Why do people hate "d4" so much?


I always hear people ranting, "It's not tactical, it doesn't help you get better, it's boring, it's positional and positional play doesn't matter at beginner level, etc." 


I am estimated 1200 - 1300 USCF, so I know I don't sound very reliable!  But, I don't see what's wrong with playing positionally.  I like positional play better than tactical play. Positional play is more interesting and fun.  It's also great to fight for a spacial advantage to a point your opponent is crammed in and eventually has to resign the game.  

But for some reason, people hear keep hating on "d4" and I really don't see why?


People in general don't like it because they like quick games with a bunch of tactical moves that lead to more "excitement". Even grandmasters do not like the somewhat rehearsed and "slow" nature of the queen pawn openings. E4 is relatively close in terms of success and the sicilian leads to a lot of quick tactical play.

Also, many novice players try to pretend not to like it because they lack the ability to win mates in the positional sense and instead attempt to get a quick tactical mate with a lot of attacks and exchanges.

Finally, closed games (queen pawn has many closed positions, except for the Indian defenses) lead to a lot less flexibility, and flexibility is a lot of the fun in chess.

Nevertheless, d4 is an excellent opening (probably the best, besides possibly retí. 


From an online database of 2.5+ million games:

51% start with 1.e4, 32% with 1.d4, 8% 1.Nf3, all others 9%.

So maybe a lot of players hate 1.d4, as you heard, but almost one third of all players use it (me too, ciljettu).


Play what you feel works for you. if you go on to play at a higher level, you might reasses what works for you, you might find what you're doing now still works for you.

It's not my preference either, i'm an e4 player, but many strong GMs play d4, and the first move in today's World Championship game 1 was d4. There's nothing wrong with it, don't be put off by other people's opinions and personal preferences


People that hate 1.d4 probably prefer tactical games.

paulgottlieb wrote:

Almost every one of the important d4 openings contain lines that are fantastically tactical. Has anyone ever tried the Botvinnik variation of the Semi-slav? It'what Shirov plays when he's looking for excitement. Was Gary Kasparov a dull, maneuvering player? And he played 1.d4 regularly. Tactics and excitement are up to the two players.

The player that isn't familiar with the ideas won't play those anyway.


It's not really hate. It's fear.


OP, if you want positional games, note that 1. c4 is a decent and well-respected option as well. Although I'm a 1. e4 diehard, I've had some positional fun with the English.


Add me in to 1.d4 players. I like closed positions and slow games where one can slowly maneuver and increase his advantage, rather than brash tactical positions (although those are fun sometimes). I'm a QG player actually, and when I see someone accept it boy does my mouth water :D


u begin with e4 try the variations in Ruy Lopez,Caro kan and sicilian ...then u go for deeper studies with those used lines and reluctant to get out of the nuances...thus d4 seems ever strange...


I am starting to play d4 (also being a e4 player) but I don't use it for positional reasons. I use it to keep pieces on the board so I can create attacking chances. So far it has been working quite well.


@AMagician,who are you recommending this advise to?


A lot of people who don't like d4 also don't seem to understand e4 either. They seem to think you're supposed to come out on move 1 like a mental patient wielding a meat axe. But the basics are always the same: develop pieces, pressure the center, look for tactical shots and work on your positional advantage.


d4 is for positional players and e4 is for tactical players


If we are looking at openings from an offensive standpoint, e4 is superior to any other opening... this is why many people don't like d4- or Nf3 for that matter.


There is nothing more "positional" than the Ruy Lopez or the closed Italian or Bishop's Opening.


Fact is..  the opening is not just about you developing and placing your pieces in the centre, but about preventing your opponent from doing so..  I find d4 far more difficult to play against than e4 because it prevents me from playing e5, thus hindering the development of my pawns and minor pieces...  


Gambit Man's point is also very important..


You can't play positionally at a low level.  It's more than seeing something is an advantage, it's being able to use that something to your advantage over many moves, and this always involves tactics.  More-so when it's a slight positional plus, and even more complicated is a equal "positional" game.

And as others have said, it's incorrect to think so dualistically about e4 and d4.


Well, to say the truth, I've often seen d4 players scoffing e4...

Its just a matter of taste, however at the beginners level it is beneficial to try both center pawn pushes to get a more overall feeling of the game. For the record, I'm a e4 player, however I personally don't mind playing the black side of d4.