Unusual BB4 Semi-Slav...


So recently, in an OTB tournament 1 of my opponents in the first round played an unusual "BB4 Semi Slav." When looking at some of my friends boards, I noticed that some of their opponents were also playing this. I eventually went on to win this game but then I go home onto Chessbase to analyze it and apparantly this "Bb4 Semi- Slav" has never ever been played. Now my question is how should I go about refuting this. Here is the unusual and annoying line:

So how should I deal with this unusual line? This should also allow me to figure out why it isn't played at the amster level. Was the way I dealt with it ok-personally I feel it wasn't since he had that Ne4 annoying move and Nh5-

But anyways...How should I deal with this line in the future? Thanks for the replies :]


To me it sort of looks like a Nimzo


Yea, it does sort of look like a Nimzo Semi-Slav morphed together. There must be a way to refute it though, as it has not been played at master level at all (based on my CBLight 2009 database)


I haven't check this with a CPU, but here's what I would have played.

Bb4 isn't a great move because I don't think it's a good idea for black to trade off there dark squared bishop, so it's not really doing much on b4.

After the exchange on c3 I think white's should plan to play on the king side so e3, and Bd3 may have been better. Also After 7. Qc2 can black take the pawn on c4 and try hold to it?  I would have played 7. e3.

I wouldn't have played cxd4, It does get rid of the doubled pawns but it does leave you with a backwards pawn on a open file.

And with the Queen on c2, d3 seems like a more natural square for the bishop.

11.0-0 then pushing c4 at some point.

But good game, my thought's may not be completely accurate, but at least it's something to think about.


Black seems to be transposing moves, a more normal order would be 4 ...dxc4  5 a4 Bb4, leading back to normal Slav lines.  The key is not to try and punish the move order, but rather just to play normally.  So, 5 e3 would be the first choice, a3 seems unnecessary as Black will likely have to exchange his Bishop at some point anyway, and it is not clear that forcing a decision early is advantageous to White.

There is no crushing refutation, though, just a small but lasting advantage for White.  Black can transpose back into other lines, but White still is slightly better.


Carlos Torre beat Frank Marshall with the 5.Qb3 variation of this opening in 1926.


My response to this move is dxe5, followed up by ignoring the threat.

The result is, you gain a tempo on black and additionally, one of blacks most active pieces (the king side bishop, which is ine of the more active in this opening) is asking to be traded for less active pieces.

You can mount a King side attack in the meantime and black will struggle to develop queen side with this loss of tempo. This is great news for white and a decent strategic advantage. If black tries to pile up pressure on c3 it can easily be defended with moves like Rc1, Qc2 or even Bg5 (to pin blacks knight and prevent it coming to e4.


A bit of a Google search reveals that this is classified under the Semi-Slav Defense, Romih Variation (D46)

Here is a game: