A Comprehensive Guide to the Queen’s Gambit Accepted 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4

IM Siegfried Baumegger     March 7, 2024

1. Introduction

2. Basic Concepts in the Queen’s Gambit Accepted

3. Sample Game

4. Main- and Sublines of the QGA

5. Guidelines and Conclusion


1. Introduction

Together with the Queen’s Gambit Declined and the Slav Defence, the Queen’s Gambit Accepted (3rd by the number of games) is one of Black’s first class defences against 1.d4 d5 2.c4. It enjoys a sound theoretical reputation and in practice scores on the same level (White has 58% against it) as the other two mentioned defences. A first mention of the QGA can be found as early as the 15th century in the Göttingen Manuscript. The variation 3.e3 e5 was played in twelve games of the match De Labourdonnais – McDonnel (1834). To prevent 3...e5, theoretical research in the 19th century began to concentrate on 3.Nf3 and only then 4.e3.

In his World Championship Match with Zuckertort in 1886, Steinitz employed the strategy of playing against the Isolated Queen’s Pawn (‘IQP’). By transposition the following line of the Queen’s Gambit Accepted was reached: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 dxc4 5.e3 c5 6.Bxc4. Here and in similar positions Steinitz would play 6...cxd4 7.exd4 – saddling White with an isolated pawn which he would later put under siege. However, this way of playing and the QGA in general remained unpopular as White often gained an advantage. Tarrasch went even so far as to write that “2...dxc4 is a strategic mistake. Without a fight Black concedes the center.” and later “By accepting the gambit, Black gives his opponent a tempo, allowing the development of the king’s bishop.”

Well, with time it was proven that the dogmatic verdict of the “Praeceptor Germaniae” was not justified though it took several stages to do so. Improvements in the line of the classical system with 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 c5 6.0-0 a6 followed by 7...b5 were found for Black in the 1930s. Which on the other side led to the development of new attacking methods for White: the sharp 7.e4 or 6.Qe2 a6 7.dxc5 followed by 8.e4. Alekhine introduced the development of the bishop to g4 against Bogoljubov in 1934 with 3...a6 4.e3 Bg4. This continuation remains a playable alternative to the main line in its modernized version 3...Nf6 4.e3 Bg4.

Given time the Queen’s Gambit Accepted was seen more often in strong events and played regularly by the World Champions Euwe, Smyslov, and Petrosian. The latter used it with success in his World Championship Match against Botvinnik in 1963 – all seven games featuring 2...dxc4 were drawn! Among the contemporary World Champions and top players who use the QGA on a regular basis are Viswanathan Anand, Ruslan Ponomariov, Lenier Dominguez and Sergey Rublevsky – probably the leading practitioner on Top-GM level with a whopping 182 games!


2. Basic Concepts in the Queen’s Gambit Accepted

Let’s briefly discuss the starting position of the QGA.


By immediately taking the c-pawn Black avoids certain drawbacks of the Queen’s Gambit Declined and the Slav Defence. In the QGD Black closes the diagonal of the c8-bishop with ...e6 while in the Slav (2...c6) Black forgoes the possibility to play ...c5 in one go. After 2...dxc4 Black retains both of these options: the center can be attacked with ...c5 and the light-squared bishop can be developed actively to g4 or placed on the long diagonal after playing ...a6 and ...b5.

This comes at a certain price. Firstly, Black gives up his control over e4 which White may immediately exploit by playing the sharp 3.e4. Secondly White can aim for swift development with 3.Nf3, 4.e3, and 5.Bxc4 thereby keeping a slight initiative. Is it worth giving White these pluses? It depends on which type of player you are. If you like open or half-open positions with active piece play then the Queen’s Gambit Accepted may be a good opening for you. The plans of both sides are quite straightforward, making it a good choice for beginners. Basic principles such as fast development and the fight for central control are the backbone of this opening.

Attacking the Center with ...c5

This is Black’s typical resource in the Classical Variation 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 c5.


Black can delay ...c5 but cannot do without it. The advance of the c-pawn is necessary to counter White’s superiority in the center. By putting pressure on d4 Black prevents or at least reduces the strength of the advance e3-e4.

