I'm a beginning chess player and still learning the opening. If white's first move is 1.d4 and black counters with d5 (closed or semi-closed games), and white's second move is c4 bringing the Queen's Gambit, black counters with dxc4. What are the pros and cons for black? Thank you for your answer.

3 Answers 3


A super-abridged guide to the QGA (Queen's Gambit Accepted) is that Black temporarily cedes the center with dxc4, and hopes to develop rapidly while White recovers the pawn (you'll want to look up some key lines where Black suffers because he is greedy and tries to hold on to the pawn; personally, I found it instructive to look at the main line of an entirely different opening called the Noteboom Variation, where Black has better chances to hang on to the pawn, but White's tricks still recover it), and then—just before White can start to cash in on his central advantage—play c5 in an attempt to nullify the center.

For example, a sample line (not necessarily main line; it lacks some "professional subtleties" that, as others said, you really don't need to memorize as a beginner):

[FEN "rnbqkb1r/pp3ppp/4pn2/8/2Bp4/4PN2/PP3PPP/RNBQ1RK1 w kq - 0 7"]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e3 Nf6 (3... b5? 4. a4 c6 5. axb5 cxb5 6. Qf3 {Winning White material}) 4. Bxc4 e6 5. Nf3 c5 6. O-O cxd4

In the above ending position, White has the option to either cede the center himself with Nxd4, or give himself an IQP (isolated queen's pawn) where he accepts what could turn out to be an endgame weakness (an isolated pawn) in exchange for a middle game catalyst (the White pawn will serve as a powerful battering ram and outpost provider that Black must stop at all costs).

However, Black will have his work cut out for him trying to actually gain the upper-hand over White, whose spatial advantage allows him to develop relatively more comfortable than Black. If you want something that's a bit less of an "exposed" opening for Black, I might recommend the French or the Caro-Kann which has the same idea of ceding the center only to counterattack with c5 (unfortunately, of course, neither of these are likely with 1. d4).

  • Absolutely super answer!!!! Thank you so much Feryll!!!!
    – Kiel
    Jan 14, 2017 at 2:22

If you are a beginner, studying tactics, general opening principles and some strategy first will be more useful than learning any opening.

Basically the idea of the queen's gambit for white is to remove a central pawn (the one on d5) and then to occupy the center (general opening principle).

As with any opening theory it does not stop at the second move, dxc4, so it is difficult to make a general statement.

Black has won a pawn, but it is not easy to keep it without concessions, specifically if you want to protect it you will have to put the queenside pawns all (or most) on light squares (a6, c6, b5, c4) which in turn weakens the dark squares and in many cases also locks in the light squared bishop on c8. So in many cases black is happy to return the pawn.

  • I want learning any opening because my opening sometimes weak but thank you for your awesome answer!!! I appreciate that!
    – Kiel
    Jan 13, 2017 at 9:47
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    Don't overestimate openings. As I wrote above, for most beginners, any problems encountered in the opening phase of the game are usually due to missed tactics or ignoring opening principles (not developing pieces, ignoring king safety, not occupying the center...). Opening theory can be quite complex and you won't be able to learn all side lines at once and also you will be on your own if your opponent plays a move which you did not memorize. I would not recommend learning openings below around Elo 1600 or so. Jan 13, 2017 at 10:49
  • Ok thank you for your suggestions, glad to read your comment!!!
    – Kiel
    Jan 13, 2017 at 10:56
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    You can compare this with learning to read. You can memorize all words of the language (this would be like learning all opening lines). But then if you encounter a newly created word you are on your own and won't know how to read it. Alternatively you can learn the letters and syllables i.e. the general underlying structure (this would be like learning tactics, strategy, principles in chess), and then you will be able to read any word based on that. Jan 13, 2017 at 10:56

As was said already: "If you are a beginner, studying tactics, general opening principles and some strategy first will be more useful than learning any opening."

I would add End Games to that important list, and modify the opening principles to include you being able to play "the first 4-6 moves as black against anything comfortably". This is not learning opening theory - this is your anti-surprise, beginner's opening preparation, and will give you a starting point to figuring out what you like without getting smeared off the board.

For that, check out Chessable

When a beginner complains "I hate playing against the Sicilian" my answer to that is "well, what have you done to prepare against that?", and usually the answer is "I hope they play the Ruy Lopez" or "I play 1.d4", both insufficient.

Seek general opening advice from better players. Maybe invest is a couple beginner books like Winning Chess Openings, which is right in your wheelhouse.

Learn to walk before you run, and play often.

  • Thank you for your comment Mark!!! Yeah i will improve my tactics too haha
    – Kiel
    Jan 13, 2017 at 14:29

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