How do you meet 1.d4?

Last week’s question was: “Who will win the London Classic?” I expected a clear majority for Magnus Carlsen, and he did indeed top the poll, but it was a narrow win ahead of Levon Aronian. With only 3 rounds completed, it is too early to say who will win the Classic, but Not-Topalov appears a safe bet.

This week I continue my quest to learn all about our readers’ opening repertoires. I already asked what you play against 1.e4, so this week it’s: How do you meet 1.d4? The options that spring to my mind are: King’s Indian Defence, Grünfeld, Nimzo-Indian (plus something against 3.Nf3 and 3.g3), QGA, QGD, Slav, Semi-Slav, or Other.

As ever, please use the comments box to say what you mean by Other, or anything else that’s on your mind.

80 thoughts on “How do you meet 1.d4?”

  1. I answered QGD, but I’ve always felt that d4 is a slippery creature. White can follow up with lots of different move orders and we can end up with quite another ending to the one I intended to play. I still feel totally unprepared for this opening.

    At least with e4, I play c5 and I definitely can say in 95% of cases that I’m playing a Sicilian.

  2. I voted Nimzo but I play it in combination with QID and QGD depending on my mood. I also like the Chebanenko Slav but that’s my second string defence.

  3. For years now I’ve been a die hard Dutch player. But after going through some of April’s lines in The Modern Slav I’ve become a bit of a Slav fan and is seriously considering using it as a primary, or at least secondary d4 defense.


    @ Shaw

    Will you also translate this one?

    Tigersprung auf DWZ 1500 – Übungsbuch 🙂

    Die drei Bände zu “Tigersprung auf DWZ 1500” werden mit diesem Band mit Übungsaufgaben ergänzt, so bekommt jedes Kapitel (mit Ausnahme der Abschlusstests) noch zusätzliche Tests mit 6 Stellungen. In diesem Übungsbuch finden Sie also insgesamt 72 Tests mit 432 Stellungen.

  5. @LE BRUIT QUI COURT: I have a feeling that the German text refers to Yusupov’s 3 orange books which exist in English here. Hmmm, on the other hand, the Yusupov books have far more than 72 exercises per volume, at least in the green series.

  6. King’s Indian for me! And I’m considering to add the Modern Benoni as a secundary opening. I’ve been served well by QC, with Kotronias’ already legendary series on the KID and Petrov’s excellent book on the Modern Benoni 🙂

  7. Used to be Slav & Semi-Slav. Then Nimzo and Ragozin. At the moment its been the Tarrasch for the past few years. I’m bringing back the Slav & Semi-Slav since the Schandorff book was published.

  8. @LE BRUIT QUI COURT and pabstars: By that description, it should be a volume with supplementary material to the orange books, consisting of 6 additional tests / positions per orange-books-chapter (of which there seem to be 72).

  9. I like the KID and am looking forward to the next Kotronias books coming out. I do like the Grunfeld against lines where White doesn’t play 4.e4 and plays 4.Nf3 with e3 or Bf4.

  10. I play the Benoni against d4. Can’t beat the adrenaline of going all out while pieces are hanging.

    Forced me to also learn the hedgehog structures which I started to enjoy ones I understood and was able to execute some of the ideas.

    I’m dreaming of switching one day to the KID, but so far I’m working on my attacking skills.

  11. The poll is interesting for people building a White d4 repertoire. Portraying the picture of what to expect on the board.

  12. I voted for QGD (which I assume it is 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6, although if it is queen’s gambit declined, the slav is also this gambit declined). I play the Tarrasch according to Ntirlis & Aagaard.

    As a second option I plan to study Avrukh’s classical slav, as that defense was my main one for many years.

  13. My weapon is the “Kings Indian for the lazy club and coffeehouse Player”, via the 2…d6 and 3 ….Nbd7 and 4…. e5 moveorder. Absolutely amateurish but quite fun to play. I wish Mr McNab would write a small booklet about it 🙂

  14. Mainly QGD, Noteboom or Stonewall – depending on the”victum” at the other side of the table.

    Am I the only one just waiting for THE BOOK on the QGD?

  15. I also voted for QGD. My hope is that Nikos will do a similar book as he is doing at the moment against 1.e4.
    So something like ‘Playing 1.d4 d5- A classical Repertoire for black’ would be great as I don’t like the Tarrasch.