Developing the Light-Squared Bishop to the Long Diagonal

Going further from the diagram above, 6.0-0 a6 (6...cxd4 and particularly 6...Nc6 are possible alternatives) is the main continuation. Contrary to the QGD where Black first develops the kingside, castles, and only then concerns himself with the problem of how to develop the c8-bishop, in the QGA Black does it the other way around. He first wants to activate the light-squared bishop and hopes afterwards to complete his kingside development. Ideally he wants to reach a position like this: 7.Qe2 b5 8.Bb3 Bbd7 9.Rd1 Nbd7 10.Nc3 Qc7 11.e4 cxd4 12.Nxd4 Bc5 13.Be3 0-0.


Black’s strategy was a complete success - all of his pieces are well placed and he may already be on the better side of equality. Be it with sharp gambit lines such as 7.e4!? or going for an ending with the Exchange Variation 7.dxc5 – White has to play concretely in order to pose problems.

Attacking the Center with ...e5

This is possible in lines without an early Nf3. Both 3.e3 and the principled 3.e4 can be countered with 3...e5. Black attacks the center while at the same time opens the diagonal for his king’s bishop. White answers with 4.Nf3 (taking on e5 is just bad as Black would take over the initiative, e.g. 4.dxe5? Qxd1+ 5.Kxd1 Nc6 6.f4 Bg4+ 7.Be2 0-0-0+ etc.) 4...exd4 5.Bxc4, which will be looked at in a more detail in “Main- and Sublines”. Currently White is up two tempi so catching up in development is Black’s first order of business. The character of the game rather resembles some sharp gambit line after 1.e4 e5 than a closed d4-opening.

Attacking the Center with Pieces

This strategy can be seen in the line 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bg4 (Black puts d4 under pressure, making it hard for White to play e3-e4) and in the Central System 3.e4. Now attacking d4 with 3...Nc6 and attacking e4 with 3...Nf6 are possible. Black’s strategy is similar as in the Alekhine Defence (1.e4 Nf6): He wants to provoke the central pawns to advance in order to attack them. Or in the case of 3...Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 to gain access to a central outpost. A possible continuation could be 5.Bxc4 Nb6 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.Ne2 Bg4 8.f3 Be6 9.Nbc3 Qd7 10.Ne4 Bd5 11.Nc5 Qc8 12.a3 e6.


Black has less space but a stronghold on d5 by way of compensation. How to play such a position is demonstrated in our sample game Bukic – Petrosian, Banja Luka 1979.


3. Sample Game



4. Main- and Sublines of the QGA

The Central System 3.e4

Today this is considered White’s most principled attempt to play for an opening advantage. Oddly enough it remained for a long time in the shadow of the Classical Variation as it was thought that Black could equalize with both 3...e5 and 3...c5. Things are far from being that simple – White has serious attacking resources to make life difficult for Black. 3.e4 is a theoretically challenging line which demands serious preparation from both sides. The first player has to be ready for least five ways to combat the advance of the e-pawn. We will look at these in order of their popularity.

A) 3...e5

The main move - Black immediately counters in the center which leads to an open fight with lively piece play. After 4.Nf3 exd4 5.Bxc4 Black cannot keep the extra pawn with 5...c5? as he has no good defence after 6.Ne5. Instead, one possible continuation is 5...Bb4+ 6.Nbd2 Nc6 (defending the pawn with a developing move) 7.0-0 Nf6 8.e5 Nd5 9.Nb3 0-0 10.Qe2 followed by 11.Rd1 with a certain initiative for White. However, the main discussion revolves around the line 5...Nc6 6.0-0 Be6 - GM Ivan Cheparinov’s recommendation in his course Queen's Gambit Accepted - Top Level Repertoire for Black. Black immediately challenges the strong c4-bishop and is prepared to accept a worsening of his pawn structure in return for speedy development. For instance, 7.Bxe6 fxe6 8.Qb3 Qd7 9.Qxb7 Rb8 10.Qa6 Nf6 11.Nbd2 Bd6 12.b3 0-0.


Black has completed his development and has good piece activity while White is hoping to exploit the weaknesses in the opponent’s camp. Analysis shows that Black can keep the balance but has to play accurately to do so. One possible continuation: 13.Bb2 e5! (creating a barrier against the b2-bishop) 14.Rfc1 Rb6 15.Qe2 Na5! It is crucial to fight for control over the c4-square. Next Black can follow up with ...c5 with approximately equal chances.

