• If Black plays the KID, then Black can play Nf6, g6, Bg7, O-O, d6 against everything.
  • If Black plays the QGD, then Black can play d5, e6, Nf6, Be7, O-O against everything.
  • If Black plays the Slav ...Bf5, then Black can play d5, c6, Nf6, Bf5, e6 against everything.
  • If Black plays the Slav Chebanenko (Chameleon), then Black can play d5, c6, Nf6, a6 against everything.
  • If Black plays the Semi-Slav, then Black can play d5, c6, Nf6, e6 against everything.

Everything other than 1.e4. Though I mean technically Black could also play the same against 1.e4. Against 1.e4, the KID is essentially the Modern-Pirc, the QGD is essentially the French, the Slav ...Bf5 is essentially the Caro-Kann.

In some order. Like if White plays 1.c4, Black won't be able to immediately play 1...d5, Black will first have to play 1...e6 (QGD) or 1...c6 (Slav) and only then 2...d5.

But if Black plays the QGA, what does Black do when White doesn't play exactly 1.d4 d5 2.c4? What does Black do when White plays 1.c4 or 1.Nf3 or 1.d4 2.Nf3? Does Black play ...d5 and then whenever White plays c4 Black immediately answers ...dxc4? Would this transpose to lines of the QGA? What if White postpones playing c4 or never plays c4? What if White plays c4 but not d4?

  • I guess mostly for 1..d5 players nf6 c5 is pretty much universal if black doesn't go for 2 c4
    – cmgchess
    Commented May 26, 2023 at 7:14

2 Answers 2


It is a matter of taste

It depends on what kind of QGA they like to play, but assuming they like the main lines, there is a bunch of standard moves Black wants to get in anyway and that they can play whether or not White has gone for d4-c4:

...e6, ...Nf6, ...c5, ...Be7, ...0-0, ...a6

As long as they follow that scheme, they will always be able to meet a delayed c4 with ...dc4 with reasonnable play - although each move order comes with its own subtelties, so sometimes you don't want to hurry with ...Be7 but start developing the queenside.

In particular, after 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3, most QGA afficionadoes would go for 2...e6 or 2...Nf6.

Note that if White never plays c4, Black's center is under much less pressure, allowing them a wider choice than in sharper lines. For instance, I have sometimes chosen the following line as White, hoping to transpose into a Catalan by playing c4 no earlier than move 6:

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 e6 3.Bg2 Nf6 4.0-0 Be7 5.d4

But instead of the mundane 5...0-0 6.c4, some of my opponents went for original play with 5...b5!? or even 4...b5!?


What do QGA players usually play when White doesn't play exactly 1.d4 d5 2.c4?

It very much depends if they are a good player or a bad player. A good player adapts their opening moves according to what their opponent plays and that will obviously vary according to the moves white plays and what the black player knows and is comfortable with. A bad player plays "formula chess". That's a big part of what makes them a bad player.

If Black plays the KID, then Black can play Nf6, g6, Bg7, O-O, d6 against everything

If black wants to lose then that is an excellent way of doing it. If black doesn't want to lose then a more intelligent approach is required.

Here is a game I played a few years ago against a player rated more than 200 points higher than me who was learning the KID. All his previous games that I could find showed him replying to 1. d4 with 1...Nc6 and so I prepared extensively for this.

When he played a weird double fianchetto KID instead I happily played the crude "150 Attack" against it (so called because it is the kind of caveman approach taken by players with old style English grades around about 150 = 1800 FIDE).

[Title "Towers (1793) - Prasath (2034), NCA Div 1, 2016"]
[fen ""]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 O-O 5. Bf4 b6 6. Qd2 Bb7 7. Bd3 d5 8. e5 Ne4 9. Qe3 Nxc3 10. bxc3 e6 11. Bh6 Qe7 12. h4 c5 13. Bxg7 Kxg7 14. h5 c4 15. hxg6 fxg6 16. Qh6+ Kg8 17. Bxg6 hxg6 18. Qh8+ Kf7 19. Rh7+ Ke8 20. Rxe7+ Kxe7 21. Qh7+ Rf7 22. Qxg6 Bc8 23. Ng5 Rf8 24. Ke2 Bd7 25. Rh1 Re8 26. Qf6# 1-0

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