ChessGoals Classical 1.d4 Course

ChessGoals Classical 1.d4 Course by National Master Matt Jensen and Adult Learner Jesse Buss

Original Red Wine
1 review


Similar lines and themes are repeated across chapters and variations


Each line leaves you with a plan, without going too deep into the weeds

No GM Games

Based on lines we expect you to see in games against non-masters

Common Traps

Common mistakes you may see, and how to punish them

Chapter Summary

  1. Nimzo Indian (15 lines)
  2. Queen’s Gambit Declined (15 lines)
  3. Slav (15 lines)
  4. King’s Indian Defense & Grunfeld (15 lines)
  5. Benoni Family (15 lines)
  6. 1…d5 Others (12 lines)
  7. Other Systems (13 lines)

Included With Your Course


Videos of Matt and Jesse covering the 12-15 most popular lines in each chapter (~60 minutes each).

PGN File

PGN file of all variations and annotations with instructions on how to view them with chess software and websites.

Discord Community

Discuss the Classical 1.d4 Course, study plans, chess improvement, and more. Matt and Jesse answer your questions.

Bonus Material

As we add content and bonus material, you will receive lifetime updates!

Chapter Guide

Chapter 1: Nimzo Indian

Nimzo Indian

The most common system for Black is the Nimzo-Indian Defense. We will follow a system similar to Mamedyarov and Carlsen by playing 4.Nf3 and 5.Bg5.

The resulting positions are solid, but press Black to play correctly. We will also look to transpose to Queen’s Gambit Declined structures if Black plays an early …d5.

Chapter 1 Preview

Chapter 2: Queen's Gambit Declined

The Queen’s Gambit Declined is a solid system that rivals the Nimzo-Indian in popularity. We recommend the Exchange Variation, which means we will capture on d5 early. 

The resulting Carlsbad structure is one that has thematic plans. Our recommendation is similar to the Caro-Kann course in reverse, looking to play Nge2 and f3.

Chapter 2 Preview

Chapter 3: Slav Exchange


We are back with another Exchange Variation, but we definitely aren’t playing for a draw. We recommend the 4.Bg5 sideline to pose the opponent with some tricky strategic problems right from the start.

The resulting positions will leave your opponent scratching their head, as you play through the moves with confidence.

Chapter 3 Preview

Chapter 4: KID & Grunfeld

KID & Grunfeld

After three solid chapters, we will play more aggressively against the kingside fianchetto. If Black chooses the King’s Indian Defense (KID), we will play an early h3 and g4.

Against the Grunfeld, we also have an aggressive system, this time using the h4 advance combined with Bf4 and e3. We are releasing this full chapter for free on YouTube.

Chapter 4 Full Video

Chapter 5: Benoni Family


The Benoni chapter covers the Benoni, Benko Gambit, Budapest, and 1…c5 lines. Against the Benoni, we will go for a quick center push with e4 and f4. In the Benko, we use the 4.Nd2 sideline to get some comfortable strategic positions.

In all of these lines, we are looking to obtain a strategic advantage or a very quick attack.

Chapter 5 Preview

Chapter 6: 1...d5 others

Chapter 6 covers less popular replies after 1.d4 d5 2.c4. We go into the Queen’s Gambit Accepted, Albin Counter-Gambit, Chigorin Defense, Tarrasch Defense, and more.

Against these lines we give you a solid response that also plays for an advantage without needing to memorize a ton of theory.

Chapter 6 Preview

Chapter 7: Other Systems


The final chapter wraps up all other common systems for Black. We go into the Modern Defense, Rat Defense, Dutch Defense, Englund Gambit, English Defense, and more.

Similar to chapter 6, we will get you into good positions without needing to memorize a disproportional amount of theory for the popularity of these defenses.

Chapter 7 Preview