ne4 Qb4+ 15.Qd2 Qxc4 16.Rc1 Qxa2 17.Rxc7 This is double edged, though I would prefer to be White since my king is safer than Black's. B3a2) 10...Qe7 11.Bf4 000 12.000 Rhe8 13.g4 Bg6 14.h4 White has more space and extra material. B3b) 6...a6 7.Bxd7+ Qxd7 8.Ne2 e6 9.dxe6 Qxe6 10.d5 White gains space

with an eye for exchanges. 10...Qb6 (10...Qd7 11.00 000 12.Nd4 Bg6 13. Nc3 Comfortable for White.) 11.Qd4 Qxd4 12.Nxd4 Bg6 13.Nc3 Bc5 14.Be3 This short game is instructive for how White uses a queenside majority to win. 14...000 15.Kf2 c6 16.Rac1 Kb8 17.Na4 Bxd4 18.Bxd4 cxd5 19.c5 Rc8? (19...Rhe8 20.c6 Weakens Black's pawns to a great White advantage.) 20.Nb6 Rc6 21.Bxf6 gxf6 22.Nxd5 Rd8 23.Rhd1 Ka7 24.b4 Bf5 25.Ne7 10, Womacka,M-Buchenthal,D,playchess.com 2005. 4.c4

[FEN "rnbqkb1r/ppp1pppp/8/3n4/2PP4/8/ PP3PPP/RNBQKBNR b KQkq - 0 4"]

I like this move immediately. White has different move order options but since you are going to play this move at some point, it seems easiest to just play it now. 4...Nb6 A) 4...Nb4 This move looks like just a mistake. 5.Qa4+ N8c6 Retreating the other knight runs into a pin after 6.d5. 6.a3 (6.d5? b5 7.Qxb5 Nc2+) 6...Na6 7. d5 Nc5 8.Qd1 White does not actually win a piece since Black can drive the queen back, but that's okay because now Black is all discombobulated. 8... Ne5 (8...Nd4 No this is not a beginners blunder. Still, Black's idea here is not very good. 9.Qxd4 Nb3 10.Qc3 Nxa1 11.b4 Two knights are usually stronger than a rook.) 9.b4 Ncd7 10.Bb2 Ng6 11.h4 h5 12.Nf3 White just has so much space and easy development. 12...Nb6 13.Nc3 e6 14.Qc2 exd5 15.c5 This is all mostly analysis. I find White's position is just easier to play. B) 4...Nf6 This isn't something I have seen much because when the knight goes to b6, it places pressure on the c4-pawn. 5.Nc3 Bf5 6.Nf3 e6 7.Be3 Bb4 8.Qb3 Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Be4 10.Nd2 Bc6 11.Bd3 We reach this position through some odd maneuvers. I wanted to show this blast from the past since it shows Morphy's strength in longer games, which is often quite overlooked since he had so many short ones. 11...Nbd7 12.Qc2 h6 13.00 00 14.Rae1 b6 15.h3 Qc8 16.Kh2 Kh8 17.Rg1 Rg8 18.g4! This is what White had been preparing for the past 10 moves or so. 18...g5 19.f4 Qf8 20.Rg3 Rd8 21.Nf3 Bxf3 22. Rxf3 Qd6 23.Kg2 Nh5 24.fxg5 hxg5 25.gxh5 g4 26.hxg4 Rxg4+ 27.Kf1 f5 28. Qf2 Ne5 29.dxe5 Qxd3+ 30.Qe2 Qe4 31.Bf2 Qc6 32.Rd1 Rxd1+ 33.Qxd1 Qxc4+ 34.Qd3 Qxa2 35.Rg3 Qc4 36.Qxc4 Rxc4 37.Rg6 Rc6 38.c4 a5 39.Ke2 Rxc4 40.Rxe6 Rc2+ 41.Kf3 a4 42.Rg6 Rc4 43.Rg1 a3 44.e6 a2 45.Ra1 Re4 46.Rxa2 Rxe6 47.Kf4 Rd6 48.Kxf5 Rd5+ 49.Kg4 b5 50.Ra8+ Kh7 51.Ra7 Rd7 52.Bg3 Rg7+ 53.Kh3 10, Morphy,P-Anderssen,A, Paris 1858. 5.Nf3 Again I favor simple development and blocking of any ...e5 break ideas. 5...Bg4 5...g6 I have never faced this move before, but it is a major variation in this opening. Black basically wants to pressure the d-pawn with the bishop on g7. 6.Nc3 Bg7 A) 7.c5 When looking up games in this opening I saw that this has been popular as well. It is more direct and takes advantage of the fact that Black

has chosen not to develop traditionally and left the e-pawn on its original square. 7...Nd5 8.Bc4 c6 9.00 00 10.Re1 The ideas are pressure: pressure on d5, on the e-file, on the e-pawn. 10...h6 (10...b6 Black can play this to get some more activity. 11.cxb6 axb6 12.Bg5 Be6 13.Qd2 Nc7 14.Bxe6 Nxe6 15. Bh6 Nxd4 16.Nxd4 Bxh6 17.Qxh6 Qxd4 18.Rxe7 From the exchanges White has emerged better because of the rook on the seventh rank and the other rook is coming to d1 with tempo.) 11.Qb3 e6.

