How to Play The Scandinavian Defense In Chess

The Scandinavian Defense is a chess opening that is characterized by the moves:

  1. e4 d5.

The idea: Black tries to challenge the center right from the first move, using his Queen pawn. The only good move for White is to take this pawn. Black then has a choice between:

  1. Immediately taking it back with the Queen.
  2. Attacking it with the Knight.

The Scandinavian Defense is played mostly by many amateur players and rarely played at the master level.

The Scandinavian Defense can be divided into three major variations, depending on Black’s options.

[+] The Modern Variation

It appears on the board after the following moves:

  1. e4 d5
  2. exd5 Nf6

The Modern Variation is based on a cautious idea. Instead of taking on d5 and exposing the Queen right from the beginning of the game, Black decides to attack the pawn with the Knight, delaying its capture.

The idea is to capture the pawn with the Knight in a near future, since White would lose far too much time and sacrifice development in order to protect it.

[+] The Gubinsky-Melts Defense

The Gubinsky-Melts Defense of the Scandinavian Defense appears on the board after the following moves.

  1. e4 d5
  2. exd5 Qxd5
  3. Nc3 Qd6

The main idea of this line is to maintain the pressure on the d-file with the Queen, as opposed to what happens in the Mieses-Kotrč Variation, in which the Queen leaves this file.

[+] Main line: Mieses-Kotrc Variation

The Main Line of the Scandinavian Defense (Mieses-Kotrč Variation) appears on the board after the following moves:

  1. e4 d5
  2. exd5 Qxd5
  3. Nc3 Qa5

The main line of the Scandinavian Defense is, as its name indicates, the most widely played variation in this opening.