I've been playing chess since my childhood however just recently got into chess very seriously and my online balance was approx. 90-60 out of 150 games and then I lost 25 games due to a broken phone. Now I'm rated 1323 and my balance is 118-96 rising drastically from 1116 a month ago. Currently I'm playing 20 games and winning in about 16 of them. I have been playing very well since learning new openings. So I would say I'm experienced online when I have been challenging people and mostly I am the white player which I do play very well as against >1400 using Stonewall as white and generally winning 9 out of 10 games. Recently I have been using Kopec system vs Sicilian defence players and wrecking my opponents. But I have been playing as black more often now for overall game development and started using Sicilian def. but found that playing against 1.d4 gives me serious trouble and confusion of how I should play it. For example:

[FEN ""]
1. d4 c5 2. dxc5 

leaves me in an inferior pawn position and enemy queen staring me down

I am more a tactician and I set up position rather than setting up traps or use an exchange of pieces to gain center board position until I have better position/castle and I am up on pawns/pieces and then gg.

  • 5
    If you play Stonewall with white why not with black, too?
    – quid
    May 14, 2017 at 19:36
  • 1
    I would stick with 1...d5 and play Lasker's Defence. Look it up, it's quite simple for beginning players.
    – magd
    May 15, 2017 at 0:27
  • 4
    Answering a random White first move (especially 1.d4) with 1...c5 is not "playing the Sicilian defense".
    – bof
    May 15, 2017 at 6:40
  • If you want to continue as a tactician, you should play the benoni, king's indian, grunfeld defense. Though remember that you should be good at all aspects of the game, not just tactics. Aug 12, 2020 at 9:53
  • Black is definitely okay after 2.dxc5?!
    – David
    Sep 30, 2020 at 20:34

4 Answers 4


You can play the Stonewall defence with black as well, as quid suggested. You can start with a Dutch and get the familiar structure (just an example):

[FEN ""]
1. d4 f5 2. c4 e6 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 d5. Nf3 c6

Or you can play as you have shown and don't have to worry about dxc5 (it actually isn't such a good move):

[FEN ""]
1. d4 c5 2. dxc5?! e6 3. Nc3 (3. b4? a5 4. c3?? axb4 5. cxb4 Qf6-+) Bxc5=

If this variation was your only problem, it should be solved now... :-)

If you don't mind playing Benoni or the Benko gambit I would stick with this variation.


I think you underestimate the scope of opening theory and overestimate the efficiency of sticking to a few "pet lines".

As already mentioned by bof, playing ..c5 against 1 d4 has little to nothing to do with the "Sicilian Defense". White very specifially has to continue with e4 in the second or third move (after 2 c3/Nf3) to transpose into the Sicilian. Any other moves and you are in a completely different opening with very own motives and ideas. Actually, there is no such thing as "the" Sicilian either: White has no less than 4 common alternatives for his second move alone (Nf3, Nc3, c3, d4) that lead to very different positions.. and it's not going to get better from that point on regarding the size of the move tree. Telling us that you play "the Sicilian Defense" is equally vague, as there are many different systems Black can use (based on g6, e6 or e5, mainly).

Trying to only play lines that are similar to each other will lead into a dead end in the long run (even if it might be successful for now). It's an illusion, especially when playing Black: No matter what you do, your opponent always has the choice to disturb your plan by playing a line you don't like (e.g. an early Bf4/Bf5/Bg4/Bg5 can be a real pain if you try to play Stonewall Attack/Dutch). Most openings offer the possibility for both players to choose either really sharp or really quiet continuations, and you have to adapt to the choices of your opponent. Because the higher your rating, the better your opponents will get in adapting to you.

The 1 d4 c5 variation illustrates this point pretty well: Because you don't have the full picture yet and only tried to apply the (Sicilian) schemata known to you, the variation gave you a lot of trouble. kmartin on the other hand applied a common motive from the Queen's Gambit (variations of this can be found in many other openings, e.g. the French Defense) to prove that you can take back that pawn with tempo (or trap the opponent if he's too greedy) and have a comfortable game (after 4 Nf3 d6, your position isn't that much away from a common Sicilian one after all, hooray!).

So, my advice would be that instead of asking us and thus limiting your attention to only one or maybe a couple of defenses with the same patterns you already know, give ALL of them (and the White openings, too, of course) an honest try yourself*. Then you can make that choice on your own. And even if you end up choosing the Stonewall Attack and Dutch Defense as your favorites anyways, having looked into the others and thus broadening your view will pay off, believe me. And no, time consumption is not an excuse. Whoever devotes the time to ponder the question of his opening choice enough to consider asking it on stackexchange also has 10 minutes to look up the main lines of some opening before he starts playing. The actual work is nicely hidden in that playing.. which by itself should be considered a pleasure, not a chore, right? :)

*It's okay to look up variations as long as you don't overdo it. There are a lot of purists around that claim that noone below 2000 elo or some other number should be learning any opening theory at all, but I disagree with that. You don't have to reinvent the wheel. You should however put a serious effort into trying to understand how cars work and what the differences between a Mini and a SUV are before you settle to buy one. ;)


I'm a big believer that players below expert level should play system openings against 1. d4. They drastically reduce what you need to know to get a playable game. Bobby Fischer thought the same way and played the King's Indian but the problem is that opening has acquired a lot of theory since then.

The Tarrasch Defense is very much a system opening. You can play a Tarrasch formation against everything except 1.e4 and black will equalize easily against everything except one line-The Rubinstein. Even then the advantage in the Rubinstein is smaller than in most d4 defenses and black has an active position and a lot of options and can dictate the direction of the game. On top of that, the characteristic move of the Tarrasch is c5 which means you will learn a lot about sicilian-type positions by playing it.

A lot of the same is true of the Dutch which is a mirror image of the sicilian.

Lastly, the position you give is an old Benoni. There's nothing wrong with it at all. Black can aim to control the dark squares and reach an equal position (in which case it is a system opening) or play more aggressively with the main line Benonis. My only concern is that there are some lines that are a little advanced positionally and black can struggle in a cramped position if he doesn't know what to do. Sill, at your level you should be able to equalize easily and get an active position in 99% of your games.


This is the problem with playing Black. You must find a completely new opening against 1.d4. Here is a plan for learning.

  1. Learn a reply to 1.e4(Sicilian)
  2. Learn a reply to 1.d4. You can try the Queen's gambit as a safe opening choice.
  3. Learn a system(like London system, King's Indian setup...)so that you can play against irregular defences or openings.

I have not mentioned to play openings for White, since you do not need to know an opening. A system can be played for both sides.

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