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5 Solid Chess Defenses For Black Against the King's Pawn Opening

Updated on June 17, 2013

For experienced chess players who know about the hidden traps and deadly tactics typical of open games starting with the pawn move e2 – e4 there is a widespread agreement that playing a solid reply to this opening move is a must for effective Defense especially against a highly experienced, tactically inclined attacking player. So what solid replies should anyone playing as black choose while defending against the move 1) e4?

French Defense: 1) e4 – e6

The French is a solid Defense against the e4 move which by black can achieve a solid position although cramped with the queen’s bishop locked out of the game for much of the middle game. The French is especially good for defensive minded players who are not willing to commit to aggressively putting off white’s attack and if well played has an impressive record against the king’s opening.

Alekhine’s Defense 1) e4 Nf6

The Alekhine’s defense is a proven solid defense known for aggressive players as it eliminates symmetrical play which also favours maverick players. At club level, a highly skilled player in this defense will likely achieve remarkable success playing this line against the king’s pawn opening. It too like the Nimzovitch Defense is a hypermodern chess opening.

Nimzovitch Defense: 1) e4 Nc6

This is a solid defense for black but it’s recommend for original players who don’t like to follow the beaten path as it’s an unusual chess opening. It’s a hypermodern chess opening that invites white to quickly occupy the center of the board with the hope of undermining the white pawn center with timely black pawn advances or attacking the white pieces defending the central pawns. The advantage of this defense is it’s rather strong but not necessarily correct as an experienced attacker might gain space and a sustained initiative if allowed.

Petroff’s Defense or Russian Game/Defense 1) e4 – e5 2) Nf3 - Nf6

The petroff defense also has a reputation for being solid although it’s more popular at the masters level rather than at club level with intermediate players. The line is highly symmetrical and drawish but as it’s rarely played could be used effectively as a sound alternative to the Ruy Lopez or the Sicilian defense both of which are excellent defenses against the king’s pawn opening.

Sicilian Defense 1) e4 – c5

The Sicilian Defense is the most popular and most successful Defense against the king’s pawn opening and is typically the standard Defense used by most grandmasters and world class chess players. The Defense has two main variations namely the open Sicilian and closed both of which are solid with numerous sub variations for each. If you want to play an aggressive line of Defense as black that will give you an excellent fighting chance then you should be playing the Sicilian Defense as black against the king’s pawn opening.

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