Colle-Zukertort, your experiences please


The vast majority of players and reference materials indicate that the Zukertort is the more ambitious opening...closer to a "real try" for an advantage.

 I played the Koltanowski version for years before switching to the Zuke over 10 years ago. Now I play ONLY the Zukertort. The problem with the Koltanowski is that if Black knows what he is doing, it isn't hard at all to defuse White's attack...without even really using a "pet defense."

...Which is why I decided to write "Zuke 'EM," 257 pages dedicated to the opening.





I am not shure about books but if you can get foxey openings on the wrong side of the pond then Arron summerscale dose a breath taking dvd or video called d4 dynamite.
The Colle-Zukertort is one of the few d4 sidelines (i.e. not 1.d4 2.c4) that 2600+ players regularly use against each other. Although the prospect of a kingside attack (double bishop sacrifice, anyone?) is always there, top players use it to gain a genuine positional advantage for white. However, it is only best when played against a black setup with d5 and e6.
AquaMan wrote: GreenLaser, not against the Dutch.  Does that mean not against 1.d4 f5?  What do you recommend from there for someone (me) who only knows the KIA, and a little Reti, for white?  Neither the KIA nor the Reti usually involve an early d4 of course.  Thanks.

 1.d4 f5 2.g4 is an intersting line considered in NCO. So is 1.d4 f5 2.e4 although you can just play a kingside fianchetto. 


On the Colle Zuk, what do you plan to play against 1.d4 d5 2.e3 (or 2.Nf3) Nc6. ???

I really think Colle players will struggle against this move order since an early ...e5 AND ...Bg4 is threatened. Interesting! Dont be fooled into thinking that the Colle is a shortcut to theory becuase against some people (maybe me! muhahhaa)  it wont be!


Susan Polgar has a DVD out on the Colle-Zukertort... there's a big display for it at the world open chess shop so maybe it's new. I have no idea how good it is.

A Killer Chess Opening Repertoire is a Everyman Chess book written by Aaron Summerscale. First published in 1998 and my volume is a reprint from 2004. Good book that features some scintillating ideas against most of the replies to 1 d4.

Starting Out: The Colle by Palliser is also an excellent book.

Combining the lessons of these two books and some diligent research with a database and engine would probably be enough to make you well versed in how to play this opening and the resulting middlegames and endgames.


There is also a chess mentor course "understanding the Colle-Zukertort" by Nigel Davies on this very site.

The Polgar DVD is also a great product 


Phil, "A killer Chess Opening Repertoire" looks like a good lead.  Reading the reviews opened my eyes to d4, as well as c4 and e4, repertoire books, too.  Thanks.  Right now I can only find it used for $135 US!  I saw one used on for about 18 pounds. If anyone knows of a new one in stock in US or nearly new for close to new-price, let me know.  I'll continue to google.

I've seen some of Polgar's DVD and d4 Dynamite.  I liked d4 Dynamite better, though didn't watch either in their entirety.  That's actually what put the zuk on my radar.  In d4 Dynamite, I can still remember some of the attacking themes and interesting rook forks.  Though I watched the beginning of that DVD probably 5-10 times.  (I've watched Roman's DVD on the KIA probably 20 times and not sure I retained more than a couple ideas.)  Everyone learns differently.  I'm very low photographic memory.  I have to reason it out and make it mine, and don't get enough time as it flashed by on the video.  I do use vids for dead time where I just feel like watching a movie, or for something productive when I'm sitting in front of the TV riding the stationary bike anyway.

I'm mostly a book learner.  I like to enter the pgn in chessbase and annotate it, then go over the moves at my own pace.  The annotated pgn in chessbase makes a quick way to review later, too. I wish more books were in electronic, annotated pgn format.  I only know of a few.

Fafou, chess mentor on the zuk looks interesting, too!  Thanks, I didn't know about that.

I've tried to follow the comments on ways that black can foil white's zuk, too, and will come back to them after I learn more about the zuk. 

Scofio, helpful to know that the d4 main line is 1.d4 2.c4, with Zuk as a notable sideline for some GMs.  At least that's the way I took your comment.  As a noob I hadn't known even that 1.d4 2.c4 was the usual main line.  I've been previously concentrating just on the KIA as my first opening for white.

Great conversation everyone.  I've gotten a lot out of it.  



Graw81 wrote:

On the Colle Zuk, what do you plan to play against 1.d4 d5 2.e3 (or 2.Nf3) Nc6. ???

I really think Colle players will struggle against this move order since an early ...e5 AND ...Bg4 is threatened.

 Buy my book and find out ;) It's on page 198 [chapter 11, section 4]


I dont think Zsuzsa (Susan) polgar has ever played the colle system in any serious game - please correct me if i am wrong.

normajeanyates, I did a quick database search. She opened with a Colle-Zuketort setup in about 15 / 522 of her games as White, most of them serious and 7 of them against stronger opposition. My database only tracks her games after she reached the high 2200s, so perhaps at that master level she feels it's better as a surprise or only in special circumstances than as a mainstay of her repertoire. She does well when she uses it.

The Colle-Zukertort does not give me restless nights.  It may be enough to get a miniscule edge out of the opening, but very few people below master will be able to actually capitalize on that advantage.  If you really want an opening that gets an advantage, play the QGD Exchange Variation.  White has three main ideas at his disposal and gets easy development with most of the winning chances.

You can play the Colle against the Dutch.  Here is a simple example (among many choices) - note, I am not looking for theoretical responses here, just simple development.  Anything deeper than this, you can search for yourself.

I remember Susan Polgar saying in the intro to her Zukertort DVD something to the effect that she enjoyed playing the Zuk when she was starting out and won a lot of games with it.  I took that to imply that she didn't use it as much later when she climbed up in the ratings.

Oh thanks, likesforests! [for the posted game] - God, she played it as late as 2 years ago - against stronger rated opp! I won't dismiss the Colle so easily now.. I am intrigued!

That post was the best ad for the colle system i've seen :)

 But the fine print is disappointing - it is a rapid game, not decent time controls. :(

I should have made that clearer -- but in *my* *real* chessplaying days skittles (rapid chess) didn't count! I feel OLD!
quick database search will locate a quick game - ha ha - i should have seen it coming :)

 normajeanyates -> "That post was the best ad for the colle system i've seen :)"

I dunno, I found the technical endgame and 57 moves a little discouraging.  I thought Colle games were supposed to go sac, mate, around move 20. ;)


At least at skittles (rapid chess) ;)

You see, my last post, read with the last part  of my last-but-one post, implicitly says that that 'best ad' is misleading.


i am suprised you are even thinking about colle , isnt it just for1600 and below players (said with toungue in cheek)

thats what i always hear,  off higher rated players and when reading articles on openings in general


Lostapiece, that would be me; under 1600 :).  Well under in OTB.

I'm not looking to make a major effort out of the Colle.  I just want to read up on it and give it a try and learn a few things.  Probably more OTB than CC, so if the games go south on me the pain's over in less than an hour :).