I believe that 4 knights opening is the most popular opening, especially among average players. I play it a lot, that's why I want to analyse it. I'm an average player, so I hope you can help me.
Some people like to play 4 knights game like this
[FEN ""] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5
But I don't like to exchange my bishop for a knight, early on, so I play something like
[FEN ""] 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d3 d6 5.Be2 Be7 6.O-O O-O
This is just an example where both player are trying to control the center, develop their minor pieces and castle. So you can think of any position, since most of the 4 knights game positions will most probably look a lot like that.
Both sides castled, now, how to continue without exchanging too much material? I'm just an average player, what I would do is
[FEN ""] 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d3 d6 5.Be2 Be7 6.O-O O-O 7.d4 exd4 8.Nxd4 Nxd4 9.Qxd4
That's what I would do but I don't like this position, black is going to chase my queen, which happened to me a lot of times, and I'll end up moving the queen, losing space tempo, space and advantage of being one move ahead. If black played
c5 I'll have to bring back my queen, if
Be6. Materials are equal, black gaining tempo while developing his pieces. And both sides lost too much material to open the position.
I don't see anyway to continue the game if white didn't play
d4. And in many games you'll end up swapping queens too early in the game if the
d file was open.
So is it possible to play the 4 knights opening without trading too much material in order to open the position? (I'm asking about black and white.)