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Scandinavian Defense 2...Qxd5; 3...Qa5: why not 4 Nf3?


  • 4 years ago · Quote · #1

    Elubas

    Of course I know it cannot be a bad move, but I could argue it may be pretty good! Compared to 4 d4, white does not lose any time in developing -- continuing to augment a big part of his advantage, and I do not see how this is punished. Both 4...e5 and 4...c5 are extremely premature with opening the center (white could respond d4 right away), so what does white lose by developing very quickly with, for example, Bc4 and 0-0, while not commiting his d pawn (it will probably go to d4, but it is still good to have the option)? It seems like this would increase the chances of putting early pressure on black to hopefully make life more difficult for him. Of course it could easily transpose back into d4 lines, but this move order seems better. It is not like white ever loses the option of playing d4.

     

     

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #2

    MrBlunderful

    All I can see is that 4.Nf3 does allow black to take the game down independent lines with 4...Bg4.  What's white's best then?  5.Be2?  That seems to be far and away the most popular choice.

    I know a Scandi player usually expects a setup with Qa5, c6, Nf6, and Bf5, and a pretty solid position.  Like a slightly askew Caro-Kann.  White may be better off keeping him in that box, rather than allowing black to start calling the shots so early on...even if just psychologically.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #3

    Elubas

    4...Bg4!? is indeed very interesting -- almost always ...Nf6 is more flexible, but here, white's usual way to counter ...Bg4 in this opening -- h3, g4, and Ne5 -- is not so effective yet as Ne5 is simply not protected, and so if something like 5 h3 Bh5 6 g4 Bg6 7 d4, maybe black can punish white's move order by the aggressive ...Nc6!? maybe (?), going for pressure on d4 ready to be augmented by castling and finishing development. I had never considered that move order.

    In my dreams I was hoping quick development via Bc4, 0-0, and Re1 would be good, but looking closer black's structure I imagine is too solid for a small development lead to be so significant, meanwhile without the d4 pawn black's not down in space.

    About the Scandinavian in general: I especially like the ...Bg4 deployment because it gives black pressure on d4 and, with queenside castling nearly cleared, a very free game, pretty much forcing white to lash out with h3-g4-Ne5, gaining space and ground but making some definite weakness -- I think black's position is really tough to attack though -- white may have a long lasting small initiative but it really looks like black can handle it, meanwhile, he's always looking to simplify and undermine/pressure d4 which if successful would make the e5 knight look rather silly. I could be wrong -- and theorticians probably disagree as otherwise this would be played more -- but I think black may well be equal, as it's tough for white to make his pressure truly overwhelming against such a solid position, and black can slowly finish his development and nullify white's initiative.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #4

    yusuf_prasojo

    Elubas, you are analysing the very first moves of an old and well studied opening. I believe you are not Scandinavian player, are you?

    To most Scandinavian players, it doesn't matter whether you will play 4.Nf3 or 4.d4 or even 4.Bc4. Black will setup the same typical structure. You may think 4.Nf3 is subjectively "better" only if you have your own pet line, but this pet line will not be theoretically better (because imo White better play aggressively).

    What matters (to both sides) is whether White allows 3.Nc3 Qa5 to happen or not. If this happens Black is already in his own territory. Black may already be familiar with many moves ahead, including the traps and complexities. Black is not theoretically superior, but being in a familiar territory he might have a subjective advantage.

    Imo, 3.Nf3 and the associated plan and logic is the "refutation" to the Scandinavian. Playing this White does not have to know the Scandinavian, just playing based on basic principles, and Black doesn't have even a subjective advantage.

    By 2...Qxd5 Black is expecting the 3.Nc3 attack (also the later Bd2 attack). I consider this attack is premature because Black  has prepared his retreat plan through c7 opening.

    By attacking the Queen like that: (1) Black gets the position he is expecting to get by always keeping an eye on sufficient tempo for retreating his Queen (2) White does not really putting his pieces and pawns in superior squares.

    By 3.Nf (which I consider the "refutation" to the Scandinavian), White is opening the possibilities to attack the Queen with CENTER PAWN ADVANCEMENT (c4/d4) and do not waste the time to put pieces in useless positions. Black will lose a lot of tempo this way, and he is not in his private territory either. White can still attack the Queen with Nc3 prior to c4 if White sees that Black does not prepare sufficient tempo to retreat his Queen properly.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #5

    yusuf_prasojo

    Elubas wrote:
    About the Scandinavian in general: I especially like the ...Bg4 deployment because it gives black pressure on d4...

    I have found the opposite.

