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  1. Forum
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  3. Sharing an opening trick in the Scandinavian defense.

Maybe old news for some but maybe new for some players. If you play Scandinavian defense you should know this opening trick, and note that this works for the Qd6 and Qa5 line (covering square e5) but not for the Qd8 line (not covering e5). It happened several times that white players fall for this trap, so I quite know how to play it with black by now (grabbing pawn c2 is rather important).

I don't really understand this trap. Is that Bxf7+ move a common sacrifice that works in another similar line of the Scandinavian defense? Why is it tempting for white to sacrifice his bishop like that?

if the queen didn't cover e5, then after Ne5+ white would play Nxg4, regaining the piece.
in the case that Nf6 has not been played, there's a variation with Ng5+ exploiting the fact that the Bg4 is undefended (Bxf7+ into Ng5+ with Qxg4 to follow).

the general rule for this tactic is that it doesn't work (just loses a piece) if the queen can take the knight when it leaps forward, as is the case in this example.
this tactic happens in many openings, here's a favourable example

Here‘s a short handout for the „classical“ Scandinavian (3. ... Qa5), some recommendations, but rather for white. One of them includes a Bxf7! as well.

I have a question about the scandinavian that doesn't really justify it's own thread so I'm going to ask it here instead.

After the moves 1. e4 d5 2. exd5 3. Nf6 I have seen the move ...Bb5+ played then after 4. Bd7 Whites bishop returns to e2. What is the point in this maneuver?

@NeverBeenTimid Making black bishop misplaced on d7.

That's what I thought but it can just move again for example to f5 and white hasn't gained a tempo since it's bishop has moved twice as well.

If 3. Be2 instead, then Black could play 3...Qxd5 for an improvement on 2...Qxd5 as he was always going to play Nf6 later, while e2 is usually not where White puts his light-squared bishop; not to mention that the delaying of Nc3 gives Black more options on how to respond to it when it eventually comes.

After 3. Bb5+ Bd7, White also has the more common 4. Bc4, and the bishop prevents Nxd5.


The 4. Be2 retreat after 3...Bd7 is an anti-Portugese system aimed at achieving a solid position and limiting black's counterplay. GM David Smerdon comments on this line in his book, from black's perspective:

"[3...Bd7] is by far the most popular move and, encouragingly, Black reaches Portuguese-style positions after the historically most frequent reply, 4 Bc4. However, in modern times White often prefers the calm retreat 4 Be2, aiming to reach a structure similar to a regular 2 ... Nf6, 3 ... Nxd5 Scandinavian, with Black’s bishop somewhat awkwardly placed on f5. These positions are certainly playable for Black, and have been the choice of experts such as Sergei Krivoshey. Nonetheless, personally I have preferred to avoid this line, as playing a slightly passive, slightly inferior position out of the opening doesn’t appeal to me."

@d0su #9
Very interesting to hear about a Scandinavian expert, and GM. Cheers! :)
So far I only knew about GM Tiviakov being one of the very few GMs who has been playing Scandinavian, including in the last few years. But a search for games from GM Krivoshey shows that he switched from Scandinavian between 1998 and 2007, to French defense in games in 2009 and 2014.
Ironically Tiviakov also switched to ... French defense for some time :)

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