So I am a decent player, rated by my estimate at around 1000, even though my actual rating is 5 years and thousands of games out of date. In playing the chess engine in chess free on android, I quickly stopped playing 1. e4 because the center counter/scandinavian became very annoying. I switched to d4, and later to nf3 so that people playing against me wouldn't know how to react (most are sub 1000). I, however, don't know myself what the best response is. The two main lines are 1. Nf3 d5 and 1. Nf3 Nf6. I think that I prefer Nf6 for black, but how should I continue from there? Of course, it depends on what my opponent does, but what should be a position I aim for with black?

  • What do you play against 1.d4 ?
    – Evargalo
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 13:34
  • 1
    " I quickly stopped playing 1. e4 because the center counter/scandinavian became very annoying." - As someone who played the Scandinavian for years, and still once in a while... I'm surprised. Black is pretty much just trying to equalize and get an okay game. I guess you get white out of book relatively quickly, but in my study of the black side, you're pretty much just trying to find the least bad option. I'm happy to see it as white. Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 15:19

4 Answers 4


Until you reach 14-1500 strength, opening theory is not very important. One of the best coaches in the world for beginners, National Master Dan Heisman, said:

It does not matter who gets the advantage out of the opening if one of the players is likely to lose a piece to a simple tactic in the middlegame. Losing a piece from an advantageous position will almost always result in a lost position. So study tactics, not openings, until you almost never lose pieces to simple tactical motifs.

However it is good to know the ideas behind opening moves, such as controlling the center, developing, etc.

So 1...Nf6 and 1...d5 are both good moves. They both control the d5 and e4 squares and aid development.


Try to answer 1. Nf3 with the King's Indian Defense setup. This involves a move order such as 1... Nf6, 2... g6, 3... Bg7, 4... 0-0, 5... d6, etc., aiming for the pawn thrust e5.

  • This is an option, but there are many good setups.
    – limits
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 18:54
  • 4
    Why would anyone downvote this? Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 17:37

When White plays 1. Nf3, this is an invitation to Black to occupy the center. In most cases White hopes that he will be able to counter-attack on Black's central pawns. Against this move, you have two choices:

  • accepting the challenge with Black: you play moves like 1... d5. If White is consistent with his plan, he could play 2. c4, to which you can (but are not forced to) answer with 2... d4 to grab some space and the fight begins

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  • Or, completely different idea, considering that White is not taking the responsibility to claim for an advantage and that you don't want to do so either, you choose to play a quiet symmetrical line. The game could go on with 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 etc.

If you are interested to know a bit more about this opening, I encourage you to have a look to my introduction video to 1. Nf3: https://youtu.be/kfyB1W0ObyY


1.Nf3 Nc6 is also playable depending if you like 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nf3 which it can transpose into and 1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 Nf6 which it can also transpose into.

  • Or 1.Nf3 Nc6 2.g3 e5 2.Bg2 d5 3.0-0 f6 and Black castles Q-side attack on the K-side with Be6 Qd7 0-0-0 Bh3 h5 etc
    – magd
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 15:52

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