I've noticed that sometimes beginners play 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d6 as Black.

[FEN ""]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d6

As strange as it may seem, I find it difficult to play vs this neglected defense. Is it better to increase central control with an early 3. c4 (neglecting piece development) or to follow-up with 3. Nc3? Then, assuming Black continues to neglect the center, would you follow-up with an early f2-f4, or would you prefer piece development with an early Nf3? Any ideas would be much appreciated.

  • 1
    I'm curious as to how you think this is different from this question - chess.stackexchange.com/questions/12347/… - which you also asked.
    – Brian Towers
    Dec 13, 2019 at 20:53
  • 2
    Hippo (at least the Hippo I was asking about...) is every Pawn on 3rd rank. Question is similar but not identical. Dec 13, 2019 at 21:09
  • When I was playing beginners I would just develop with Nf3, Bc4, Nc3, Bf4 in some order. You are so well developed and have so much space what can go wrong? Another pawn can't hurt Dec 14, 2019 at 5:19

3 Answers 3


By choosing these moves black is giving you a lot options, and you are free to choose what you prefer with a good game.

Most aggressive is probably Nc3 followed by f4, Nf3, Bd3, 0-0, and looking for attack on the king's side, with f5 or e5 depending on what black does.

But more positional approach with c4 is totally fine.

Another alternative is to fianchetto the light squared bishop, and maybe eventually play f4.

Just play the game that fits your style.


The plan with Be3, f3, Qd2, g4 and h4 seems to be very strong. Obviously, not too many strong players play this as black, but here are a few games. I think the most important thing is to be patient, and develop reasonably, and only then, try to break through and attack.

This is the highest-rated game in this opening, by far, in the Mega 2019 database.

 [Event "CZE-ch op"]
 [Site "Plzen"]
 [Date "1999.??.??"]
 [Round "?"]
 [White "Voloshin, Leonid"]
 [Black "Novotny, Jiri"]
 [Result "1-0"]
 [ECO "C01"]
 [WhiteElo "2422"]
 [BlackElo "2280"]
 [PlyCount "61"]
 [EventDate "1999.??.??"]
 [EventType "swiss"]
 [EventRounds "9"]
 [EventCountry "CZE"]
 [FEN ""]

 1. d4 d6 2. e4 e6 3. Be3 g6 4. Nc3 Ne7 5. Qd2 h6 6. f3 Bg7 7. O-O-O Nd7 8. g4 a6 9. h4 b5 10. Kb1 Bb7 11. Nce2 Nb6 12. Ng3 d5 13. exd5 Nc4 14. Qf2 c5 15. f4 Nxe3 16. Qxe3 cxd4 17. Qf2 Nc6 18. Nf3 Rc8 19. Bd3 Qa5 20. f5 Nb4 21. a3 Nxd3 22. Rxd3 Bf8 23. fxe6 fxe6 24. Nxd4 Be7 25. Nxe6 Rc4 26. Rf1 Rh7 27. Nf8 Rg7 28. Nxg6 Rxg4 29. Nxe7 Rxe7 30. Qf8+ Kd7 31. Qf5+ 1-0

The level of competition goes way down quickly, but here is another good example that is textbook.

 [Event "POL-chT 2nd League"]
 [Site "Wysowa"]
 [Date "2003.09.13"]
 [Round "10"]
 [White "Nowak, Dominika"]
 [Black "Milanowska, Agata"]
 [Result "1-0"]
 [ECO "C01"]
 [WhiteElo "2182"]
 [PlyCount "47"]
 [EventDate "2003.09.06"]
 [EventType "team-swiss"]
 [EventRounds "11"]
 [EventCountry "POL"]
 [WhiteTeam "Bytom Szombierki"]
 [BlackTeam "Pawlowice GKS Pniowek 74"]
 [WhiteTeamCountry "POL"]
 [BlackTeamCountry "POL"]
 [FEN ""]

 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d6 3. Be3 Nc6 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. f3 Be7 6. Qd2 O-O 7. g4 e5 8. d5 Nb4 9. a3 Na6 10. Nge2 b6 11. Ng3 Bb7 12. h4 Re8 13. g5 Nd7 14. Nf5 Bf8 15. h5 f6 16. g6 h6 17. Bh3 Bc8 18. Bxh6 gxh6 19. g7 Bxg7 20. Nxg7 Kxg7 21. Rg1+ Kf7 22. Qxh6 Rh8 23. Rg7+ Ke8 24. Qg6+ 1-0
  • In the first game 9. b5!!as our black player has finally realized that moving your pawn two squares on the first move is allowed for both players.
    – corsiKa
    Dec 14, 2019 at 5:36
  • @corsiKa, At least black, as a Master, tried to get some proper play, but he still got beaten like a drum. Dec 14, 2019 at 9:45

Create a pawn center and develop your pieces. A breakthrough should be easy when you have prepared for it. I would play 3 f4 next then develop some pieces before more pawn moves.

One master wrote to have 4 pawns in these positions and you can always break through. Black will be cramped so even if you have to sac a piece you can end up winning in the middle game as black will have rooks that are not both in play and the other pieces will be less useful too.

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