Chigorin Defense

The Chigorin Defense was invented by the Russian chess player Mikhail Chigorin (1850-1908)


1. d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6

White moves

chigorin defense

Chigorin did not put as much value on the bishop pair as other masters. In this opening you must be prepared to give bishop for knight in the variation 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.cxd Qxd 4.e3 e5 5. Nc3 (attacking the queen) Bb4 6.Bd2 BxN. (See diagram below)


chigorin defense

The queen is attacked now and Black should trade bishop for knight.

Black violates chess principles in the Chigorin defence.

  • 1. He blocks his c-pawn.
  • 2. He does not protect his d-pawn.
  • 3. If White captures on d5 then the Queen must recapture and can be attacked by the white knight in the variation 3.cxd Qxd 4.e3 e5 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Bd2 and now Black must be willing to give up his bishop for knight playing BxN. This violates the principle of not trading bishop for knight in open positions.
  • This is not the way modern grandmasters play the game so the Chigorin is not played at high level chess events like world championships and is just used by masters as a surpize weapon in lower level chess tournaments.

    The theory is not as much developed as in other more popular chess openings.


    1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nf3
    1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3
    chigorin defence
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    chigorin defense
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    1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.cxd Qxd
    chigorin defense
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