[FEN "rnbq1rk1/pp3pb1/2p1p1pp/2Pn4/ 2BP4/1QN2N2/PP3PPP/R1B1R1K1 w - - 0 12"]

There is now a hole on d6. 12.Ne4 Nd7 13.Bd2 b6 14.Qa3 Qc7 15.Rac1 a5 16. b4 bxc5 17.bxc5 e5 18.Nd6 White is paralyzing Black. B) 7.Be3 This move appeals to me since it is as usual straightforward development and promises some attacking chances. 7...00 8.h3 Nc6 9.Be2 e5 10.d5 When Black gains space with e5 we retaliate by also pushing a pawn in the center and getting a queenside majority. 10...Ne7 11.g4!? This move is aimed at creating tension when Black plays the typical ...f5 push. The position is probably equal or slightly better for White. B1) 11...e4 This is an example of a move to memorize since it is forcing. 12. Nxe4 f5 (12...Bxb2? 13.Bd4 White is nearly winning after taking over the dark squares like this. 13...Bxd4 14.Qxd4 f5 15.Nf6+) 13.Nc3 fxg4 14.hxg4 Rxf3? This whole idea fails. White is much too active to fall prey to this scheme to take White's center pawns. 15.Bxf3 Nxc4 16.Qb3 Nxe3 17.d6+ N3d5 18.dxe7 Qxe7+ 19.Kf1 c6 20.Re1 Qf8 21.Nxd5 cxd5 22.Qxd5+ Kh8 23. Kg2 10, Valerga,D-Luconi,C,Mendoza 2008. B2) 11...f5 12.Qb3 Kh8 (12...Nd7 13.000 f4 14.Bd2 Nc5 15.Qa3 b6 16.b4 Gutsy chess. White's rationale is that due to lack of space, Black cannot take advantage of the holes left behind by the pawn moves. 16...Nb7 17.Rhe1 a5 18.Bd3 I am trying to figure out moves Black has here. The e-pawn is under attack . Defending it by for example 18...Qd6 runs into 19.Nb5.) 13.000 Nd7 14.Ng5 Nf6 15.Nb5 White is aiming for control on both sides of the board. Black is never able to get rolling. 15...a6 16.Na7 f4 17.Nxc8 fxe3 18. Nxe7 Qxe7 19.Qxe3 Bh6 20.h4 Nd7 21.Kb1 Rae8 22.Rh2 Bxg5 23.hxg5 Qc5 24.Qe4 Kg7 25.Rdh1 Re7 26.Bd3 Rxf2 27.Qxg6+

[FEN "8/1ppnr1kp/p5Q1/2qPp1P1/ 2P3P1/3B4/PP3r1R/1K5R b - - 0 27"]

A pretty end. 10, Rodriguez Vila,A-Gomez Baillo,J, Pico City 1996. 6.Be2

White breaks the pin and retains central control. 6...Nc6 This is the other developing move that makes sense. White now gets to force the play. 6...e6 Play could also continue this way. 7.Be3 Nc6 8.Nc3 This is the best way to deal with Black's fast central play. 8...Bxf3 9.Bxf3 Nxc4 10.Bxc6 + bxc6 11.Qa4 Nb6 12.Qxc6+ Qd7 13.Qe4 This position is about equal. White's bishop doesn't look so hot but neither do Black's isolated a and c pawns. 7.d5 White gains space and forces a favorable exchange. 7...Bxf3 Otherwise the Black knight will get pushed back or to the side. 8.Bxf3 White recaptures. 8...Ne5 The knight finds an active home. 9.Be2 White saves the bishop. 9...Qd7 Preparing to castle queenside. There are two alternatives. A) 9...c6 10.Qd4 Ng6 11.Be3 e5 12.dxe6 Bb4+ 13.Nc3 Qxd4 14.Bxd4 Nf4 15. Bxg7 Rg8 16.Bh6 Nxe2 17.Kxe2 Bxc3 18.bxc3 Nxc4 19.exf7+ Kxf7 20.Bf4! h5 (20...Rxg2 21.Bg3) 21.Rad1 If you only look at the queenside, Black is doing well, but the kingside makes this a nearly winning position for White. Grandmaster Leonid Yudasin was White and won after some more moves. B) 9...e6 This is likely the best move. 10.Nc3 Bb4 11.Qb3 Qe7 12.00 00 13. dxe6 Bxc3 14.Qxc3 Qxe6 15.b3 As always I like having the two bishops. 10.b3!?

