After 1.Nf3 I can gain space with either of 1...d5 or 1...b5. Which of these two is better?

I presume it's 1...d5, but I just want to make sure.

  • 4
    What is a KB3 opening? Do you mean an opening where White plays Nf3? And what do you mean by rushing an opening?
    – Stephen
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 18:45
  • Yes, nf3 -- Followup question; Why N for Knight, instead of K?
    – Anon
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 21:36
  • 2
    Because K = king. OK, so I think you are asking how to reply to 1.Nf3. Good replies include d5, Nf6 and c5. But what do you mean by "rush"?
    – Stephen
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 21:43
  • Just when a pawn jumps two squares the first turn, and moves the second turn as well.
    – Anon
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 21:58
  • 2
    there is also f5, if you are interested in playing away from your opponent's knowledge. Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 15:54

3 Answers 3


After 1.Nf3 the most popular answer is 1…Nf6, which is a hundred times more common than 1…b5. 1…d5 is the second most popular choice, still fifty times more likely to appear on the board than 1…b5.

Now the difference between 1…Nf6 and 1…d5 is mostly one of compatibility with the rest of your opening repertoire. 1…Nf6 is more common because the indian defences are more popular than the 1…d5 against 1.d4.

But 1…b5 is decidedly offbeat. The reason is that it doesn't immediately fight for control of the central squares. The importance of the central squares is explained in the answers to this question: Why is the centre of the board considered important in chess?

Still, 1…b5 isn't a mistake. It has the ideas of developing the bishop to b7, making c4 impossible and maybe annoy a Nc3 in the future. If black can consolidate, the additional space on the queenside might make a difference.

The main problem from a theoretical standpoint is probably that it is rather slow: 1.Nf3 b5 2.e4 Bb7 3.Bxb5 Bxe4 4.Nc3 Bb7 5.O-O and white has quite a significant development lead.


This is hopefully the answer you're looking for, Nf3 is part of 2 Openings (as far as I know).

First is the "Zukertort Opening" 1.Nf3 d5 (so d5 is the response) however there is also a c5 response for black attempting to make it a Sicilian (I do not know much about this opening except for this you'll have to do some research on it)

Now there is the more famous Reti Opening, where it's actually 1.Nf3 d5 (just like the last one) and now 2.c4... You'll most likely find a lot more information on this opening than the Zukertort.

So the overall conclusion 1. Nf3 d5 is the answer for your question, however as you can see there is the c5 answer as well. So it depends on your play style afterwards. You might want to play the c5 from the Zukort to transcend into the Sicilian (which might be up your alley depending on how you play as black)

Hope I helped. If you have any further questions feel free to comment and I will answer to the best of my abilities.

Also just to make sure, those are the only 2 openings I know of that start with Nf3 there might be others :) I will research around and see if I can find any with other answers then post a comment on this post :)


Objectively 1...d5 is better because it grabs control of the center.

Practically, most people will respond to 1. Nf3 with an opening they have worked out and are familiar with even if it is not objectively best.

  • "Objectively 1...d5 is better because it grabs control of the center". Strongly disagree. 1...b5 does much more for the center since it "protects" the d-pawn a later attack by a c4-push by White
    – David
    Commented Oct 22, 2019 at 9:52
  • @David- You're just flat out wrong. After 1.Nf3, b5 2. e4 there is no immediate way black can equalize, c4 push or not. I realize this might not be as immediately obvious to lower level players but I'll point out that all engines, databases and books would agree with me.
    – Savage47
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 1:38
  • 2... Bb7* is OK for Black. The most ambitious move for White is precisely 3. Bxb5* which, oddly enough, trades White's central pawn for Black's lateral one. So, if there is any reason to prefer 1...d5, it's not about central control with pawns
    – David
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 6:22
  • @david- 1.Nf3, b5 2. e4, Bb7 3. d4, Bxe4 White is still better. White has control of the center and black is going to have to spend a couple of tempi moving his bishop back and figuring out what to do white's bishop pinning his d-pawn.
    – Savage47
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 7:01
  • Why does White have a better control of the center on your line? Black will eventually establish his pawn-majority. White is slightly better, but only due to development
    – David
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 7:53

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