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8 a8 rd b8 nd c8 bd d8 qd e8 kd f8 bd g8 nd h8 rd 8
7 a7 pd b7 pd c7 pd d7 pd e7 pd f7 pd g7 pd h7 pd 7
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4 a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 pl c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3 3
2 a2 pl b2 c2 pl d2 pl e2 pl f2 pl g2 pl h2 pl 2
1 a1 rl b1 nl c1 bl d1 ql e1 kl f1 bl g1 nl h1 rl 1
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1. b3

Larsen's Opening (also known as the Queen's Fianchetto Opening) is one of white's twenty legal first moves, and is classified under ECO code A01. It is named after Danish Grandmaster Bent Larsen, who was the first to study it. The opening move is:

  1. b3

It is the seventh most popular opening move according to ChessGames Opening Explorer.

Main Benefits[]

This simple opening moves the knight's pawn out of the way, allowing White to fianchetto quickly. Although Larsen was successful many times using this technique, the opening proved to be helpless during the 1970 USSR vs. Rest of the World match against Boris Spassky.

Classical Variation[]

As white's move does not immediately take any centre space, black has a variety of potential options for response. A very common and usual move for white is to take centre space with 1... d4. The main line continues 2. Bb2...

It can also transpose to the Nimzowitsch-Larsen Attack of the Réti Opening (List of chess openings|ECO A06).

Modern Variation[]

The most popular response, black plays 1... e5. This has the purpose of blocking in the bishop a little bit, for example after 2. Bb2 Nc3 and the bishop is now less of a threat. The main line follows:

3.e3 d5
4.Bb5 Bd6

However, white can also play 3. f3, the Paschmann Gambit, a lopsided King's Gambit.

Indian Variation[]

Also fairly popular is 1... Nf6, the Indian Variation. It develops a minor piece without making any important commitals in pawn structure. Usually followed by 2. Bb2 g6, then either 3. e4, as the knight is pinned to the rook, or 3. g4, the Spike Variation.

English Variation[]

1... c5. Almost always transposes to the English Opening with 2. c4, or the Sicilian Defense with 2. e4

Dutch Varation[]

1.. f5, typically followed by 2. Bb2. Main line is 2... Nf6 3. c4. 2... e6 3. e4 is the very rare Ringelbach Gambit.

Other Variations[]

  • Symmertical Defense, 1... b6
  • Polish Defense, 1... b5
  • 1... c5, with intent to transpose into a line of the Caro-Kann Defense.