Play Queen's Gambit Declined against 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 - Part 2
The starting position of the current database arises after the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5
While in Part 1, GM Eljanov was dealing with White's systems based on Bf4, the current database features all the alternatives, except 4.g3.
True to his approach, GM Eljanov provides in-depth analysis with a variety of new ideas. We can safely state that his repertoire can be employed even at the top level.
The database consists of 11 theoretical chapters and 15 interactive test positions.
Chapter 1 - 4.e3
In this chapter, GM Eljanov presents a reliable way to meet a positional system in which White starts with 4.e3 and usually follows up with b2-b3, Bc1-b2, etc. His recommendation is to play the usual ...Be7, ...0-0, and ...c5 in order to obtain equal chances in the centre. This is usually followed by an exchange on d4 and further development with ...b6, ...Bb7, ...Nc6/Nbd7. The presence of all pieces on the board typically leads to rich middlegame battles in which both sides have their chances.
Chapter 2 - 4.Bg5
4.Bg5 is an interesting alternative to the main lines, attempting to get a better version of certain QGD/Semi-Slav positions. The author suggests immediate action in the centre: taking on c4. It turns out that it is difficult for White to win back the pawn in a good way, so he needs to treat it as a gambit in which the main line is 5.e4 b5 6.a4 c6 7.Nc3 Qb6 8.Be2 Nbd7! 9.d5. This leads to sharp and direct play, but Black comfortably holds his own by improving on the game Mamedyarov-Kasimdzhanov, 2019. with 13...0-0!
Chapter 3 - 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Qc2
The purpose of the early queen development with 5.Qc2 is to prepare Bg5 and 0-0-0 against the typical 5...0-0.
To avoid such double-edged positions where White might develop a serious attack on the kingside, GM Eljanov suggests an alternative approach with 5...c5! After 6.dxc5 d4 7.Nb5, he recommends an older move 7...Bxc5!? first played by GM Beliavsky. However, Eljanov's treatment of this line is modern as after 8.Bf4 0-0! he is ready to sacrifice pawns, pieces, and even a rook to take the initiative in the centre and take advantage of White's generally poor piece coordination in this variation.
Chapter 4 - 4.Nc3 Be7 5.cxd5
By exchanging pawns on d5 in the QGD, White can force the Carlsbad structure. 5.cxd5 exd5 is not the ideal moment for that because the extra move 4.Nf3 gives Black enough time to solve most of his opening problems by developing the problematic light-squared bishop to f5.
In this chapter, the author examines how White can try to go around this by employing development schemes with Qc2, Bf4, and h3 in various move orders. Black always responds with 6...c6 and goes for ...Bf5 next. The main line goes 6.Qc2 c6 7.Bg5 g6 8.e4 dxe4 9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.Qxe4+ Qe7, when we get an endgame in which White's slight initiative is usually easily neutralized.
Chapter 5 - 4.Nc3 Be7 5.g3 - Part 1
5.g3 is becoming more and more popular these days as White tries to transfer the game into the Catalan waters. Typically, the move Nc3 is premature in this opening at such an early stage, but a trendy line 5...0-0 6.Bg2 dxc4 7.Ne5 c5 8.dxc5 Qxd1 9.Nxd1 contains a bit more positional venom than it might seem at the first glance. After 9...Bxc5 we reach a tabiya of this variation that is the subject of chapters 5, 6, and 7.
In Chapter 5, GM Eljanov covers the move 10.Nc3 and a couple of other less critical lines. Black usually solves all opening problems if he manages to develop the light-squared bishop and connect the rooks without making positional concessions. In the line 10.Nc3, this can be done by tactical means, namely with the pawn sacrifice 10...Nc6 11.Nxc4 Nd5! which yields Black excellent play for the sacrificed pawn.
Chapter 6 - 4.Nc3 Be7 5.g3 - Part 2
The main line in the Catalan/QGD tabiya is 10.0-0.
This is the most flexible approach and Black needs to tread carefully to keep the balance. The main line goes 10...Nc6 11.Bxc6!? bxc6 12.Be3 Bb6 13.Bxb6 axb6 14.Nc3.
The point of White's play is to get a slightly better pawn structure in which white knights could potentially harass weakened b6- and c6-pawns and the passive light-squared bishop. Nevertheless, GM Eljanov shows that there is nothing to be concerned about if we are armed with concrete knowledge. His recommendation is to continue 14...Bd7 15.Rfd1 Ra7! in order to answer 16.Nxc4 with 16...b5! which neutralizes White's slight positional pressure.
Chapter 7 - 4.Nc3 Be7 5.g3 - Part 3
In this chapter, the author pays particular attention to the trendy 10.Ne3!?
Black should not miss an opportunity to spoil White's pawn structure with 10...c3, but things are far from simple after 11.bxc3 Nbd7 12.Nd3 when White puts pressure on black queenside on several fronts.
GM Eljanov shows how Black can relieve this pressure by tactical means after 12...Rb8 13.Nc4 b6 14.Bf4 Bb7! This leads to a couple of forced variations that need to be remembered by heart, but the reward is that Black typically gets an exchange down (for one or two pawns) endgame with a huge drawing margin.
Chapter 8 - 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4
5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 has been the classical approach against the QGD for more than a hundred years. Typically, Black players would choose 6...0-0 followed by 7...b6 (Tartakower-Makogonov-Bondarevsky variation) or 7...Ne4 (Lasker variation). However, GM Eljanov recommends an extremely rare variation by historical standards, namely 6...dxc4!?
The idea is to clear the centre with ...c5 next, as one normally does in the Queen's gambit accepted. This idea is based on an important tactic: 7.e4? does not work in the view of 7...Nxe4! Thus, White needs to recoup the pawn more modestly with 7.e3, when the author proves that Black manages to fully equalize in all variations and sometimes even get a more pleasant position if the opponent becomes too ambitious.
Chapter 9 - 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 - Part 1
In the last three chapters, GM Eljanov covers 6.Bxf6, the alternative to 6.Bh4 from Chapter 8.