How To Meet 1.d4

How To Meet 1.d4


What is the strongest defence to 1.d4?

The opening I show you in this video allows you to be aggressive and attack the opponent WITHOUT making any strategic concessions!

And this opening is...The Semi-Slav Defence!

What makes the Semi-Slav such a great opening?

1. It's flexible. There are a lot of good ways to play the Semi-Slav Defence, meaning you can easily find a way to play it that suits your style and that you enjoy!

2. It puts early pressure on White. In many lines, Black is able to either grab a pawn with ...dxc4, or break in the centre with a ...c5 or ...e5 break to unleash the energy of Black's active pieces!

3. You can play it via. several different move orders! The Semi-Slav is such a powerful and effective opening to objectively equalize against 1.d4 while keeping strong practical winning chances, that many 1.d4 players avoid it.

However, we can fight fire with fire, as there are no less than three effective move orders we can use to reach the Semi-Slav! Those move orders are:

A: The 'Nimzo' Move Order (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4), so named because it allows us to meet 3.Nc3 with 3...Bb4, the Nimzo-Indian. In this way, we avoid the practically unpleasant Exchange QGD that would arise after 3...d5 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5.

B: The 'Slav' Move Order (1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6). This move order is the one most players think of when one mentions the Semi-Slav, and it has the advantage of making the Catalan approach with g3 harmless.

The flip side is that White gains other safe and more strategic options, such as the Slow Slav (4.e3 instead of 4.Nc3) and the Exchange Variation (3.cxd5).

C: The 'Triangle' Move Order (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.Nf3 Nf6). This move order is the least common way of reaching the Semi-Slav, meaning it may be more likely to trip up your opponents - and you avoid the Exchange Variation, as the early cxd5 is much less effective when Black hasn't played ...Nf6 (or White has played an early Nf3).

However, this move order does require Black to be ready for the sharp Marshall Gambit (with 4.e4 instead of 4.Nf3). Also after 3.Nf3, Black should probably revert to move order A with 3...Nf6.

Trying to avoid the Catalan with 3...c6 gives White extra options, such as 4.e3 Nf6 5.b3, when White can argue that not playing Nc3 already gives him a slightly improved version of a normal Semi-Slav.

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Let me know in the comments below - which move order do you like best for Black?