thoughts on the Scotch Game?

gad610
I recently played in my first OTB tournament and as black I was surprised to encounter the Scotch Game. I had heard of it before and didn't think much of it, but I've been studying it a little more and I've been starting to really like it. Any thoughts on this opening/theory?
gad610
If anyone was wondering, the Scotch Game is 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4
Sqod

It's sound but suboptimal, and Black gets a slightly better position.

It's funny: The openings you typically encounter in lower level OTB tournaments are in a class by themselves: Scotch Game, Center Game, Patzer Opening, Philidor's Defense, Scandinavian Defense, Damiano's Defense, Bishop's Opening, etc.: all openings that are seldom played by GMs, yet standard fare among lower rated players. You just have to learn all those as part of your development process as a chess player, I guess, knowing that eventually your opponents will be using the normal openings you were taught in books or by your chess coach.

----------

(p. 8)

Scotch Game
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4

Again a perfectly logical idea, for
the strong point method (3 ... d6)
is once more inapplicable. Un-
fortunately, as in the previous case
in the counter-attack against the
White e-pawn is quite effective.
The first and most obvious
counter-attack begins with 3 ...
exd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6. Then the nor-
mal line would run 5 Nc3 Bb4
6 Nxc6 bxc6 7 Bd3 d5 8 exd5
cxd5 9 O-O, O-O 10 Bg5 c6 11 Qf3
Be7 12 Rae1 Rb8 13 Nd1
Re8 14 h3 Be6 (3).
The position reached is approxi-
mately even: White has somewhat
more freedom for all his pieces, which
is counter-balanced by Black's
stronger centre pawn. Conse-
(p. 9)
quently this is one of those cases
where both sides have searched
for improvements: White to
strengthen his bind, Black to ease
the defence.
White's attempts have ended in
failure. In the above main line, we
find that 7 Bd2! O-O 8. Bd3 d5;
9. f3!? was once tried to maintain
the pawn at e4 but after 9...dxe4;
10 Nxe4 Nxe4 11 fxe4 Bc5
Black's game is excellent.

Fine, Reuben. 1989. The Ideas Behind the Chess Openings, Algebraic Edition. New York: Random House, Inc.

----------

(p. 76)
SCOTCH GAME
(1 P-K4, P-K4; 2 N-KB3, N-QB3; 3 P-Q4)

THE Scotch Game, known from Lolli in 1763, got its name from a
correspondence match in 1824 between Edinburgh and London. Once
a favourite with Blackburne and Chigorin, it is rarely seen in modern
tournaments despite attempts at rehabilitation
by the Israel master, Czerniak. It is similar to
the Centre Game in that White plays the natural
P-Q4 early, and it suffers from the same draw-
back--Black's game is freed too soon. The
opening is a classic illustration that a premature
centre break, without mass preparation, tends
to dissipate rather than generate White's
initiative.
A noteworthy attempt to strengthen White's
play in a main line should be studied in col 8,
note (l). Black can equalize easily in almost every variation, but he
cannot hope for more.
The Scotch and Goring Gambits (cols. 11-14) are not necessarily
losing propositions, but Black's defences are adequate, and he can
hang on to the pawn. Positions are reached similar to the "half"
Danish, and the student should study both openings in conjunction.

Evans, Larry, and Walter Korn. 1965. Modern Chess Openings, 10th Edition. New York: Pitman Publishing Corporation.

kingsrook11
Sqod wrote:

It's sound but suboptimal, and Black gets a slightly better position.

It's funny: The openings you typically encounter in lower level OTB tournaments are in a class by themselves: Scotch Game, Center Game, Patzer Opening, Philidor's Defense, Scandinavian Defense, Damiano's Defense, Bishop's Opening, etc.: all openings that are seldom played by GMs, yet standard fare among lower rated players. You just have to learn all those as part of your development process as a chess player, I guess, knowing that eventually your opponents will be using the normal openings you were taught in books or by your chess coach.

----------

(p. 8)

Scotch Game
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4

Again a perfectly logical idea, for
the strong point method (3 ... d6)
is once more inapplicable. Un-
fortunately, as in the previous case
in the counter-attack against the
White e-pawn is quite effective.
The first and most obvious
counter-attack begins with 3 ...
exd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6. Then the nor-
mal line would run 5 Nc3 Bb4
6 Nxc6 bxc6 7 Bd3 d5 8 exd5
cxd5 9 O-O, O-O 10 Bg5 c6 11 Qf3
Be7 12 Rae1 Rb8 13 Nd1
Re8 14 h3 Be6 (3).
The position reached is approxi-
mately even: White has somewhat
more freedom for all his pieces, which
is counter-balanced by Black's
stronger centre pawn. Conse-
(p. 9)
quently this is one of those cases
where both sides have searched
for improvements: White to
strengthen his bind, Black to ease
the defence.
White's attempts have ended in
failure. In the above main line, we
find that 7 Bd2! O-O 8. Bd3 d5;
9. f3!? was once tried to maintain
the pawn at e4 but after 9...dxe4;
10 Nxe4 Nxe4 11 fxe4 Bc5
Black's game is excellent.

Fine, Reuben. 1989. The Ideas Behind the Chess Openings, Algebraic Edition. New York: Random House, Inc.

----------

(p. 76)
SCOTCH GAME
(1 P-K4, P-K4; 2 N-KB3, N-QB3; 3 P-Q4)

THE Scotch Game, known from Lolli in 1763, got its name from a
correspondence match in 1824 between Edinburgh and London. Once
a favourite with Blackburne and Chigorin, it is rarely seen in modern
tournaments despite attempts at rehabilitation
by the Israel master, Czerniak. It is similar to
the Centre Game in that White plays the natural
P-Q4 early, and it suffers from the same draw-
back--Black's game is freed too soon. The
opening is a classic illustration that a premature
centre break, without mass preparation, tends
to dissipate rather than generate White's
initiative.
A noteworthy attempt to strengthen White's
play in a main line should be studied in col 8,
note (l). Black can equalize easily in almost every variation, but he
cannot hope for more.
The Scotch and Goring Gambits (cols. 11-14) are not necessarily
losing propositions, but Black's defences are adequate, and he can
hang on to the pawn. Positions are reached similar to the "half"
Danish, and the student should study both openings in conjunction.

Evans, Larry, and Walter Korn. 1965. Modern Chess Openings, 10th Edition. New York: Pitman Publishing Corporation.

Kasparov clearly disagrees with your outdated sources having played it a number of times. Also 4Bc5 is played as every bit as often as 4Nf6. Whereas, Whites other approach to 4Nf6 is the 5Nxc6 (the Mieses variation) and that was Kasparov's approach.

bb_gum234
gad610 wrote:
Any thoughts on this opening/theory?

As a black player I'm comfortable in the main lines where I'm getting to play d5 or f5 relatively early (before move 10). I feel like the positions aren't as difficult as Ruys (not that main lines in a standard opening are ever bad, of course).

I've encountered 5.Nb3 with eventual 0-0-0 a few times OTB. At least when I'm the black player, that puts black under more pressure than the main line stuff.

The line 3...exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Be3 Qf6 6.Nb5 is good for blitz or at lower ratings. White gets to play a threat on every move for many moves and black needs to be accurate or get crushed.

And finally the Scotch gambit is also a good choice if you're a newer player which is 3...exd 4.Bc4. I only know what I do against this from the black side, but it can lead to some boring positions but also extremely sharp positions if white wants, for example transposing into the Moeller attack in the guacio piano

 

bb_gum234

So I guess like most openings, it can lead to lots of different types of equality, from boring to interesting, to tense, to crazy and sharp.

bb_gum234
CereaI_Spittin wrote:
Since this is about the scotch. I'm curious if playing the Scotch via Vienna then the 4 knights is suboptimal to the normal one.

I don't know if I understand your question correctly, but the difference between these two positions:

Is in the 2nd black is most often playing Bb4, which threatens white's e pawn, so the resulting positions are very different from the usual scotch stuff. Nothing wrong with this 4 knights line, but it's a different game.

savagechess2k

Play 4...Qh4. Get your opponent out of book.

SIowMove
gad610 wrote:
I recently played in my first OTB tournament and as black I was surprised to encounter the Scotch Game. I had heard of it before and didn't think much of it, but I've been studying it a little more and I've been starting to really like it. Any thoughts on this opening/theory?

Kasparov used it quite often throughout his career. Looking at some of his games with it should give you some good ideas on how it can be used.

gad610
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gad610
[COMMENT DELETED]
gad610
#12  
#12  

If anyone was interested, I will paste my game where I faced the Scotch Game in the OTB Tournament here in a pgn file annotated by me. Feel free to critique it or add lines/ways me or my opponent could have played better. I'm just a beginner, so I could use some help. (I play black in the game.)

 

 

bb_gum234

b6 is actually a move that's been tried later, so you weren't so far off, just missed that playing it so early gives tripled pawns

 

Sqod
JamesColeman wrote:

 

So you think White can't even get equality in an opening that's been frequently played by Carlsen, Kasparov, Radjabov, Nepo, as well as a host of other 2700+ GMs? Interesting lol.

 

Jeez, you and the previous poster *have* heard of surprise value, right? Do you think Nakamura really believes the Patzer Opening he played is optimal? Or that Tony Miles really believes that the St. George Defense he played is optimal? Or that Hannibal really believed that riding elephants over the Alps was optimal? It's a good thing you guys aren't military commanders.

 

(p. 83)
Principle of Surprise

Surprise does not vouchsafe success, but it vastly
improves prospects. Secrecy, speed, deception, dis-
information, originality, and audacity can produce
results that far exceed efforts expended and thereby
alter balances of power to great advantage. Shocked
foes need not be caught wholly off guard, but only
grasp the full significance of their predicament too
late to respond effectively. Distraction (a psycholog-
ical phenomenon) and disruption (a physical func-
tion) deprive rivals of initiative. Freedom of concep-
tion and freedom of action accordingly become
twin casualties.
Military surprise, such as the sneak attack on
Pearl Harbor, immediately comes to mind, but non-
military forms sometimes have immense military
implications. Political surprise of the first order oc-
curred in 1989, when unexpected termination of
the Cold War upended long-standing U.S. and NATO
strategies. Japan experienced shocking economic
surprise after its political leaders signed a tripartite
pact with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in Septem-
ber 1940, because Franklin D. Roosevelt
immediately embargoed much-needed scrap metal
and petroleum shipments, then froze all Japanese
assets in the United States. Technological surprise
"made potential enemies cringe in fright," according
to Nikita Khrushchev, when Sputnik I, a basketball-
sized Soviet satellite, unexpectedly began to
orbit Earth.

Collins, John M. 2002. Military Strategy: Principles, Practices, and Historical Perspectives. Washington, D.C.: Brassey's Inc.

 

(p. 77)
To Cause Loss of Balance

Many things can cause a loss of balance. One cause is danger, another is
hardship, and another is surprise. You must research this.

Musashi, Miyamoto. 1974. A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy. Woodstock, New York: The Overlook Press.

SeniorPatzer
savagechess2k wrote:

Play 4...Qh4. Get your opponent out of book.

 

Wow.  That does seem annoying to White.

TheAuthority

I like Scotch Game. After move 3 I'm out of book. 🙄

TheAuthority

4...Qh4 violates at least one opening principle. 

bb_gum234

To be fair, black is equalizing against everything these days, so I'm pretty sure white can manage to find equality in the scotch... but if not, please let me know, because I'll update my repertoire right away tongue.png

oregonpatzer

I also like the Bourbon Game. 

moosaythecow

Kasparov loved and enjoyed The Scotch and it caught many a GM off guard. It's my favorite opening with many sharp tactical lines of play.