Chess Opening Theory/1. e4/1...e5/2. Nf3

< Chess Opening Theory‎ | 1. e4‎ | 1...e5
Open Game


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8 {{{square}}} black rook {{{square}}} black knight {{{square}}} black bishop {{{square}}} black queen {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black bishop {{{square}}} black knight {{{square}}} black rook 8
7 {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn 7
6 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 6
5 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 5
4 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 4
3 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white knight {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 3
2 {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn 2
1 {{{square}}} white rook {{{square}}} white knight {{{square}}} white bishop {{{square}}} white queen {{{square}}} white king {{{square}}} white bishop {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white rook 1
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Common moves:
2...Nc6 - Open Game
2...Nf6 - Petroff Defence
2...d6 - Philidor's Defence
2...f5 - Latvian Gambit
2...d5 - Elephant Gambit

Contents

Open GameEdit

2. Nf3Edit

Black's valuable center pawn is threatened with capture, but White's pawn remains safe. The question for Black at this point is whether to challenge the White pawn on e4 or support the Black one on e5.

Supporting the Black pawnEdit

2...Nc6 is the natural move, combining defence of the pawn with control of the d4 square and avoiding committing another pawn for now. 2.Nf3 is 10 times more popular than everything else combined, and in turn the reply 2...Nc6 is about 5 times more popular than everything else combined.

2...d6, Philidor's Defence, is the other safe option to defend the pawn. It restricts the f8 bishop to the e7 square, and grants White an advantage in territory, but it builds a fortress that cannot be easily battered down. An alternative (older) way to play this is to follow up with 3...f5.

Note that 2...f6? is a bad move. It has a name, Damiano's Defence, but poor Damiano never wanted his name associated with it, because it doesn't work - White captures the pawn anyway.

Challenging the White pawnEdit

2...Nf6 is Petroff's Defence. Black wants the same things that White wants, but once again White will be back in a symmetrical position with the advantage of moving first.

2...f5 is the Latvian Gambit. This iconic counter-thrust divides opinion like very few other openings. Has Black lured White into a minefield of tricks and traps leading to an inevitable violent death? Or has Black given away a pawn for nothing?

2...d5 is the Elephant Gambit. It's along the same lines as the Latvian, but less complex - White needs to do less memorising to reach a good position.

StatisticsEdit

Estimated next move popularity
Nc6 83.5%, Nf6 11%, d6 4%, f5 0.5%, other less than 0.5%

Theory tableEdit

For explanation of theory tables see theory table and for notation see algebraic notation

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3

2 3 4 5
Ruy Lopez ...
Nc6
Bb5
a6
Ba4
Nf6
O-O
Be7
=
Petrov's Defence ...
Nf6
Nxe5
d6
Nf3
Nxe4
d4
d5
=
Philidor Defence ...
d6
d4
exd4
Nxd4
Nf6
Nc3
Be7
+=
Latvian Gambit ...
f5
Nxe5
Qf6
d4
d6
Nc4
fxe4
+=
Elephant Gambit ...
d5
exd5
Bd6
d4
e4
Ne5
Nf6
+=
Câmara Defence ...
Qe7
Bc4
d6
O-O
g6
d4
Bg7
+=
Greco Defence ...
Qf6
Bc4
Qg6
Nc3



+/-
Damiano Defence ...
f6
Nxe5
Qe7
Nf3
Qxe4
Be2

+/-

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ReferencesEdit

  • Nunn's Chess Openings. 1999. John Nunn (Editor), Graham Burgess, John Emms, Joe Gallagher. ISBN 1-8574-4221-0.
  • Batsford Chess Openings 2 (1989, 1994). Garry Kasparov, Raymond Keene. ISBN 0-8050-3409-9.