D10 - Slav Defense
Before reading this, take a moment to read my blog about the Queen's Gambit for some basic ideas.
The Slav Defense is a chess opening that begins with the moves:
The Slav is one of the primary defenses to the Queen's Gambit. Although it was analyzed as early as 1590, it was not until the 1920s that it started to be explored extensively. Many masters of Slavic descent helped develop the theory of this opening, including Alapin, Alekhine, Bogoljubov, and Vidmar.
The Slav received an exhaustive test during the two Alekhine–Euwe World Championship matches in 1935 and 1937. Played by 11 of the first 13 world champions, this defense was particularly favored by Euwe, Botvinnik, and Smyslov. More recently the Slav has been adopted by Anand, Ivanchuk, Lautier, Short, and other topgrandmasters, including use in six of the eight games that Vladimir Kramnik played as Black in the 2006 World Championship (in the other two, he played the related Semi-Slav Defense).
Today the theory of the Slav is very extensive and well-developed.
Exchange Slav -
The Slav Exchange Variation "is the system that takes the fun out of playing the Slav" for Black. After 3.cxd5 cxd5, the symmetrical position offers White only the advantage of the extra move, but the drawishposition offers Black little chance to win unless White is overly ambitious. The rooks will often be exchanged down the now open c-file. To avoid this possibility Black often chooses the move order 2...e6 followed by 3...c6 to enter the Semi-Slav.
In the second video above, the presenter comments that this opening should be played for white if they don't want to rely on a lot of theory. Just develop toward the center naturally.
As mentioned above, white should not become overly ambitious. This seems to provide some nice opportunities for Black. Also, it seems that whichever side controls the queen side has a nice advantage
As White -
- Play queitly. No need to look for sharp tactics. The Slav Exchange Variation is a win or draw for white. Allow black to make the mistakes.
- Save center pawn advances for later in the game. Doing so too early seems to give Black good counter play.
- Work to restrain Blacks queen side.
As Black -
- White will want to play quietly and wait out Black's attack. Black might want to encourage White to advance pawns too quickly or participate in tactics that could lure White into an unfavorable position.
- Control the queen side. Do not allow White to restrain you on the queenside.