Chigorin Defense

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For the Chigorin Variation of the Ruy Lopez, see Ruy Lopez#Chigorin Variation.
Chigorin Defense
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c6 black knight
d5 black pawn
c4 white pawn
d4 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Moves 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6
ECO D07
Named after Mikhail Chigorin
Parent Queen's Gambit

The Chigorin Defense is a chess opening named for 19th century Russian grandmaster Mikhail Chigorin. An uncommonly played defense to the Queen's Gambit, it begins with the moves:

1. d4 d5
2. c4 Nc6

The Chigorin Defense violates several classical principles: Black does not maintain the center pawn at d5, the c-pawn is blocked, and Black must be willing to trade a bishop for a knight. (Chigorin valued the bishop pair less than most chess masters; some say he even preferred knights to bishops in all positions.[citation needed]) In return Black gets quick development and piece pressure on the center.

Although opening assessments change as improvements are found for each side, the Chigorin is generally considered playable for Black and it is useful as a surprise weapon against the Queen's Gambit. Alexander Morozevich is perhaps the only modern grandmaster who regularly plays the Chigorin Defense, although in the 1980s, Vasily Smyslov did employ the opening against Garry Kasparov. Morozevich has also published a book on the Chigorin Defence,[1] in which he gives both a theoretical and a personal view on the opening.


Main variations[edit]

The Chigorin Defense has the ECO classification D07. Because the Chigorin is an unusual defense, the theory of this opening is not as well developed as that for more popular openings.

After 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 some of the most commonly played variations are:

3.Nc3[edit]

  • 3...Nf6 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 e5 7.d5 Nb8 or 7.Nf3 exd4.
  • 3...dxc4 (or Nf6) 4.Nf3 Nf6 (or dxc4) 5.e4 Bg4 6.Be3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 is a position that occurs very frequently in current practice.

3.Nf3[edit]

a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c6 black knight
d5 white pawn
d4 white pawn
f3 black bishop
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
h1 white rook
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
3.Nf3 Bg4 4.cxd5 Bxf3
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
e8 black king
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c6 black knight
d5 black queen
e5 black pawn
d4 white pawn
c3 black bishop
e3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
d2 white bishop
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
3.cxd5 Qxd5 4.e3 e5 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Bd2 Bxc3
  • 3...Bg4 4.cxd5 Bxf3 (see first diagram)
    • 5.gxf3 Qxd5 6.e3 and now Black has two very different, but proven ways of playing 6...e5 7.Nc3 Bb4 and 6...e6 7.Nc3 Qh5.
    • 5.dxc6 Bxc6 6.Nc3 and Black has now two well established options 6...Nf6 and 6...e6.
  • 3...e6 is a bad move.

3.cxd5 Qxd5[edit]

  • 4.e3 e5 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Bd2 Bxc3 (see second diagram)
    • 7.bxc3 and now black's main moves are 7...Nf6 and 7...Qd6.
    • 7.Bxc3 has received considerable attention in recent years and 7...exd4 8.Ne2 Nf6 9.Nxd4 0-0 seems to be considered Black's most reliable choice, but the sharper 8...Bg4 is also sometimes played.
  • 4. Nf3

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Alexander Morozevich & Vladimir Barskij, The Chigorin Defence According to Morozevich, 2007

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]