Forums
Forums

Best Opening In Chess: Scotch Game (C44)

Sort:
CuzinVinny

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

Skinnyhorse

Many beginning chess players will play the Ruy Lopez---it is good, but is way too complicated for players under 1400.  The Scotch Game is a good way to learn chess.  Even Garry Kasparov has played the Scotch on occasion.

Dragec
Nice opening. Just a small thing for an OP to consider, Nxd4 by black is not so popular. Do you have your suggestion for standard black responses(Bc5 and Nf6)? :-)
billwall

4...Nxd4 is usually not the best 4th move by Black.  Better moves include 4...Nf6, 4...Qf6, or 4...Qh4.  Here is a quickie when one of my opponents tried 4...Nxd4.

DonnieDarko1980

Recently an evenly rated opponent played this against me OTB when I had black and gave me a hard time with it. Think I'll give it a try as white the next time :)

scotchfaster

I like the Scotch opening a lot as well, and I consider myself a beginner. I'm not great with openings, so I like the fact that it limits Black's options. Occasionally I'll run across a player who declines exd4, allowing me to push the pawn to d5 and really get in Black's face.

Two questions:

1) Playing as Black, what's the best response to a Scotch game?

2) Perhaps answering question #1, what's the best response to this move?

billwall

The 3...d5 looks weak.  Perhaps the most common response is 4.exd5.  I like the 4.Nxe5 line.

scotchfaster

Well, a6 was clearly a mistake - Ne7 would have been better. I agree, Black is playing a defensive game at this point, but I'm not convinced it's a lost position. But anyway, if 3...d5 isn't the best way to respond to the Scotch as Black, what's the alternative? Give White the center?

Wou_Rem
scotchfaster wrote:

Well, a6 was clearly a mistake - Ne7 would have been better. I agree, Black is playing a defensive game at this point, but I'm not convinced it's a lost position. But anyway, if 3...d5 isn't the best way to respond to the Scotch as Black, what's the alternative? Give White the center?


Ofcourse not. These are 2 good lines for black that are often played. The second one is the tricky mieses variation, I wouldn't dare it if I was you as the variation is tricky to play while the first one gives black a good position.

Or:

 

razorblade12

http://www.chess.com/groups/home/the-scotch-fans-team

napolito

What an intriguing first lesson

CuzinVinny

OMG thank you all for the support. I admit, this article took me a while to write and research, but I am pleased you are all supporting my chess opening :)

MAttos_12

lots of E4,E5 openings are interesting for white.  The main thing that puts me off them is that the majority of times black doesn't play E5, which means one seldom gets to play these lines!

Wou_Rem
Kintoki wrote:

 I used to play the scotch (with jonny hector as my role model, check out his games with it, in the complicated positions he has some really neat lines) bbbbbbbbbbbbut I find that if black picks the lines that avoid complications he is fine.

(4.. nf6)


Nf6 is asking for complication. Or would you call the position that I presented earlier to be without complications and an easy dull postions?

Wou_Rem
Kintoki wrote:
Wouter_Remmerswaal wrote:
Kintoki wrote:

 I used to play the scotch (with jonny hector as my role model, check out his games with it, in the complicated positions he has some really neat lines) bbbbbbbbbbbbut I find that if black picks the lines that avoid complications he is fine.

(4.. nf6)


Nf6 is asking for complication. Or would you call the position that I presented earlier to be without complications and an easy dull postions?


e5 is a mistake dude >.< Nxc6 or nc3 is better.

Why black played Nd5 is beyond me.


Dear Kintoki,

Please look again. Nxc6 was played. Followed by e5...
I don't think you know much about the scotch to say something like this.

kytos

are this analysis serious?? you supose the opponent will make blunders!!

Scotch game isn't the best  but it usually leds to a sligth advantage in the ending for white 

crok

Of course the Scotch is the best; lol. It follows natural moves but is less known than some other openings that are tried and proven over decades at the higest levels of chess. Any opening has it's drawbacks but besides the Qxd4 the Scotch reinforces basic development ideas lower players should follow. It is far superior to things like the King's Indian Attack KIA in that it leads to normal open games instead of the KIA flank opening, but allows the fast Castling to King safety. The KIA is way to 'advanced' for chess novices, but the Scotch is an awesome opening to learn chess from and it is easy to lock up the centre sometimes for even more learning of 'closed' positional chess. This single opening has years of learning and is playable for the rest of your chess career...

Personally mainly i am posting here to try and get people to stop speaking out about the Scotch Game; the more it is promoted the more people will 'investigate' and prepare for it. The whole reason the Sicilian and Ruy are so incredibly technical is because of their popularity. Millions of players over decades all trying to get a small edge in opening theory. So please people while we love the Scotch Game please do not promote it. The more popular it becomes will mean it becomes more difficult for oyu to win with; lets keep it our little secret...

WebRep
 
Overall rating
 
 
This site has no rating
(not enough votes)
 
 
Master_Po

Scotch is full of traps for Black if not countered correctly. . .

The Death Fork Scotch  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4d5 

4. Nxe5 dxe4 5. Bb5a6 

6. Bxc6+ bxc6  7. Nxc6 Qd6 





JJZ03

Nice reasoning. Maybe next time I will Play the Scotch Game.

TheGreatOogieBoogie

I like the Scotch sometimes from either side of the board.  I even played against a reversed Scotch: