Chess Opening Theory/1. Nf3

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1. Zukertort Opening
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)

rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/5N2/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKB1R

Moves: 1.Nf3
ECO code: A04-A10

1. Zukertort Opening[edit]

1.Nf3[edit]

White's options are kept flexible as White could intend to play the Réti Opening or the King's Indian Attack, although it can easily transpose into something else, including the Sicilian Defence. Other reasons for playing 1. Nf3 go something along the lines of:

White hates playing against Variation X, but doesn't mind Variation Y.

White plays 1. Nf3 as a request for information. If Black attempts to transpose into Variation X, which White hates, White will refuse to allow it and play an independent line instead.

If Black attempts to transpose into Variation Y, White will go along with that.

Example: A player who hates facing the Queen's Gambit Declined but doesn't mind the Dutch Defence plays 1. Nf3. If it is answered with 1...f5 he will play 2. d4 transposing into the Dutch, but if 1...d5 appears then he will go for a King's Indian Attack with 2. g3. A player whose preferences were the other way around might answer 1...d5 with 2. d4 (allowing a QGD) but 1...f5 with 2. e4!?, the Lisitsin Gambit (not allowing the Dutch).

One general point though: because 1. Nf3 prevents 1...e5, it has more in common with 1. d4 openings (and some 1. c4 openings) than with those following 1. e4. It is also a popular way for White to set up a King's Indian formation.

Black can play almost anything comfortably at this point, and the following options are merely some of the more common replies.

Statistics[edit]

Approximate chances: White win 37%, Draw 36%, Black win 27%
Estimated next move popularity: Nf6 49%, d5 25%, c5 11%, g6 5%, f5 3%, d6 3%, e6 2% other moves less than 2%

Theory table[edit]

For explanation of theory tables see theory table and for notation see algebraic notation

1. Nf3

1 2 3 4 5 6
Nf3
d5
g3
Nf6
Bg2
c6
O-O
Bg4
d3
Nbd7
Nbd2
e5
=
...
Nf6
d4

See
1. d4
Nf6
2. Nf3
...
c5
g3
Nc6
Bg2
g6
1.e4
g6
2. Nf3
...
g6
e4


...
d6
d4
Bg4
=
...
f5
e4
fxe4
Ng5
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.