Best Chess Openings for Black against d4
Chess Openings

Best Chess Openings for Black against d4

Best Chess Openings for Black against d4

By playing 1.d4, White wants to limit Black’s options in the center, play safely and control the position without many tactics. So, how do you fight back? Learn here the best chess openings for Black against d4!


The Queen’s Gambit is one of those openings which both sides are always interested into play.
When you are playing Black, it is very common to call upon the Queen’s Gambit Declined, by not taking on c4.
However, there is a trick when you take! Because this variation is less popular, most of your opponents don’t know how to react properly…
☉ And it finally makes you able to Crush the Queen’s Gambit as Black!



Have you tested 1.d4 by yourself?
WIN IN 3 MOVES: The Jobava London System
Play the Jobava London System! It is very easy to learn and gives you great winning chances in just a few moves.

 


This is the second part of our lesson on the best chess openings for Black. In the previous article, we discussed the openings “Sicilian Najdorf” and “Two Knights Defense” against White’s first move 1.e4. If you missed it, you can find here the Best Chess Openings for Black against e4.

Best Chess Openings for Black against d4

King's Indian Defense

While it is true that there are many good openings to play with Black against 1. d4; in this article we will focus on the aggressive ones. At the same time, these are openings that enjoy a good reputation, and that you can incorporate into your repertoire, not only to play blitz but also to play classic-style tournaments.

After studying this lesson, you can start experimenting with these black openings in practical games. Then, you can choose your favorite and convert it into your best defense against 1. d4.

The openings you are about to see have been played by strong grandmasters and even some of these openings have been played in world championships. These openings have stood the test of time and the computer age, so if you’re looking for an aggressive opening against d4, that will last you a lifetime; then take a look at what I’m about to show you.

Grunfeld Defense

The Grunfeld Defense is a popular chess opening played by Black against White’s 1.d4. It is named after the Austrian chess player Ernst Grunfeld, who played it for the first time in a tournament game in 1922.

The Grunfeld Defense is characterized by the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5, creating a pawn structure where Black has a pawn on d5 and a knight on f6, preparing to put pressure on White’s central pawns.

The Grunfeld Defense is known for its dynamic play and counterattacking potential, making it a favorite choice of many aggressive chess players.

Move by Move Explained

The Grunfeld Defense is one of the most aggressive and best chess openings for Black against d4. There are two basic strategies to fight for the center as Black. You can try to grab your own space like 1.d4 d5, or you can give up the center and try to attack it with your pieces and pawns.

I recommend you to watch the next video introduction to the Grunfeld, where the idea is to counter-attack White’s center. This is a very effective method that almost all of the best chess players have used. Starring one of the top chess players, we show in this lesson why the Grunfeld could be for you the best opening against d4.

Pawn Structure

After some forcing moves, we can see the basic position in the above diagram. Yes, White has the “perfect pawns” on e4 and d4, but the space advantage and the advanced pawns need protection. White must defend these pawns, so he will place his pieces in defensive positions.

Black can easily play in this position because he can castle on the kingside, and play Bg4, Nc6, Qa5, and Rd8. This is almost an automatic plan, and we can apply it in almost all variations of Grunfeld.

Last but not least, Let me share with you a very interesting idea. The Grunfeld Defense is a very aggressive opening, as Black is fighting for the center and he can complicate the position. However, that’s not the only thing that makes it one of the best chess openings for Black against d4. One key idea is that we have a queenside majority.

After the forcing exchange cxd4 and cxd4, Black will be left with two queenside pawns (a7 and b7), but White has only one pawn, on a2. Having said that, Black is always happy to go into the endgame and start promoting these pawns.

You can have your ‘first taste’ of this by watching the free video lesson we published a few months ago:

 

Making things even easier for you, we had already done all the hard work!  We created an opening chess course for the Grunfeld Defense with the top Turkish player GM Alexander Ipatov and myself (GM Igor Smirnov). You can deepen your knowledge further on this opening with the course “Master the Grunfeld Defense as Black”.

I’ve also selected a few games on this opening from great players like Carlsen, Kasparov, and Kortschnoi, so you’re very welcome to observe and enjoy them. 🙂

Important Games

Game 1

The following game was played by Magnus Carlsen when he was only 13 years old! The game is a clear example of Black’s strategy in the Grunfeld Defense.

 

Game 2

In the next game, you will see Kasparov trapping his opponent’s queen in the center of the board.

Game 3

The next game is from the legendary GM Viktor Kortschnoi. The game is an excellent example of how we should play against attacking the center in the Grunfeld Defense.

 

King’s Indian Defense

The King’s Indian Defense is a popular chess opening played by Black against White’s 1.e4 or 1.d4. Many famous chess players consider it without hesitation the best opening against d4. It is named after the Indian chess player Mohishunder Bannerjee, who was one of the first players to employ the opening in the 19th century.

The King’s Indian Defense is characterized by the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6, creating a pawn structure where Black has pawns on d6, e5, and g6, and prepares to launch a strong attack against White’s kingside.

The King’s Indian Defense is known for its aggressive and dynamic play, as Black often sacrifices material in exchange for a powerful attack on White’s king.

Move by Move Explained

 

The King’s Indian Defense is considered one of the most fascinating openings due to the high complexity generated by attacks on opposite flanks. Now let’s see the typical structure of this defense.

Pawn Structure


Black’s plan in the classical variation consists of advancing his pawns on the kingside, moving his pieces little by little, and, finally, making a break. And for this, it is necessary to know that one of the most valuable pieces of the attack is the light-squared bishop on c8. There are games in which White even seeks to eliminate him even at the cost of sacrificing an exchange. White, for his part, must seek to open the c-file to try to invade with his pieces.

But if you are looking for a more quiet variation of the King’s Indian, I recommend you to take a look at the post: “The King’s Indian Defense – A Mysterious” Sideline.”

Here are a few important games to learn from in the King’s Indian Defense.

Important Games

Game 1

The following game is a tactical gem from Kasparov. Black’s attack in this game was undoubtedly splendid. Let’s see the game.

 

Game 2

In this game, Kasparov shows us again why he is considered one of the best King’s Indian  exponents of all time! This time defeating the legend Viktor Kortschnoi.

 

Game 3

In this last game, we will see what to do when White plays the Petrosian Variation.​

 

Conclusion

Playing against 1.d4, Black has many good options to fight back and take control of the game. In this article, we focused on the Grunfeld Defense and the King’s Indian Defense.

A good defense is a good thing; but defending, by counter-attacking is something superior! When you play any of these openings, you are not passive. For that reason, you are not merely choosing a defense but choosing the best defense against d4.

Both openings are aggressive and enjoy a good reputation among chess players. The Grunfeld Defense is known for its dynamic play and counterattacking potential, while the King’s Indian Defense is known for its aggressive and dynamic play in the kingside.

These openings have been played by strong grandmasters, stood the test of time and the computer age. Incorporating them into your repertoire not only to play blitz but also to play classic-style tournaments is a great idea.

With the proper study and practice, you can master these black openings and enjoy the thrill of playing an aggressive game against 1. d4.

P.S. Did you find this article useful? Please share it with your friends if you liked it. Also, please let us know if you play these openings in your chess games or share your best weapon for d4 as Black with us. 🙂

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want GM Igor Smirnov to help you get better at chess, watch this Masterclass.

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