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Well, for the most part, it's a technicality: d4 is rarely without Nf3; Nf3-e5 is essentially impossible without d4. Unless we sac'ed with b4 or something, then after queen moves Ne5, but even there white will really want that knight protected very soon.
Ironically, the reason I stopped playing the Scandinavian was when white just developed quickly because black's position always looked so underdeveloped, even though it would often be just solid enough to hold up. I would often make some mistake however, when white's swift pieces would take quick advantage. I'd say the Ne5 lines are perfectly fine for black (because his game is just so solid and white often has to compromise his structure to facilitate Ne5) and I actually preferred facing them. In any case, white's extra development gives him lots of options, and can be a bit uncomfortable being behind for so long: you never know when white's pieces are all going to ambush you. Of course, neither side should over or under estimate their position, because both white and black are sound here!
I am sure there are ideas for many styles, but I think d4 is most principled as it claims space in the center (takes control of e5, for instance) and prepares rapid development. I can totally understand the discussion about avoiding theory, but theoretically speaking, d4 is probably best, since White gains a foothold in the center with his d-pawn.
To most Scandinavian players, it doesn't matter whether you will play 4.Nf3 or 4.d4 or even 4.Bc4. Black will setup the same typical structure.
What matters (to both sides) is whether White allows 3.Nc3 Qa5 to happen or not. If this happens Black is already in his own territory. Black may already be familiar with many moves ahead, including the traps and complexities. Black is not theoretically superior, but being in a familiar territory he might have a subjective advantage.
It's not always the case that black trots out his setup and gets a fine position after Nc3 and Qa5. For example:
Black gets creamed by trying to just play his normal moves.
Black's 7th move is a complete waste of time and not a "normal move"
I think the problem with 4.Nf3 is that white just does not want to castle kingside in the Scandinavian. It's positionally inferior.
1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nf3 and now 3. ...Bg4 is the best and a good line for
Black per my studies and analysis. Actualy, 3. ... Bg4 is the most "natural" move in
I have often played that way (especially against my computer, to get out of the main line).
For the person who says only beginners should play the Scandinavian--he is wrong. I have beaten many masters including one who is now a GM with this opening. It has hidden resources.
The analysis of the Loomis game is incorrect. Black played badly. To start he wasted a whole tempo when he played his Q to c7 for no particular reason.
Should Black play for Bg4? In general the answer is "no" except in this line:
1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nf3 now Black plays 3. .... Bg4! and the game could continue something like this:
4. Be2 Nc6! 5. 0-0 0-0-0 In this particular case--the pin on the N is correct...
[I was one of the first in recent history to write a book on the Scandinavian]
After 3Nc3 Qa5 4Nf3 Bg4 one of the main orginal ideas is to continue with b4. It is probably sounder to play 4...c6.
I will have to disagree that the key idea for White with the Scandinavian is Ne5. There are some lines where White plays Ne5 but maybe less than 10%.
Usually Black has a N on d7 to counter an early Ne5.
Ne5 could come up if Black plays Bg4 pinning Whites N on f3 followed by
White playing h3--but Black should not have played Bg5 in the first place [except in the line I gave earlier].
You are rather dogmatic aren't you? On what basis do you make your statement?
The Scandinavian is fine...
The main line with 8.Nd5 was a problem line in fairly recent games last time I heard. I believe the line was 8.Nd5 Qd8 9.Nxf6+ Qxf6 10.Qe2 and 9...gxf6 was suffering from long term disadvantages.
I will just say that, whatever the truth is, it is an absolute pain in the ass to refute even ugly looking ideas. Take the Dragon or King's Indian for instance -- whether they are ideal or not, the resources black seems to have are limitless. People who make such a big deal about an opening not equalizing should get over themselves -- even grandmasters often have trouble exploiting ideas that look like they should be bad. Karpov lost a game against Anthony Miles in a game that started 1 e4 a6. Yes, I realize that this might not be the normal result, but it just goes to show that grandmasters still have a lot of work to do even against inferior moves. So just imagine how much work it would take for any amateur to do as well.
I'm not going to pretend that I can destroy anyone who plays 1 d4 h6, given that my opponent plays strong moves afterwards. I might have a slightly more pleasant game than usual, but the result is still very, very far from determined.
A car doesn't have to look pretty to go fast...
I played the Center Counter/Scandinavian as my defense to 1.e4 for maybe ten years. I used the Bf5 rather than pinning nthe Nf3. I always thought that since the pawn structure ends up the same as the Caro Can, it should be pretty solid. But I always worried about white pushing the d pawn to d5 early before black has castled. When the Q or a rook is on the e file that macks the d5 pawn push very disruptive for black as blacks e pawn is pinned to the king. In fact I played the defense in a game recently on net-chess.com and was crushed when my opponent pushed the d pawn to d5 at the right time.
So now I am reconsidering my defense to 1.e4. I am considering the 1.e4 d5 2.exd Nf3 version. If white plays 3.c4 to try to keep the pawn he is in for a wild ride after 3....c6 4.dxc Nxc6. It's a gambit that black gets a great game. I am also considering the Caro Kan 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 (or Nd2) dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 followed by 5....Ngf6.
But in the games I played the Center Counter I did quite well with it including tournamnet play. I was amazed how many times white would play 1.e4 d5 2.e5. To this I would either play 2...Bf5 or 2....c5.
The Scandinavian is not boring. It is only boring if you do not see the possibilities for both sides.
alex, you are going up against a VERY strong CC player if you do that!
Ah yes, the traditional way that opening disputes are settled at Chess.com:
The main lines ending in Ne5 are easily handled by Black.
So there is no point in trying to stop Ne5.
Mainline Scandinavian is alive, but not well. Black has problems after both 8.Nd5 and 8.Qe2.
I am not saying you two are wrong about 8. Qe2 and/or 8. Nd5 but I have seen no analysis where Black does not get a playable game. In the 8. Nd5 line--Black must play 8. Nd5 Qd8 9. Nxf6+ gxf6,