How to play the Scandinavian Defense (for Black)

Comments: 7

Today, I’d like to share with you an opening system, the Scandinavian Defense. For many years, GM Sergey Kasparov has been practicing it. For that reason, in this 20-minute video lesson, he has created an introduction to this opening.


The Scandinavian Defense can be considered an improved version of the Caro-Kann. Let’s compare these two opening systems.


Suggestion: if you are a beginner, you may like to check out our latest lesson “Everything you need to know about openings” by FM Marko Makaj.


chess position



In both openings, Black has a pawn on c6 but no pawn on the d-file. From White’s point of view, he has a pawn on d4 and nothing on the e-file.

chess position



In the second position, we can see a typical Caro-Kann pawn structure. The only difference is that White has a pawn on h5 and Black has one on h6. This is more to White’s benefit because, in the middlegame, the g-pawn can run forward to g4 and g5, creating problems for the h6-pawn or on Black’s kingside.


Also, in the endgame, White has some superiority if only the dark-squared bishops are left on the board, since the h6-pawn is fixed to a dark square and could be a potential weakness. As you can see, the pawn structures are quite similar, so the two openings share similar ideas.


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White has a lot of ways to avoid the Caro-Kann but cannot avoid the Scandinavian Defense.


That’s why today, Eva Kasparova, daughter of Sergey Kasparov, has recorded the video on behalf of her father, for she can speak more fluent English than her father. You can watch the video lesson below:

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You can download the PGN of the games mentioned in the video here.


P.S. Do you like Sergey Kasparov’s lessons? Have you watched his previous lesson about “How to win with opposite-colored bishops”? Please comment below to give your impressions on his lessons.




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Comments: 7

Comments 6

  1. Hello!
    I’d like to ask for your advice, Igor. I am planning to buy your premium video “My Thinking System”. And while I do own the course “Grandmaster’s Secrets” and have already started to successfully implement its ideas in my games, I think my system of thinking should still definitely get glanced and bettered. However, in the description of “My Thinking System” it states that target audience are beginners. Does this mean that the “My Thinking System” premium video won’t be useful for me and/or that the ideas from this video were already presented in the course Grandmaster’s Secrets?
    Thanks in advance. 🙂

    1. Let me help you with this question since GM Igor has a busy schedule.

      Of course, My thinking system and GM Secrets are separate courses. You can still purchase “My Thinking System” if you have GM Secrets. It is stated that it is for beginners because lot of the topics discussed contain the foundation for chess. It is important since even lot of advanced player may not be aware of some important principles.

      Prasaadh | Support Officer

      1. Hello! I’ve bought “My Thinking System” and the video is a fantastic learning experience! And as for my question, the Igor actually at the beginning states that to people who have already studied course GM secrets and/or GM Positional understanding, that then it’s even better! 🙂 Igor even points out some more advanced ideas that aren’t from GM secrets course, and helped me to glance even the very fundementals.

        1. Hi Lovro,
          Thanks for sharing your experience with “My thinking system” and our other courses.

          Prasaadh | Support Officer

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