Chess Openings: Learn to Play the Modern Defense!

Chess Openings: Learn to Play the Modern Defense!

The Modern Defense begins with the moves:

1. e4 g6


1. d4 g6

There are many good chess openings for black that we have covered on this channel including the Pirc Defense, Hippopotamus Defense, Pterodactyl Defese, King’s Indian Defense, and Gurgenidze System! However, all of these chess openings can start out with the Modern Defense! The Modern Defense is a very strong chess opening for black that gives you a ton of flexibility in terms of how you want to approach the game. In this video alone we touch on the Norwegian Defense, Norwegian Gambit, Pirc Defense, Hippopotamus Defense, Gurgenidze System, Two Knight’s Varation, Hyper Accelerated Dragon, Pterodactyl Defense, Czech Pirc Defense, Modern Defense Standard Line, Modern Defense Gurgenidze Variation, Modern Defense Eastern Variation, Modern Defense Rhamporhynchus Variation, Modern Defense Three Pawns Attack, and King’s Indian Defense! The amount of chess opening theory here is astounding. And below I will give 3 reasons why you should think about playing the Modern Defense!

1. The Modern Defense is RARE

This matters more than most chess players give credit for. Many chess players go with the popular chess openings such as the Ruy Lopez Opening, Sicilian Defense, Semi-Slav Defense, and others! There is nothing wrong with openings such as these, but there is a huge disadvantage… and this is that the opponent knows exactly what is coming at them. Playing a rare chess opening gives you the advantage in preparation, confortability, and experience. I myself played the Hippopotamus Defense (which starts out with a Modern Defense) and I won many chess games with this since I understood the chess opening theory, chess opening ideas, chess opening strategy, chess opening lines, chess opening moves, chess opening variations, and chess opening principles better than my opponents. The Modern Defense is a chess opening that can use tricks and traps to win games fast, in addition to coverage of fantastic middlegame chess positions.

2. The Modern Defense is FLEXIBLE

As mentioned previously, there are so many chess openings that you can reach starting with this move! This includes the Pirc Defense, Modern Defense Standard Line, Modern Defense Gurgenidze Variation, King’s Indian Defense, Modern Defense Two Knights Variation, Hippopotamus Defense, Czech Pirc Defense, Hyper Accelerated Dragon, Pterodactyl Defense, Norwegian Defense, and Norwegian Gambit! All that to say, the Modern Defense is a gateway into many different chess opening options – all of which are rich in chess ideas, chess strategy, chess moves, chess lines, chess variations, chess tricks, chess traps, and chess theory.

3. The Modern Defense is GOOD

The chess openings for black against e4 (and chess openings for black against d4) that I have mentioned are not only for beginners! In fact, all of these chess openings have been played by chess Grandmasters in professional chess games! This is not one of those openings (like the Stafford Gambit, Englund Gambit, or Budapest Gambit) where we simply “hope” the opponent makes a mistake. This is a chess opening for black that can be played against players of all levels, no matter how high! When you combine the rarity, soundness, and flexibility of the Modern Defense, this all makes the Modern Defense one of the best chess openings for black against e4, and one of the best chess openings for black against d4! It makes it one of the best chess openings for beginners, best chess openings for intermediate players, best chess openings for advanced players, and best beginner chess openings.

0:00 Introduction to Modern Defense
1:20 Modern Defense: Norwegian Defense/Norwegian Gambit!
8:07 YOU GOT OPTIONS! Pirc Defense, Hippopotamus Defense, Gurgenidze System, etc!
9:28 Modern Defense: Two Knights Variation
11:02 Sicilian Defense: Hyper Accelerated Dragon / Pterodactyl Defense
13:22 Modern Defense: Standard Line
15:45 Modern Defense: Gurgenidze Variation
16:22 Modern Defense: Standard, Pterodactyl, Eastern Variation, Rhamporhynchus Variation
17:59 Modern Defense: Three Pawns Attack
20:44 King’s Indian Defense
23:23 What Type of Modern Defense DO YOU Want to Play?


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  1. 13:39 Nc3 line 8:16 Nf3 line with bishop on g711:03 Nf3 line with black pushing flank pawn12:07 Nf3 line with black pushing flank pawn but white advances

  2. Thank you for this Solomon! It would be awesome to see you do a rating climb using these openings you teach!

  3. Thanks for the video. I’m a very poor blitz player but modern defensive has seen my blitz rating go up 100. Normally I’m behind on time but with the modern, I regularly have a 30 second time advantage after 3 moves because it’s so unexpected.

  4. MY favorite black move to play right now as 1400-1450 player. I just hate symmetric game with the d4d5 sort of play

  5. So many interesting variations! And this video doesn't even cover the transpositions like pirc, KID, sicilian dragon, leningrad Dutch, hippo, closed sicilian or grunfeld defence (Caro-kan or the gurgenidze system was mentioned in this vid). Extremely complex opening!

