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# Mark's Opening

Mark's Opening is a chess opening characterized by the moves

1   d4  Nf6

2 Nc3   d5

3 Bf4

This position can also be reached by transposition (the move order isn't important).

The advantages of the opening include fast piece development and control of the centre.

The mainline continues:

3  ...   Bf5
4  Nf3   e6
5   e3  Bd6
6  Bd3

Another good alternative is 6 Ne5. Assuming 6 Bd3, the main line continues

6   ...   Bxf4
7  exf4  Bg4
8   h3   Bxf3
9 Qxf3  0-0
10 0-0  Qd6
11 Ne2   c5
12   c3 Nbd7
13 Rfe1

Variations:

Alternatives to 3 ... Bf5

3 ... Nc6

White can play e3 and Nf3 either way round here:

4  e3  Bf5
5 Nf3   e6
6 Bd3

Personally, I think the other way round works slightly better:

4 Nf3   Bg4
5  e3     e6
6 Be2  Bd6
7 Ne5  Bxe2
8 Qxe2 Bxe5
9 Bxe5 Nxe5
10 dxe5 Nd7

White can then play f4, and castle.

3 ... Bg4

4 Nf3  Nc6 transposes into the above (3 ... Nc6  4 Nf3) variation.

3 ... g6

This line transposes into the Grunfeld reversed/symmetrical variation after

4 Nf3  Bg7

3 ... c5

e3 before Nf3 works better here:

4   e3  e6
5  Nf3 Be7
6  Bb5+

Or a good alternative is 6 Bd3

Alternatives to 5 ... Bd6 (after the first 4 moves of the mainline)

5 ... Bb4

6 Bd3 Bxc3+
7 bxc3

c4 can later be played to get rid of the doubled pawns.

5 ...  c5

6 Bd3

and black has 2 alternatives here.

Either he can exchange the bishops with

6   ...   Bxd3

7 Qxd3

or he can take the pawn

6  ...  cxd4

7 Nb5

and white threatens Nc7

Alternative 4th move for black

4 ... c5

5   e3  Nc6
6 Bb5

Again, Bd3 is a good alternative move

Or alternatively, black can take the pawn on move 5:

5 ... cxd4

6 Nb5

The main weakness of Mark's Opening is that the move Nc3 so early on blocks in the c-pawn. White should play e4 if possible, and aim to develop his pieces quickly.

Another idea for black is to play c6, get the bishop onto b4 pinning the knight, and back it up with the queen on a5.

A timely a3 should be enough to prevent black from gaining any advantage from the pin.