    In 3.Nc3 Qa5 line, i found that ...Bg4 is a mistake (I always opted for ...Bf5). The reason is because this allow White to advance the kingside pawn with gain in tempo (by first threatening the bishop). This kingside pawn storm can be lethal. A master in internet if I'm not mistaken wrote about a "trick" to refute the Scandinavian by this kind of pawn storm.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #6

    Elubas

    yusuf_prasojo wrote:

    Elubas, you are analysing the very first moves of an old and well studied opening. I believe you are not Scandinavian player, are you?

    To most Scandinavian players, it doesn't matter whether you will play 4.Nf3 or 4.d4 or even 4.Bc4. Black will setup the same typical structure. You may think 4.Nf3 is subjectively "better" only if you have your own pet line, but this pet line will not be theoretically better (because imo White better play aggressively).

    What matters (to both sides) is whether White allows 3.Nc3 Qa5 to happen or not. If this happens Black is already in his own territory. Black may already be familiar with many moves ahead, including the traps and complexities. Black is not theoretically superior, but being in a familiar territory he might have a subjective advantage.

    Imo, 3.Nf3 and the associated plan and logic is the "refutation" to the Scandinavian. Playing this White does not have to know the Scandinavian, just playing based on basic principles, and Black doesn't have even a subjective advantage.

    By 2...Qxd5 Black is expecting the 3.Nc3 attack (also the later Bd2 attack). I consider this attack is premature because Black  has prepared his retreat plan through c7 opening.

    By attacking the Queen like that: (1) Black gets the position he is expecting to get by always keeping an eye on sufficient tempo for retreating his Queen (2) White does not really putting his pieces and pawns in superior squares.

    By 3.Nf (which I consider the "refutation" to the Scandinavian), White is opening the possibilities to attack the Queen with CENTER PAWN ADVANCEMENT (c4/d4) and do not waste the time to put pieces in useless positions. Black will lose a lot of tempo this way, and he is not in his private territory either. White can still attack the Queen with Nc3 prior to c4 if White sees that Black does not prepare sufficient tempo to retreat his Queen properly.


    Actually, I am currently preparing the Scandinavian in my temporary repertoire for an upcoming tournament; I will see where it goes, but surprisingly it really doesn't turn out to be so bad from my limited but existent experience of playing and analyzing it.

    I kind of doubt that you actually took a concrete look at how this line can actually play out; you go on to say many fundamental, logical reasons why white should have a nice position, but if you actually take a look at the ...Bg4 lines, black's position is very difficult to break down and white's h3-g4 idea is double edged. I think because black has no weaknesses it's not inconceivable he can slowly neutralize white's game, with a desirable ...c5 especially to undermine e5. It seems like the potential pressure on the very important d4 pawn is enough for white to not have too much freedom in a potential build up. Basically, it's rather unclear. You could find games where white dominated black; but you could probably find the opposite as well; it depends on how it's played.

    If white does not play h3 and g4, black will have too much freedom: he'll have quick development and healthy pressure on d4, plus, black still retains the option of controlling the b1-h7 diagonal with ...Bf5 or ...Bh5-g6. Thus the evaluation of the ...Bg4 deployment in general pretty much depends on the poison of the h3-g4-Ne5 plan, which doesn't seem to be especially high.

    But even the ...Bf5, ...e6, ...c6 plan is quite respectable: black has a really nice blockade on the center and can steadily build up towards a ...c5 break, plus with the a2-g8 diagonal blocked out and the b1-h7 diagonal under control, as far as the kingside goes, black doesn't have a lot to fear, plus he can castle either way. I really don't think white can have more than a slight advantage; that has certainly been my experience in playing this, and since it's possible to work very hard in a theoretical opening yet still be out-prepared and "slightly worse", this "worse but effortlessly solid" approach seems pretty reasonable and convenient.

    As to why I like it: I like exploring openings but get lazy it figuring out what I will actually play in a tournament, so one reason is the cliche of wanting less theory but a very solid position. Secondly, I just like the quiet, steadily improving characteristics of this opening; here I always feel like I can improve my game little by little. It usually involves some quiet manouvering, putting up central pressure, exchanging pieces; it's pleasant for me to play. Black also seems to have more open lines than say a french defense, the defense as black that I have played the most. I never thought I would like it so much, but I was pleasantly surprised!

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #7

    Elubas

    @Fezzik: First off, as I said, I thought move was fully playable; what I was looking for was why d4 is a better move order, and now the question has been answered: black has an extra option -- something I did not orginally see. Because I originally thought if anyone had more options with 4 Nf3 it'd be white (get more time for developing before playing d4), but it seems I'm wrong so that was all I was wondering.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #8

    yusuf_prasojo


    Fezzik: "The main reason for playing 4.d4 instead of 4.Nf3 is that Black is given an extra option of 4...Bg4. It's not clear whether it's any good, but why give Black that extra choice?"