  16. Old Indian Defense, the lines with Nbd7, not the early Queen trade (3…e5) or the risky lines with 4…e4.

    Many of the ideas with the Queen and Bishop shuffle (Qe8 / Bd8 / Qe7 / Bc7 OR Bb6 OR Ba5), particularly in the lines where White keeps the Tension and doesn’t play an early d5, are really interesting.

  17. Greg :
    My weapon is the “Kings Indian for the lazy club and coffeehouse Player”, via the 2…d6 and 3 ….Nbd7 and 4…. e5 moveorder. Absolutely amateurish but quite fun to play. I wish Mr McNab would write a small booklet about it

    Greg, is there really some “Lazy King’s Indian”, as in do you fianchetto after those moves? Or are you really referring to the Old Indian, as I have in the previous post? If you develop the Bishop to e7 rather than g7, that’s the Old Indian, and precisely what I play. After 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 4.e4 e5, I answer 5.Nf3 with 5…Be7 and 5.d5 with 5…Nc5 and 6…a5.

  18. I answer Nf3 with g6 and Bg7 (White usually fianchettos or plays Be2; then i have my special black setups) and 5.d5 with your line and either 7…Be7 or lately more 7…. g6 (after which f3 is some kind of Sämisch). You avoid a couple of lines (Exchange, 4 Pawns, … ) at the cost having the knight on d7 and you can play this setup against everything but 1. e4
    Together with the French it is a commonl eastern european subprofessional black Repertoire, at least when my chess education started in the 80s. Mainly closed and counterattacking positions, typical pawn breaks, “bad” Bishop. You may not equalize, but at least i know the positions and patterns which is enough for my level (2200); and now and then a nice king´s indian mating attack ….

  19. I have played the KID exclusively for years, but I really don’t like it much any more. I’m trying to find something else I really like, not going that great. 😀

  20. @TonyRo
    Tony, I have developed some really interesting lines centered around the Bishop’s Opening that can take your opponent out of book so fast it’s scary. It can transpose into the Two Knights, Ponziani etc. but really aggressive lines very hard to refute. Let me know and I can send you a .pgn file

  21. @Wolfsblut – I have to second that. I also voted for the QGD and having a Quality Chess book on playing the QGD would be awesome! I have played the Tarrasch, but just feel more comfortable in other QGD lines.

  22. According to polls there is one opening that qc didnt cover NID. Although Jacob made 2 dvdies on those two openings years ago. I must say that qc published so many good books on answering d4 that Nid isnt in my scope of interest anymore.

  23. @k.r.
    I’m sure the reason is that it would require 5-10 volumes to do complete justice to all the enormous variations and theory available. It’s like going down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland. I love the Nimzo!

  24. I think we will finally be able to publish a Nimzo-Indian GM Repertoire in the near future. But I feel the project is so jinxed that I do not want to reveal anything else before we actually have a finished manuscript!

  25. Any opening can be explained in as much detail as you want. It is easy for me to think of a 5 volume work on the Botvinnik variation of the semi slav alone. But it is true that Schandorff has done it in only half volume and for sure it is quite ok.

    For my purpose, one volume of say 400 pages should be more than enough. I don’t play correspondence chess and I don’t think it would serve any higher purpose to fit more theory on my brain, so one volume for me would be ideal.

  26. @Jacob Aagaard

    Problem is when you publish a book on the NID, I think you are pretty much compelled to publish a repertoire with 3.Nf3 & 3.g3.i suppose you could say the Modern Benonu covers that but most would hope for a QID, Ragozin or QGD.

  27. Short term we will have the Modern Benoni and the Semi-Slav to fill in some of the gap, although the Catalan is not covered by the Semi-Slav book. But we do not provide a full repertoire at any time service. We are a book publisher.

  28. @Gollum
    For my taste the Schandorff books, while excellent, are nearly razor thin when compared to deep variation analysis comparing all or most well known variations, tabiya, etc.

  29. To avoid being too predictable I play a couple of different defences to 1.d4, but I find Chigorin’s defence very effective. Although there are lines where white is slightly better, I am not aware of any refutation, and most d4 players don’t play very well against it.

  30. @Ray
    I respectfully disagree. There are tons of sound early deviations in the NID not to mention many different middlegame strategies. Look up how many GM variations there are Ray. Anyways I love the KID as well.

