The Slav Defense
Slav Defense is considered to be one of the most solid variations for Black against the Queen’s Pawn. It was the specialty of World Champion Vassily Smyslov and today is employed by several grandmasters. I emphasize, among them, the Chinese Wang Yue.
This Defense is characterized by the moves 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6. After 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 we arrive in the classic Slav position. The best move now for white is 5.a4, avoiding the protection of the c4 pawn with b7-b5. The main move for black now is 5 … Bf5, reaching the main Slav position.
White now has a few options. The solid, classic move is 6.e3. After 6 … e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 we have the old main variation of the Slav, which I have played a few times with white. Theory, however, does not see any particular advantage for white here.
Another option is 6.Ne5 and this puts more problems for black. But the line is very sharp, white needs to know many forcing lines and black has several options. And it is not clear whether white gets the advantage.
One Idea To Fight The Slav
My suggested move is 6.Nh4 !? It is no secret that I have great predilection for the bishops, so I feel comfortable in the position after 6 … e6 7.Nxf5 exf5 8.e3. Recently, at the Baku Olympiad, I won a tricky game using this system. You can see the analysis by clicking here.
IM Roberto Molina played against me, in 2013, 6 … Bd7?!. After 7.e4 e6 8.Bxc4 Nxe4 9.Nxe4 Qxh4 10.Qf3 White gets a dangerous initiative in return for the pawn. Check the game here.
Black has other options. 6 … Bg4 is possible and 6 … Bc8 is an important move for theory. It seems strange to return the bishop to the starting square, but the knight is not well placed on h4. After 7.e3 e5 8.Bxc4 exd4 9.exd4 we have a classic isolated queen’s pawn position.
How To Prepare Your Repertoire Against The Slav
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