B) 3...Nf6

With this, Black invites  4.e5 (4.Nc3 is well met by 4...e5!) 4...Nd5, handing White an advantage in space in return for a solid outpost on d5. The game keeps a more positional character than after 3...e5 and although a large body of theory has been developed, one does not need to know as much as in the 3...e5-line. A good understanding of the positional themes is sufficient to start playing 3...Nf6. Engines show a slight advantage for White (due to his space advantage) though in practical play Black keeps a fair share of chances. We already saw in the Bukic-Petrosian game how Black can make use of his long-term pluses. 4.e5 Nd5 5.Bxc4 Nb6 6.Bd3 (as Bukic played) is probably White’s best bet for an advantage. The fashionable 5...Bf5!? avoids this line. At a first glance this looks dubious as  6.Qb3 hits both d5 and b7.


Black can deal with this by simply playing 6...c6!, when the b7-pawn is poisoned due to 7.Qxb7? Nb6!, and the double threat of trapping the queen with 8...Bc8 or taking the bishop with 8...Nxc4 wins material.

C) 3...Nc6

Black creates pressure on White’s center with the help of his knights and bishops. He is quite happy after 4.d5 Ne5 5.Nf3 Nxf3+ 6.Qxf3 e6!. It’s more promising for White to defend d4 with 4.Nf3 when he scores quite well after 4...Bg4 5.d5 Ne5 6.Bf4 Ng6 7.Be3 e5 8.Bxc4 Nf6 9.Nc3. White’s space advantage in the center and on the queenside weighs more heavily than Black’s possible counterplay on the kingside. According to Delchev and Semkov in “Understanding the Queen’s Gambit Accepted” Black’s best continuation is 4...Nf6, transposing to a line of the Chigorin Defence. After 5.Nc3 Bg4 6.Be3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 a typical picture arises.


Black has developed in the most active way possible though one positional defect in his position remains: the c6-knight blocks the c-pawn, depriving Black of the resource ...c5. White seems to be better after 8.Qd3 supporting both central pawns and preparing 9.Rd1 or 9.0-0-0. The second player does score quite ok in practical games though theoretically 3...Nc6 seems to be less sound than 3...e5 or 3...Nf6.

D) 3...b5

From once not being taken seriously at all, 3...b5 became all the rage in the 2010s, when completely new resources for Black were discovered. The line 4.a4 c6 5.axb5 cxb5 6.Nc3 a6!?, involving an exchange sacrifice was tested extensively. 7.Nxb5 axb5 8.Rxa8 Bb7 9.Ra1 (9.Ra2!? is equally critical) 9...e6.


Apparently White should play 10.Ne2 Bxe4 11.Nc3 Bb4 when he keeps some advantage though Black is not without chances either. For the exchange he has a pawn and a superior pawn structure. Protecting the pawn with 10.f3 offers Black sufficient compensation after 10...f5!?.

In the latest games – among them many high-level encounters – Black preferred 6...Qb6. Losing time with the queen but defending the pawn without shedding material. In the main lines the engine evaluation shows 0.00, though the arising positions are quite murky and demand serious preparation. For example 7.Nd5 Qb7 8.Bf4 e5! 9.Bxe5 Nd7 is the starting point of only one of many complicated lines!

E) 3...c5

Attacking the center with ...c5 is thematic and can’t be bad in principle (slightly better for White according to Stockfish), though for some reason it is no longer seen too often. Maybe the cause for this lies in the nature of the positions arising after 3...c5. White can go for a minuscule, risk-free plus in the endgame after 4.Nf3 cxd4 5.Qxd4 or play the more principled 4.d5, when 4...Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Bxc4 exd5 7.Nxd5 Nxd5 8.Bxd5 is solid for Black though not quite equal either. Anand won a great game with Black in this line against Gelfand (Linares 1993), playing the sharp 5...b5 (“5...e6 is for whimps!” – Anand): 6.Bf4 Qa5 7.e5 Ne4 8.Nge2 Na6 9.f3 Nb4!.


A great piece sacrifice – the knight will be a monster on d3! Unfortunately for Black this line is no longer viable due to the improvement 7.a4! Nxe4 8.Nge2, when despite the two extra pawns Black is in difficulties.