  31. @Neil
    The Chigorin has been refuted (in a practical sense) by Strong logical plans by White that don’t feed into the hopefulness of such openings. Why do you think no GM’s play it as Black except Moro. It’s fun but not sound like the Alekhine for Black. (The Alekhine is another very suspicious defence as well).

  32. @Steven S.

    I would not go so far as to say the Chigorin is refuted. I do believe White can get a slight advantage in many ways, which makes the defense from black point of view not that good, you need to be prepared for many good replies, but I don’t think it can get a large advantage anywhere.

    And I think the same goes for the Alekhine.

    If I have learn anything studying QC opening books (instead of the wishful thinking of many other publishers) is that it is quite hard to get tangible advantages out of the opening. You can get a pull as White, but generally that is all you are going to get (see for exemple Negi on the generally doubtful 1. e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 -Houska states that 3.Nc3 is better- de 4.Ne4 Nf6?!, the lines are pleasant for White, but nothing dramatic).

  33. @Gollum
    I agree.

    Nc3/d2 in the Caro-Kann is always changing in my experience. There are pros and cons for both and usually it makes no odds. But I have to say that 4…Nf6 has always been a favourite of mine – to face 😉

  34. @Steven S.
    I am sure that Kotronias would write 3-4 volumes on the Nimzo. But it is really not the same! Where you can say “even chances” in the Nimzo after 15 moves, everything is hanging in the KID, making it a more demanding and exhilarating opening at the same time.

  35. Negi is a full time student, so the answer, as with all the volumes, is, just after he has found time to write it!

    @Jacob Aagaard

    But so far he was quite fast (6-8 Months from Book to Book) can se expect it in May-June?

  36. Jacob Aagaard :
    But we do not provide a full repertoire at any time service. We are a book publisher.

    Sure. But it would be nice if a full repertoire were eventually forth-coming, seeing as how your premier series is actually called Grandmaster Repertoire. Otherwise, QC will start being called the George R. R. Martin of the chess publishing world, and you don’t want that! 😛

  37. @RB
    He was a full time player, so obviously he is very well prepared already. So, a lot of the work is simply writing the text. But yes, he works fast and very hard in his holidays to pay the tuition through the book sale royalties and other sources of income. Quite admirably so.

  38. @The Lurker
    Very funny!

    We do provide a lot of full repertoires, like a full Dragon repertoire, full KID (soon), full 1.d4, full 1.e4. But we cannot provide a full repertoire in all directions at all times. Even when the Game of Thrones series will be finished, there will be people wishing they heard more about one character…

  39. @Jacob Aagaard
    I agree that a repertoire can’t cover everything that anybody might want. A repertoire, by it’s very nature, consists of choices. And of course, you can’t have everything covered in recent books. But the Doctor has a point. If there were a Nimzo book, and nothing forthcoming to cover White not allowing a Nimzo, something would be amiss.

    I’m not sure I agree that the Game of Thrones series will be finished. I would not be surprised if Martin followed in Robert Jordan’s footsteps.

  40. I think Quality Chess could do quite a bit worse than to be known as the GRRM of the chess world. I am certain some writers from other publishers would rather take his reputation over theirs any day of the week!

    Now, with that said, one of the only retorts I have when verbally battling my (engineering) coworkers is that I finished my book faster than George generally finishes his! 😀

  41. In response to Gollum (Post 46), I think you hit the nail in the head. It depends on how deep you really want to go.

    Forget the Botvinnik Semi-Slav, I’m sure if someone really, really, REALLY wanted to, they could find a way to write 5 volumes (2000 pages) of theory on the London System, or the Colle Koltanowski if they were really that excited to do it.

    Case in point – Granted it’s not published by Quality Chess, but look at David Rudel, who doesn’t appear to be a titled player at all, and yet he has written almost a dozen books on the Colle Zukertort and Koltanowski, so it can be done!

  42. An Ordinary Chessplayer

    Patrick wrote: “yet he has written almost a dozen books on the Colle Zukertort and Koltanowski, so it can be done!”

    Is this right? I google him and find 11 books, not all on chess, it seems 5 of them are on Colle/Zukertort type systems.

  43. @Jacob Aagaard
    Food for thought for sure Jacob. Chess has some interesting stats. It gives the KID winning about 37%, losing about 25%, drawing in 38%. The NID scored about 34 %wins, 33 %losses and 27%. Apparently it’s easier to draw in the KiD although white appears significantly better out of the gate than in the NID to your point. Interesting though to be sure.

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