August 13, 2020

The Scandinavian Defense: Solid, Sharp, or Suspect? – Chess Openings Explained

Jonathan Schrantz covers 1. e4 d5, the Scandinavian. Learn where to relocate the black Queen after the pawn trade. See Scandinavian games from the strongest players and consider whether the Defense really is as crazy as you thought.

Ruslan Ponomariov vs Ioannis Papaioannou, EU-chT (Men) (2003): B01 Scandinavian (centre counter) defence
Fabiano Caruana vs Magnus Carlsen, Chess Olympiad (2014): B01 Scandinavian (centre counter) defence
Fabiano Caruana vs Ludger Koerholz, European Club Cup (2009): B01 Scandinavian (centre counter) defence
Piotr Dobrowolski vs Jacek Tomczak, European Rapid Championship (2010): B01 Scandinavian, Pytel-Wade variation


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  • Havn't watched the video and genually curious about this opening. I consider the scandinavian a really bad defense maybe mediocre at best. Almost all the games when I played against Scandinavian defense I have won, the line that counters it is just very obvious to spot and learn. The idea is to keep attacking the queen so you can develop your pieces. It's a solid example of why taking your queen out in the beginning is a terrible idea.
    Edit: Alright so it seems I've been mainly playing against the patzer variation and that's why I didn't like this opening. I have also played against queen to a5 or b5 variation though and there's some nasty traps and discovery there as he mentioned with pushing d pawn and discovering with knight and bishop. But some of the variations look promsing like queen to d6. Still I think most(not all) lines for this opening are bad which means the opening has little flexibilty, Naka for example wouldn't like this.

  • Magnus plays Bishop for knight because he's trying to achieve a reversed London, his favorite white opening. He sees the queen side bishop as a liability every game becauses it's usually trapped in a non London/non-scandavina (reversed london)? system. So he just trades it off asap.

  • Is it me or is this all about destroying the scandi. Seems like unless you play the correct sequence, checkmate is close

  • My favorite in blitz games (works up to 1800 Elo very well). If someone playing white knows what to do, you will lose but most people are gonna make a blunder as white.

  • 22:04 Rc7 after Nd4 is poor. Better line
    1. … Rc8 (mate threat by queen Qc2#)
    2. Nd4 (overloads queen on bishop and knight) .. Rc4 (forks queen and knight. Queen cannot protect both knight on d4 and bishop on e7)

  • I like this defense, but I play another line, I don't play c3 and after Bg4 and h3, I like to put queen on h5.

  • Queen a5 pawn c6 is blacks retreat then pawn e6 is the ultimate flexibility.The dark bishop and queen can pivot is the idea. I play that exclusively in response to 1 e4 for many years now and I quite prefer it just for the flexibility it brings to black .

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