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I'm an amateur player and want to learn a couple openings for black. I want to have a response for d4 and e4. I want one for each and hopefully one that is relatively straight forward (unlike Indian defense as I understand). It would be great if they were slightly obscure and therefore unknown to my opponents. As white I'm basically going to try and play Scotch opening (and maybe later some other e4 openings) every time.

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    The stronger players here will most likely need more details to adequately answer you, so if you could edit your question with answers to the following it would be helpful. How many games have you played? Are there any openings you consistently play now? Which openings have you tried? – Larry Coleman Sep 11 '15 at 20:40
  • Well I've played for years, but not seriously. Just starting to really think about openings – Evan Adler Sep 11 '15 at 21:41
  • You need none at all! – David Oct 4 '19 at 11:17
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I agree with @CognisMantis regarding meeting 1. d4 with the Dutch defence.

I would advise playing the Scandinavian against 1. e4 (1. e4 d5), as it is 'obscure' in the sense that Black brings the Queen out early (1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5), but it is quite playable due to Black's pawn structure tends to be quite solid (similar to the Caro-Kann) making sure White is unable to exploit the slight lead in development.

Before trying the line out, check out the opening video by Dereque Kelley first.

(As a piece of advice in general, if you are new to an opening, see a YouTube video discussing the major themes. This way you can get a feel for the opening)

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As noted in another answer here, the Leningrad Dutch may be an interesting option to look for as black against 1.d4.

Against 1.e4, you may want to try Alekhine's defense. It's actually quite dangerous for any white player who doesn't know how to reply to it properly. As far as I know, it's not a common opening, but I have noticed that I'm facing way more Alekhine players nowadays than I did in the past.

It all depends on your playing style if the Alekhine's defense suits you or not though.

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Since you want obscure openings, I would advise the Dutch defense against 1.d4 and the French defense for 1.e4. The Dutch is played less than Indians, queen pawn, Nimzo, Gruenfield, Slav..., thus your opponents won't know anything about it but you will. The Leningrad Dutch and Stonewall defense are played time to time. Nakamura has played the Leningrad Dutch numerous times, Magnus, Levon, Anand, etc have used the Dutch from time to time. I recommend the French because I think it is much easier to learn than 1.e5, which falls to a lot of traps and 1.c5, which is of course not obscure and has a lot of theory. Unfortunately, people can go into a very drawish line in the exchange French. You might want to consider Owen's defense 1... b6.

  • Is the French defense obscure? There are surely obscure lines.... but it's a pretty common defnese. – Peter Flom - Reinstate Monica Oct 29 '15 at 20:28
  • well, its not common at all in the higher levels, and still quite rare in the lower levels. – CognisMantis Oct 30 '15 at 17:07
  • There are some similarities between the Dutch and French defenses (e6), so learning one will help you learn the other. – Tom Au Oct 31 '15 at 19:01
  • On chess.com there are 700,000 games starting with 1e4 and 1... e6 is the third most common response (after 1. ... c5 and 1... e5). More than 10% of games that started with e4 continued with e6. – Peter Flom - Reinstate Monica Oct 31 '15 at 22:59
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As Black, I typically play the hedgehog but with both bishops fianchettoed.

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    This works most case but likely to get king-side attacked if the centre is locked. By the way, I learn a lot from you in the stats.exchange and welcome to chess.stack. – HelloWorld Oct 29 '15 at 22:58
  • Thanks! I know a lot more about statistics than about chess. – Peter Flom - Reinstate Monica Oct 30 '15 at 11:45

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