Why is

[fen ""]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Bg5 

almost never played? Isn't it a logical opening move? OK, it goes against the rule of "Knights before Bishops in the Opening", but is a general rule enough for this move to be virtually never played at top level?

2 Answers 2


Your bishop can be chased with h6, g5 and h5, after what white barely equalizes. It also gives black calm options, for example some c5 with Qa5 ans Ne4 ideas. It's just committing the bishop too early. So yes, it's typical position on why 'knights first' often works!

  • I am not sure about the explanation. The Torre Attack (1.d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bg5) is similar to the position above and is satisfactory. The same argument (playing h6 g5 ...) could be used to show The Torre Attack is not good enough for White but it certainly is. In such opening, Black tends to exchange on c6 though.
    – Maths64
    Commented Aug 24, 2019 at 13:55
  • @Maths64 This one is clearly the worst for white in respect to any line where white gives up on a bishop for a knight. Can't be compared to Trompovsky or to your line. Here Qxf6 is possible and c4 seems like a move white would prefer not to have played with dark squared bishop observing the board from distance...
    – hoacin
    Commented Aug 24, 2019 at 18:28
  • Ok. I see now. In my previous comment I meant that the exchange is usually done on f6 not on c6. Sorry about that.
    – Maths64
    Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 9:15

After 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Bg5, the position resembles the Tromposvky Attack (1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5), where white often gives up the bishop pair in exchange for a lead in development and the center. For example, one main line goes 2....e6 3.e4 h6 4.Bxf6 Qxf6.

However, in the position after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Bg5, the move c4 doesn't fit well in this plan. Moreover, it weakens the dark squares, helping black's plans with c5 or Bb4+.

      [StartPly "2"]

      [FEN ""]
      1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 (2.Bg5 e6 3.e4 h6 4.Bxf6 Qxf6) e6 3.Bg5 h6

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