Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Simple Opening Repertoire for Black: The King's House

David Bronstein is one of top chess players of all time to never be a world champion. His book Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953 is considered one of the best tournament books ever. My copy is literally falling apart -- it is held together with a rubber band! He is known for innovating in the openings and being one of the game's great thinkers. In The Sorcerer's Apprentice he recommends an opening strategy for novices for both White and Black based on what he calls building the "King's House." That is the basis for our simple opening repertoire for black:

1. ...d6
2. ...Nf6
3. ...g6
4. ...Bg7
5. ...O-O

Unless White attacks in the first five moves by moving a piece or pawn past the fourth rank these are Black's first five moves. The king is safe, Black can play a later ...e5 or ...c5 to challenge White's center and his setup is flexible and solid.

From this building block we can later add specific lines from the Pirc when White starts with e4, the King's Indian Defense when White starts with d4, and etc. We can even add the Moron Defense to this (see the Moron game links to the left and see here, here, here and here) when White's first two moves are d4 and c4.

This move sequence defuses the Scholar's Mate a powerful weapon among novices. If White is intent on a Scholar's mate style "attack" the game might proceed: 1.e4 d6 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Qf3 g6 4.d4 Bg7 5.e5 (White wants to drive the knight away to play Qxf7+) dxe5 6.dxe5 Bg4! (now White has to be careful to avoid ...Qd1#) 7.Qd3 = or 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qb3+ Be6 9.Qxb7 Bd5 -+.

For more on typical setups and plans see: Understanding the Pirc Defense and Understanding the Classical King's Indian.

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