The appeal of the Scandinavian Defence is easy to understand: it is very forcing – Black is virtually guaranteed to get his desired structure. There are no annoying ‘Anti-Scandinavians’ to study!

But for many decades the Scandinavian was regarded with some suspicion, as Black apparently loses time recapturing on d5. Modern players have a different view. The great Danish player Bent Larsen kickstarted the revolution with his provocative assertion that it is an improved Caro-Kann (and, not least, beating Karpov with our opening)! But the 21st-century Scandinavian is a different beast altogether; the new main line of the whole opening (3...Qd6) has proven to have great strategic richness, with more than a few tactical tricks lurking just behind the scenes. The Scandinavian has been transformed into an opening that strong grandmasters are willing to use as their main defence, rather than as an occasional surprise weapon.

This thoroughly modern guide focuses on these new approaches, while also covering the more traditional main lines. Kasparov guides the reader carefully through each system, explaining his recommendations with wit and clarity. With his help, you will have your opponents wishing there really were some ‘Anti-Scandinavian’ lines!

Sergey Kasparov is a grandmaster from Belarus. He plays regularly in international events around the globe and is an experienced writer, with several books and online reports to his credit.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

“After 2 exd5 Qxd5 3 Nc3, with the fashionable move 3...Qd6 and later ...c6 Black creates a kind of Caro-Kann structure – hard for White to crack. Sergey Kasparov is an experienced author and includes plenty of practical tips and exercises. An excellent openings book” – Bab Wilders, Nederlands Dagblad

“In my opinion, Kasparov’s book is the first high quality book that place the Scandinavian Qd6 as the main line of the Scandinavian system. I was impressed by the way the author combines whole games with game fragments (usually a chess book only uses one format, but not both). To combine a whole game with relevant game fragments the author needs, first, a great command of the subject (practical experience), and second, the knowledge of a great number of games played over a long period of time and finally, the ability to use pawn structures to anchor the analysis” – Miguel Ararat,

“A well-thought-out repertoire book... Sergey Kasparov helps you become an expert on the Scandinavian with 3...Qd6!” – John Elburg,

“Conclusion: Understanding the Scandinavian is a new addition to the book market and focuses especially on the strategic basis of the Scandinavian Defence. It is both an instruction manual and a guide book, and distinguishes itself particularly by explaining and illustrating as much as possible of what’s happening on the board.” – Uwe Bekemann (German Correspondence Chess Federation).