18.5 Million Players Made This Chess Opening Mistake!
Chess Openings

Countering White’s Aggressive Chess Opening After 1.e4 | Scotch Game for Black

Countering White’s Aggressive Chess Opening After 1.e4 | Scotch Game for Black

Are you tired of falling into the traps of White’s aggressive chess opening after 1.e4, particularly the Scotch Game? You’re not alone. In this blog-post, we’ll explore a strategic approach to counter White’s ambitious tactics without giving away all the details.

The Scotch Game: A Formidable White Opening

The Scotch Game is a popular opening choice for White, especially among amateur players. It’s known for its aggressive nature, aimed at challenging Black in the center while opening lines for both bishops and actively involving the queen. If you’re not cautious, you can quickly find yourself in a difficult position. Watch the following video lesson to learn how to counter the Scotch Game as Black:

Below, you can find the variations shown in the video:

The Common Opening Mistake

After the opening moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4, one common but flawed response from Black is to capture the knight with 4…Nxd4.

scotch game chess opening for blackBy continuing this trade in the center 5.Qxd4, it leads to White occupying the center and enjoying more space and activity. Sadly, more than 18 million chess players have made this opening mistake.

A Better Approach: 4…Bc5

A more effective move for Black is to play 4…Bc5 after capturing on d4 initially.

scotch game bc5This move is a solid development of the bishop and serves the purpose of attacking White’s knight. With the threat on the knight from both your bishop and knight, White must make a decision regarding their knight’s fate. You can find the complete variation in the full video lesson here.

The Most Straightforward Response: 5.Nxc6

In response, White frequently chooses to take on c6 with 5.Nxc6, and this is where the battle begins. Ideally, you’d like to recapture with the d-pawn, which opens up your bishop, actively involving it in the game.

However, taking immediately can lead to complications, as White can capture on d8 with Qxd8, forcing your king to move with Kxd8. To avoid this, an intermediate move of 5…Qf6 introduces a checkmate threat that White must address.

scotch game chess opening for black

When White Castles Queenside

In a potential continuation after 6.Qe2, to defend the checkmate threat, 6…dxc6 7.Nc3 Be6, White may attempt to castle queenside with 8.Be3.

scotch game chess opening for blackIn this case, you have a powerful resource: 8…Ba3. If White castles 9.0-0-0, you can play the deadly 9…Qxc3 and White cannot take your queen as the b2-pawn is pinned to the king by the a3-bishop.

scotch game chess opening for black

This tactic can lead to significant advantages for Black, including winning material. You can find the continuation in this video lesson.

Against White’s 5.Nb3

In some cases, White may choose to retreat their knight with 5.Nb3. This move appears defensive, but it also counterattacks your bishop. In response, you should play 5…Bb6, which defends your bishop against potential threats from White’s knight. Now you have a solid, more typical opening position.

scotch game chess opening for black

5.Be3: An Interesting Option

If White opts for 5.Be3, it may seem like they are opposing your bishop’s influence, but you can still play 5…Qf6, attacking the knight. If White plays 6.Nxc6 Bxe3 still keeps the threat of Qxf2 checkmate alive.

scotch game chess opening for blackWhite often recaptures your bishop 7.fxe3 and after 7…dxc6, it leads to a position where White has multiple weaknesses including a bad pawn structure.


In summary, countering White’s Scotch Game requires strategic responses that put pressure on White’s position while avoiding common traps. The main idea is to take on d4 initially with 3…exd4 and then play 4…Bc5. From there, you can respond to White’s moves with well-calculated tactics.

For a more in-depth understanding and examples of these concepts, be sure to check out the full video lesson here.

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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