1. e4 vs 1. d4


Even lower rated people know their oppenings quite well.

In correspondence chess many people use databases as far down as 1500 and with a database a 1500 can know more theory than some GM's.

On live chess sites I've met many weak players that knew a lot of theory especially in the sicilians I usually end up playing up to 20+ book moves even when playing people under 1600.

Lately I haven't been able to get any advantage with the moller attack in blitz which is quite an obscure line and also extremly trappy a lot of theory is requiered to be able to survive it as black, I still manage to win games with it even though I end up in inferior positions.

I can't speak about OTB but I suspect that there it's the same case.


The percentage for black losing is higher on d4. This says something. Not much but something. e4 is more popular in Grandmaster games by over 450,000 moves!

Well over a million grandmaster games have started with e4. This says a lot!Smile


I used to play d4, now I prefer e4.  I like the open games better, there's more variety, and e4 seems strategically justified in that after every other opening move, black's strategy is to prevent e4. Smile

I think a lot of the "boring" label on d4 comes from the inability to attack quickly in many openings, and from the Orthodox QGD, which many people play.  There is certainly nothing boring about most Indian systems, though, and in fact I love to play against the KID.

If you're THAT concerned about the Open Sicilian against e4, there are plenty of good anti-Sicilian systems available, even aside from the Morra Gambit -- Grand Prix attack, closed fianchetto systems, Alapin variation, Bb5 systems, King's Indian Attack, etc.

aadaam wrote:

For rubbishy amateur players like myself 1.d4 has a tendency to produce tame, boring games; bits develop onto better squares, bits get swapped off with no harm done, nothing happens. 1.e4 gives you more chance of an exciting game; you're drawn into a 'situation' which only one player will survive.

I agee. I have found that the average player (like myself) often has difficulty gaining a significant advantage and eventually the game gets to a situation where neither side seems to have effective options. It might be different in more highly rated games.

Shindokun wrote:

D4 is not boring !!! I bet half of us would never be able to see through the complexities of the semi Slav and Slav proper from either side of the board not to mention the Indian defences which set up a battle between whites better center and blacks better pieces . a battle which lasts the entire game ( much longer than any one tactical slugfest) And then there is the Dutch which though little played could be considered the Sicilian of d4 land as there are many decisive results ! Also i would like to point out that the winning percentages in d4 land are slightly higher for white  

I agree. There aren't any boring openings, just boring players. It's subjective anyway.

However, d4 gives a slightly higher rating performance only if the database is not filtered to the world's elite players. When you filter for only GM level (2500+), the rating performance is reversed and e4 gives about +25 ELO higher performance than d4. This makes sense to me. d4 tends to offer more lasting static advantages like the bishop pair or space while e4 is more often based on a delicate dynamic balance and initiative (such as kingside attacks in the Sicilian). d4 openigs tolerate inaccuracies a bit more from both sides without drastic changes in evaluation. It takes a really great player to be able to maximize e4's advantages.

Anyway, such debates are pretty silly. There isn't a clearly best move and even if there were, what matters is what you like to play and do best with. If you do best with 1. b3, that is the best choice to maximize your performance even if 1. e4 is objectively stronger.


e4 are for tacticians while d4 are for positional players ;)


I agree with what someone else said earlier that it'd be best to be able to know how to punch with both fists (1d4 & 1e4), however I personally prefer 1e4 on the basis that it tends to lead into quick tactical attacking games. On the practical side of things, if I'm going to get good at both 1e4 and 1d4, my opening preparation suddenly jumps from labyrinth-sized to mega-labyrith-sized. Given that most of us aren't at the master level and have limited study/play time, and we want to study all phases of the game and not just the opening, it makes the most sense to me to stick with one or the other. Even Nigel Short at the GM level has made a life-long career starting his games solely with 1.e4. 

I also think picking an opening based on stats, wanting to avoid a certain opening system like the sicilian, or rejecting an opening because it isn't currently played at the GM level isn't the best way to choose an opening. I think what's foremost is picking an opening one feels comfortable with and realizing that there are a variety of ways to deal with opening replies one would rather not face. I also believe we get stronger as players by having to deal with openings outside our comfort zone.



cameroncam67 wrote:

I have just been researching the London system, and I think I might give it a go.

 While I'm prejoratively a 1. e4 player, when I do play 1. d4 these days, it's to get a London.  I have never lost a tournament game with it, although against some players, it can be hard to play for a win. 

So whenever I'm white and a draw is a satisfactory outcome, I'm not bashful at all about playing the London System.  It is VERY difficult for black to beat, although he has several paths to (more or less) equality.

Chuck G


I tried it out and I won!


It's hard to choose, against some people I like 1.e4, but against the tough opponents I like 1.d4 more solid than 1.e4. But 1.e4 has more attacking capabilities for me at times.


Computers will play with 1.e4 and 1.d4 equally well.

I find that humans are more used to 1.e4 and that when you play 1.d4 against them, you get a slight psychological advantage.

Plus, there are many people only too happy to play the Sicilian or Ruy against 1.e4, but there aren't as many people willing to play against 1.d4, since most are inexperienced against 1.d4

Also, it depends on your style of play.

d4 is much more forgiving in the openings, the games are slow, and are usually longer

I personally play 1.d4 to get my opponent out of a comfortable state, but I've been playing 1.e4 all of my life so I feel "at home" when I play 1.e4

I made the switch from 1.e4 to 1.d4 this year


I don't think you should choose just one to play. I think you should play both and maybe the english or reti if you want. That's what I'm going to do.


The reti is very hard.


What do you mean "Hard"?


Hard to use.


Oh, ok.


More comments and observations please.SmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmile


d4 is slow

e4 is fast


Not really.