  6. What to Play against the Geller System by white (c3) ?

  7. This is a great video. Bring on the series please Chess Giant

  8. I find the Norwegian defence kind of messy. Especially with the 3 pawn islands. Can you please make a video covering the 3…c6 line?

  9. Love the modern defence vs e4. Although it gets a bit boring seeing people try scholar's mate or fried liver attack so often. It's like white just thinks you're a complete noob for playing the modern.

    Having experimented with hyperaccelerated dragon, i much prefer this delayed c5 move when possible. Never really thought about playing it this way until this video. Really useful – like throwing a grenade at the center.

    Norwegian gambit/defence intrigues me. I see a fair few people play e4 d4 e5 trying to gain early space against the modern. I can't see why white would be fussed about the knight moving to Nh5 though?

  10. Enjoyed your video. I hate playing against the modren defense. 😅

  11. not sure about the Imperial Purple background but I found this useful

  12. Great video. Yes. Do more content on the Norwegian drence/ gambit.

  13. I love too see modern uploads! We need more content on the modern haha

  14. Sir make videos on endgame basis,i mean a playlist

  15. I always play the modern and almost always go to the hippo!


    Edit: I also was suprised that against the two knights you didnt recommend the hippo but with a6 and after a4 b6… 😂

    Also, bring more content on the Standard Modern! If you make a course, i will buy it!😅😂

  17. I have a relative who lived in the 1700s who was named Salomon

  18. 11:26 Na3 is a far more testing move, and I feel like it shouldn't go unmentioned. Qc7 is too slow and so you're stuck with an awkward Queen. It's the main move among masters, and it seems to make creating plans for black awkward on the long run.
    EDIT: fixed a typo.

  19. Hey, thanks for the great ideas. One question I have is concerning the structure where black fianchettos and goes for d5. You've recommended this line in the advanced Caro and now the modern, but you only look at lines where white plays defensively on the queen side. After

    1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. f4 d5 4. e5 Bf5 5. Nf3 e6

    What happens if white does not seek to trade of the bishops and just calmly develops, castles, and goes for c4 ? For example

    6. Be3 h5 7. Be2 Nh6 8. h3 Nd7 9. O-O O-O 10. Nbd2 Rc8 11. Rc1 c5 12. c4

    and it looks like white is ahead. How would you handle this way of handling the position by white?

  20. Hi Solomon. Just had to tell ya. I finally found a chess club on lichess where you play classical time controls (normally 60/30) in swiss format once a week. I'm going into this one a big underdog at low 1600's in under 1800 tournament. Following in your foot steps (hoof prints?) Gonna be the Hippo all the way! Wheeze honk!!!

  21. Could you make a series on the Gurgenidze Defense? I have never seen a video on it for black.

  22. Cool. I was looking for this recently to get a closed position against 1e4 cuz I grew tired of the exchange french and I'm not really into caro kann. I will probably still loose in any opening that isn't a black lion tho

  23. My favourite opening and now my favourite video!

  24. This is exactly what I was looking for! Thank You very much!

  25. Modern looks interesting, always good to have an alternative.

  26. I like the modern along with the KID and pirc.

  27. Love throwing a c5 in the modern Pterodactyl, thanks for covering the Modern, not much out there on YT

  28. An excellent video. There isn't much on the Modern Defense on YouTube, but Ginger GM said the best variation for black is Tiger's Modern, which seems really complicated to me. Whenever I've played the Modern I always transpose into the Gurgenidze System, with generally good results.

  29. I like going for g6, bg7 and d6. Then go for either the c5 or the e5 break. In the main line modern (3. nc3) theres d5 straight away which is the Lizard defense. Very interesting system 🙂

  30. Would love to see more on that Norwegian (I've e also seen it called Norwegian Rat). Magnus played it from time to time. Thanks for the video Solomon!

  31. This is exactly the kind of video I wanted on the modern defense. So many fun variations! Thanks for making this

  32. I would love to see a video on the Norwegian defense especially what happens after 4. g4

  33. I don't play this defense, but I admit it is solid as F. What I want to suggest for a future video is the Indian Game: Basque Opening . I think there isn't enough material nor respect for this opening. Big hug, me mate!

  34. You already know this kind of opening is right up my alley! I love Modern Defense ideas when playing the KID or Pirc if my Knight on f6 is ever traded off.

  35. Are you kidding!!! Man!! Soooo glad you made this! I've played it before for Pirc and Pterodactyl flexibility. Love this Solomon, thank you!

  36. Also, I would love that series you mentioned… just saying lol

  37. I like playing Pirc / Kia but it is good to know modern def. It is cool you can play the same system as white

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