5

Recently I was trying to improve Scandinavian defense in a way that I can reach "Viking" setup ( ...0-0-0 + ...Nc6 + ...Bg4 vs d4 ). I am trying out various move orders, and have stumbled upon one that I believe would suit me the best:

[Title "Scandinavian defense, B01"]
[fen ""]

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4

If White plays 6.Bc4 then I can reach my desired setup, which seems to give Black good play according to GM Eric Prié. Unfortunately, I can't afford subscription for the Chess Publishing and the article is dated.

My main interest is about positions with 6.h3! since they can become very hard for Black, forcing him to play "only" moves. In order for answers to this question not to be to broad I am asking for comprehensive resources on the line with 6.h3 only. If space allows, I would appreciate if the answerer could list resources for other moves as well ( like 6.Bc4 ).

To repeat, is there a thorough coverage of the following line:

[Title "Scandinavian defense, B01"]
[fen ""]

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.h3! 
5

I don't think there is a coverage for this line, but if you don't mind, I have been playing this line for years, so here's my thought.

In this position, black generally takes on f3. The reason is that the move Bg4 per se is aiming to trade off the knight at f3, if not, black will have no reason to play this move among others.

What if black doesn't exchange

a) Bh4 in this position is okay, but white can expand on the king side with h3 and g4. Black cannot really exploit the weakness white created in kingside, as Black piece placement commands black play on queenside.Furthermore, the knight on f3 usually will become a strong piece occupying the outpost e5 in the game later on, while black's light squared bishop is a bad bishop due to blacks pawn structure. This all gives white huge initiative in kingside. For instance

[fen "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bh5 7.g4 Bg6 8.Ne5 e6 9.Bg2 c6 10.h4 Be4 11.Bxe4 Nxe4 12.Qf3 Nd6 

b) Bf4 or any retreating move is dubious, if black plays this, black may as well just play 5. Bf4 at first instead of wasting a tempo, as black has given white a tempo and white can follow up with g4 Ne5 etc. For instance

[FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bf5 7.g4 Be4 8.Bd2 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 

What to do after exchange

a) What usually goes is like this

[FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 c6 8.Bd2 Nbd7 9.Bc4 e6 10.O-O Be7 11.Rfe1 O-O 

Black ends up with a solid position

b) Black can also try undermine white's d-pawn if white is careless, due to the lack of f3 knight

[FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 c6 8.Bd2 Nbd7 9.O-O-O O-O-O 10.Bc4 e6 11.Ne4 Qa4 12.Bb3 Qxd4 13.Nxf6 Qxf6 

c) In some line, black can also play a Bronstein-Larsen-like game.

[FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 c6 8.Bd2 Nbd7 9.Bc4 e6 10.Ne4 Qb6 11.Nxf6+ gxf6

Conclusion

If you opt to play Bg4, then you should Bxf3, Bh5 is also playable. Ultimately, the position is something like Caro-Kann for black. Usually, black is behind in development in most lines due to the capture on f3, but the solid position of black compensates it.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Thank you for your coverage, I am very pleased with it, thus I have upvoted it. I especially like that the answer comes from someone who actually plays the line. I have found coverage of this line in J.Plaskett's and j.Emms' books, but they are dated by now. They all featured ...Bh5 retreat. I believe that from your diagram Black gets something like "Forth-Knox" French, which gives small edge for White due to bishop pair, but ultimately Black is rock-solid. – AlwaysLearningNewStuff Aug 4 '14 at 16:56
  • My pardon for extending my thoughts into separate comment, but it couldn't fit in the above one: I just wonder, if you have any title / rating? Have you tried this against masters, and what are your experiences? I will wait for a while in case some better answer pops out, but do not worry -> I never forget to accept an answer, especially such a good one! Since I wish to play this against FMs onwards I really need to be sure that the answer provides high quality coverage of this line. Thanks again, best regards! – AlwaysLearningNewStuff Aug 4 '14 at 17:00
  • Glad I can help you. I had used this line against my coach, which is a CM, but it's just a casual game and I guess the reason I won is just he doesn't play against scandinavian so often. I have only provisional rating currently. – Brass2010 Aug 4 '14 at 17:03
  • By the way, may I ask if what is your desired setup. It would be really helpful if i can know it – Brass2010 Aug 4 '14 at 17:06
  • By the way, may I ask if what is your desired setup -> Of course! I said it in my post, I aim for "Viking setup" -> Nc6 + 0-0-0 so I can pressure d4, but if lines with c6 work then I would accept them as well... – AlwaysLearningNewStuff Aug 4 '14 at 17:08
0

I was able to find the name of the line I'm interested in. It is called Lasker variation. It was taken up by GM Ian Rogers in the 1980s but ultimately a way for White to obtain an advantage was found.

After looking through the lines in my Fritz opening book, checking them with Chess Informant ECO B ( 1984 ) and online, I have found that they haven't changed that much.

Since I dislike playing such positions I will rather play 6...Bxf3 and posted answer covered them enough for me ( I have checked that line too ). That is why I have officially accepted the answer, and will add mine here just so current theory of this line with 6...Bh5 can be given in case someone is interested:

[Title "Scandinavian defense, Lasker variation"]
[fen ""]

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bh5 7.g4! Bg6 8.Ne5 e6 ( 8...c6!? 9.h4 Ne4 10.Bd2 Qb6 11.Nxg6 Nxc3 12.Bxc3 hxg6 13.Qd2 e6 14.O-O-O ) ( 8...Nbd7 9.Nc4 Qa6 10.Bf4 Qe6+ $8 11.Ne3!? Qb6 12.Nb5! Rc8 13.g5!) 9.Bg2 c6 10.h4 Be4 11.Bxe4 Nxe4 12.Qf3 Nd6 13.Bf4 +/=

The sub-variation with 8...Nbd7 is analyzed in this ChessCafe article, which also gives brief history of the entire line and quickly examines main lines I have presented here.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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