ChessGoals 1.e4 Course

ChessGoals 1.e4 Course by National Master Matt Jensen and Adult Learner Jesse Buss

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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

We study openings too much. Way too much.

So why did we make an opening course? Let me explain our reasoning.

We surveyed hundreds of chess players. Those who improved the most studied openings using just 5% of their total chess time. We made this repertoire to get you to 5%.

This repertoire is a complete 1.e4 system with the white pieces. In just 99 lines.

There is no reason to spend hours and hours memorizing opening lines you will never see. We’ve all been there. Studying line 400 of a 1000+ line opening repertoire and wondering if we’ll ever use it. Wondering if our time isn’t spent better somewhere else.

99 Lines

We condensed everything you will see into just 99 lines. 1.e4 takes time to learn, but you can review it in under an hour.

Just 99 lines? Won’t you miss out on essential traps, novelties and gotchyas? Yes and no.

We’re going to be recommending offbeat lines. We often recommend strange looking moves that are 4th or 5th most popular. We will get Black out of book before we are.


Since we have fewer lines, we focus heavily on resulting plans.

After each and every line we leave you with a plan. You will never be left in the dark. You will know the best places to put your pieces and how to navigate the middlegame.

Our recommendations are very consistent and you will see many common plans, ideas, and motifs. If you forget a repertoire move in your games– don’t worry. It will be easy to recover. You will know the ideas behind the position.

The best part? This 1.e4 repertoire scores better than most other systems at the club level. We’ll show you exactly why.

What do you get?

You will receive a .pgn file with the entire repertoire. It has over 16,000 words of instruction. You will also get over 6.5 hours of video. Delivered instantly to your inbox.

You will get lifetime access to our premium discord. If you have any questions, a line doesn’t make sense, or you just want to hang out- join hundreds of other chess improvers in our discord server. You’ll get clarity in minutes.

Chapter Summary

  1. Scotch Game: 4…Bc5
  2. Scotch Game: 4…Nf6
  3. Scotch Game Sidelines
  4. 1…e5 Sidelines
  5. Sicilian Alapin Part One
  6. Sicilian Alapin Part Two
  7. French Defense
  8. Caro-Kann Defense
  9. Scandinavian Defense
  10. Other 1st Moves

Included With Your Course


Videos of Matt and Jesse covering the 10 most popular lines in each chapter (30-45 minutes each).

PGN File

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

ChessGoals Discord

Discuss the 1.e4 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: Scotch Game 4...Bc5

1…e5 is played 40% of the time at the club level against 1.e4. The first chapter covers our main line in the Scotch Game, when Black plays 4…Bc5.

We will take an offbeat approach with Qe2, queenside castling, and pawn-storming the opponent’s king. This sets us up for some fun kingside attacks and chances for quick knockouts.

Chapter 2: Scotch Game 4...Nf6

About equal in popularity to 4…Bc5 is 4…Nf6. We will keep a consistent style to chapter 1. The recommendation is to capture on c6, queenside castle, and attack the black king!

The weakened queenside pawns for Black can also lead to some endgame conversions if we decide that’s more practical than the kingside knockout.

Chapter 2 Preview

Chapter 3: Scotch Game Sidelines

Chapter 3 covers sidelines after we play 3.d4. The Philidor Defense (3…d6) gets some coverage in this chapter and in chapter 4.

Eight out of ten lines in the chapter are on 4.Nxd4 Nxd4, which is a small mistake for Black. We’ll show you how to take advantage of this move with a similar setup to the previous two chapters.

Chapter 3 Preview

Chapter 4: King Pawn Sidelines

Chapter 4 covers four king pawn systems for Black. The Elephant and the Latvian receive one line each, and we will help you safely navigate to an advantage.

The Philidor and the Alekhine Defenses make up the bulk of this chapter. In both cases we are able to reach some low-risk positions to play for the win.

Chapter 4 Preview

Chapter 5: Sicilian Alapin Part 1

The Sicilian occurs in about 20% of club level games after 1.e4. We are going to play the c3-Sicilian, also known as the Alapin Sicilian. This solid and somewhat rare system will get the game in our court.

Our theme is to go for a space advantage and a kingside attack. Chapter 5 covers 2…Nc6 and 2…d5.

Chapter 5 Preview

Chapter 6: Sicilian Alapin Part 2

The Sicilian Alapin Part 2 covers Nf6, e6, g6, e5, and d6 for Black’s second move. 2…Nf6 is the most common at master level so we decided to give it some extra coverage in this course.

The plans will stay consistent with chapter 5, aiming to grab space and attack on the kingside. An early e6 by Black will transpose to chapter 7.

Chapter 6 Preview

Chapter 7: French Defense

We pride ourselves on consistent plans across chapters here at ChessGoals. The French Defense Advance variation works very well with the Alapin Sicilian.

We are aiming to squeeze Black on the kingside and attack in that direction. Early e6 moves in the Sicilian will directly transpose to this chapter. We cover lines where Black castles both queenside and kingside.

Chapter 7 Full Video

Chapter 8: Caro-Kann Defense

We have a full Caro-Kann Course from the Black side. From White’s perspective, we are recommending the Advance Variation. This goes well with our French Defense recommendation. The idea is to grab space in the center and towards the kingside. We will look to squeeze Black and also to create a kingside attack.

Chapter 8 Full Video

Chapter 9: Scandinavian Defense

The Scandinavian Defense gives us an opportunity to reach solid positions that give a comfortable advantage.

We will aim to have faster development, extra space, and to control both flanks. This is one of my favorite chapters, and I think you will learn to enjoy facing 1…d5 when it shows up in your games.

Chapter 9 Preview

Chapter 10: Other First Moves

Chapter 10 Preview