Does anybody have some indication of a book, site, video, etc,, which explores this variation of Scotch Opening for Black?

[fen ""]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Bc5 5.Be3 Qf6 6.c3

I have lost a lot of games playing 5...Qf6. Does there exist some good continuation for black here? If not, what should be the alternative to 5...Qf6?

  • The Super Scotch Game repertoire on chessable.com, teaching for the White side, shows 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Qf6 5.Be3 Bc5 6.c3 for this line. – Ghotir Sep 29 '16 at 16:34

I'd recommend Starting Out: The Scotch

It covers everything the Scotch has to offer, and it is written by an expert player in it.

Like the rest of the Starting out Series, it explains everything you will ever need to know on the opening. It offers great tips on whatnot.

There are lots of sources for minor stuff. Chess Caffe is a great source.

Also playing makes you understand it more. Hope it helps!

  • An upvote and accepted would be nice. – MikhailTal Sep 28 '14 at 15:12
  • 5
    @MikhailTal, what does Emms' book say about the specific line the OP asks about? How does it recommend proceeding after 6.c3, and does it discuss alternatives for Black's fifth move? (By the way, regarding your direct request that the OP accept your answer, the question was asked only one hour ago. I see no reason why the OP should rush to accept your answer instead of allowing time for other potential contributions to flow in as well.) – ETD Sep 28 '14 at 15:49
  • By as far as I remember it, it does have this line, because I learnt it from there. After all it is a mainline. I will edit it a bit later to add how would I continue, but it is pretty much the same for me as for John Emms. – MikhailTal Sep 28 '14 at 15:55

I suggest you also have a look at The Scotch Game by Yelena Dembo and Richard Pallister. This is not a book for people wanting to discover and learn the ideas of the opening, but rather a complete repertoire for white to play it. Thus, it offers several possible continuations for white in almost every variation, all explored in depth and detail (which suits your needs as black, as you'll know what may be played against you).

Concerning the line you ask for, it is a main line, so it is deeply covered. Bear in mind that the Scotch Game is almost a gambit (and a completely different one to the Scotch Gambit, the sacrificed pawn is e4 and not d4. This leads to quite different positions), so many times you don't "lose" the e4 pawn (or "win", as you are black), you are (at least at high level chess) sacrificing it for a very strong attack if black accepts it (which he usually does not, it is very dangerous).

The main line you ask for is:

[FEN ""]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Bc5 5.Be3 (5. Nb3 {Is a very reasonable and interesting sideline that offers good prospects (even attacking chances!), both in the middlegame and endgame. However, it is regarded as offering only a tiny edge for white.}) Qf6 6.c3 Nge7 7. Bc4 (7. g3 d5 8. Bg2 dxe4 9. Nd2 Bxd4 10. cxd4 Bf5 {The d4 pawn is taboo, as the knight comes to e4 with tempo on the queen and double attacking d4.} 11. Nxe4 Bxe4 12. Bxe4 O-O-O {This is a sideline that, if I remember correctly, is also looked at in the book.}) Ne5 8. Be2 Qg6 9. O-O  d6 {In the main line, black does not want to accept the pawn. The danger is quite real.}

Now, of course, these lines have some theory, despite being quite linear. Moreover, any slight misstep by any of the players usually result in the lost of the game, as the line is razor sharp. This is why some grandmasters now are playing 5.Nb3 against it.

And a proof that the whole setup sacrifices the e4 pawn is:

[FEN ""]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Qh4 {Where white loses the pawn by force.}

Now, if you want a quick look at the book, you can download it from here, but if you like it, I suggest you buy it. After all, the authors have spend many hours of work on it and deserve compensation.


The book the scotch game explained by Gary Lane has a chapter that covers the variation in question.

Looking here Qf6 is played in the majority of games from the line up until that point. If you are not happy with the line maybe look at a different reply to the scotch.


Instead of Bc5, black can play Bb4+. This is what is recommended by chessexplained(youtube channel).

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