All is said in the title. I find the move 2. d5 after 1. d4 Nf6 pretty annoying even if it's probably not a great move. What are suitable moves to "punish” this opening play? I will add that I am more of a Benoni/Benko player.

5 Answers 5


If you're a Benoni player, there's nothing wrong with 2... c5, which will get you in familiar territory (3. dxc6 e.p. is harmless and not something White wants to play - exchanging a center pawn for a flank pawn).

While it's not a great move, Black isn't immediately better, just about equal. So it's dangerous to try to 'punish' this move, especially if White has probably more experience with this line than you (and less with the main Benoni/Benko lines).

  • Thanks for your reply, I used to play 2...d6 which often leads into KID type of positions, which is not my cup of tea :)
    – loukios
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 16:51
  • @Glorfindel - tangential question - White routinely exchanges d-pawn for Black's c-pawn in the Sicilian, so how can we reconcile that with "not something White wants to play - exchanging a center pawn for a flank pawn"?
    – rolando2
    Commented Apr 27, 2020 at 15:52
  • @rolando2 good question; the difference is that here White spends three tempi with this pawn, in the Sicilian only one.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Apr 27, 2020 at 15:53
  • Ahh yes - Very good.
    – rolando2
    Commented Apr 27, 2020 at 15:54

The most direct way to punish this move seems to be to attack the d-pawn immediately. Black gets a very slight advantage. For example

 [FEN ""]
 1. d4 Nf6 2. d5 c6! 3. c4 cxd5 4. cxd5 Qa5 + 5. Nc3 b5! 6. Qd3 b4 7. Qb5 Qb6 8. Qxb6 axb6 9. Nb5 Ra5 10. e4 Nxe4

I'd recommend that you run this line by the engines. They do tend to agree that this line gives Black a very slight advantage.


If you like the Benoni, 2...c5 is definitely an option. However, the kicker here is that White doesn't have to play 3. c4 and transpose to the main line. Instead, White could play 3. Nc3!? and if you play 3...e6 then 4. e4! could be unpleasant.

A solid option would be 2...e5. While this gets you out of your familiar territory, it does give you good play on the dark squares. Example:

  1. c4 Bc5 (or Bb4+) 4. Nc3 a6 (giving the Bishop a strong home on a7) 5. e4 d6 sees Black's typically passive dark-squared bishop enjoying activity.

One last suggestion could be 2...b5. It prevents 3. c4, and if 3. Nc3 then 3...b4. Since White also can't play e4 for the moment, the d5 pawn is vulnerable. You can play Bb7 and e6 to put pressure on it and take it out.

  • Against 2 ... c5 3 Nc3 d6 could be an option, trying to transpose into the Pirc - the early d5 should mean easy play for Black if he/she manages that
    – Ian Bush
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 11:53
  • Yes, transposing to a Pirc is definitely an option. One problem though is that most people don't play it as Black against e4, so they'll be in unknown waters. I'm not entirely familiar about how good the Pirc is with c5 thrown in, but I know it definitely leads to double edged positions (more so or equal to the Benoni). Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 2:12
  • If white follows up 3 Nc3 4 e4 5 f4 it's one of the most innocuous ways to play the Austrian attack, though he might throw in Bb5+ at an appropriate point as well which is probably a bit better. But all in all I think there's little to fear for black, the e5 break is a bit more slowly, and given many of the lines have the point of stopping an early c5 from black it does look like not a bad idea. But I play the Pirc (and Benoni!)
    – Ian Bush
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 9:38
  • Fair enough. I play the Benoni as Black as well. I think there are upsides and downsides to White not playing c4. The upside for Black is that White has less control in the center, but the obvious downside is that White has an extra tempo. Although that's only if Black plays e6. If someone is fine with playing the Pirc, then 2...c5 is definitely a viable move. Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 16:32

Why is 1.d4 a good move? Partly ecause it controls the central squares c5,e5. What squares does 2.d5 weaken? c5 and e5. Good plans would take advantage of this. . 2...e5 looks very nice with ..Bc5 to follow


Wes's answer seems quite good but I think ...e6 is also a strong alternative. The point is that you just get pieces out, and d5 comes under pressure. It also seems that, since you play the Benoni, the exd5 capture will lead to positions favorable compared to the main lines, since White never has time for e4. You can castle and play Re8 (f3 is not really an option, as White's king knight will be terrible for a while). Your position will not be cramped. Here is what happens if Black tries to push pawns.

 [FEN ""]
 1. d4 Nf6 2. d5 e6 3. c4 (3. Nc3 Bb4) Na6 4. a3 Nc5 5. b4 Nce4 6. f3 Nd6 7. e4 Nfxe4!
  1. ...Bb4 is also good here, and maybe less risky, as Black can just threaten to exchange the bishop for the knight, again either winning a pawn or collapsing the White center. The two bishops aren't enough compensation for the loss of time from d4-d5-dxe6 or a3.

So 2. d5 looks annoying until you find a way you like to go against it. The main thing is to attack the pawn immediately and force White to trade it for a less aggressive pawn or waste time defending it. Fortunately, there are pretty straightforward moves to dissipate White's advantage, but there are more adventurous ones like Na6 too. So I bet after you see it a few times, you will have fun neutralizing it.

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