So I am quite happy with my repertoire as black (Nf6 Scandinavian against e4, QGA against d4). I really enjoy positions where I get active piece play and tactical chances against an opponent's big center. I don't even mind being down material if I can generate pressure, even if white is objectively better.
But, I am having trouble finding an opening as white that results in similar positions, usually because white is the one with the space advantage. Are there any openings as white that offer a similar style of play?
I am just ready to graduate past theory-light d4 sidelines. Any help would be appreciated!
Examples of positions in which I am most comfortable (as black):
Thanks for your help. :)
I think your mindset should be the opposite: if you are uncomfortable with a certain type of position, try to learn how to handle such positions. That's a good way to get better.
I don't play it, but maybe look into learning the King's Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4), and playing a pet anti-sicillian against 1...c5 (Mengarini's anti-sicillian is fun... 1.e4 c5 2.a3 Nc6 with ideas of 3.b4).
Pretty much any opening with "Gambit" in the name is probably what you're looking for, if I understand your question correctly.
(god... I just had to view the solution for the mate in 1 CAPTCHA... take that into consideration when listening to my advice)
I definitely agree, but in a tournament setting I want to play to my strengths!
I used to play the King's Gambit when I was younger (didn't know the theory, I would just wing it). It might be worth revisiting now!
Danish/Smith-Morra against 1... e5, c5. Play 2. Nf3 against the Scandinavian. Play the 2 knights attack vs the Caro-Kann and French. That should cover most games.
1.Nc3. On e5 (and maybe also c5) you play d4, Scandinavian with reverted colors, on d5 you play e4 d4 Ne2, idea Ng3, Bb5/Bc4. You may not have an advantage but you have active piece play. It is also not well known amongst the black players.
example correspondence game (the position after white move 8 was reached via transposition):
Since you like open positions, not necessarily chaotic ones, I would recommend playing 1.e4 and structuring your repertoire around the theme of the isolated d-pawn, whenever possible. It's an open central structure, playable for both sides and in which the experience build up from one side can be used from the other side. It's not always possible to reach this type of position, but you can fill in the gaps with other open central structures.
1...e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Nxd4 : the Scotch (very open, very instructive, enough strategic variety);
1...c5 2. c3 : the Alapin Sicilian, in which White sometimes ends up with an isolani (especially against 2...d5) but always with good squares for his pieces (without the bulk of theory of the Open Sicilians) ;
1...c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 : the Panov Attack in the Caro-Kann, again around the theme of the isolani ;
1...e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.exd5 : the Tarrasch French, with frequent play against the isolani (the opposite side, with free piece play anyway) ;
1...Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.exd6 (or 4.c4 Nb6 5.exd6) : the Exchange variation in the Alekhine defence (it doesn't grab too much space and focuses on piece play again) ;
1...d5 2.exd5 : any variation of the Scandinavian fits your description, just pick up one.
At least one central pawn is exchanged early. You're never constrained by long-term pressure. These systems are main lines, tested and durable. I think you'll find yourself at home for a long time and you will accumulate experience quickly and steadily.
One difficulty is against the Pirc or the Modern. It's hard to exchange a central pawn if Black doesn't move one. Still you can choose a variation where White emphasizes piece play, like the 150 Attack (1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Be3).
Most importantly, have fun !
if 1...e5, 2.d4 and you have a Scandi.
if 1...d5, 2.d4 and play your QGA.
2.d4 against nearly all moves.
This is NOT a joke.
Wow, thank you all for your feedback, this is overwhelming.
I have to say, a quick look at some of the positions arising after 1.Nc3 really appeal to me. I stopped playing the King's Gambit because it was too chaotic. Nc3 on the other hand still looks weird, but structured, at least at first glance. I see 2.Nc3 a lot when I play the Scandinavian, so it will give me some insight on the resulting positions. My only worry is that it looks like it might take a lot of study since it transposes so much, but I guess nothing comes free.
It also gives me a chance to play around with the Two Knights variations that @DrHack mentioned, so bonus.
Thank you for the detailed response! Yours seems like a very cohesive repertoire, but I do not think IQP positions are quite what I am looking for. But yes, your post was very informative!
I am not too afraid of the Pirc/Modern. It takes my outside my comfort zone but I have had good results throwing pawns at it with e4/d4/f4.
That is... maybe not a joke, but definitely hilarious. I'm certainly going to keep that in my back pocket for when my friends get tired of my Scandinavian. Suprise! Another Scandi, haha.
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