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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 h7 pd 7
6 a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 pd h6 6
5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5 5
4 a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 pl f4 g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3 3
2 a2 pl b2 pl c2 pl d2 pl e2 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. e4 g6

The Robatsch Defense (also known as the Modern Defense) is a variation on the King's Pawn Game, and is classified under ECO code B06. It is named after Austrian Master Karl Robatsch. The opening moves are:

  1. e4 g6

It is the sixth most popular response to the King's Pawn Game according to ChessBase. Whilst it does not truly afford black any systems (with the exception of the Averbakh system), it does allow a tight and resilient defense that may be used to undermine white's structure later.

Main Line[]

Typically, white will respond with 2. d4, capitalising on black's forfeiture of centre control. Black will then respond with Bg7, creating a fianchetto with their dark-squared bishop. This is the base line upon which most of the variations deviate, and in fact black's second move should always be Bg7 (it is after all the entire purpose of the opening).

The main continuation follows: 3. Nc3 d6 4. f4 c6 5. Nf3 Bg4

Whilst has temporary centre control, black's bishops undermine much of white's longevity.

Bishop Attack[]

After the standard setup, white may respond with 3. Bc4. After a typical development 3... e6 4. Nf3 d5 5. O-O, white may seem to be well ahead, but as before, black's sturdy defense will punish any attack white pushes.

Other Third Move Attacks[]

  • Three Pawns Attack:

3. f4, completely occupying centre space.

  • Wind Gambit:

3. Bd3, which blocks white's protection of their queen pawn and allows it to be taken by the bishop.

  • Westermann Gambit:

3. Bd2, also gambiting the queen's pawn. As above, white gambits the queen's pawn to develop their bishops favourably. But after 3... Bxd4 4. Bc3 Bxc3 5. Nxc3, black is considered to have an advantage, as white had to trade their bishop.


2. c4 may transpose to the English Opening, Great Snake Variation

The Averbakh System is also frequently reached from this opening.