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Best Opening in Chess: Scotch Game (C44)

CuzinVinny
Dec 5, 2010, 1:34 AM 4

The absolute BEST opening for White in the history of chess

By yours truly, your CuzinVinny

The Scotch Game opens as follows ---> 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4

Now, usually the moment Black catches sight of you playing this opening, Black will immediately resign from the game, log out of their account, and never play another game of chess again. However, some people will continue with their futile plans to magically control the center with moves that involve throwing bacon at their opponents to throw them off balance, so be wary.

The reason why the Scotch Game is the best opening is based on 3 key notions:

  1. The Scotch Game follows the most common first 2 moves in chess: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6. White moves his king's pawn up two spaces, and Black counters by moving his king's pawn two spaces as well. White then initiates an attack with 2...Nf3, which becomes defended with 2...Nc6. Because this opening is so common, the Scotch Game is easily flexible and able to be played in almost every game.
  2. If played correctly, White takes full control of the center, resulting in a gain of tempo in just the first five moves. A lead in tempo so early in the game is key to controlling the center. After the dust settles from the standard variation 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nxd4 5.Qxd4, Black will have to face the challenge of closing the gaping hole in his kingside while being tormented by white's queen and two bishops, as well as a pawn bearing down on the e-file.
  3. Since castling is essential to unlocking the full potential of the rooks and the protection of the king in one turn, white can easily castle once the white-squared bishop moves out of f1 to a more active square. *NOTE: White does not have to castle right after the f1 bishop moves. It's good to keep your opponent guessing when you will castle. Having options in the game is essential.

If you are a beginner in chess and are looking for a strong solid opening, the Scotch Game is the way to go. The Scotch Game evolves as follows:

  1. Move 1 ---> e4    ---> B00: King's Pawn
  2. Move 2 ---> e5    ---> C20: King Pawn Game
  3. Move 3 ---> Nf3  ---> C40: King's Knight Opening
  4. Move 4 ---> Nc6  ---> C44: King's Knight Opening: Normal Variation
  5. Move 5 ---> d4    ---> C44: Scotch Game*

Of course, if you are a beginner, you probably have no idea about these opening and what kinds of variations branch out from the simpler ones. But knowing where to move (and with what pieces) is all you need to know in order to become a better player. Below is a diagram that explains the Scotch Game, and how to play it out correctly:

From the above diagram, any chess player can tell you that White is going to have a good game. And admittedly, the only "good" move Black has to counter White's magnificent central control is 5...c5, because the pawn threatens capture of the queen, and since it is protected by the Black's dark-squared bishop on f8, the White queen can't take it and must move next turn. However, White can simply retreat or put the Black king in check, the choice is yours. The analysis computer insists that 6...Qd5 is the best move after 5...c5, since it puts the Black's king in check, but once again, if you want to play defensively, retreat. If you want to play offensively, put the Black king in check.

If you prefer a passive, defensive game with linear variations, move the queen Qc3 or even back to it's original spot, Qd1. Any other squares would not be recommended for the queen if playing defensively. Qd3 and Qe3 are also good options, but blocks the bishops from becoming active, so your tempo might slow down from that. But at this point, Black is going to be way behind tempo and piece development compared to White. 

If you are an offensive player that prefers an accelerated variation, move the queen Qe5, putting the Black king in check. At this point, Black has 3 options to block the check: 1). Ne7, 2). Be7, or Qe7. As you can tell, e7 is the square White puts pressure on. From there, Black will either attempt to trade off queens by using the queen as the blockade with 6...Qe7, or place either the bishop or the knight as the block, pinning them to the Black king. *NOTE: If Black does decide to block the check with the bishop, there is a free pawn with 7...Qxg7, but Black will just 7...Bf6, endangering the queen. The only safe square for the queen is g3, so be cautious.

Game play will continue from here, but White is in a much more dominant position. An analysis computer with an Elo rating of 2600 rated White's current position as a +0.38, which is a huge lead considering it's only the first 5-8 moves.

I don't mean to brag (yes I do), but I have played over 1000 chess games, and over 30% of my games begin with this "Scotch" opening. I am very well versed in it, having won 80% of the time I play it. This is why it is my favorite opening in chess.

The Sicilian Defense and the Caro Kann can all bow down and tremble before the utmost SCOTCH :DDDDDD

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