Chess Openings – Closed Games

If the first two moves of a chess match are 1.d4 d5, then the opening is called a Closed Game or a Double Queen Pawn Game. An important thing to remember about a Closed Game is that it does not automatically result in closed positions. The term “closed” is simply a label, not a reflection of the pieces.

The 1 d4 d5 approach offers similar advantages to 1.e4 e5 approach. Both methods help the player control the center squares of the board and both methods clear the pathway for the Queen and the Bishop-two musts for a good opening. But with the e4 opening, the pawn is without defense, while with the d4 opening, the pawn has the advantage of being protected by the Queen. This important detail is part of what distinguishes closed openings from other types of openings. This is why many chess players prefer the Queen’s Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4) over the King’s Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4). Furthermore, note that a closed game opening often turns into another type of opening, whereas an open game opening does not.

The Queen’s Gambit

The Queen’s Gambit openings are definitely the favorite out of all the closed openings. Each begins with 2.c4, which offers the pawn. Then, the opening divides into variations depending on how Black responds. Remember that this particular closed game opening is not actually a gambit because the pawn is recovered every time.

A Queen’s Gambit Accepted occurs when black takes the pawn using 2…dxc3. This capture is usually coupled with later c5 and cxd5 moves. In doing this, Black gives up control over the central section of the board in order to isolate the White d pawn. White then can stay in control of the center board as well as keep the initiative by way of good piece development.

On the other hand, Black can ignore the offered pawn. He may play 2…e6, which would produce Queen’s Gambit Declined, or he may play 2…c6 which produces Slav Defense. Each of these openings has multiple variations-it takes a lot of patience to learn each opening fully. The following are only some of the variations of Queen’s Gambit Declined: Lasker’s Defense, Orthodox Defense, Cambridge Springs Defense, Tartakower Variation, Tarrasch Defense, and Semi-Tarrasch Defense.

Other less common responses to the offered gambit include Chigorin Defense (2…Nc6), Symmetrical Defense (2…c5), Baltic Defense (2…Bf5), Albin Countergambit (2…e5), and Marshall Defense (2…Nf6). You will not see these often, but some masters do prefer them.

Additional Closed Games

If White never offers the c pawn, it produces other openings like Stonewall Attack and Colle System. While these are not too popular for masters, they are great for general club play. Each method is fairly simple and offers many options to White. If Black is somewhat familiar with these closed openings, it makes for a good competition.

Many variations exist of Stonewall Attack and Colle System. Colle System usually follows this pattern: 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 and Stonewall Attack often moves 1.d4 d5 2.e3 Nf6 3.Bd3 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.f4. The pawn structure in the Stonewall Attack (c3, d4, e3, f4) can be achieved through different moves, but that causes different positions for Black. In both the Stonewall and Colle closed games, White’s goal is to create a certain arrangement of pieces no matter how Black moves.

Richter-Veresov Attack (1.d4 d5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5) and London System (1.d4 d5 2.Bf4) are some other uncommon closed openings. Blitz chess players love the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.e4) because it opens up the lines for attacks.

D00-D69 are the ECO codes for the closed games.