1... e5; Spanish? Scotch? or Petroff?


Lately, I've been becoming more active in my local chess club. As I do, I want to begin to tailor my opening preparations for the other players, to give structure to my learning. Right now, I am at a difficulf phase, because the French and Queen's Pawn Games are the most popular there; I play the sicilian as black (perferably the Najdorf), and I mostly play against either a Sicilian or Ruy Lopez as white.

It has occurred to me, that even as my sicilian grows, I may become a little predictable to them as they become accustom to my play. It would be fun to develop an alternate defensive system in secret. I could use it to give myself a slight edge when I start earning my USCF rating.

I am not keen on either the French or the Caro, and so that leaves me with only 1...e5 as the likely option.

So my question to the more learned, do you perfer to play the Spanish, Scotch, or the Petroff? What do you consider to be the merits of each system for black? and what ideas do you use to construct an effective defence?

Seeing as I often play the Ruy as white, is is natural to start playing it as black. Of course 3. d4 would be a nice curveball for white. I've heard a rumour that the scotch is theoretically bad for black, that Garry Kasparov felt it to be a forced win for white. Of course, I doubt I shall meet an opponent so versed in Scotch theory, but it makes me wary of it for the same reason I don't care to learn the King's Gambit (as white). So that sort of throws out the solidity of developing a Ruy Repoirtoire, and leaves me leaning toward the Petroff.

It doesn't seem right to post without something visual attached. This is a game I played earlier today in which my opponent chose the Petroff Defense. I wasn't sure how to handle it, but he assisted me with imperfect play.


I am still pretty new to the ideas against the french. I like the Alekhine Gambit. If black tries to keep the pawn, white can get a lot of aggression. I miscalculated here, and allowed him to achieve a better endgame. I eventually lost on time (was out of town), though I felt I still had chances.


Here is another French Defence, Alekhine Gambit... from an OTB at my club.


I don´t know where you heard that the Scotch is sketchy for black, it used to be considered sketchy from the white said, but Kasparov made it more respected again.

However, as a 1...5 player it´s hardly up to you to chose between Italian, scotch or Spanish is it?


The Scotch is generally good for White in the same way that the Ruy is - it allows White to carry a small advantage and initial initiative deep into the game with correct play. I love playing the White side of it, and tend to do OK on the Black side as well, where it is by all means playable.


But to play 1. e5 you also have to have options ready against the King's Gambit, Centre Game (even if a superficial option might do on that one), Vienna, and more importantly, the Ruy or Italian Game, both of which probably crop up more than the Scotch. (At my chess club, for example I've played the Two Knights Defense far more than the black side of the Scotch [or, for that matter, the Ruy].)


Kasparov saying it's a forced win for White isn't any less outlandish than when Weaver Adams said the same of the Vienna Game.


a second repitiore in my view shouldnt need as much theory.. if your two e4 replies are sicilian and 1...e5, then youre going to need to learn tons (as tricklev said ruy,italian,scotch etc)


maybe do the scandie 1.e4 d5 2.exd Nf6


but if youre really wanting to do 1...e5 Id recommend your second repitiore be the Philidor. the Petrov has too much building theory these days it seems and 2..Nc6 has too many options for white IMO



There is another idea you could try if you don't like e5 or e5 try d6 to play the pirc. After his E4 your D6 practically guarantees a pirc game. Less opening book study and more indepth lines.


Thanks everyone for the imput. I think 1 ...e5 is going to be a difficult system to learn, because there are so many openings that spring from it. I may start off by looking into the Petroff, simply because the deviation at move two simplifies the demands on my preperation. I kind of like Benonidoni's suggestion of adopting the Pirc too... it sort of reminds me of the Indian defenses in the Queen's Pawn game.

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