How to face the move Queen to b6 (chess lessons)

NM linlaoda
Sep 27, 2012, 2:00 AM |

How to face the move ...Qb6


We start with the famous position:








Black just played Qd8...b6. How do we characterize this move? It violates the theory of developing minor pieces before the queen, so what is the purpose?

Black's queen attacks the b2 pawn: How should White deal with it?

1) White ignores the pawn (poisoned pawn variation)

However, what if White does not want to sacrifice the pawn? Not everybody likes the sharp sacrificial style that is demanded after the sacrifice. There of course is the alternative Nb3, covering the pawn, but I would like to look at a more subtle approach:

2) the 'subtle' a3

This is also useful in other opening structures:

This theme happens very often, and very often the move a3 can be used to avoid making backsteps in development. I hope that this can be useful in your games!
*Bonus* If you use this in your game, post it in the comments!