The Classical Variation 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 c5

The Main Line 6.0-0 a6

Black immediately wants to activate his c8-bishop with ...b5 and ...Bb7. White has tried a number of moves to combat this plan. We will not go into all of them but try to highlight the most important ideas.

7.e4!?, introduced by Efim Geller as early as 1958, is an attractive looking pawn sacrifice. There have been some recent games in the line 7...b5 (7...Nxe4 is risky but not objectively bad; White scores well after 8.d5 or 8.Qe2) 8.Be2!? (Black is ok after 8.Bd3 Bb7) 8...Nxe4 9.a4 b4 10.Nbd2 when White has good compensation for the pawn though a game Giri – Vachier Lagrave (amongst others) shows the way to equalize: 10...Bb7 11.Nxe4 Bxe4 12.Be3 cxd4 13.Nxd4 Nc6 14.Bf3 Bxf3 15.Qxf3 Nxd4 16.Bxd4 Qd5!.

7.Qe2 has been the “old” main continuation. Black has quite a good position akin to the Meran Variation of the Slav Defence after 7...b5 8.Bb3 Bb7 9.Rd1 Nbd7 and 9.a4 Nbd7!. A relatively new twist is 8.Bd3 cxd4 (8...Bb7? is dubious due to the possibility 9.dxc5! Bxc5 10.Bxb7+!, winning a pawn) 9.a4!?.


White has great activity, with ample compensation for the pawn.

The Exchange Variation 7.dxc5 is a practical way of meeting the Queen’s Gambit Accepted – it’s a good choice for players who enjoy grinding in the endgame (check out GM Ioannis Papaioannou’s “Practical 1.d4 Repertoire for White – Part 2”). It’s comparatively easy to prepare and contains some poison. Black should know how to defuse White’s strategic initiative. For example 7...Qxd1 (7...Bxc5 is an alternative of equal value) 8.Rxd1 Bxc5 9.Be2. The bishop has no more business on c4 and steps out of a possible ...b5. 9...b6!? (9...b5?! is strongly answered with 10.a4!) 10.Nbd2 Bb7 11.Nc4 Nbd7 12.Nd4!?.


In the stem game of this line, Bareev – Shirov, New Delhi 2000, Black quickly ended up in an unpleasant situation: White managed to execute his plan of playing Nb3, followed by f3, and e4, gaining a space advantage and restricting the opponent’s pieces. QGA-specialist showed one way to equalize with Black in three of his games. 12...Rc8 13.Nb3 Be7 14.f3 Bd5! 15.Ncd2 Bb7. Now 16.f3 can be met with 16...Ne5, while 16.Nc4 Bd5 leads to a repetition.

Preventing ...b5 with 7.a4 is a classic reply. Black is now quite happy to go for a position with an isolated queen’s pawn – by no means his only option but a logical one. Compared to the Steinitz Variation with 6...cxd4 7.exd4, he now has a useful outpost on b4. 7...Nc6 8.Qe2 cxd4 9.Rd1 Be7 10.exd4 0-0 11.Nc3.


Now both 12...Nd5 and 12...Nb4 lead to an approximately equal, strategically complex fight.

7.b3 is seen quite often, the main reason being that it is comparatively less studied than the main lines. Black mostly plays 7...cxd4 8.Nxd4 Be7 9.Bb2 0-0 10.Nd2 b5 11.Be2 Bb7. Now it’s good to know that 12.a4 can be answered with 12...Nc6!.


This is a clean equalizer as the b5-pawn is poisoned, e.g. 13.axb5 Nxd4 14.Bxd4 axb5 and now 15.Bxb5? loses to the double attack 15…Qd5!.

What else is there? With the three bishop moves 7.Bb3, 7.Bd3, and 7.Be2, White is stepping away from …b5 coming with a tempo and plans to answer it with a2-a4. Nevertheless, against the first one 7.Bb3 b5 8.a4 Bb7 seems to be a good option. Against the latter two Black should better avoid playing …b5 and prefer the flexible 7…Nbd7. Against all of these, Black has more than one satisfactory continuation. You may be wondering why the natural developing  move 7.Nc3 wasn’t mentioned yet. Well, the knight is thought to be slightly misplaced on c3. Since Black plays …b5, White wants to have the option to undermine the b-pawn with a2-a4. With the knight on c3 this isn’t effective as …b5-b4 would come with a tempo. One could prolong the list of alternatives on move seven but I feel the most important ideas have been covered.