    Elubas: "what I was looking for was why d4 is a better move order, and now the question has been answered: black has an extra option -- something I did not orginally see."


    4...Bg4 pin has no purpose. Early exchange of a bishop against a knight is wrong. White's h3 is not a bad thing to be provoked.

    4.d4 will prevent Black from developing the queenside knight (4...Nc6) by threatening with 5.d5 for example.

    With Black's knight on c6 it is possible for Black to pin the Nf3 with ...Bg4 (because the Nc6 can double pressure on Nf3) and further to swap pieces. This will simplify the positions and White has no advantage imo. Not a good thing if White wants to win.

     

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #9

    Loomis

    yusuf_prasojo wrote:

    To most Scandinavian players, it doesn't matter whether you will play 4.Nf3 or 4.d4 or even 4.Bc4. Black will setup the same typical structure.

    What matters (to both sides) is whether White allows 3.Nc3 Qa5 to happen or not. If this happens Black is already in his own territory. Black may already be familiar with many moves ahead, including the traps and complexities. Black is not theoretically superior, but being in a familiar territory he might have a subjective advantage.


    It's not always the case that black trots out his setup and gets a fine position after Nc3 and Qa5. For example:

    Black gets creamed by trying to just play his normal moves.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #10

    FirebrandX

    Pr0p4g4nd15t wrote:

    Only beginners should play the Scandinavian because its a really boring/easy opening to learn and use, but doesn't offer black too many winning chances at higher levels of play.

    Same damn moves every time from the people who play it...

    Surely that can't be fun chess??

    on Playchess I abort all games when my opponent responds to 1.e4 with 1...d5


    Having played the Qd6 scandi as a change-up to the Caro-Kann, I've never found it to be a 'boring' opening. In fact, it's highly tactical and very risky for black.

    If you abort your games when you see 1...d5, then you are actually resigning. It's the same when I see people abort after I play 1. b3. They are resigning in my opinion.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #11

    rich

    Black can get a good game after Bg4

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #12

    yusuf_prasojo

    Fezzik, in your diagram of the Nimzo-Indian Defense position, most Black players will be happy to exchange his bishop for the knight. All Nimzo-Indian players should know how to continue after doing this.

    Black traded the bishop with a disadvantage: White has DYNAMIC advantage in term of double bishop. But...

    Black advantage is that White has a STATIC disadvantage in term of bad pawn structure. Justification is fulfilled when the initial position is suitable/possible for Black to block the operation of White's dark-coloured bishop. Without clear effort/objective to control this dark bishop Black will usually suffer.

    But in this position below, Black sacrifice the bishop for nothing. Whatever the result of the database is, it is hard to believe that in this position Black has a respectable position

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #13

    yusuf_prasojo

    Loomis wrote:It's not always the case that black trots out his setup and gets a fine position after Nc3 and Qa5. For example:

    Black gets creamed by trying to just play his normal moves.


    Loomis, In your game example Black realy doesn't know how to play the Scandinavian.

    It is true that usually Black setup the same position, but it is not just random moves. Every move (and its order) has a purpose/reason

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #14

    Nomenescio

    For those looking for a little bit of fun, you have:

     

    1.e4-d5 2.e*d5-Q*d5 3.Nc3-Qa5  4.Nf3-Bg4 5.b4!?

     

    After which: 5...-Q*b4 is really no problem because of 6.Rb1 winning the pawn back

     

    Very cool in blitz, never had the occasion to try it in along game though... Of course if black doesn't take the b4 pawn then lines with h3 and g4 will be as good as usual with some space on the queenside in bonus

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #15

    Elubas

    Yusof, I disagree. h3 is not exactly a bad thing to get provoked; nor is it an especially good thing; it's double edged. The nature of the position after h3-g4 is something I have been explaining and I don't think you can sum up the fate of it in a couple words.

    In fact the purpose of ...Bg4 here is not especially to exchange bishop for knight; it's to pressure d4 indirectly (which will, ideally, be soon complemented by a black 0-0-0; thus white needs to play for h3 and g4 to try for an edge), without actually capturing it unless it just wins a clear pawn. I do not think when the bishop is kicked twice that either side is clearly better. In fact the best thing about it is that black has the flexibility to regain control of the b1-h7 diagonal.

    That said, exchanging bishop for knight has been done, though I think it gives white chances for a nagging edge.

    You are being too close-minded.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #16

    yusuf_prasojo

    Elubas wrote:

    Yusof, I disagree. h3 is not exactly a bad thing to get provoked; nor is it an especially good thing; it's double edged. The nature of the position after h3-g4 is something I have been explaining and I don't think you can sum up the fate of it in a couple words.

