Van’t Kruijs Opening

1.e3 is Van’t Kruijs opening. It is not really an opening but a way of transposing move into some other opening. So don’t need to be scared because of the fancy title of the blog. By playing 1.e3, white keeps the options of playing d4 or c4.

We will look at various possible set-ups that can arise after 1.e3.

English Opening

1.e3 d5 2.c4 leads to the English opening.

The game can go 2…e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.b3 Be7 5.Bb2 0-0 6.Nc3 c5 with equal game.

Stonewall attack

I have used 1.e3 to surprise my opponents by transposing into the stonewall attack. For example, 1.e3 Nf6 2.d4 d5 3.Bd3 (Pretending to play Colle system) c5 4.c3 Nc6

And here I often played 5.f4 to lead the game into stonewall attack by surprise. If beginners are unaware of this opening, then they come under a strong attack in the middlegame.

Bird opening

1.e3 d5 2.f4 can lead to the bird opening.

For example, 2…Nf6 3.b3 g6 4.Bb2 Bg7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 c5 7.0-0 Nc6 is the line that we have seen in the Bird opening blog post.

Other lines

1.e3 d5 2.Ne2 e5 3.d4 e4 4.c4 c6 leads to a structure similar to French advance variation with reversed colours.

The game can go 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Bd2 Na6 7.Qa4 with a playable game for both sides.

1.e3 d5 2.Ne2 e5 3.b3 Nf6 4.Bb2 Bd6 5.d3 0-0 is another uncommon structure white can opt for. White can play g3-Bg2 with double fianchetto bishops, keeping the options open to play either e4 or d4.

1.e3 e5

The game can go to completely irregular line after 1.e3 e5 2.Nf3 e4 3.Nd4 Nc6 4.d3 Nxd4 5.exd4 exd3 6.Bxd3 7.Nf3 0-0

Or after 1.e3 e5 2.b3 Nf6 3.Bb2 Nc6 4.Bb5 Bd6 5.Na3 e4 6.Nc4 Be7 7.Nxc6 dxc6 reaching a lesser known territory.

Finally, add a cute trap for fun, after 1.e3 Nc6 2.Ne2 Nb4 3.c3 Nd3# and black wins.

Game played with Van’t Kruijs Opening

Here is a game played between Carlsen, Magnus vs Ganguly, Surya Shekhar


1.e3 keeps the options open but at the same time restricts white’s possibilities to queen’s pawn opening structures. White cannot play opening set-ups which arise after 1.e4. Also, not directly controlling the center, it gives black an option to choose his own set-up.

1.e3 is completely playable when you want to avoid theoretical lines and make your opponent think from first move. However, the disadvantage is that white doesn’t make the best of his first move advantage.

Harikrishnan A

I am an International Fide Rated player with 10+ years of experience. Played many International Chess Tournaments and Commonwealth games.

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