6.0-0 Nc6 and the Steinitz Variation 6…cxd4

In reply to 6.0-0 Nc6 has attracted some followers. Black puts d4 under pressure and thereby reduces White’s options. For instance playing 7.b3 now does not make too much sense as 7…cxd4 would follow, saddling White with an isolated pawn, a structure where the move b3 is obsolete. 7.dxc5 is also no longer effective (compared to 6…a6 7.dxc5) - having developed the queen’s knight is more useful than the move of the rook-pawn. One other idea of 6…Nc6 can be seen after 7.Qe2 a6 8.Rd1 b5 9.Bb3 c4! 10.Bc2 Nb4, when Black gets the pair of bishops with good counter chances. White’s most principled try 7.Nc3 a6 8.d5 leads to major complications. 8…Nxd5! (White has some advantage after 8…exd5 9.Nxd5 Nxd5 10.Bxd5) 9.Nxd5 and now 9…b5!.


Black is temporarily a piece down but is going to win it back. The main line runs 10.Bb3 c4 11.Bxc4 bxc4 12.e4 Bb7 13.Re1 Bb4!, with enough resources for Black to keep the balance. The 6…Nc6-line is analyzed in great detail by GM Ivan Cheparinov recommendation in Queen's Gambit Accepted - Top Level Repertoire for Black.

The Steinitz Variation 6...cxd4 is seen comparatively rarely. It’s playable though not as strong as 6...a6 or 6...Nc6 – Black needs to play very precisely in order to not run into serious problems. GM Grigor Grigorov presents the Steinitz as a solid alternative to the main lines in one lecture of the comprehensive course Queen's Gambit Accepted - Simple Solution to 1.d4. Big emphasis is also laid on the theme of how to play against an isolated queen’s pawn – one of the underlying themes of the QGA in general and the Steinitz Variation in particular.

Alternatives to the Main Lines

The Furman Variation 6.Qe2 has the idea of going for the symmetrical structure after 6...a6 7.dxc5 Bxc5 without allowing the exchange of queens. Next on the agenda is advancing e4(-e5) with attacking chances. A game Radjabov – Kasparov shows a good way of how to treat this position with Black: 8.0-0 Nc6 9.e4 b5 10.Bb3 Nd4! 11.Nxd4 Qxd4 12.Be3 Qe5.


Black manages to hold back e4-e5 and can finish his development with equal chances.

Many players with the black pieces don’t like the fact that White can go for a relatively risk-free position in the Classical Variation by playing dxc5 and exchange queens. Black can deviate from this course by delaying …c5. 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 and now 5…a6 (instead of 5…c5). 6.0-0 b5 7.Bd3 Bb7. While it has proven to be playable, White seems to get some advantage after 8.a4! b4 9.Nbd2 when the white knight finds a nice outpost on c4. GM Robert Hungaski defends Black’s case with this fighting option in his Queen's Gambit Accepted - Complete Repertoire for Black.

The Line 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bg4 5.Bxc4 e6

Black immediately solves the problem of developing his queen’s bishop. Attacking b7 with 6.Qb3 more or less forces the pawn sacrifice 6…Bxf3 7.gxf3 Nbd7 8.Qxb7 c5, when practice shows that Black’s compensation for the pawn is sufficient. He has a slight lead in development and White’s pawn structure is damaged. After the more solid 6.Nc3 Black is at a crossroads. The old line 6…Nbd7 7.h3 Bh5 8.0-0 Bd6 is refuted by 9.e4 e5 10.g4!, when the complications after 10…Bg6 11.dxe5 Nxe5 12.Nxe5 Bxe5 13.f4 favor White. Here 8…Bb4 deserves attention (instead of 8…Bd6). A good try could be 6…Nc6 7.h3 Bh5 8.0-0 Bd6, preparing to castle and to push …e5, Black scores above 50% in practical games. This suggests that most players with the White pieces are not prepared for this sideline and that Black’s position has some merit.

