Owen Defense

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #1


    I'm interested in finding a good defense for black against 1. e4 and I like the Owen Defense. I think it gives black fairly good chances of getting an equal game.







    Please leave your comments about what you think of this opening. Also, if someone knows the opening more thouroughly than I do, please let me know if some of the moves I made were incorrect. Also, if anyone has a suggestion for white, post it and I'll post a game using that variation.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #2


    Owen's Defense is simply b6, which transposes to other defenses depending on how white replies and how black responds to white's subsequent moves. It's somewhat a flexible defense although you are pretty much dedicated to a fianchetto of the Bishop (although I have on occasion decline the fianchetto).

    If you are not sure on the defense you should play or if you opponent always plays a certain way, it can throw them off to see b6 as a first move. It's not a good defense in itself though.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #3


    What's so bad about it? To me it seems pretty good.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #4


    Well, it is not so bad as to be a forced loss, but there are known ways for white to gain larger advanatge than against more solid defensive choices.

    White plays with a smaller center e4 & d4, puts the B on d3 and Knights on c3 and e2 and gets easy advantage. Also lines with an early 5. Qe2 are rather advantageous for White.

    No doubt, the ignorant will flail against it, but stronger players will be well armed to dismantle it and stop whatever trick, traps, and zaps are thematic, leaving Black with a dour position and no way to undermine the solid white center.


    Main line: 1. e4 b6  2. d4 Bb7  3. Bd3! Nf6  4. Nc3 e6 5. Nge2! and white has easy play.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #6


    3. ...f5 is a blunder.  One can even sac the exchange here and play exf5! and let black get his "trick" in.

    4. exf5 Bxg2? 5. Qh5! g6 6.fxg6 Bg7 7. gxh7+ and Black is in serious deep poo.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #8


    benedictus wrote:

    What's so bad about it? To me it seems pretty good.

     With the sequence of moves you made in your example, no it does not look bad. Although, who said that is how white will/should play. I know that I would not make most of those moves you have there as white.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #9


    ozzie_c_cobblepot wrote:

    And the line to refute it is...

    There are several. 

    I gave one nice tricky one above to steal money in blitz, although I usually play 4. Nc3 and beat it with a grinder on the weakened kingfield.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #11


    ozzie_c_cobblepot wrote:

    I cannot believe you steal money from the street hustlers in blitz, they need cash like anyone!

    No, I win the money from the suits that work in the offices.  I am (formerly) one of the homeless underclass that is hustling the haves. 


    I'm part of the grift against blokes like you, Ozzie.  Wink

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #12


    Here's a look at the lines suggested with a short continuation


    First: 1. e4 b6  2. d4 Bb7  3. Bd3! Nf6  4. Nc3 e6 5. Nge2!

    The position seems about equal for both sides.




    As for: 1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3? f5! 4. exf5 Bxg2? 5. Qh5! g6 6.fxg6 Bg7 7. gxh7+ I will admit that this variation is easily to white's advantage, but only works if black plays 3... f5?

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #13


    Benedictus:  There is such a thing as opening theory.  I refer to it:

    5. ...Bb4? is a blunder. 6. a3 Bxc3 7. Nxc3 d6 and white is already close to +/-


    After 5. Nge2 more usual (and viable) is 5 ....d6, c5 or d5.  Giving up the Dark square bishop for no reason is a lemon.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #14


    Ok. So Bb4 is a bad move. Remember, I don't know this opening well yet.

    If 5... d5 play seems about equal I think.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #15


    Benedictus, its time to stop arguing about why this opening is good. Its not good, its not bad but certainly allows white a good advantage. 5. ... d5 seems to be equal but white has a lead in development.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #16


    Here is a nice Vote Chess Game featuring 5.Nge2 in the Owen:

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #17


    I really like owens defence.  Since I dont have time to study  other defences due to the amount there is on that defense (eg the sicilian which has about a million books ) I just study a simpler defense as black.  when I was much younger I would play caro kann but I have not played in decades and even the caro kann has too much theory, now.  So I settled for the unusual owens.  I have had great success with it, because many seem to be thrown off by it so they are out of book real fast.  I should say i have had great success with 1900 and below players.  Anyone master and above I cant seem to beat with any opening unless they are on auto pilot and make a serious blunder.


    Anyway I like the fact that not much material is readily available, so your opponent has to work to get info on the opening.  I have gone through the book play b6 and I loved it, once you work through the games you will realize that while in theory black does not stand as well as with anohter opening, most players are not masters at least the ones I have played since I am just a club player/ borders star bucks player.  So since most are not up on the opening they make a "bad" move and hence black has the advantage.  It was easier to learn owens than to restudy all of the caro kann for me.  And I have had a lot of success with it about a 90% win rate against 1900 and below.  As white I play B4 and B3.  But I like B4 a bit more. 


    So i guess it depends on what level of play you are at.  I am not a professional and play for fun and find this defense very enjoyable and easy to learn, but I am not sure if its ay good if you are are really serious.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #18


    Isn't the ...Bb4 line in the Owen's defence just a bad French Winawer, because black has commited his other bishop to b7?

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #19


    Bsdr, Bb4 in which line do you mean? There are situations where Bb4 is perfectly fine.

    For fans of 1...b6, there is a group here: http://www.chess.com/groups/home/1b6
    For those wanting to make a study of the Owen:

    - Secrets of Opening Surprises Volume 4 contains an article by Glenn Flear called The Other Long Diagonal with a mini-repertoire to get you started.
    - Christian Bauer's Play 1..b6 is a great book on all things 1...b6.
    - German-language magazine Kaissiber has two issues 30 and 32 with excellent analysis by Klaus Gawehns on the Owen. Yes, it's German, but once you get used to German chess words and idioms, it becomes easier to read Wink

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #20


    I'm referring to the first post, by benedictus: 1. e4 b6 2. d4 Bb7 3. Nc3 e6 4. Nf3 Bb4 5. Bd3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 d5 7. e5, isnt this a french winawer where white saved a tempo by not playing a3 and black already has ...b6 and ...Bb7 in.

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