1.e4 e5 2.d4- Black doesn’t take on d4
Black’s most common and best response to
2.d4 is to capture the pawn- indeed, it turns out that Black generally cannot
hold onto a strong-point in the centre if White plays 2.d4, without having to make
significant concessions. However, some
of the alternatives may appeal to players of the black pieces who don’t want to
leave themselves open to the various gambits that White can try, as well as the
Centre Game where the queen comes out to d4.
Of Black’s alternatives, 2...d6 and
2...Nc6 are the most important. 2...d6
can lead to a Philidor Defence after 3.Nf3, whereupon
Black’s best is probably 3...exd4, since 3...Nc6 is strongly met by either
4.Bb5 or 4.dxe5, while 3...Nf6 is well met by the aggressive continuation
4.dxe5 Nxe4 5.Qd5 (which is the main reason why many Philidor
Defence exponents prefer the move-order 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5, which
prevents White from getting into that line.).
I don’t trust Philidor’s original idea,
3...f5, due to 4.Bc4 which has been strongly advocated by Mark Morss at the Chesspublishing.com forum. Alternatively White can head for a slightly
superior queenless middlegame
with 3.dxe5 dxe5 4.Qxd8+ Kxd8, though Black’s king ends up relatively secure
after playing ...c6 and ...Kc7.
2...Nc6 transposes to a line of the Nimzowitsch Defence (1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 e5), which was often
played by the late Tony Miles. White can
get a small advantage with either 3.dxe5 or 3.d5, both of which are covered,
while 3.Nf3 transposes to the Scotch Opening.
Black’s other second-move options are not
challenging. 2...Nf6 3.dxe5 Nxe4 4.Bc4
is a strong line for White, 2...f6 3.dxe5 leaves Black with nothing better than
3...Nc6, which after 4.Nf3 and 5.Bc4 leads to positions that can arise from the
Soller Gambit (1.d4 e5 2.dxe5 Nc6 3.Nf3 f6) and
Rousseau Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 f5), both of which are dubious
openings for Black. 2...Qh4 leaves Black
wide-open to an assault after 3.Bd3 followed by Nf3, or 3.Nf3!? immediately
which offers a very dangerous two-pawn sacrifice.
1.e4 e5 2.d4
Coverage of all lines