What are peoples thoughts on the queens gambit on either the accepted or declined variations?
for white or black?
as black, i avoid it and play the benoni or benko gambit. i used to play the slav against 1. d4 and did well with it, but i hated the type of middle games i'd reach.
for white, i find the QG too slow for my liking.
obviously it's a very solid opening that leads to a lot of positional play. QGA lines can lead to some more open lines sometimes.
The QGA is very reliable and solid, as long as you return the pawn in a timely fashion to finish developing. The QGD is hilariously solid as well, so much that I have some wins from people just bouncing off of it with an ill-prepared attack, then getting ground down in the endgame.
In general Queen's pawn openings tend to be a little less tactical, more forgiving of move order transposition, and at least at grand master level score slightly better than e4 openings. Consider the recent world championship- every single game was a 1d4 opening, with a lot of Slav, QGD, several Catalan, etc. Until recently I played 1d4 myself.
On the other hand, its is very common bit of advice to play 1 e4 at lower levels of play (say sub-1800). 1 e4 leads to a more open game, a more tactical game. For a lower level player like me, the emphasis needs to be on tactics. Its all well and good to try to capitalize on having the bishop pair, or enemy weakness on a particular color, or some such thing, but until you are past the point where you fail to see two and three move tactical threats (which there are certainly some days where I fall to such things) subtle positional issues don't decide the game, tactics does. As a result, I switched to 1 e4 as white, and some systems as black that lead to a more open, tactical game. I have also spend my "training" time almost entirely on tactical drills, and inch by inch I think I am making some progress. I have won my last four correspondence games, including a nice one where I played the Scotch opening and won some material early due to a tactical goof by my opponent.
So as white I would say it depends on the type of game you are looking for.
As black, My personal recommendation would be to try something like the QGA, or if you feel daring, the Chigorin. They involve some positional concessions, but they give you much more activity, which at my level is more important the subtle positional strengths.
What's a queen's gambit?
I wouldn't go so far as to say the QGA is 'solid'. It is considerably more tactical and dangerous than the QGD, especially if white plays aggressively with moves like 3. e4.
I've played both the QGA and the QGD. The former is like running through a minefield, while the latter is like having a cup of tea with a friend.
Well, it's a matter of the level of the players.
So much of an opening's reputation depends on how it plays out in grandmaster practice. At that level, the QGA and Petroff are drawing weapons in the hands of tournament players to such an extent that they're considered the Rolls Royces of solidity. Indeed, as I flip through the pages of my two opening surveys, both use the word "solid" in their couple-paragraph descriptions of the QGA.
At the amateur level, the wide open nature and lively piece play of each of those openings is less likely to lead to a bevy of harmless exchanges, and more likely to lead to tactical blunders and brilliancies.
One of them even mentions 3.e4 as "less ambitoius." This is obviously absurd when considered at the club level, where seizing the center like that is tantamount to initiating a game long bloodbath. But e5 lines blunt the edge pretty effectively with best play by black.
So solid? Ambitious? Open? Drawish? Tactical? Eye of the beholder, sort of thing. Learn to play those openings for draws and for wins, and you've got a repertoire for a lifetime.
On the contrary, black's "best play" still leaves issues. Consider the following established theory:
The above is documented in "How to beat 1. d4" by James Rizzitano. The book is based on a repertoire using the QGA, yet gives no antidote for Qc2 by white. Instead, Rizzitano merely mentions the move as "interesting". In reality, the move gives black serious problems. When the position is plugged into Rybka, the eval is close to +0.60 and climbing. That's the kind of stuff that ICCF matches can use to grind out a nearly forced win for white, and certainly harkens to the mindfield issue I eluded to.
I'll put it to you another way: If I were playing an ICCF game and I know black wants a QGA, I'd play 3. e4 and be confident black will face a serious struggle in this line... And that's with the fact that computer help is legal on ICCF!