[FEN "r3kb1r/pppqpppp/1n6/3Pn3/2P5/1P6/ P3BPPP/RNBQK2R b KQkq - 0 10"]

This is an interesting position. We will look at it in the second illustrative game. I hope this column was helpful in explaining this Black system and in giving a couple of choices for White on how to counter it. Polgar, Judit (2550) Damaso, Rui (2450) Oviedo rapid, 1992

Scandinavian [B01] This game showcases the great attacking power of Judit Polgar. 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.d4 Bg4 4.Bb5+ Nbd7 5.f3 Bf5 6.c4 e6 7.dxe6 Bxe6 8. d5 Bf5 9.Nc3 Be7 This is where we left off in the theory section. This move is less active than ... Bc5 or ...Bb4. Since Black is being passive, Polgar decides that it is appropriate to play aggressively in order to make Black uncomfortable and control the play. 10.g4!?

[FEN "r2qk2r/pppnbppp/5n2/1B1P1b2/ 2P3P1/2N2P2/PP5P/R1BQK1NR b KQkq - 0 10"]

For the moment White has the center, so Black is not able to strike back as White plays on the wings. 10...Bg6 The only safe square to retreat. 11.f4 White makes more room for her pieces and continues making threats. If the Black dark-squared bishop was on c5/b4, White's moves could have been met with ...Qe7+ or ...Be4 or possibly...Bxg1. Since Black is scrunched up, this is not possible. 11.g5 also looks strong. 11...Nh5 12.f4.

[FEN "r2qk2r/pppnbppp/6b1/1B1P2Pn/ 2P2P2/2N5/PP5P/R1BQK1NR b KQkq - 0 12"]

12...f6 13.f5 Bf7 14.Qe2 fxg5 15.Bxg5 is terrible for Black. 11...h6 It is hard to say what else to do. 11...h5 lets White's pawns advance. 12.f5 Bh7 13.g5 Ng4 14.Qe2 Bxf5 15.h3 traps the knight. 12.f5 Bh7 13.h3 This looks slow, but maybe Polgar wanted to make the queen flexible and not

tied down to defending g4. 13...00 It looks like Black is heading from the frying pan into the fire, yet he has to get developed somehow. Moving the e7-bishop acknowledges the loss of the tempo while the other pieces have nowhere to go. 14.Bf4 14.Bxd7 The bishop is not the greatest since as stated before the White pawns are on light squares. This is White's last chance to do this and in the game Black had a chance to make the bishop into somewhat of an awkward piece. 14...Nxd7 15.Bf4 White has central control and of course an extra pawn. 14...Nc5 The natural move but it has no threats. 14...Nb6! I'm not sure how to respond to this move. The threat of ...a6 and ...Nxc4 is hard to meet. 15.Qf3 White may have to return the pawn. Everything else loses time or puts pieces on bad squares. 15...a6 16.Ba4 Nxc4 17.000 This is a messy position that could go either way now what both sides have activity and attack. 15.Qf3 An ambitious move that allows Black to execute a sequence that prevents White from castling. White could also develop normally with 15. Nge2. 15...a6 16.Ba4 Nxa4 17.Nxa4 Qe8 A sly double attack. The knight on a4 is attacked and Black has set up a discovered check. White is still doing well. Notice the h7-bishop locked in a cage. 18.Nc3 Ba3+ 19.Kf1 Bxb2

[FEN "r3qrk1/1pp2ppb/p4n1p/3P1P2/ 2P2BP1/2N2Q1P/Pb6/R4KNR w - - 0 20"]

