A review of The 3…Qd8 Scandinavian: Simple and Strong by Daniel Lowinger

Reviewed by P.P.O. Kane

The 3…Qd8 Scandinavian: Simple and Strong
By Daniel Lowinger
Russell Enterprises, 2013
ISBN: 9781936490769

Daniel Lowinger makes a good case for an intriguing line of the Scandinavian (1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd8), a favourite of GMs Josif Dorfman, Nikola Djukic and David Garcia. He argues that White’s knight is, or may easily become, misplaced on c3 and will probably have to move later. Therefore the loss of time involved in retreating the queen to its original square will be recuperated.

There are one or two reasons why this line is little regarded. Apart from the apparent violation of principle, which applies to the Scandinavian as a whole (‘Don’t bring the queen out too early’), there’s the thought that surely there’s a more useful square for the queen than …d8. It hardly looks good or sensible at first sight, and one might well christen it the Yo-Yo Variation. Also, Fischer’s jildy demolition of Robatsch at Varna 1963 (20 moves) and Addison at Palma de Mallorca 1970 (24 moves) make a convincing case for the prosecution. But improvements and resources have been found for Black since then.

Pertinent in this regard is Bent Larsen’s interesting comment (quoted in the book) that the Scandinavian is an improved version of the Caro-Kann. Black at once exchanges d-pawn for e-pawn and so arrives at a Caro-Kann pawn structure.

It is an engagingly written monograph and Lowinger gives you a good understanding of the opening. He presents Black with at least two options against White’s main fifth move alternatives: (4.d4 Nf6) 5.Bc4, 5.Nf3 and 5.Bg5. Other less critical moves are covered also. By the end, you’ll likely be convinced that Black’s position is solid and sound, if not always especially exciting.

About the reviewer: P.P.O. Kane lives and works in Manchester, England. He welcomes responses to his reviews and you can reach him at ludic@europe.com