I'll skip the long explanation, but it's not uncommon for me to reach the following position as White out of the opening:

[FEN ""]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bb4+ 5.c3 dxc3 6.O-O cxb2 Bxb2

(Black to move, most common replies seem to be ...Nf6 and ...f6, though ...Bf8 is also occasionally played)

A number of sources claim that this position is perhaps equal but White has good chances, and in practice I do alright. The problem is that I have trouble coming up with any short-term plans because White has almost completed development but Black's 'neutral' position means that there is little to do tactically and I'm concerned that by making too many passive developing moves (rooks onto open files, etc.) I'm wasting the development advantage that I've spent material to gain. I can see that here White has pressure on f7 and g7, and there is the possibility of tactics after Re1, but I struggle to come up with a concrete short-term plan.

So, in short, what are White's short-/medium-term plans?

  • 3
    I would not have played 6... cb2 as black. White now has strong position. How will black defend g7? ...Bf8? Then white simply can play R1, e5, Nc3, Qb3, Rad1, and black position will collapse on its own. Black is too much behind in development. If Black plays ...Nf6 instead of ..Bf8, then e5 for white. If black plays ...f6, then Nh4 by white is strong. Black is simply too much behind in development here.
    – Nasser
    May 13, 2013 at 9:56
  • @EdDean I'm quite sure this should be classified as a Scotch gambit, and not a Goering gambit. If you disagree you can just rollback. Feb 2, 2014 at 14:06
  • @DagOskarMadsen, I take no issue at all with the renaming, though I happen to think that the OP's final position is one which could fuzzily be labeled either way. It could just as easily arise via the Goering move-order 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.c3 dxc3 5.Bc4 Bb4 6.O-O cxb2 7.Bxb2, and since that's the sequence by which I've ever reached it myself, I labeled it as I did. With the many transpositional possibilities between the two gambit move-orders, and with neither opening being all that more prominent than the other (AFAIK), there are many positions I personally could call either way.
    – ETD
    Feb 2, 2014 at 16:02
  • @DagOskarMadsen The position is characteristic of the Goering, not of the more general Scotch gambit. The fact that it's been reached by transposition is irrelevant to the question of what White should do now that thye're in this particular position. So I don't see the benefit of using the less specific opening name. Jun 5, 2019 at 23:38

3 Answers 3


Great question. This is a very open position (pawns are not obstructing pieces). As a result, each player has enormous choice on each move (in this case, more true for White). So, 'planning' is very hard, because predictability is very low.

That said, you can make progress after the initial development of your pieces in a few ways:

  • I find it useful in open play to think about the '2nd development' of a piece. For example, the 1st development of a knight might be to c3 or f3, and the 2nd is to d5/e5/g5. So Nc3-d5 could be thought of as simply continuing development. There are many other ways to verbalize this, of course, such as 'activating a piece' or 'inviting everybody to the party'. Point is, once you've brought a piece out, it's work isn't done: it needs to cross into enemy territory and do some damage.

  • You can get very far in these positions by combining the above with various concepts:

    • Make threats;
    • Make multi-purpose moves
  • The nature of your question suggests that you might benefit from improving your tactical ability. This will help you make threats and seize otherwise hidden winning opportunities. Also, this type of position, where one player has a sizable lead in development, often feature sacrificial tactics, which are difficult for most amateurs, without study and practice.

You can improve your tactics in various ways. When I started, I enjoyed "1000 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations," among many others. And now we have chesstempo.com and chess.com, too.

Another thing you can do that will be extremely helpful is to find famous/classic games from 50-100 years ago, where a strong player defeated a lesser player in this type of opening. Such games are very instructive, especially if annotated.

Hope this helps! - A semi-retired semi-pro


you next moves as white will be 7. Ng5.. and you will activate your Queen - dependig of the Blacks move it may be 8.Qf3 or 8.Qd5

Attack the King and use weakness for f7

Some exmaples:

[FEN ""]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bb4+ 5.c3 dxc3 6.O-O cxb2 7. Bxb2 Nge7 8. Ng5 O-O 9. Qh5 


[FEN ""]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bb4+ 5.c3 dxc3 6.O-O cxb2 7. Bxb2 Bf8 8. Qd5

7. ... Nf6

[FEN ""]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bb4+ 5.c3 dxc3 6.O-O cxb2 7. Bxb2 Nf6. 8. e5


[FEN ""]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bb4+ 5.c3 dxc3 6.O-O cxb2 7. Bxb2 Nf6. 8. Ng5

7. ... f6

[FEN ""]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bb4+ 5.c3 dxc3 6.O-O cxb2 7. Bxb2 f6. 8. Qd5
  • And what about Black's most common response, Nf6?
    – Travis J
    May 23, 2013 at 0:57
  • @TravisJ - please post next also the move number of Nf6... for example: 2. ... Nf6
    – MikroDel
    May 23, 2013 at 5:56
  • 1
    8 .. Nh5, with stockfish giving black a -0.40 advantage. I was asking you to address this line, which is why I placed that comment. You avoid the strongest line Black has with your answer.
    – Travis J
    May 23, 2013 at 6:35
  • 3
    I am not proposing a game, I am addressing the question from the OP. Your answer clearly ignored the main line of this question. Moreover, the OP clearly asked about Nf6 in the question. You should see this as a chance to improve your answer, not argue with me about the position raised in the question itself. Note that your first two comments ask for me to post move continuations.
    – Travis J
    May 23, 2013 at 9:30
  • 1
    Travis J is correct in every way. Objective analysis calls for trying to the best moves for both sides, but that is completely different from a game. Pointing out strong replies to weak moves does not advance anything. Waiting for Black to blunder does not count as a plan.
    – Philip Roe
    Sep 22, 2017 at 15:16

White has the better position because of superior development. After Black's forced move, White's next move should be Nc3. It will head to d5 and join the kingside attack unless Black plays BxNc3. Then White gets the bishop pair to compensate for his fewer pawns.

In any event, White has cleared his first rank so that his queen and two rooks can get into action faster than Black, whose queenside is still undeveloped.

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