Center Game

The Center Game is an uncommon opening for White. The recapture of the pawn by the White Queen exposes White to attacks by the Black minor pieces, resulting in a loss in time. This violates basic opening principles and loses White the advantage of the first move. The position becomes reversed where White is playing a reverse Black opening, such as the Reverse Center Counter.

Diagram: Center Game

The Center Game is probably better than its reputation. White’s loss of time is only really the loss of the “first move advantage” for White. The opening does allow Black to achieve equality, but it also creates a dynamic and open position that will lead to aggressive play for both sides. It is similar to many ways to a Reverse Center Counter (Scandinavian Defence), especially if White plays Qa4. Nevertheless, this opening is rarely seen in master play or even at the club level.

Diagram: Reverse Center Counter (Qa4), Center Game

Now White is playing the Scandinavian in reverse, having played Qa4 with similarity to the Black lines with Qa5.

Transpositions: Instead of Qxd4, White can play “3.c3” which leads to the Danish Gambit. The Goring Gambit is another similar line, with the extra moves “Nf3 Nc6” having been played. In fact, there are a number of White gambits in the King Pawn Games that involve an early “d4” move:

Diagram: Danish Gambit Deferred, Center Game

White can also try the “Danish Gambit Deferred”, by playing “3.Nf3!?” which avoids recapturing the pawn. That line is likely to transpose to various other King Pawn Openings: see Danish Gambit Deferred.

Reverse Scandinavian: White can play a kind of Center Counter Reversed opening by playing Qa4!? when Black plays Nc6 to hit at the Queen. This is similar to the Center Counter Opening lines where Black plays Qxd5 and Qa5, but with an extra tempo for White. See: Reverse Center Counter Opening.

For some similar lines with Qxd4 that arise in the Sicilian Defence, see the Sicilian Center Game (2.Qxd4) and the Qxd4 Sicilian Line (Chekhover Variation). These lines are uncommon sidelines. However, somewhat popular is d4 against the Sicilian; see: Morra Gambit.

Related Chess Openings Topics

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