I am having some trouble on defeating this opening. Any general tips you can offer me? I use the d4-Nf3-Nc3-Bd3-Be3 formation.
I'm not a long time member here but I was pretty sure that question regarding this opening will show up. First of all, this kind of defense is really great against weaker players, let's say <1800, who don't know how to place their pieces/how to maneuver properly. By doing this, black dodges theoretical conversation, which can be pretty desirable. Since you gave us only two moves of black
g6 and b6, I can't provide you lines or variations, no point to consider all possible setups of black pieces. If you want - share a game with us, I'll be glad to point out not-the-best moves. For now I can only give you few tips:
- Avoid playing
Bd3 and Be3. That's too squeezed. The light-squared bishop should be placed on
c4in most cases. (I assume black plays
e6 and d6not
d5. (See, you should be more precise!:)).
- You can wait to develop the dark-squared bishop a bit.
g5might be a nice spot occasionally.
- As "waiting moves" to use above, you can castle, or play
- When your opponent plays
a6consider responding with
a4to avoid some
- And the most important: do NOT hurry here. Don't go all in too early, in such set-ups black has an easy counter-attack in the center once you commit to go all in on a side. It's serious. I saw many people losing games due to immediate attacks like
Be3, Qd2, Bh6, h4and stuff.
I agree with @PhilipRoe.
The Modern defense is a sound opening and OP's setup is sound against the defense. So if you keep losing, it's because the opponent is stronger, not because of the opening.
Also, Nimzowitch once said, if you fear one particular opening the other colour uses, you should play that opening yourself (when using that colour)