Understanding the Clarendon Court Defence

Understanding the Clarendon Court Defence


What is the

       Clarendon Court Defence?    

The (CCD) is a black opening that is Extra-Sharp.

The (CCD) is considered unsound.

However, It does offer a very interesting game.

The (CCD) is played against 1.d4 (Queen Pawn Opening).

I will start off by showing you the starting position of the (CCD).

I will use the abbreviation (CCD = Clarendon Court Defense)

Starting position:

Brief history of the line:

The Clarendon Court was originally named as the Old Benoni Defense.

The Encyclopedia of Chess Openings has the line under the following category.

Benoni Defense/Old Benoni Defense/Clarendon Court Variation

ECO A43    1.d4 c5 2.d5 f5

One major benefit of the Clarendon Court is it is not largely played. The Clarendon Court it practically unknown to many chess players.

The (CCD) is full of uncharted territory.

I have played the (CCD) several times.

In each game, I have found myself in very unique positions.

I strongly believe the Clarendon Court is very similar to several different lines.

Two lines which the Clarendon Court resemble are the Dutch and the Benoni.

On our journey to understanding the (CCD), You will see very interesting similarities.

I will be going through the lines starting from move 1 in due time.

First, I want to bring your attention to some of the themes of the (CCD). I would like to touch on this before we go through the moves.

Hopefully by doing this it will give you some insight on what black should do and what white is planning to do against you.

The themes do change depending on the position. However, I will give you both some short term and long term plans which can happen out of this opening.

Short Term Plans:

  • Depending on the position you can have very aggressive queen side play similar to the Benoni.
  • Depending on the position you can have very aggressive king side attacks similar to the Dutch.

Long Term Plans:

  • One plan in the position would be to eventually push your E pawn. The E pawn does end up as a backward pawn. In which case you may seek to push it forward to e5 or e6.

Playing the pawn to e6 will help undermine the white's center. It will depend on the position. Whether or not black does this pushing plan. However, it is an idea to be aware of.

I want you to keep these theme's in your mind as we explore the line moves.

I believe these theme's will be very helpful to you.

If you are a beginner reading this article do not worry.

I will talk over the theme's as we go over the moves.

It will help connect the theme to the move white plays.

Which will help you understand how to play the position better.

I will start off at the beginning.

Move 1.d4 - White's idea is to take control of the center with a pawn. White places a pawn in the center of the board a very solid move. If white could have his way, he would love to play 2.e4 placing another pawn in the center.

Two pawns in the center in chess are considered a Power House!

At this point black has a decision to make on how to continue.

In most classic lines such as 1...d5 or 1...f5.

Move 1...d5



Move 1...f5

Black tries to prevent white from playing the pawn move 2.e4 by controlling that square with their pawn.

In most hyper modern lines such as 1...Nf6.

Move 1...Nf6

Black tries to prevent white from playing the move 2.e4 by controlling that square with their knight.

Move 1...c5 - In the Clarendon Court, Black has come up with another idea entirely.

Black's plan here is to immediately attack whites d4 pawn.

The logic Black is used here is if White plays 2.e4 right now than black will take white's d4 pawn and the 2 pawns in the center idea will then disappear!

As you can see black has found another clever way of preventing white from having a two pawn center.

As always, Thank you very much for reading. I will end this article here. In my next blog, I will cover white and blacks second move.

Hopefully by doing the blogs short like this it will help reduce spelling/grammar errors and make it easier to read.

Hope you enjoyed yourself.

Have a Happy Day

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