The Semi-Slav - a good opening for club players?


I've been using the Old Indian against d4 for some time now, but have considered switching. So, I had a quick look at the Semi-Slav a couple of days ago. Never played it before.

Is this a good opening against d4 for club players and if so, why?


I suggest use BUDAPEST GAMBIT. If cannot, then play SEMI-SLAV FORMATION. Then BAIT opponent until he CASTLE. Then play G5 and H5 and EASY WIN (in 5 minute games).


The Semi-Slav can be somewhat passive at times, but it is very solid. I'd say it's a decent choice. I'd say DON'T play the Budapest because it is mostly based on tricks and traps and not good play. If u win with the Budapest it will probably only because you played a trap on an unsuspecting player. If u lose, which  becomes increasingly likely as you progress as a player, it will probably be because you couldn't hold the slightly worse position that arises if White plays correctly. 


Thanks for that. I played it once now yesterday and smashed white with it. I'm liking it! Bought the Sam Shankland course on it.


If you feel comfortable with the opening then by all means go for it. Club players lack the skill to properly evaluate all the intricacies of an opening anyway, so if you study up a bit on it with that course and develop some feel for the positions, you'll do great on club level.


On players quite often play the semi-slav as an old fashioned queens gambit where c6 has been played unnecessarily early. There is probably some vague fear of the exchange variation involved, although responding to c4xd5 with c6xd5 rarely good.

The sharp lines with d5xc4 followed by b5, like the Botvinnik variation are more rarely played. Although these are were get benefict of semi-slav move order.


Shankland does say the exchange variation is boring and drawish.


Semislav is extremely dull, I wouldn't recommend at all

asu01 wrote:

Semislav is extremely dull, I wouldn't recommend at all

Only the exchange variation - the other lines are some of the most complex and interesting in chess

My only comment is that many of the lines are quite irrational and non standard


My opinion is that in the semi-slav, black kind of has to go for it in the lines where white allows black to take on c4 and hold on to the pawn. This is a lot of forcing moves that have been worked out already and needs to be remembered. I don't know of many lines in the old indian that requires the same amount of memorization though. If you are getting tired of the dark-squared setups (d6-e5 and then trying to hold this central strongpoint), then I can understand trying to switch to light squared ones like the slav. But there are at least two other openings that can do this for you. One is the QGD, with the bishop on e7, the old-fashioned way, more solid but may be difficult to get complex positions. The other is the Nimzo-Ragozin complex, the main feature of which is Bb4. I think it is a good mix of complex and not necessarily memorization-dependent lines. But if you still prefer the semi-slav, then by all means.


No, it really isn't