|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
(Chigorin has another important opening named for him that is also sometimes called the Chigorin Defense. The Chigorin Variation is a popular defense to the Ruy Lopez. See Ruy Lopez for details.)
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 was unusual among chess masters in strongly preferring knights to bishops in all positions.)
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 seems to be 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.
The Chigorin Defense has the ECO classification D07.
Because the Chigorin is an unusual defense, 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...Nf6 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 e5 7.d5 Nb8 or 7.Nf3 exd4.
- 3...dxc4 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e4 Bg4 6.Be3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 is a position that occurs very frequently in current practice.
- 3.cxd5 Qxd5 4.e3 e5 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Bd2 Bxc3
- 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.
- 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.cxd5 Bxf3
- 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.
- Ward, Chris (2002). Unusual Queen´s Gambit Declined. Everyman Chess. ISBN 1857442180.
- Broznik, Valeri (2001). Die Tschigorin-Verteidigung. Schachverlag Kania. ISBN 3-931-192-21-0.