In the Scotch Game, what is the best move for White after this sequence?

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1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Qf6 5. Be3  (5. Nb5) (5. Nf3) 5...Bc5

Most videos don't even count Qf6 as a respectable move. However, how to counter it? I'd go for either Be3, Nb5 or Nf3 but I would like your advice.

EDIT: How about Nb5 after Qf6, threatening a fork? Nf3 is actually the best move according to the chess.com engine Perhaps this is enough to give White an advantage because of a too early black queen development. My heart goes towards the more aggressive Nb5 though.

  • 3
    Bc4 and Nc3 lose a piece immediately. Don't go for either of those. If you are at a stage where a move like ...Qf6 bothers you, then you should probably not bother with openings yet. The reason why top players dedicate so much time to openings is that they can do it efficiently (they understand that moves like ...Qf6 are obvious mistakes and don't need to dedicate time to that)
    – David
    Commented Mar 11, 2021 at 20:47
  • True. Is Nb4 a good move in your opinion?
    – gaut
    Commented Mar 11, 2021 at 20:51
  • You can always revert back to the the main line 5 Nxc6 Bc5
    – jf328
    Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 1:20
  • @bof I mean white plays Nb5 sorry after Qf6, threatening a fork.
    – gaut
    Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 12:30
  • 1
    Oh right. Nb5 looks like it might be White's best move after Black moves the queen.
    – bof
    Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 1:24

2 Answers 2


My first thought would be to transpose back into the main line with 5. Be3 Bc5. Upon further investigation, since there's no (indirect) pressure on f2, I would play 5. Nb3. This move prevents ... Bc5 and makes Qf6 look misplaced. (Prevention of development for your opponent can be considered part of your development.) Black would remain cramped (probably too advanced a topic, but you'll learn) have to waste, at least, another tempo to reposition the queen and find a comfortable square for the king's knight.


The queen move threatens the d4 knight. Also keep in mind that your opponent might play Bc5 later to get another attacker on the knight and pressure f2.

Bc4 or Nc3 don't protect the knight, so they lose a piece. You can reject those moves.

Be3 seems OK. Moving the d4 knight to b3, b5, or f3 seems fine, as does Nxc6. I wouldn't want to play an immediate c3 to protect the knight, since I'd rather put my b1 knight on that square later.

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