Attacking with the Queen's Gambit (Part 1)

Jan 7, 2010, 12:28 PM |

The Queen's Gambit is often characterized as a slow, positional (i.e., to some at least, boring) opening.  It is true that white can play a slower, less aggressive game, but this isn't the whole story!  Many openings arising after white's d4+c4 are quite exciting in their own right, and if white so chooses, he can play quite aggressively even out of an opening often perceived as more passive than e4. 

One example is the Anti-Moscow variation of the Semi-Slav defense. Not that the Semi-Slav needs to be more complicated, but enterprising players may elect to refuse to shut in their bishop with 5. e3 and instead play 5. Bg5, pinning the black knight. The standard Moscow variation runs 5... h6 6. Bxf6 Qxf6, while black may also elect to enter the ultra-sharp Botvinnik variation with 5... dxc4 6. e4 b5.  The Anti-Moscow arises when white retreats the bishop to h4 rather than exchaning it for the black knight on f6, with complicated play resulting.

First, a nice game from Etienne Bacrot in the Anti-Moscow variation. I won't add too much in the way of commentary so as to not detract from the enjoyment of the game.

And now, just for fun, here is a recent game I played in the same Anti-Moscow line of the Semi-Slav.  It's obviously not as good, but hopefully entertaining nevertheless.  This game shows the dangers of black ignoring simple development in an attempt to launch an early attack and try to win a pawn or two. It is also noteworthy (to me at least) because I think it's the most beautiful coordination of pieces I've achieved in one of my games.

Feel free to leave any comments or suggestions for improvement.