Chess Opening Theory/1. e4/1...e5/2. Nf3/2...Nc6/3. Nc3

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Three Knights Game
a b c d e f g h
8 a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8 8
7 a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7 7
6 a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 h6 6
5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5 5
4 a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3 3
2 a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2 2
1 a1 b1 c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 h1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position in Forsyth-Edwards Notation(FEN)

r1bqkbnr/pppp1ppp/2n5/4p3/4P3/2N2N2/PPPP1PPP/R1BQKB1R

Moves: 1. e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3
ECO code: C46
Parent: King's Knight Opening

Three Knights Game[edit]

Black can copy White's moves with 3...Nf6, leading to a very quiet game.

Other alternatives include bishop moves :

3...Bb4 is playable, but maybe too early because White can play 4. Nd5 (the knight is not pinned yet).
3...Bc5 is dangerous because White can take the e5 pawn and grab back material with the d4 fork. But it's not really a mistake because Black will be able to take a pawn during the process. In this line, Bxf2+ is playable and does not lose material.

It's also possible to play 3...g6. It may prepare f5. It may also transpose into Scotch Game as the d4 counter-attack is often seen.

Theory table[edit]

For explanation of theory tables see theory table and for notation see algebraic notation
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3

3 4 5
Four Knights Game ...
Nf6
d4
exd4
Nxd4
Bb4
=
...
Bb4
Nd5
Ba5
Bc4

+/=
...
Bc5
Nxe5
Nxe5
d4
Bd6
+/=
...
g6
d4
exd4
Nxd4
Bg7
+/=
...
f5
Bb5
fxe4
Nxe4
Nf6
+/=

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References[edit]

  • Nunn's Chess Openings. 1999. John Nunn (Editor), Graham Burgess, John Emms, Joe Gallagher. ISBN 1-8574-4221-0.
  • Batsford Chess Openings 2 (1989, 1994). Garry Kasparov, Raymond Keene. ISBN 0-8050-3409-9.