Queen's Gambit

Jul 2, 2012, 2:37 AM |

The Queen's Gambit is a chess opening that starts with the moves:

1. d4 d52. c4

With 2.c4, White threatens to exchange a wing pawn (the c-pawn) for a center pawn (Black's d-pawn) and dominate the center with e2–e4. This is not a true gambit, as Black cannot hold the pawn, for example: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e3 b5? (Black tries to guard his pawn but should pursue development with 3...e5!) 4.a4 c6? 5.axb5 cxb5?? 6.Qf3! winning a piece.

The Queen's Gambit is divided into two major categories based on Black's response: The Queen's Gambit Accepted(QGA) and the Queen's Gambit Declined(QGD). In the QGA, Black plays 2...dxc4, temporarily giving up the center to obtain freer development. In the QGD, Black usually plays to hold d5. Frequently Black will be cramped, but Black aims to exchange pieces and use the pawn breaks at c5 and e5 to free his game.



After 1.d4 d5 2.c4:

2...dxc4 (Queen's Gambit Accepted) (QGA) 2...Nc6 (Chigorin Defence) 2...c5 (Symmetrical Defense) 2...c6 (Slav Defence) 2...e5 (Albin Countergambit) 2...e6 (Queen's Gambit Declined) (QGD) 2...Bf5 (Baltic Defence) 2...Nf6 (Marshall Defence) 2...g6 (Alekhine's Variation)

Technically, any Black response other than 2...dxc4 (or another line with an early ...dxc4 that transposes into the QGA) is a Queen's Gambit Declined.



Queen's Gambit Accepted :


The Queen's Gambit Accepted (QGA) is a chess opening characterised by the moves:

1. d4 d52. c4 dxc4Main variations

After 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4, the most popular move is 3.Nf3. However, there are other moves which have been played by strong grandmasters.



The main lines of the QGA begin with this move. White delays measures to regain the pawn for the moment and prevents Black from striking at the centre with ...e5. The recovery of the pawn will usually be by means of 4.e3 and 5.Bxc4. Black's most common rejoinder is 3...Nf6, though the variation 3...a6 was introduced by Alekhine and bears his name.


The main line of the Queen's Gambit Accepted continues with:

3... Nf6
4. e3

4.Qa4+ leads to the Mannheim Variation.


4... e6

An alternative is 4...Bg4 5.Bxc4 e6, usually leading to a solid position, though the game can become sharp if White immediately attempts to exploit the weakness of Black's queenside in the line 6.Qb3 Bxf3 7.gxf3 Nd7 as Black gains great piece activity and spoils White's kingside pawns in return for sacrificing a pawn.

5. Bxc4 c5
6. 0-0

A major alternative to castling is 6.Qe2, called the Furman Variation after Semion Furman. The idea behind 6.Qe2 is to support the advance of the e-pawn.6... a6
6...cxd4 brings about an isolated queen's pawn structure, and has been called the Steinitz Variation.
The early clarification of the central tension gives White too free a hand and the line is rarely seen in modern practice.Black has played to challenge the d4-pawn, and prepare ...b5 which wins time by harassing the bishop on c4. In the meantime, White has safeguarded the king and regained the pawn. At this point, there are several options available for White, who needs to consider whether or not to deal with the positional threat of ...b5. The old main line, 7.Qe2 allows ...b5, and theory holds that Black can equalise against it. The main modern preference is the retreat 7.Bb3, so that 7...b5 can be met with 8.a4, while 7.a4, stopping ...b5 at the cost of weakening the b4-square.3.e4

3. e4 is a newer line — actually a resurrected classical line — aggressively establishing a pawn center and making a bid for central control which Black will try to undermine. It is called the Central Variation by Rizzitano, who notes its increase in popularity and strategic and tactical complexity.Raetsky and Chetverik consider the line straightforward and critical, and remark that anyone playing the Queen's Gambit Accepted with Black must be prepared to meet it.

Trying to protect the pawn with the greedy 3...b5 is fairly risky and rarely seen.The main reply against the Central Variation is opposing the pawn center with 3...e5, which is a highly theoretical system. Other replies aimed at challenging the center are 3...Nc6 with ideas akin to the Chigorian Defence , 3...Nf6, provoking 4.e5, and 3...c5 undermining the center at d4.



