Black plays 2...e6 8% of the time, 2...Nf6 77% of time.

It seems that by playing 2...Nf6, Black keeps open the option of playing ...Bg4 and ...Bf5 (which would be the Slav if White plays c4 and Black answers with ...c6).

As Black against everything other than 1.e4, I always play ...d5, ...e6, ...Nf6, ...Be7, in some order. I never play ...c6, ...Bg4, ...Bf5. So I think that I should play 2...e6, but I'm not really sure, and I have no idea what could be the advantage(s) of 2...e6 over 2...Nf6.


Edit: After continuing to ponder about it, I now realize that by playing 2...e6, Black keeps open the option of playing the Triangle (3...c6) and the Dutch Stonewall (...f5). But, if I'm not mistaken, after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6, the Triangle is less good against 3.Nf3 than against 3.Nc3, because:

  • In the Semi-Slav, when White hasn't yet played Nc3, White has some good extra options: 4.Qc2, 4.Nbd2, 4.e3 and then delaying Nc3 or never playing Nc3 at all and instead playing Nbd2.
  • Semi-Slav players who play the Semi-Slav through the Triangle move-order do so to avoid the Exchange Slav and the Exchange QGD, but here the Exchange Slav can't happen, and the Exchange QGD is toothless when White plays an early Nf3 because Black will be able to play ...Bf5 and White won't be able to play the Nge2 f3 e4 manoeuvre.

1 Answer 1


You may be over-thinking this. I doubt that either move can be argued as being "better" than the other. So far, both players are playing good moves and keeping their options open. Each is hoping either to transpose into some preferred main line or some pet system, At the same time, if they know something about their opponent, they hope to exclude the opponents preferences. The differences in frequency that you observe have to do with players losing options that are important to them personally. What suits player A may not suit Player B. They may both be strong players.

If you play 2..e6, then you have lost the option of fianchetto defences, and also lost the option of posting your QB outside any pawn chain that arises. If you play 2..Nf6, the only important loss I can think of is the Stonewall, but that is a minority taste, so most people lose fewer options by playing that. This does not apply if you ALWAYS play ..e6, and if you do, you may as well play it now.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.