1 Nf3 repertoire: Other Black Defences

In this post I intended to wrap up my series on constructing a repertoire based on 1 Nf3 by looking at the Black systems based on moves other than 1…d5, 1…Nf6 and 1…c5.

The Dutch Defence

Probably Black’s main alternative to the systems covered so far is the Dutch Defence. The direct route to it is via 1 Nf3 f5, but some Black player’s don’t like some of the extra possibilities that White has in this move order, especially the rather dangerous 2 d3 intending 3 e4. Therefore, they reach the Dutch via 1 Nf3 e6 2 c4 f5, 1 Nf3 g6 2 c4 f5 or 1 Nf3 d6 2 d4 f5.

Whatever the merits of the 2 d3 system, I have generally preferred to aim for the classical fianchetto system against the Dutch via 2 c4, 3 g3, 4 Bg2, 5 0-0 etc. In general, White will play d4 at some point, leading into the Dutch Defence proper, although sometimes White can profit from playing d3, intending e4, instead. The classic example of that is when Black adopts the Stonewall formation with a bishop on d6 (rather than e7).

For decent coverage of White’s possibilities against the Dutch, I would recommend consulting Khalifman’s “Kramnik” series (3rd volume, 1st edition) and Boris Avrukh’s “1 d4 Volume Two”, which is compatible with the 1 Nf3 move order in most places.

The Modern Defence

Against 1…g6 White should play 2 c4. After 2…Bg7 3 e4 c5 4 d4 cxd4 5 Nxd4 Nc6 or 2…c5 3 e4 Bg7 4 d4 cxd4 5 Nxd4 Nc6 play transposes into the Maroczy Bind (see the previous post). If Black holds back with 2…Bg7 3 e4 d6 then after 4 d4 he has a choice between 4…Nf6 transposing into the King’s Indian (see here) and chosing an independent system based on 4…e5, 4…Bg4 or some other such move.

The move 1…d6 threatends …e5, and so should be met with 2 d4. Black’s main independent system (i.e. one not transposing to 1…g6 or even the King’s Indian proper) is then 2…Bg4. White needs then to choose between 3 c4 and 3 e4. The former has always been my preference.

The above White lines are suitable should he play the Classical System against the King’s Indian. If he prefers the Fianchetto System, then 1 Nf3 g6 2 c4 Bg7 3 d4 followed by 4 g3 is better.

The above lines are covered by Khalifman in his “Kramnik” books (see 3rd volume, 1st edition) and Boris Avrukh’s “1 d4 Volume Two”.


Black’s other possibilities don’t require much knowledge. 1…e6 2 c4 usually transposes into something else. Both 1…b6 2 e4 and 1…b5 2 e4 don’t require much more than a bit of common sense to deal with.

Visit the Bibliography for recommended reading relating to the 1 Nf3 Repertoire.
This entry was posted in 1 Nf3 Repertoire, Opening Analysis, The Dutch Defence, The Modern Defence. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 1 Nf3 repertoire: Other Black Defences

  1. Ton Dulk says:

    I love your 1.Nf3 blog, but you forgot to mention 1…Nc6?

    Ton Dulk
    The Netherlands

    • James Mansson says:

      1…Nc6 is met by 2 d4, when 2…d5 transposes to the position after 1 Nf3 d5 2 d4 Nc6; Black’s other 2nd moves do not look that appealing.

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