Scandinavian Defense

Chessboard showing the Scandinavian Defense with the moves 1. e4 d5 played
Learn the Opening
Play against Stockfish

In the Scandinavian defense, black tries immediately to break white’s control over center. With the pawn exchange, an open game is established right off the bat.

After the pawn exchange, black usually takes back with the queen. This violates one of the commonly accepted opening principles to develop the queen last.

The position after black recaptures the pawn with their queen.
The position after black recaptures the pawn with their queen.

Bringing the queen out so early is usually not recommended. With so little development, the queen is vulnerable all on her own. White can gain several tempo by attacking the queen. This way black has to constantly respond by retreating instead of developing themselves.

White attacking the black queen on d5 with Nc3.
White usually plays knight to b3 to attack the queen immediately.

After the queen has been attacked by the knight, she has to make a decision: stay outside and move to a5, or retreat back home and move to d8.

If you want to learn the Scandinavian Defense further, there are several studies freely available in the studies section.

Studies about the Scandinavian Defense

Learn the Scandinavian Defense using public studies.

Compact Scandinavian For White
24 by Loeksnokes

In this study I give a compact repertoire against all main line Scandinavian responses, and common inferior plays. The repertoire is based on miniature games at the 2300+ level, together with some Stockfish modifications when White actually played inferior lines. Every line ends with at least +/=, and almost all of them are actually in +/- or +- territory. Coverage is (very) thin for less common lines in modern play. There are thematic attacking setups by White which seem a bit strange for people trained with classical opening theory, but they are played at the highest levels and are stockfish certified. Learning these "active piece play" type justifications has greatly helped my middlegame play.

Scandinavian Defense (Black)
14 by mmorrisohio

The Scandinavian Defense for Black

Qd8 Scandinavian Defense
13 by Kerfuffle

Based on this excellent video by Hanging Pawns: --- His video series on the Scandinavian Defense includes many variations. Link to playlist: --- Link to the Lichess study I made that this is generated from:

Anti Scandinavian
11 by endwithff213

My weapons against the Scandinavian defense

Scandinavian Defense (White)
6 by mmorrisohio

The Scandinavian Defense for White

3 by Swazmataz

An easier one to learn, very natural

Play against Stockfish

Play the Scandinavian Defense
Play against the Scandinavian Defense

Do you want to try out the Scandinavian Defense? Train this opening against Stockfish.

Play against Stockfish either as white or black and explore the opening.