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Also known in the Netherlands as the Van Geet opening, the Dunst (1.Nc3) is named after Ted Dunst, an American player who used it extensively. It is not widely studied, and has a tendency to transpose into other openings, but there are many original lines.

The main reason for the Dunst's lack of popularity is that White's first move (1.Nc3) stakes no claim in the center of the board. When compared to a similar move on the other side of the board (1.Nf3 - Reti's Opening, which prevents Black from playing the reply 1...e5), it allows Black a completely free hand in choosing his stance in the centre. 1...e5, 1...c5 and 1...d5 are the most common replies, which will be addressed in turn:

  • 1...e5

    This move can be replied to by 2.e4, transposing to a Vienna Game, or, if White wants to remain within the Dunst Opening, by 2.Nf3, which leads to an approximately even position after 2...Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Bg5 Bb4 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Qd4 Be7 8.e4

  • 1...c5

    Again, White can immediately transpose to a Closed Sicilian by playing 2.e4, or continue in an independent line with 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Bg5 (or 5.g3, leading to a more positional game). These lines tend to be favourable to White, conferring a long-term initiative which makes the opening popular among correspondence chess players.

  • 1...d5

    This is probably the main line, and is Black's most logical reply, taking advantage of the early committal of White's knight to grab space in the center and threaten to grab more (by pushing the pawn to d4, attacking the knight). The most common reply for White is 2.e4, encouraging Black to push the pawn further in the belief that it will become a weakness. A typical line will continue: 2.e4 d4 3.Nce2 c5 4.Ng3 Nf6 5.Bc4 e6 6.d3 Nc6 7.f4 Nf6. White plans to attack on the kingside whether or not Black castles there, but if Black defends correctly he should be able to equalize. The position is similar to those found in the Grand Prix Attack.

Grandmaster Ove Ekebjaerg recently scored 6/7 with the Dunst Opening in the 14th Correspondence Chess World Championships, demonstrating the opening's viability at the top levels. An underrated and under-analyzed opening.


For more analysis and games, visit http://www.chesscafe.com/text/kibitz25.txt

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