English Chinese (Simplified) German Hindi Romanian Russian Spanish

21 Days to Supercharge Your Chess

Give me 21 Days and I Will Show You How to
Become a Dramatically Better Chess Player

Chess Talk

Chess Players Online:

We have 346 guests online

ideas behind openings

The 3...Qa5 Scandinavian: Play it Safely and Aggressively E-mail
Written by WGM Raluca Sgîrcea, IM Renier Castellanos   
Wednesday, 19 August 2015 00:00

scandinavianFor every 1.e4 player, the Scandinavian has always been an awkward defense to meet. Not because it is especially dangerous for white, but because the mainlines in which white is meant to obtain a theoretical advantage are quite complicated and difficult to remember. Being a defense seldom seen in practice, it makes it even more difficult to try the current theory.

In this article we are going to look into a practical solution to this problem which has worked very well in tournament games: the system with 4.Bc4!?

White's idea is to develop easily with 5.d3 followed by 6.Bd2. There are several interesting elements that have made this system appealing enough to be played by strong Grandmasters, among which the most notable one is Nigel Short. However, the line was already popular a long time ago and we can find games played by the Cuban World Champion Jose Raul Capablanca. I suggest the reader to search for his games in order to see the beginnings of this variation.

But let's see what the main particularities of this system with white are:

  • First of all, the pawn advances to d3 instead of d4. This gives a lot of stability to white's position. It not only keeps the bishop on c4 safe, but also controls the square e4 and considerably reduces the scope of black's light squares bishop, normally developed to f5.
  • Kingside pawn storm. Without any doubt this is one of white's plans. An avalanche with g4 and f4 supported by the white queen on e2 is usually problematic for black.
  • Fast development. One of the strong points of this variation is the flexibility that white has when it comes to choose a plan. Another idea available is developing the kingside knight to e2 followed by short castle and then f2-f4-f5. This rupture opens the F file and also the diagonal for the bishop on c4.


There isn't much theory established on this line. By my own experience in tournament practice, I can say that after 4.Bc4 the game is pretty much open and both players are on their own. White can try the same idea with several move orders. Meanwhile, black’s usual plan that is based on Nf6-c6-Bf5, does not look like the best option. Some players have decided to play with e6, keeping the bishop on c8. This treatment is far from perfect since white can still go d3-d4 and get into a sort of Rubinstein variation (French with 3...dxe4) with advantage.


In order to fight blunders, find the right plan in complex positions and improve your positional and tactical vision we recommend you to sign up for our comprehensive training course. Hundreds of chess players already benefited from our training . Don't wait, start winning chess games today.

In the following examples we explain the main ideas for white:

Black applies the standard development with Bf5,c6 and Nf6. This allows white to expand on the kingside with h3-g4-f4. There are ideas with f4-5 and the black bishop on g6 is awkward.

Black plays with e6 keeping the bishop on c8. Even though this game turned out great for black, this approach cannot be recommended. White obtains an easy advantage by continuing his development and he can even castle queenside as in the following game.

White plays f4. This is an interesting idea. By playing f2-f4 early in the game white obtains some space on the kingside. The Brasilian GM Gilberto Milos, also a big expert on this variation has tried it successfully against the English GM Stuart Conquest.

In conclusion, we hope to have provided a practical weapon against the Scandinavian, easy to learn and dangerous enough to put difficult problems for your opponents. Good luck with it!

If you want to improve your chess level, you need to have a clear study plan. If you aim for a dramatic improvement at chess you need to work on all of the elements of the game in a systematic way:

  • tactics
  • positional play
  • attacking skills
  • endgame technique
  • classical games analysis
  • psychological preparation
  • and much more

That seems to be like a lot of things, and that is. But no worries, we have made it easy for you. Our comprehensive training course covers it all and much more. Sign up for 21 Day Training right now!

About the Authors:

Raluca Sgîrcea

WGM Raluca Sgîrcea is an active chess player and teaching chess for over two years.  European champion U10, winner of several Romanian national championship medals, Woman International Master title since 2011. One Woman Grandmaster norm. Highest FIDE rating 2302.

Renier Castellanos

IM Renier Castellanos is an active chess player and trainer for over 10 years, have worked for Chessbase and done live commentary on several major events, winner of many international tournaments. One Grandmaster norm. Highest FIDE rating 2529.

"There Are 3 Main Problems That 95% of All Chess Players Are Facing... "

start winning at chess

You will instantly discover how you can significantly improve your game, adding hundreds of elo points without hiring an expensive chess coach or spending 5 hours a day on chess !

Click Here to Start Your Training

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 August 2015 09:28


+1 #1 Elliott Winslow 2015-08-20 08:55
Oops! 9...0-0 for Valsecchi
Quote | Report to administrator

Add comment

Please offer your feedback for the article here. Don't worry, your comment will appear shortly after approval. Only SPAM and abusive comments will be deleted.

Security code