WGM Raluca Sgîrcea
Scandinavian Defense appears on the board after the moves 1.e4 – d5 and is one of the oldest recorded openings in chess.
Its idea is very straightforward – right from the start, black is attacking white’s center, trying to undermine it.
Sicilian Dragon: The Sicilian is one of the main weapons for black against 1.e4. It is known as a fighting opening, which can lead to sharp play and sharp complications in some lines. Black has a lot of set-ups to choose from, each with different characteristics and plans. In this article, I am going to present to you the Dragon variation of the Sicilian and give you 10 reasons to include it in your repertoire!
The most popular way to start the game is by moving the King’s pawn two squares forward. This move has been played for centuries and is the move that most beginners are taught to start with. It is one of the most correct first moves, as it opens two pieces, the Queen and the light-squared diagonal. Modern theory has developed a lot and concepts have changed with time, but the majority of games still start with the same move – 1.e4.
Every chess player needs a good, reliable repertoire against 1.e4. There are many openings out there and you should weigh your choice well, but if you are looking for a classical opening that will help you learn chess in general, then you might want to look into replying with 1…e5. This is a repertoire that can help you develop as a chess player, and learn different structures, and strategies, but also various attacking patterns.
The Queen’s Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4) is one of the most popular openings in chess. It is appreciated both by amateurs and strong players and we see it at every top-level tournament. Black can choose between many set-ups, with the main decision being made as early as move two – accept the gambit or not? Both options are fine, with the Queen’s Gambit Accepted making a comeback at the top-level lately. Black’s position is solid and there are a few tricky lines if white doesn’t know exactly what they’re doing.
English Opening starts with 1.c4 and is known as a very solid choice for the white player. Solid, however, does not equal boring and drawish and the English Opening is the perfect example.
Most of the time the positions are closed, but there are plenty of active ideas for both sides.
1.d4 is generally considered as a solid option for white. The center remains closed for a longer time and we expect a long battle ahead. For active players, who prefer complications and are looking for a wild game, choosing the right answer as black is not an easy task.
Sicilian Defense is black’s most popular response to 1.e4. It is an opening employed at every level, from club players to top Grandmasters. There are many ways to play the Sicilian Defense and the resulting positions can be very different, which makes it a great opening choice for any player, regardless of their style. In general, the Sicilian is a dynamic opening and many lines can lead to sharp positions.
The Catalan Opening has been one of the most fashionable systems in recent years. White fianchettos the light-squared bishop and gains space on the queenside and the center with the pawns. This strategy puts Black under serious pressure and often leads to a risk-free advantage for White. Magnus Carlsen made the Catalan his main weapon for the World Championship match against Ian Nepomniachtchi. Later he also successfully used it in the Tata Steel 2022.
The rise of the Berlin Defense is one of the most notable changes chess theory has experienced in the 21st century. This opening was considered dubious about 20 years ago, but now almost every top grandmaster has it in their repertoire. Same as the Petroff Defense, the Berlin has caused a lot of headaches to 1.e4 players and even made some of them switch to 1.d4.