The line is the following (Danish Gambit declined):

  1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 Nc6 4. cxd4 Bb4+ 5. Nc3 d6 6. d5 Bxc3+ 7. bxc3 Nce7

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My question is why is Bd3 better than Bc4 or Be2 for instance? (None of them appear in the top 5 of Stockfish 14+NNUE at depth 30)

  • 2
    Where is the bishop going on e2 or, worse, c4? Where do you expect the black king to go? Especially on c4 it's prospects of doing much useful are remote, and it even blocks c3-c4 which you will probably want to play to support the d5 pawn. On d3 the h7 square is very much in sight after an e5 break, and if you drop the bishop to c2 and stick a queen on d3 this could be very powerful against a king side castled black king
    – Ian Bush
    Commented Oct 31, 2023 at 15:36
  • 2
    Also you might want e2 for your knight, leaving you an easy f pawn break with the knight coming into any attack via g3 or just possibly f4. Further Bd3 helps restrain a f5 break. So all in all Bd3 supports many good things, while not ruling out anything major (e.g. c4, Ne2)
    – Ian Bush
    Commented Oct 31, 2023 at 15:52
  • 1
    how big is the difference in evaluation though? Even if it doesn't appear in the top 5 moves it could be a -0.05 shift or a -2 one. Also, what about Bb5+?
    – David
    Commented Oct 31, 2023 at 18:22

1 Answer 1


To answer your question “Why is Bd3 better than Be2 or Bc4?” with words rather than computer evaluations might be a more effective mode of conveying the ideas behind this.

Bd3 defends the e4 pawn, (Nf6 -attacking e4- is a likely move from black at some point, especially as black can castle once this happens), it develops a bishop and by vacating the f1 square and so prepares white for a future K- side castle. The white B on the b1 -h7 diagonal is a good placement for future threats against a castled black king.

Be2 leaves e4 undefended and as pointed out in the comments (Ian Bush) removes a square from whites f knight future development . Moving the B to c4 defends the already defended pawn leaving e pawn undefended.

Bb5+ ( to address one of the comments -David ) serves to loose a tempo or alternatively whites B in a phase of the game when piece develoopment should be the priority.

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