1. e3

Van't Kruijs Opening
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
e3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
Named afterMaarten van't Kruijs
ParentIrregular chess opening
Synonym(s)Van't Kruys Opening

The Van't Kruijs[1] Opening (Dutch pronunciation: [vɑn ət ˈkrœys]) is a chess opening defined by the move:

1. e3

It is named after the Dutch player Maarten van't Kruijs (1813–1885) who won the sixth Dutch championship in 1878. As this opening move is rarely played, it is considered an irregular opening, and thus it is classified under the A00 code in the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings.


The Van't Kruijs Opening is not popular. According to ChessBase, it ranks eleventh in popularity out of the twenty possible first moves. It releases the king's bishop, and makes a modest claim in the centre, but the move is somewhat passive compared to much more common King's Pawn Game (1. e4). The queen's bishop's development is somewhat obstructed by the pawn on e3, and White usually wants to take more than a modest stake of the centre.

Although not very aggressive for a first move, play may transpose to lines of the English Opening (c2–c4), Queen's Pawn Game (d2–d4), or reversed French Defense (delayed d2–d4), reversed Dutch Defense (f2–f4) positions or the modern variation of Larsen's Opening (b2-b3).

There are a few experimental moves that can be tried, however. For example, after 1.e3 e5, White can play 2.e4!?, therefore making it a truly reversed Double King's Pawn Opening (or Open Game). This is often used when White has much knowledge of the opening when playing as Black. Therefore, this can be used to ensnare a few opponents into traps. However, since this gives the first move advantage to Black straight away, this is not recommended. Similarly, 1.e3 f5 2.e4 goes to a reversed From's Gambit, where White is practically playing as Black.

The Van't Kruijs Opening is not a common choice for grandmasters, but its ability to transpose into many different openings explains its attraction for some players such as the Czech grandmaster Pavel Blatny, Aron Nimzowitsch,[2] and Bent Larsen.

See also[]


  1. ^ Also spelled Van't Kruys.
  2. ^ Aron Nimzowitsch playing 1.e3 at Chessgames.com

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