Sometimes when opening I fall into this odd rut of developing knights to C3 and F3, and bishops to D3 and E3. (Or, as black, C6, F6, D6 and E6). For instance, the position after 7.Be3:

[FEN ""]
[Event "Rated Blitz game"]
[Site "https://lichess.org/BPXlGMH2"]
[Date "2021.05.19"]
[White "stevage"]
[Black "Rodeon0049"]
[Result "0-1"]
[UTCDate "2021.05.19"]
[UTCTime "02:54:05"]
[WhiteElo "1655"]
[BlackElo "1811"]
[WhiteRatingDiff "-3"]
[BlackRatingDiff "+4"]
[Variant "Standard"]
[TimeControl "0+5"]
[ECO "A40"]
[Opening "Modern Defense"]
[Termination "Normal"]
[Annotator "lichess.org"]

1. d4 g6 { A40 Modern Defense } 2. c4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c6 4. e4 d6 5. Bd3 Nf6 6. Nf3 Bg4 7. Be3 Bxf3 8. Qxf3 O-O 9. O-O e5 10. d5 cxd5 11. cxd5 Na6 12. Bg5 Nb4 13. Be2 Nc2 14. Rac1 Nd4 15. Qg3 Qb6 16. b3 Rac8 17. Na4 Nxe2+ 18. Kh1 Nxg3+ { White resigns. } 0-1

Does this structure have a name? It seems it could arise in response to a number of different openings.

Does it have any particular merit? What are its weaknesses?

I'm not really sure what to think about it - I sometimes fall into this pattern when my opponent plays quiet developing moves that don't engage the centre.

  • It's sound, albeit a bit tame at times. With this setup you get your light pieces out and your bishops defend your central pawns. But the bishops can often be placed on other squares along their diagonals, and it really depends on what black does if the bishops are optimally placed on other squares.
    – Scounged
    May 20, 2021 at 7:37
  • Just for the record: The more aggressive variant (bishops on c4,f4, plus rooks on d1,e1) in Germany is called "the bull's head". Never heard of this one, though. May 20, 2021 at 7:57
  • The poor guy on d3 is not very happy with your setup.
    – sleepy
    May 20, 2021 at 14:54

3 Answers 3


I don't know a specific name to it, but what concerns the downsides of this setup, I could think of two. Of course, it is very situational, but since in the example black opted for a kings-indian setup, it is that 1) the bishop on d3 is rarely useful against the fianchetto (pawn on g6 is well protected), and 2) it blocks the d-file which sometimes can lead to weakening of the d4 pawn and/or square. For example, there is a line in KID where white plays Bd3 and Nge2, and one of the black's possible responses is Nc6 and e5, and he's ready to meet d5 with Nd4. This would be impossible in a classic white setup with the light-square bishop on e2.


Yes, it could be a standard setup, specially when your opponent let you grab huge space in the center,

in general nothing is wrong with it, but if you want you can pay attention to some details like this:

1- it is important if you have moved your c-pawn or not, if yes, then as it's been told int may seem like KID set up( King Indian), in that case since black bishop is on g7, you may want to delay your light squared Bishop development, play either f3 or h3 to control g4 square, and then put the bishop on e3 and Queen on d2, and look for appropriate moment to play Bh6 and exchange the dark square bishop,

you may also develop the bishop to c4, which is in general more active sq. for the dark sq one, it is normally ok to delay it's dev until later,

One important aspect is, while you are trying to develop your pieces and control center, you should pay attention to your opponent plan and try to make a set up that will limit its plan.

hope this will give you enough concept for now.


As it's so often the case in chess: it depends. These types of general questions are too broad to have a definite answer. There will be some positions where those squares will be the optimal for those pieces, and there will be others where they aren't.

  • In general, I don't think "it depends" is ever a useful answer to anything. Give an example of what depends on what: "in situation X, it is good". This isn't even an answer - better left as a comment on the question. May 21, 2021 at 0:51
  • 1
    @SteveBennett No answer is useful when there is no answer. Creating an example where your setup doesn't work is easy: just set up a position where a Black pawn is on b4. For one where it can you may take a look at the Austrian attack in the Pirc Defence
    – David
    May 21, 2021 at 6:46

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