The apparently modest 3.e3 prepares immediate recovery of the pawn and has often been employed by strong players, including Karpov . The line long had a harmless reputation due to the early discovery of 3...e5 which strikes back at the center. A typical continuation is then 4.Bxc4 exd4 5.exd4, leading to an isolated queen's pawn position. However, the open positions which ensue have not proved easy for Black to handle in practice, and many players simply play 3...e6 to transpose back to the main lines. Nonetheless, 3...e5 was Rizzitano's recommendation in his repertoire against 3.e3.

An opening trap where Black tries clinging onto the c4-pawn was pointed out by Salvio in 1604. If Black defends the pawn with 3...b5? 4.a4 c6 5.axb5 cxb5??, the a8-h1 diagonal has been fatally weakened and 6.Qf3 wins a minor piece . Trying to defend the pawn by 3...Be6 may hold on to the pawn, but White has good compensation after 4.Ne2.



3. Nc3 was labelled "misguided" by Raetsky and Chetverik, because the development does not control d4 and e5, and the knight is vulnerable to a b-pawn advance from Black. 3...e5, 3...Nf6, and 3...a6 are all reasonable replies, and 3...Nc6 leads to a standard line in the Chigorin Defense. 3.Nc3 was recommended by Keene and Jacobs in their opening repertoire for White players.



The queen check by 3.Qa4+ Nc6 4.Nf3 will quickly regain the pawn with Qxc4, but the early development of the queen allows Black to win time by harassing it and this line is rarely played.




Queen's Gambit Declined:


The Queen's Gambit Declined (QGD) is a chess opening in which Black declines a pawn offered by White in the Queen's Gambit:

1 d4 d52 c4

Instead of 2...dxc4, Black instead plays one of various defenses. A common response by Black is:


This is known as the Orthodox Line of the Queen's Gambit Declined.When the opening Queen's Gambit Declined is mentioned, it is usually assumed to be referring to the Orthodox Line.

The Orthodox Line can be reached by a number of different move order, such as 1 d4 e6 2 c4 d5; 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 d5; 1 c4 e6 2 Nc3 d5 3 d4; 1 Nf3 d5 2 c4 e6 3 d4; and so on.


Orthodox Line (general concepts)

Playing 2...e6 releases Black's dark-squared bishop , while obstructing his light-squared bishop. By declining White's temporary pawn acrifice, Black erects a solid position; the pawns on d5 and e6 give Black a foothold in the center. The Queen's Gambit Declined has the reputation of being one of Black's most reliable defenses to 1 d4. In this situation, White will try to exploit the passivity of Black's light-squared bishop, and Black will try to release it, trade it, or prove that, while passive, the bishop has a useful defensive role.

An eventual ...dxc4 by Black will surrender the center to White, and Black will usually not do this unless he can extract a concession, usually in the form of gaining a tempo, by capturing on c4 only after White has played Bd3 first. In the Orthodox Line, the 'fight for the tempo' revolves around White's efforts to play all other useful developing moves prior to playing Bd3.


Black avoids 3...Nf6

After 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 (other third moves are also possible: 3 cxd5 may be played to lead to the Exchange line, 3 Nf3 keeps options open, and 3 g3 will transpose to the Catalan), Black's main move is 3...Nf6, though he has other options as well:

3...c6 now the Semi-Slav Defense may be reached via 4 Nf3 Nf6, though 4 e4 dxe4 5 Nxe4 Bb4+ 6 Bd2 (6 Nc3 c5 gives little) 6...Qxd4 7 Bxb4 Qxe4+ 8 Be2 leads to a sharp struggle, and 4 Nf3 dxc4 is the Noteboom Variation, also sometimes known as the Abrahams Variation, after the English master, Gerald Abrahams. If Black is willing to accept an isolated d-pawn he can play 3...c5. This leads to a variation of the QGD called the Tarrasch Defense. 3...Be7 usually transposes to positions arising from 3...Nf6, and has the advantage, from Black's standpoint, of avoiding the insidious pressure of the main lines in the Exchange Variation arising after 3...Nf6 4 cxd5 exd5 5 Bg5 with an annoying pin. White will now usually play 4 cxd5 exd5 5 Bf4 c6 6 e3, when 6...Bf5 7 g4 became a topical line after its adoption by Mikhail Botvinnik in his 1963 title match with Tigran Petrosian. 3...Bb4?! confusing a Nimzo–Indianwith a Queen’s Gambit (also known as the Berg defense), and at this point an inaccuracy. White has at least two good continuations: 4 Qa4+ Nc6 5 Nf3 where Black is forced to block the c-pawn with the knight, and 4 a3 Bxc3 5 bxc3 and White has the bishop pair almost for free (on the average worth half a pawn), since cxd5 is unstoppable and there will be no doubled pawns as a counterbalance.