This is the idea: Black regains the pawn and White can no longer castle. The danger for Black is now White has the initiative: control of play. 20.Re1 20.Rb1 I looked in two different databases at this game and both indicate the move as 20.Rb1. With nearly a hundred percent certainty this is wrong and the move played was 20.Re1. Otherwise the game does not make sense. 20...Qd7 21.Nge2 White still has the center and Black's dark-squared bishop is cut off from attack. 21...b5? This loses the bishop. 21...Ba3 Going back to cover the dark-squares was

better. 22.Nd1 Ba1 The only square available since the queen on f3 covers the a3 square. 23.Nf2 bxc4 23...Bb2 24.Rb1 The bishop is still lost. 24.Rxa1 Nxd5 25.Rd1 After losing the piece, play is very difficult for Black. White wins with a swift attack. 25...c6 26.Kg2 26.Qg2 is the move in the databases and again it appears to be wrong since it would allow a knight fork on the 28th move. This was a rapid game so it's possible that the recording of the moves was a little off. 26...Qe8 27.Bc1 g6 28.Bb2 A nice maneuver to the long diagonal left behind. 28...f6 28...Ne3+ 29.Kg1 Nxd1 30.Nxd1 This was probably best for Black, but still White is winning since it is as if White has three pieces for the rook because the h7-bishop has no play. 29.Nf4 gxf5 30.Nxd5 cxd5 31.g5 Kg7 32.h4 Rd8 33.Rxd5 f4 34.Rd6 1-0 This move doesn't seem right and neither do the last moves so I didn't include them. Regardless of the final moves the game still retains the same lesson: attack with f3 followed by g4 when you have control of the center. Milov, Leonid (2520) From, Sigfred (2265) Oberwart open, 1994 Scandinavian [B01] I like this game since by making natural moves White is able to easily get a winning position. 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.d4 Nxd5 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Be2 Nc6 6.c4 Nb6 7.d5 Bxf3 8. Bxf3 Ne5 9.Be2 Qd7 10.b3 Here is where we left off in the theory section. White is a strong IM playing against a master. 10...e6 This looks right but it lets White take over quite quickly. 10...000 11.Bb2 Ng6 12.a4 This is not a fun attack to face. 11.Bb2 Ng6

[FEN "r3kb1r/pppq1ppp/1n2p1n1/3P4/2P5/ 1P6/PB2BPPP/RN1QK2R w KQkq - 0 12"]

12.dxe6 Qxe6 12...Bb4+ 13.Kf1 Qxd1+ 14.Bxd1 00 Black can try to use development to justify sacrificing a pawn. I am not sure I believe Black has enough, although it is better than what happened in the game. 13.00 Bd6? Such a natural move that fails. White gets a winning position quickly and decisively. 13...Rd8 14.Qc2 Nf4 15.Bf3 c6 16.Nc3 Be7 Not hanging on by much but at least still in the game. 14.Bg4 Gaining a tempo while opening the e-file. 14...f5 15.Re1 Ne5 15...Be5 16.Bh5 is not much better for Black. 16.Bh5+ g6 Now there is a pin on the long a1h8 diagonal. 17.c5 000

[FEN "2kr3r/ppp4p/1n1bq1p1/2P1np1B/ 8/1P6/PB3PPP/RN1QR1K1 w - - 0 18"]

Black is facing losing another piece after f4, so he decides to at least develop. 18.cxd6 cxd6 19.f4 gxh5 20.fxe5 Rhe8 21.Na3 dxe5 22.Qc2+ Kb8 23.Bxe5 + Ka8 24.Nb5 Nd5 25.Qc5 1-0 A strong showing by Milov that shows what happens in this position if Black plays too slowly. Lessons Learned

If Black can play the immediate challenge move 1...d5 with impunity, then the position is equal. The key seems to be to utilize the inherent

extra time White has. White responds to Black by capturing on d5, and then Black must respond by finding a way to recapture the d-pawn. If White can keep the rhythm of Black responding to White, then White will be better. 3.Bb5+ tries to do that. So does c4 and d4/5. g2-g4 is a common motif that crops up in this variation as well as in the 2...Qxd5 branch. If White can get the center under control, then White is free to play on the wings. A more positional idea is to maintain the center with c4 and d4, and use the open e-file. Black will try to castle queenside and use the d-file.

Bibliography

Chesspublishing.com A Startling Chess Opening Repertoire by Chris Baker.

Practitioners

Frank Marshall. The early U.S. Chess Champion used 2...Nf6, which is sometimes called the Marshall Gambit. Marshall was known for his tactical skill and is credited with the quote: "The hardest thing to do in chess is to win a won game". He often swindled his opponents when he had a dead lost position, so I am sure they felt that way. Jacques Mieses. The German-English grandmaster won several major tournaments in the early 1900s. He was a very strong attacking player although often overlooked in the era of Blackburne and Capablanca. Judit Polgar. The Hungarian grandmaster does not play the Scandinavian but she was on the white side in the first illustrative game. She is the strongest ever female chess player and in 1996 was the tenth strongest chess player in the world.

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