The Gambit Line 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3

An aggressive continuation – White is prepared to sacrifice the c4-pawn in order to build a strong center with e2-e4. Most QGA-players answer now play 4…a6 (4…c6 transposes to the Slav Defence and 4…Nc6 to the Chigorin Defence) 5.e4 b5. To pose some problems White starts attacking with 6.e5 Nd5 7.a4.


Now Black has to decide how to deal with the threat of axb5. Protecting the rook with 7…Bb7 allows 8.e6!, with good compensation while defending with 7…c6?! Gives White a strong initiative after 8.axb5 Nxc3 9.bxc3 cxb5 10.Ng5!. Practice has shown that ignoring the threat and concentrating on catching up in development is the best policy: 7…e6!? 8.axb5 Nb6!? (an idea of the late Tony Miles; 8…Bb4!? is of equal value). By returning the pawn Black can finish his development and gets good prospect for his pieces. Even if the weak c4-pawn should get captured Black can generate enough counterplay via the diagonal a8-h1 and due to his better pawn structure.

The Mannheim Variation 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Qa4+

Taking back the pawn with the queen gives the game an independent significance. Now all of 4…Nd7, 4…c6 (perhaps the most solid continuation, transposing to the Slav), and the active 4…Nc6 are possible. The latter is a favorite of authors offering a repertoire with the QGA for Black. The move …e5 becomes an important resource for counterplay and after 5.Qxc4 e5!? is immediately possible. 6.dxe5 gives Black good counterplay after 6…Be6 7.Qh4 Ng4!? 8.Qxd8+ Rxd8 9.Bf4 Nb4. Or 6.Nxe5 Nxe5 7.dxe5 Ng4 8.Bf4 c6 9.e3 g5 10.Bg3 Qa5+ 11.Nd2 Be6 12.Qc2 0-0-0.


This position was reached in Rapport – Dominguez Perez, Saint Louis 2021. The position is about equal though Black can be quite happy to get such active play out of the opening. White can try 5.Nc3, when for instance 5…Nd5 6.Qxc4 Ndb4 7.Qb3 Be6 is satisfactory for Black.

Odds and Ends

Both sides can try to slightly alter the move order to avoid certain systems of the opponent. With 3.e3 Black no longer has the line 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bg4 available. After 3.e3 Nf6 4.Bxc4 e6 5.Nf3 the game transposes to the Classical Variation, while 3…e5 is a fully-fledged alternative. A trap to avoid for beginners: 3…b5? 4.a4 c6 5.axb5 cxb5? 6.Qf3! and Black loses immediately.

Black can play 3.Nf3 a6!?, when after 4.e3 b5 5.a4 Bb7 6.b3 e6 7.bxc4 bxc4 8.Bxc4 Nf6 a situation arises where he should be able to equalize (usually by playing …c5 at the right moment) with super-accurate play. Black can still transpose back to the Classical Variation after 4.e3 by playing  4…Nf6 5.Bxc4 e6 6.0-0 c5. He can argue that by choosing this move order he avoids the Gambit Line 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 as after 3.Nf3 a6 4.Nc3 he can play 4…b5!?. At any rate White should avoid getting tricked into 4.a4?! when 4…Nc6! 5.e3 e5! is already quite good for Black.

Playing 3.Nc3 has no merit for White and gives Black an easy game after 3…e5!


5. Guidelines and Conclusion

  • By playing the Queen’s Gambit Declined Black determines the opening.
  • That allows him to keep his opening preparation manageable.
  • In the main lines the play is determined by basic strategic principles. Black must combine fighting for central control with swift development.
  • This makes the QGA a good choice for beginners and advanced players alike.
  • It can lead to a variety of pawn structures – though in many variations an isolated queen’s pawn occurs.
  • Black should know the classical games where typical fighting methods against the IQP are demonstrated.
  • In addition to the theory of the QGA it’s useful to study the games of its biggest specialists.
  • Maybe the only disadvantage of the opening lies in the possibility for White to go for an equal or slightly better endgame in the main line of the Classical Variation.
  • Black can avoid this by playing the lines 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bg4 or 4...e6 5.Bxc4 a6 6.0-0 b5, taking a calculated risk.
  • Against White’s sharpest weapon 3.e4 Black has a choice of sharp and complex lines (3...e5 and 3...b5) and the solid 3...Nf6.


All Openings