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Owen's Defense Guide

Owen's Defense Guide

The Owen’s Defense is a chess opening for Black that arises after the moves 1.e4 b6. It’s an unconventional but sound way of facing 1.e4. The Owen’s Defense is a perfect choice to surprise White and take them out of their comfort zone right away. This opening is also known as the Queen's Fianchetto Defense.

Owen's Defense moves

There is not too much theory around the Owen’s Defense, which can be a problem for some and an appealing feature for others.

Currently, the Owen’s Defense is not used by elite Grandmasters in classical play, although it has a place in rapid and blitz games, and even Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura have used it.

Most Played Line in the Owen’s Defense

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7

Owen's Defense moves

White occupies the center with their central pawns. Black develops their bishop to the natural square b7.

3.Bd3 e6

Owen's Defense moves

White protects their pawn, while Black opens the diagonal for their other bishop.

4.Nf3 c5

Owen's Defense moves

White is now ready to castle. Black strikes in the center.

5.c3 Nf6

Owen's Defense moves

White decides to simply support their d4 pawn with c3. Black attacks the e4 pawn.

6.Qe2 Be7

Owen's Defense moves

White protects their e4 pawn. Black is now also ready to castle.

7.O-O Nc6

Owen's Defense moves

Other Lines in the Owen’s Defense

Even though the existing theory on the Owen’s Defense is scarce, there are a few well-known lines you can learn.

Exchange Variation

The Exchange Variation in the Owen’s Defense happens after 1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7

Owen's Defense moves

3.Bd3 e6 4.Nf3 c5

Owen's Defense moves

5.c3 cxd4

Owen's Defense moves

6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3

Owen's Defense moves

4…d5

Some authors suggest that Black is better after playing 4…d5 instead of 4…c5.

In this case, the line goes like this:

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7

Owen's Defense moves

3.Bd3 e6 4.Nf3 d5

Owen's Defense moves

After this, the game could continue with:

5. exd5 Qxd5 6.Nc3 Bb4

Owen's Defense moves

3…Nf6

Instead of playing 3…e6, Black can play with 3…Nf6 and then with Nfd7:

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7

Owen's Defense moves

3. Bd3 Nf6

Owen's Defense moves

4.Qe2 e6

Owen's Defense moves

5.Nf3 d5

Owen's Defense moves

6.e5 Nfd7

Owen's Defense moves

7.0-0 c5

Owen's Defense moves

Transposing to the English Defense

White also has the chance to transpose to the English Defense if they play 4.c4 instead of 4.Nf3:

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7

Owen's Defense moves

3.Bd3 e6 4.c4

Owen's Defense moves

Model Games

Related Chess Courses

Owen’s Defense Complete System with GM Miloje Ratkovic

Play 1…b6! with IM Bryan Solano Cuya

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B00 Sub-variants:

Overview

Games on Database: 4878
Last Played: Jul 2024
Overall score:
46.7% 21.4% 31.8%

Played frequently by:

White  
Joseph Henry Blackburne 5 games
Elisabeth Paehtz 5 games
Dragoljub Velimirovic 5 games
Black  
Pavel Blatny 72 games
Nona Gaprindashvili 51 games
Branko Filipovic 49 games

Possible continuations:

2. d4  4008
47.9 % 21.8 % 30.4 %
2. Nc3  306
40.5 % 19.3 % 40.2 %
2. Nf3  235
38.3 % 22.1 % 39.6 %
2. Bc4  104
42.3 % 14.4 % 43.3 %
2. g3  64
42.2 % 23.4 % 34.4 %
2. c4  60
60 % 20 % 20 %
2. d3  48
33.3 % 25 % 41.7 %
2. f4  31
51.6 % 19.4 % 29 %
2. b3  9
44.4 % 44.4 %
2. a3  2
50 % 50 %
2. Bd3  2
50 % 50 %
2. Bb5  2
100 %
2. Qf3  2
100 %