    In fact the purpose of ...Bg4 here is not especially to exchange bishop for knight; it's to pressure d4 indirectly (which will, ideally, be soon complemented by a black 0-0-0; thus white needs to play for h3 and g4 to try for an edge), without actually capturing it unless it just wins a clear pawn. I do not think when the bishop is kicked twice that either side is clearly better. In fact the best thing about it is that black has the flexibility to regain control of the b1-h7 diagonal.

    That said, exchanging bishop for knight has been done, though I think it gives white chances for a nagging edge.

    You are being too close-minded.


    Personally I don't mind what you think of me. But if it would be of any help, I would say that: I always consider myself an open-minded person.

    To discuss about opening we must first have to agree the subjectivity involved, and we should make it objective by explaining logic/reasons. When someone say that the X opening is refuted, be open minded, don't say that even the top GMs play it (because everybody know that), but find out the logic/reason why it is not played by better GMs for example.

    Be open-minded, do not assume that others do not understand what we have in our mind, but try to find out what others have in their minds.

    Of course, the purpose of ...Bg4 is not to exchange the bishop. Try to understand that my analysis to create an opening repertoire was not just a few moves ahead. You said something that "idealy" 4...Bg4 be soon complemented with 0-0-0. I know what you are thinking. But let's try to go beyond that. I will try to restate a few "conclusion" why ...Bg4 is a "mistake". I understand that "mistake" sounds too negative so lets call it: why 4...Bg4 can be a problem.

    So ...Bg4 will open possibilities for tempo-winning kingside pawn attack. Like you said, "Idealy" Black must be able to do 0-0-0 (this will avoid the possible hazard of course). My analysis went about "Does Black has tempo to do 0-0-0 with BEST PLAY from both sides?" My conclusion might be wrong but please understand that my analysis was not under 10 moves ahead. White will and should prevent Black from doing the 0-0-0. And it takes a lot of tempo to do the 0-0-0. Black just dont have that luxury.

    We can go further discussing GM games with 4...Bg4 if you want. From analysing these games we could draw 2 conclusions:

    (1) Why does Black lose (if he lost)? When is the lost start to occur?

    (2) Why does Black win (if he wins)?

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #17

    Elubas

    In analysis you seemed too close-minded because you immediately wrote ...Bg4 off in about 6 words, though now you are paying more attention to it.

    To make such a big deal that black can't achieve his ideal plan is to miss the point; it is this ideal plan of black that forces white into the double edged h3-g4 lines; that is the critical position for the validity of ...Bg4 in general in the scandinavian, so all attention should be focused on that.

    You are also too black-and-white: I know that black can't achieve his ideal plan, but that simply means black can't have a huge advantage (remember, ideal plans mean they lead to something really good, something that probably won't happen!); not that he has no prospects at all; for example if he can even achieve half that plan, he may be happy.

    "Personally I don't mind what you think of me. But if it would be of any help, I would say that: I always consider myself an open-minded person."

    I am not saying you are close-minded -- I can't know that -- I'm saying you're being too close-minded in this context, i.e. dismissing moves played by grandmasters while hardly looking at them. This has nothing to do with attacking you -- I'm saying this stuff because these characteristics you're demonstrating make it more difficult to discuss lines with you. For example, you should respond to my comments by saying why black's position isn't solid enough to withstand white's initiative when he plays h3 and g4 if you're debating against black.

    I guess I should just post a diagram huh?

    What follows is primarily what I have been talking about


  • 4 years ago · Quote · #19

    Elubas

    Yes, there it is definitely the only consistent move.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #20

    mafuller64

    Elubas, I was just checking out some of your other blogs and this became pretty interesing to me. 

    I think the key idea for White with the Scandinavian is Ne5.  Even though you seem to suggest the move is premature and does no present much of a threat to black, I think it forces black to play from behind.

    A cursory look at 4. Nf3 seems ideal to that end.  I don't think 4. ... Bg4 is all that great, because it allows Ne5 (eventually). If 4. ... Bg4, then 5. h3 just bounces the bishop, and there aren't many good squares for the bishop (h5?, e6?, f5?, d7?). 

    I like Nf3 because I think it pressures black to respond with 4. ... Nf6, which then allows d4 anyway.  At that point, the bishop may actually want to tie down that knight with Bg4 (preventing Ne5).  But once again, there isnt much to stop Ne5, which seems, to me, to put White in a better position.  If Bg4, white now responds h3.  Black probably responds with Bh5, which begs g4 (I grant you this has now become a bit of an awkward pawn structure for white, but as Elubas says, it's a double-edged sword). After g4, Black is forced to Bg6, which allows Ne5. 

    I just think Ne5 poses all sorts of nasty threats. 

    4. Nf3 seems like a great way to accomplish a quick Ne5.  But please don't take my amateur "analysis" as anything serious.  I'm sure you and Ozzie Cobblepot know best.


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