In many setups where black plays g6 Bg7 I enjoy playing f3 Be3 Qd2 and looking to either play Bh6 or storm my g&h pawns. I like f3 because I don't have to worry about any knight attacks on my bishop (I realize I don't always have to worry about the knight attack but often I find myself spending too much time and not knowing what to do if black plays that way). Here is the line where I play f3 and I believe it is solid:

[fen ""]
[Startply "13"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. f3 Bg7 7. Be3

My question is why is f3 not as strong when Nc6 is played rather than d6.

Is there a clear conceptual reason why f3 is not as strong (compared to the line above) in the following line:

[fen ""]
[Startply "15"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Be3 Bg7 6. Nc3 Nf6 7. f3?

I usually play both lines because I understand the ideas. Another questions, do you have any advice on where I can improve in this Nc6 line? If you suggest something else please explain the idea. I realize there is probably nothing horribly wrong with f3 against Nc6 but it doesn't appear to be as consistent as against d6, but I can't see a reason why. It looks like the main moves are 7. Bc4, 7. Be2, 7. Nxc6, 7. Nb3.

  • F3 is never good as a rule
    – Starship
    Commented May 7, 2023 at 9:43
  • @Starshipisgoforlaunch Why?
    – Mast
    Commented May 7, 2023 at 9:45
  • Name me some opening where f3 is good and ill name you far more where it is bad @Mast
    – Starship
    Commented May 7, 2023 at 9:46
  • In general, f3 is a slow move and it weakens the e3 square (and the entire g1-a7 diagonal for that matter). So in many lines (especially sharp ones like the accelerated dragon) one has to be really careful with moves like f2-f3 before one has completed their development. And as has been mentioned in an answer below, this tends to introduce some rather painful tactical issues for white if f3 is played prematurely and carelessly.
    – Scounged
    Commented May 7, 2023 at 10:11
  • 3
    @Starshipisgoforlaunch the first variation given in the question is a perfectly good line, it in fact transposes to a main line against the dragon. Whether or not it is good in many openings is irrelevant since the question was whether it is good in some specific line, not whether it is "usually good".
    – koedem
    Commented May 7, 2023 at 12:36

1 Answer 1


This question is about the Accelerated Dragon, where Black hasn't yet committed to playing d6. The entire point of the Accelerated Dragon is to dodge the Yugoslav attack lines you want to go into, using the following resources.

The first point is that, since black hasn't yet played d6, they are threatening to play d5 in one go. This counters your planned attack on the flank with your g and h pawns by opening up the centre, one move up compared to if they tried that in normal Dragon lines. There's one reasonable move to prevent this: Bc4.

In your line, this would occur after 7.f3? 0-0 8.Bc4, though a lot of other players encounter this by first playing Bc4, and then asking why 7.Bc4 0-0 8.f3? is bad. And the reason why is because it walks into the following trap.

[fen ""]
[Startply "16"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Be3 Bg7 6. Nc3 Nf6 7. Bc4 O-O 
8. f3? Qb6! 9. Qd2 Nxe4 

8.Qb6 works because the knight is pinned to the undefended bishop on e3, and it threatens both the b-pawn and the discovered attack Nxe4. (The best move at move 8 for white is a retreat of the bishop back to b3, covering the b pawn.)

Playing f3 on move 7, you leave yourself with a choice between two bad options after black castles. Either you walk into this trap. Or you forgo Bc4, letting black play d5 and get everything they want out of this opening.

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