I like the King's Gambit a lot, and even the Latvian Gambit as black (with dubious results), so my style is very aggressive openings with potentially sharp lines and hack n' slash type of tactical sacrifice lines. However as black when facing the 1.d4 opening from white I'm unsure what to do, and just try to play some kind of King's Indian Defence, which seems solid, but I almost never get my pieces lined up as nicely as Kingscrusher does.

So what are some good offensive lines to play against 1. d4?


You seem to enjoy tactical play, so there are a few options for you against 1. d4. As it appears you prefer gambits over other openings, consider looking at the relatively offbeat Budapest Gambit which is characterized by the opening moves 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5 where after 3. dxe5 black can reply with either 3...Ne4 or 3...Ng4 with the latter being more popular. That being said, the Budapest is rooted in strategic themes, and the King's Indian Defense is certainly regarded as the one of the most aggressive replies to 1. d4.

For a more mainstream approach, I would recommend the Grunfeld as a great hypermodern choice. It's highly regarded from the amateur to world class levels. The general idea is to allow white to build up a center and then target it as a weakness, and the positional themes that arise in the middlegame focus primarily on undermining the pawns on e4 and d4.

For a more comprehensive response, please reference this excellent answer to a generalization of your question.

  • Looks like some of those could transpose into the alekhine "knights are in trouble" defence, which I'm a bit scared of. – Anonymous Entity Jun 27 '13 at 16:22
  • I would disagree - the knights aren't really in trouble at all. Indeed, it is usually white who has to tread more carefully in the opening to avoid mistakes. Just be comfortable with the lines and ideas and the knights will look less overextended and more strategic. – Andrew Ng Jun 27 '13 at 19:10
  • +1 for the Budapest ... been playing it in tournaments for years with good success – JP Alioto Jul 30 '13 at 16:30

Additionally to Andrew's answer, I'd suggest to have a look at the Benko Gambit (a.k.a. Volga Gambit):

[FEN ""]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5

It is a sound and deep opening. If the gambit is accepted, it leads to sharp play and dynamic positions.


I like to play Benoni, because black has many chances to win. Also it is very asymmetrical from the pawn structure, so the chance to play draw isn't really high.

[FEN ""]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6

You just have to be careful, with the white d pawn. Never ever let it to d6.

You will play g6 with Bg7. If everything goes right, you will play a6 and b5.


On top of the exciting Benko gambit, you can consider the Albin counter-gambit (http://www.365chess.com/eco/D08_Queen%27s_Gambit_Declined_Albin_counter-gambit). Also, check out the Botvinnik variation. The Grunfeld variation is also an interesting option for sharp play. Here are the starting moves of the Albin counter-gambit

[FEN ""]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5

An aggressive opening against d4 is the Dutch defense, or f5. Black tries to get a king side attack against White to offset the latter's moves on the queenside, kind of the opposite of the usual sequence. In the 20th century, it was used by aggressive players like Rudolph Spielman.


Grunfeld or KID top level.

Dutch isn't a number 1 choice.

Benoni is hard to play in the middlegame, and I used to play it with poor results.

Slav can be sharp or solid. However, pretty much the only lines that are aggressive and tactical are the semi-Slav botvinnik lines and stuff. Well, what if white plays exchange slav?

Play Grunfeld or KID. Or, play the Budapest gambit until you reach 2200 or higher. That's when you want to play the Grunfeld or KID. Both are aggressive.


The Budapest Gambit is a lot of fun to play and catches people by surprise. It is full of traps for black. 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5 3. dxe5 Ng4


Several people have recommended the Budapest Gambit, which I would second. It's fun, easy to play, and, while there aren't a lot of lines, it is both tactically and positionally rich. If White knows what they are doing, they won't get trapped, but it also won't leave you unbalanced or vulnerable.

I would also recommend that you look at the Chigorin Defense to the Queen's Gambit (1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nc6). It's quite sharp and good for an attacking player, as it can swiftly unbalance White, or at least dictate the style or tempo of play.

  • Trouble is, there are plenty of lines for White in the Budapest that just lead to a simple advantageous middle game. It's only a good thing to play at low levels against opponents who won't have prepared a response. – M.M Jul 7 '16 at 0:26

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