I am still at the beginning in playing chess, and I often encounter the following situation. Consider this sequence of moves:

 [FEN ""]

 1. e4 d5 2. e5

Presuming that I am the black player, how do I respond to this? Additionally, is 2. e5 a good move to do as white?


First, 2.e5 by white is probably not the strongest pure chess move, but it does have a huge advantage in that black is likely to be suprised by it. Anytime you can take your opponent out of his element, that is a small victory. In 40 years of playing, I have never seen that move played there, so that is saying something.

There is no question that 2.exd5 is the best move. It is one of the reasons that the Scandinavian Defense, aka the Center-Counter Defense, is considered sub-standard at higher levels. It is generally just considered a "tricky" opening, but it is also tactical in nature for those, who want that type of game.

2.e5 is likely to lead to French-Defense-type positions, which is a much more solid defense for black, so playing 2.e5 is not best, but there is nothing wrong with it chess-wise other than not being the objectively best move. That is where the intangibles of the game come into play, and black is not as likely to be as well versed in the French as white is there. That can easily outweigh the fact that 2.exd5 is better. I ALWAYS strive to take my opponent into a position they are not as comfortable as I am.

As far as what you are to do from there, you will play c5, maybe get the Bc8 out first (maybe even on that very move 2...Bf5), and then play e6, Nd7, Nge7-c6, Be7, and Qb6 but that is all very general. You will need to be careful putting your king on the short side as it may come under a big attack, but that is still where you want it if safe. Lastly, if you are going to face this often, I suggest you study the Advanced French, and use an engine to see if there are improved versions with Bf5 or Bg4 early.

There are a billion branches here, but here is a sample line I just ran on the computer. Black ends up slightly better.

 [FEN ""]

 1. e4 d5 2. e5 Bf5 3. d4 e6 4. Nf3 c5 5. c3 Nd7 6. Be2 Ne7 7. O-O Nc6 8. Be3 Be7 9. Nbd2 O-O {With the Bf5 able to go back to g6, if necessary, your kingside is pretty safe.} 10. a3 a5 $15

2.e5 should give black a very comfortable game.

Consider that 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 is a common line, the French defense. After 1.e4 d5 2.e5 black will get a similar setup to a French defense without the big strategic liability that is the closed-in Bc8.

In the French the cramped kingside and bad Bc8 often leads to kingside attacks by white or at least strategic suffering. If black is able to put the bishop to f5, there won't be the typical greek gift Bxh7 sacrifices that are a common danger to black in the French.

Because black hasn't wasted time on e6, he also has the option of grabbing some space in the center with c5 and possibly d4. White won't get the same grip on the central squares that lead to strategic suffering in many French positions.


Look at the position. It's quite analogous to the French Defense, Advance Variation, but without Black having hemmed in his light-squared Bishop. It looks easy for Black to transpose into the Caro-Kann advance as well as the French, or even into the Nimzovitch Defense (1 e4 Nc6) so you could start looking there for lines you feel comfortable playing. My personal preference as Black in this would be the C-K advance, but that's simply because I know the C-K lines better than the others, YMMV. As for White, I don't have a preference because I wouldn't play e5; I think it's a mistake to be the first one to release tension in the center. If I were feeling adventurous, I'd play 2. d4 and head for Blackmar-Diemer, otherwise I'd swap pawns.


2...Bf5 is equal. It's a French defense with the bad bishop outside the pawn chain.

2...c5 is equal too. Black wins about 60% of the time from that position. It could transpose into French lines or it could go other directions depending on what white does.

2...e6 would just transpose to the French which isn't bad but is inferior to playing 2...Bf5 and reaching the same positions without the bad bishop.

2...d4 is probably fine too but doesn't accomplish much.

2...Nc6 would be a mistake because the N blocks the c pawn.

Kingside play (f6, g6) looks a little premature


Bf5 give black a big edge; Pc5 gives black a good game as replies.

whites e5 was poor.
pxp is best for white. nc3 is least worst alternative for white instead of pxp

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