Symmetrical Defense

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Symmetrical Defense
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c5 black pawn
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
Moves1.d4 d5 2.c4 c5
Origin1604, Alessandro Salvio
Named afterAustria
ParentQueen's Gambit
Synonym(s)Austrian Defense

The Symmetrical Defense (or Austrian Defense) is a chess opening that begins with the moves:

1. d4 d5
2. c4 c5

First described in print by Alessandro Salvio in 1604, the opening is often called the Austrian Defense because it was studied by Austrian chess players including Hans Haberditz (c. 1901–57), Hans Müller (1896–1971), and GM Ernst Grünfeld.[1]

The Symmetrical Defense is an uncommon variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined. It poses the purest test of Queen's Gambit theory—whether Black can equalize by simply copying White's moves. Most opening theoreticians believe that White should gain the advantage and at best Black is playing for a draw.[2]


White often replies 3.cxd5, but other moves are playable and may lead to transpositions into more well-known variations such as the Queen's Gambit Accepted and the Tarrasch Defense. After 3.cxd5 it is not advisable for Black to play 3...Qxd5, because either 4.Nf3 cxd4 5.Nc3 Qa5 6.Nxd4 or 5...Qd8 6.Qxd4 Qxd4 7.Nxd4 give White a big lead in development.[3] Instead, Black should play 3...Nf6 intending to recapture on d5 with his knight. White should be able to maintain the advantage with either 4.Nf3 or 4.e4. Possible continuations are 4.Nf3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nxd5 6.e4 Nc7 or 4.e4 Nxe4 5.dxc5 Nxc5 6.Nc3 e6.[4][5]


  1. ^ Hooper, David; Whyld, Kenneth (1996), "Austrian Defence", The Oxford Companion to Chess, Oxford University, ISBN 0-19-280049-3
  2. ^ Korn, Walter (1982), "Queen's Gambit Declined", Modern Chess Openings (Twelfth ed.), David McKay, p. 266, ISBN 0-679-13500-6
  3. ^ Pachman, Luděk (1982), The Opening Game in Chess, Routledge & Kegan Paul, p. 140, ISBN 0-7100-9222-9
  4. ^ Nunn, John, ed. (1999), "1 d4 d5 and Unusual Replies to the Queen's Gambit", Nunn's Chess Openings, Everyman Chess, p. 365, ISBN 1-85744-221-0
  5. ^ Kasparov, Garry; Keene, Raymond (1994) [1989], "Queen's Gambit", Batsford Chess Openings 2, Henry Holt, p. 80, ISBN 0-8050-3409-9