Black Plays 3...Nf6

Lines beginning with the moves 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Nf6 are covered by ECO codes D35–D69. These are old lines that can transpose into many other queen pawn openings. White has several ways of dealing with Black's setup:

Main Variations of QGD (4 Bg5 Be7 5 Nf3)

Tartakower–Makogonov–Bondarevsky System (TMB system):5...h6 6 Bh4 0-0 7 e3 b6, is one of the most solid continuations for Black. Anti-Tartakower–Makogonov–Bondarevsky (Anti-TMB): 5...h6 6 Bxf6 Bxf6 this line was extensively tested in the Kasparov - Karpov matches in 1980s. To this day Black has no problems in this line despite being tested at the highest levels. Most recently Boris Gelfand defended the Black side of this variation in the 2011 candidates matches which eventually he went on to win. For example in the 3rd round of the final candidate match he forced White to accept a draw in 14 moves with a very strong novelty: Grischuk vs Gelfand, Elista 2011 Lasker Defense: 5...0-0 6 e3 h6 7 Bh4 Ne4 8 Bxe7 Qxe7, is also a solid line, often leading to the exchange of two sets of minor pieces. It was this line that Viswanathan Anand chose in the final game of the World Chess Championship 2010 in order to defeat Veselin Topalov and retain the world championship. Orthodox Defense: 5...0-0 6 e3 Nbd7 7 Rc1 c6 and now White has two main moves: 8 Bd3 and 8 Qc2. After 8 Bd3 dxc4 9 Bxc4 Black has surrendered the center and stands somewhat cramped, but has succeeded in making White lose a tempo by playing Bd3 before Bxc4. White will try to use his advantage in space to attack, whereas Black will try to keep White at bay while striking back at the center. Capablanca's main idea here was the freeing maneuver 9...Nd5 10 Bxe7 Qxe7 11 0-0 Nxc3 12 Rxc3 e5 13 dxe5 Nxe5 14 Nxe5 Qxe5 15 f4 Qe7, which has led to a number of exchanges in the center, though Black must exercise care even in the wake of this simplification. This line was once so frequently played that it has a separate code (D69) in ECO, though the lack of active counter play for Black has made the main line of the Orthodox a backwater in modern practice. Cambridge Springs Defense (4 Bg5 Nbd7)

he Cambridge Springs Defense was introduced more than a century ago, and is still played. 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 Nbd7 (setting up the Elephant Trap) 5 e3 c6 6 Nf3 Qa5, now Black intends ...Bb4 and possibly ...Ne4, with pressure along the a5–e1 diagonal. This Black defense is popular among amateurs because there are several traps White can fall into, for example7 Nd2 (one of the main lines, countering Black's pressure along the diagonal) 7...Bb4 8 Qc2 0-0 and here 9 Bd3?? loses since 9...dxc4! (threatening ...Qxg5) 10 Bxf6 cxd3! 11 Qxd3 Nxf6 wins a piece for Black.

The Exchange Variation (4 cxd5 exd5)

1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 cxd5 exd5 5 Bg5 c6 6 Qc2 and White has a pawn majority in the center, Black has a pawn majority on the queenside. This pawn structure gives White the opportunity to either advance his pawns in the center by means of Nge2, f2–f3, followed by e2–e4, or play for a minority attack by means of the plan Rb1, followed by b2–b4–b5, then bxc6 in order to create a weak pawn at c6. While Black can play ...cxb5, or recapture on c6 with a piece, each of these possibilities are even less desirable than the backward pawn in the open file. For Black, the exchange at d5 has released his light-squared bishop and opened the e-file, giving him the use of e4 as a springboard for central and kingside play. While chances are balanced, Black is usually more or less forced to use his superior activity to launch a piece attack on White's king, as the long-term chances in the QGD Exchange structure favour White. The following games are as model games for White:

Central Pawn Advance: Carlsen vs Jakovenko, Nanjing 2009 Minority attack: Evans vs Opsahl, Dubrovnik 1950.

The Ragozin Variation (4 Nf3 Bb4)

The Ragozin Variation (ECO code D37–D39) occurs after 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Nf3 Bb4. An important line in this variation is the Vienna variation where the game continues: 5 Bg5 dxc4 6 e4. White pawns or pieces to occupy the central squares in exchange for long-term pawn structure weaknesses. An instance of Vienna variation played at the highest level was Fine vs Euwe, AVRO 1938.