Takchess Chess Improvement

A Novice chessplayer works to get better at chess using an improvement program based upon the methods of Michael de la Maza and the teachings of Dan Heisman

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Your thoughts on the Scandanavian Defense- ?! or !?

A number of Knights play the Scandinavian Defense or at least play against it. I have toyed around a little playing it as Black as well as played against it as White . I'll go on the record that I don't think it is a crappy defense however I seem to win a disproportional amount of games against higher rated players playing it as black. (note this is against Internet play 20 + 6 not otb slow play).

As white after the initial e4Xd5 move, I just develop and try to develop in a way where I can gain tempos by playing developing moves that chase the Queen around. I don't put a lot of effort holding onto the d5 pawn.

In a number of Scandinavian games , My opponents seems to do some pawn grubbing or plays for some trappy immediate gain. Often the pawns are not an immediate poison pawn but tends to allow white to build some strong attacks. My question to you is in the Scandinavian are there often positions where black can take free pawns but should refrain ? Also what do you think about the Scandy in general.


  • At 7:48 AM, Blogger Ron said…

    Hey Tak,

    I took up the Scandinavian with the goal of choosing an opening that would leave me more booked up than my opponent. I'd say that goal was largely accomplished as I ran into very few opponents who knew the main line in the Qd6 variation.

    As far as pawn grabbing, it is often tempting with the queen usually being in such good position to accomplish it, but it is ALMOST always a bad idea. It usually wastes more time than the pawn is worth. Better off focusing on optimal development.

    Just my $0.02 :)


  • At 7:49 AM, Blogger Ron said…

    Oh...and I'd have to say !? based on the fact that there are some IMs who use it regularly and a few GMs who assay it on occasion. :)


  • At 9:26 AM, Blogger hisbestfriend said…

    I am the same way about the French.

    I think you just get comfortable about an opening, and your ego just unquestionably takes control of the game.

    I think this is a legitimate phenomena, and I suspect it is a bit of a window in how much better players play. But this is only from what I have read, and I have no real view of this kind of play, but there are positions where I seem to do better than either my rating or knowledge. But I feel really good, get good results and things happen as I hope.

  • At 10:11 AM, Blogger Temposchlucker said…

    I play it for 7 years now the gambitline with 2.Nf6 in stead of 2.Qxd5.
    It has a few advantages:
    You play it 30% of the time.
    White doesn't face it very often.
    It's highly aggressive.
    It's very solid.

    It's one of the openings that seems to get better the longer you play it and the higher rated your opponents are. I can't remember that pawngrabbing played a role in this variation.

  • At 11:28 AM, Blogger Cratercat said…

    I admire this opening a lot, although I've yet to really explore and incorporate this opening as black. I think the games that ensue when opposite side castling occurs can be especially creative and fierce.

    As for invasion of the pawn snatchers, I think this is very situational. Like Ron mentioned, I think it often wastes time. However, if grabbing a pawn just happens to be the sqaure that's going to put tactical momentum into an attack on pieces or the king, why not? In the spirit of this opening though which is originally based on Scandinavian "berserker" warriors with reputations for running into battle naked with their bodies all tattooed and no regard for personal safety, taking the time to snuff out a pawn seems to go against the "all-or-nothing" spirit. Just my silly abstract take on it ;o)

  • At 12:46 PM, Blogger Blue Devil Knight said…

    As white, I have always been happy when black plays the Scandy, as with normal developing moves white ends up with a reasonable position. So it is very low stress at first. For the same reasons, it is nice as black: after the initial strange moves, the game settles into equality so both players are simply playing chess. I've been playing Tempo's gambit line and it is a lot of fun.

  • At 2:15 AM, Blogger chessloser said…

    in general, i don't play it by choice. if my opponent makes it happen, then i chase the queen around and try to equalize and win. i have an old pamphlet/book on it, lots of games, i thought i would pursue it, but after actual play, it's not for me....

  • At 7:29 AM, Blogger phorku said…

    I love it. It is the only gambit I still play besides the Halasz Sicilian. I play the 2 ... Nf6 variation as well. I Learned it from the Schiller gambit book for black. It is a fun aggressive opening and I especially like the Icelandic. If white declines with the pawn push the game is not as much fun. You basically have 2 choices after the pawns lock in the center with c5 or Nc6. Nc6 is pretty rough with all the cramp though I play it sometimes. Lots of fun and lots of different situations arise.


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