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Complete Chess Guide To Scandinavian Defense

Scandinavian Defense Scandinavian Defense

The most aggressive first move of white is 1.e4. If Blacks don't know what to do exactly against it, then they will face many problems. In this comprehensive guide to Scandinavian Defense I would like to introduce you to this opening, which is a credible answer against the whites' plans.

 Chess Opening Guide | Scandinavian Defense

The opening 1. e4 – d5 called Scandinavian defense or center counter attack. It took it's name from Scandinavian masters in 19th century. It is one of the oldest recorded openings and this didn't happened accidentally. The ideas and middlegame plans are rather easy; so even an amateure can apply them in practise with success.

The first knowned game played between Francesc de Castellví and Narcís Vinyoles in Valencia in 1475; this is what Lucena mentioned in 1497. Black has two main options, after 1. e4 – d5, 2. exd5, to capture immidiately with the queen or develop the Nf6 and capture the pawn later. This opening lost it's popularity on 1960 when Fischer some convinsing victories with White. In 1970 dacade it got on top again. Thanks to GM Robbers and GM Ben Larsen many ideas discovered. The Nf6 line became more popular as White players realize that they cannot keep the extra pawn on d5.

 The Dangerous Tennison Gambit

 The first thing thank you needs to know for Scandinavian defense is the Tennison gambit. If you face it for first time with Black pieces then it's very easy to fall into this trap; I'm telling you this from personal experience. To punish a gambit you have to accept it. This is a very logical technique to drive away opponent's pieces from our teritorry. This gambit has all the prerequisites to make you fall into the trap.

 A Nasty Move To Trick White

The super aggressive and risky move Nb4 is another trap that Black can thought over in order to gain material. Black lures White to pin the c6-Knight but essentially win time and disorganizes White's development. If Whites get into this continuation then it is very difficult for them to escape; their queen is in great danger.


 Chess Tips | Do NOT Play Passively

Black's strategy, in this opening, is to exchange the two central pawns, e and d, but its queen is exposed on the d5 square. Black should continue very dynamicaly in order to balance the White's lead in development. Below you can see a game of mine, in which my opponent did not make the best moves and soon found himself having a lot of difficulties.

 Fischer's Inheritance In Scandinavian Defense

This opening lost its popularity in 1960, when Fisher made some convincing victories with the White pieces. In the 1970s it regained some of its popularity, thanks to GM Robbers and GM Ben Larsen; who discovered many ideas. The Nf6 line became more popular as people realized that White cannot hold the extra pawn in d5.

Aggressive Chess Opening for Black | Destroy 1.e4 with this Tricky GAMBIT

 The Main Line In Scandinavian Defense

The main line started after the move exd5; then Blacks has two big options. These are 2... Qxd5 and 2...Nxf6. In the second scenario Black is not capturing immidiately the pawn on d5 but first develop their knight. Practice has shown that this pawn on d5 will fall anyway.
After the first choice of blacks, Qxd5, White should threat the queen with Nc3. Of course they can play other sublines such as c4 or d4, but sooner or later they will have to threat the queen in order to gain time in development.

When the Black's queen is under attack then she has three basic options. The first is to go to a5, a square that can create a pin against Nc3 and maintain an active play. The second most popular option is Qd6. White can not easily threaten her at this point and by holding this strategic base on d6 Black can organize their remaining pieces.

"Play the opening like a book, the middle game like a magician, and the endgame like a machine." -Rudolf Spielmann .#chess
— Rules Chess Strategies (@KesarisAngelos) December 15, 2020

The last option of the black is to go back completely with the queen, on d8 square. This was the old main line in which Black use to play. If she is threatened anyway, why not return to her intial position immediately? The Black's idea was to exchnage the two center pawns. So the Black players accepted that they should moved the queen twice in order to stabilize his position. Later, however, this line began less common, as more dynamic ideas pop up, such as Qa5 and Qd6.

 The Best Games In Scandinavian Defense

Anand - Lautier 1997

At this point please let me share with you one of the best chess games ever played in Scandinavian defense. Anand himself lost two years ago, in 1995, at the World Chess Championship against Garry Kasparov on this line. Then, in 1997, he used it to play one of the best games ever played against his opponent Joel Lautier. Please enjoy the games below:

 Chess Openings | Brilliant TRAPS for White Against Scandinavian Defense

Below you can study the games of the video


Goods about it

  • Solid opneing
  • No temntion in the center
  • Better endgame pawn structure
  • Benefit of exchnages
  • Simple and easy plans
  • You can stop early attacks
  • Good for blitz games


  • Early Queen development
  • White can win time against her
  • White has more space
  • More freedom for his pieces

 How The Lessons Will Help You?

If you found this article interesting then you can study the complete course in the opening that I have prepared for you, in Scandinavian Defense with 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5. The course presents a complete opening repertoire for both White and Black pieces, so after the study you can play this opening successfully in your tournament games.

The queen retreats to a5 so Black can increase the pressure on the pawn d4 with the Nc6 and long casteling. Black's plan are simple, so they can be aplied even by a rookie chess player. The main strategic principles that Black should use are clearly explained and they are:

  1. The asymmetrical pawn stracture, which gives the important possibility to create a fortress behind the square d5.
  2. The light-square Bishop is developing fast; something that does not happen in other openings such as the French Defense or Caro Can.
  3. The c8-bishop can developed infrond of the Black's pawns, outside his pawn structure.
  4. You will find various strategies on how to take more space and find counterplay with Black pieces.
  5. You can see the different possibilities of the Black's queen.
  6. You will find ideas not only for the main lines, but for any possible reply (subvariations) that either White or Black have.
  7. Finally, all plans are based on a deep and fresh analysis of the position, so you can properly understand how to play this opening with both colors. This opening repertoire on Scandinavian Defense is suitable for an amateur who plays friendly games only, for players who pparticipate in official tournament games, and also for those who have the ambition to become professionals.
Nimzowitsch-Larsen Attack
Beast of Baku - Garry Kasparov

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Monday, 11 December 2023

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