I'm returning to chess. I used open as 1. d4 when white, but have switched to 1. e4 instead (I find it is more interesting). When I played 1. d4, I constantly found myself transposing into a symmetrical development against my opponent - usually due to playing Queens Gambit, but also from other lines.

I'm looking for a general list of black responses to explore so I can avoid a symmetric position when my opponent plays 1. d4

By reference, when white plays 1. e4 - black can respond with strong moves that force the white player into very non-symmetrical development (Sicilian or Caro-Kann).

I used to play a very positional set of openings, but am currently leaning towards openings that favor tempo and greater tactical possibilities. I play mostly correspondence or slow over the board matches. I don't want to rely on openings that rely on tricks and traps my opponent might miss.

  • 2
    This is extremely broad, and "queenside opening" and "kingside opening" aren't terms that are in common use. Mar 20 '17 at 19:09
  • This is like asking "How long is a piece of string?"
    – Brian Towers
    Mar 21 '17 at 11:42
  • @BrianTowers If white opens with the king's pawn, black can basically guarantee there is not a symmetrical position achieved by responding with either Sicilian or Caro-Kann (in the first move of the game -both of which are strong moves). Is there something similar black can do if White opens Queen side.
    – Paul
    Mar 21 '17 at 17:36

There are a number of Black openings you can play in response to White playing 1. d4 (I'm assuming this is what you mean by "Queenside opening").

Here is a good list of Black openings against d4 you can look up that avoid symmetrical positions and promise good tactical play:

  • King's Indian Defence (1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6)

  • Benoni Defense (my opening: 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6)

  • Albin Counter-Gambit (1. d4 d5 2. c4 e5!? 3. dxe5 d4)

  • Dutch Defence - Leningrad variation (1. d4 f5 2. c4 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nf3 0-0)

There are many more, but I would recommend looking at one of these, based on what you've told me. If you're looking for something where you're on the offensive immediately and there isn't too much theory to memorize, I would go with the Albin Counter-Gambit.

To look up an opening, I would recommend going to chess.com and finding a forum or article where the opening is discussed. Then, I would recommend looking up some games online of strong Grandmasters playing the opening (just type into Google: Albin Counter-Gambit Grandmaster games).

If you like the opening, the next step would be to buy a book on it - the Everyman books are relatively simple.

  • Thank you, this is a very appreciated answer - with a lot of variety in the style of opening choices. I was lacking the 'vocabulary' necessary to articulate what I needed. This is great.
    – Paul
    Mar 22 '17 at 13:32
  • I'd add the Grünfeld Defence to this list. Mar 24 '17 at 20:33
  • Also Benko/Volga gambit.
    – hoacin
    Mar 25 '17 at 10:27
  • Agreed, Benko/Volga would be a good double edged opening as well. Grunfeld is possible as well, but I wouldn't recommend it to players that don't memorize lots of theory - you have to know a lot of theory to avoid getting in trouble early on. Mar 27 '17 at 5:07

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