Chess Opening: Part VII: Beating Queen's gambit

Chess Opening: Part VII: Beating Queen's gambit

Aug 28, 2013, 6:13 AM |

Hey everyone ...  ! :) Just about to talk about the Queen's gambit and a defense against it. 

So , I'm not going to talk about why white plays the Queen's gambit or how to treat it. But I'm going to concentrate on black’s side .

Black has various systems against it , from dubious Marshall defense to very radical Tartakower system . So , white can either accept the gambit , to decline or even to generate his own counterplay (e.g Chigorin defense) . But the main option still remains to decline the gambit , and opposing to King’s gambit , where black can hold on the extra pawn, in the Queen’s gambit white sooner or later will regain the sacrificed pawn .

The Queen’s gambit is a very strong opening . Thus , black side must choose a weapon against it. Some time ago the best option was to decline the gambit with 2…e6 and enter Orthodox defense , which actually gives more drawish chances for both sides.

But , we play for victory in chess , so the option that will give black more than goodchances is the razor-sharp Semi-Slav defense . In contrast to the classical Slav defense , where black is trying to reach somewhat quiet lines ,  the Semi-Slav defense is more aggressive and dynamic.

With Black advancing pawns to both e6 and c6, Black is threatening to capture the white pawn on c4, and hold it with b7–b5.

White has several systems against the Semi-Slav. He can play 5.Bg55.e3 5.Qb3, 5.g3 and 5.cxd5 .

Bg5 is most aggressive from these and leads to what’s known as Botvinnik variation after 5….dxc4  or to Moscow variation with 5…h6 . But cause of complicity and sharpness of these 2 systems , white now avoids this lines.

More quite approach is 5.e3 , but again both sides can sharpen the game . Black must develop his pieces harmonically say move like Bd6 , Nbd7 , Qc7 , 0-0 , a6 , dxc4 , and the give a counter-blast in the center with c5! . White can in his turn play either Bd3 (leads to Meran variation) or Qc2(Stoltz variation) . The latter is more popular today , the main reason is that after 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 ,although exchanging a central pawn for the flank pawn ,black is developing his light squared bishop with tempo(the developing of this pieces gives black hard times in many variation of the Queen’s gambit) , also black will play a6 , Bb7 , 0-0 and play c5! solving all his opening problems. But in the Qc2 variation although black can still keep the options listed above , he will do it only after whites playing the move Bd3. And also after 6.Qc2 Bd6 white can try the sharp gambit 7.g4 (Shabalov gambit) , offering a pawn for strong initiative on the kingside but also leading to highly unclear and complicated lines.

Another approach is the accelerated Semi-slav defense , leading to another sharp variation known as Noteboom variation and to say that statistically black has more winning chances here , is enough to start playing it.

I find the Semi-Slav defense a highly strong at the same time interesting defense to the Queen’s gambit. The Semi-Slav defense is now played by many GMs , including Levon Aronian ,Vishy  Anand , Boris Gelfand , Peter Svidler etc. The brilliance 23 move win of Anand over Aronian was with this defense.

Also search for “Play the Semi-Slav defense” by Davit Vigorito. Check out for videos of it. --Learn it--  --Play it-- --Enjoy it-- --Conquer with it--