Solid Repertoire against 1.d4 - Slav Defence - Part I
The Slav Defence is one of the most solid options for Black against 1.d4 and part of any strong grandmaster's repertoire.
The main goal is to solve the eternal problem of the light-squared bishop, keeping the chance of developing it either to f5 or g4. White has many options to fight for an advantage, but since Black's structure is very stable, the active options are very limited. The Slav is a nice opening for players that look for solid set-ups and don't care about playing with patience, improving his position slowly and collecting small strategic advantages.
In his trilogy, IM Renato Quintillano is offering a complete repertoire for Black which is rich of new ideas and concepts.
In Chapters 1-5 we will look at anything but harmless Exchange Variation. Nowadays, players are looking for playable positions in which you can keep the game going on and trying to pose practical problems to the opponent. So, this line has turned into a dangerous weapon for technical players.
Chapters 6 - 8 are dealing with some tricky options for White on move 4 such as 4.g3, 4.Qc2 and 4.Qb3
Chapters 9 - 10 - The last two chapters are dedicated to the systems with 4.e3.
Chapter 1 – 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.cxd5 cxd5 4.Bg5
This kind of "Trompowsky Variation" against the Slav has gained some popularity in the last years and may cause Black some problems if you are not aware of how to play against it. In Chapter 1, Quintillano shows a promising way of dealing with this system.
Chapter 2 - 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.cxd5 cxd5 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Bf4 Nc6 6.e3 a6 – Rare Lines
In this position, White has tried many moves. The main lines (7.Bd3 and 7.Nf3) are covered in the next chapter.
In this chapter, IM Quintillano analyses 7.Be2, 7.a3, 7.h3, 7.Rc1.
All those continuations deserve serious attention but Black is able to equalize with an accurate play.
Chapter 3 - 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.cxd5 cxd5 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Bf4 Nc6 6.e3 a6 7.Bd3
7.Bd3 is the main move, taking f5 away from the bishop, but Black can develop it one square further. The mainline continues 7…Bg4 8.Nge2. The set-up with 8.Nge2 got popular a few years ago, especially after a couple of fine wins by Aronian. Although the knight seems a bit more passive if compared to the most natural f3-square, it has the nice route f4-d3 to reach the always desirable c5-square, and White can cut the pin more easily with f2-f3.
The author analyzes this position in-depth and proves that Black has nothing to worry about in this line.
Chapter 4 - 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.cxd5 cxd5 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Nf3
In the last 2-3 years, White players returned to the classical development of the knight to f3 on their search for an advantage. The mainline continues 5…Nc6 6.Bf4 (6.e3 and 6.Ne5 are also analyzed) 6…a6!?
This is the starting tabya of the variation. In this chapter are analyzed some rare options for White. After 7.e3, Black easily solves his opening problems by pinning the knight – 7…Bg4. The move 7.Ne5 is trickier, but after 7…e6 8.e3, Black exchanges some minor pieces and levels the game.
Chapter 5 - 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.cxd5 cxd5 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Bf4 a6 7.Rc1
This seems the most promising move order for White and was played recently with good results by some strong technical players like So and Xiong.
After the moves 7…Bf5 8.e3 Rc8 we reach the main position of this variation.
IM Quintillano provides in-depth analysis of this position. He found several important novelties and new concepts. The conclusion is that Black is holding the balance.
Chapter 6 – 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3
White tries to enter the Catalan.
The author analyzes two completely different setups for Black.
The first one is the calm 4…Bf5 which is more in the spirit of the Slav Defence.
The second one is 4…dxc4 with an unbalanced and complicate position where both sides have their chances.
According to the analyses, both continuations are good for Black. The reader can choose the one that suits his style more.
Chapter 7 - 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Qc2 g6
4.Qc2 characterizes the Argentine Variation. This is a positional line that aims to avoid the main theory and keep some flexibility in White's development. The obvious goal is to prevent Black from developing the bishop to f5, but the queen's placement has pros and cons.
The author suggests 4…g6. The game transposes into some Grunfeld-like positions, where the queen is always a little bit misplaced on c2.
Chapter 8 - 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Qb3
This is another interesting sideline, and in practice, it has the same goal as the early development of the queen to c2 (making it harder for Black to develop the light-squared bishop), with the difference that White does not have to worry about g6 now since this does not prepare an attack on the queen. Like in the previous chapter, White has a flexible position and many ways to bring his pieces into play.
The author suggests the most principle 4…dxc4 5.Qxc4 Bg4. The arising positions are rather complicated but IM Quintillano proves that Black holds the balance.
Chapter 9 – 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 g6
4…g6 is a solid option, which promises good chances of equalizing. We have seen some Grunfeld-like positions in the previous chapters, so many ideas can be applied here as well. This system which is called the Schlechter Variation is very popular among the Chinese players.
Chapter 10 – 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5
This is a tricky move order. White is inviting Black in “Meran territory”
A decade ago the move 4…Bf5 was considered inaccurate because of 5.cxd5! cxd5 6.Qb3 Nc6 7.Qxb7
An interesting pawn sacrifice, after which Black is not looking for immediate, but long-term compensation.
The practice and the engine analysis confirm that Black is doing good in this line.
Test Positions - The database ends with 20 interactive tests positions where the reader can test his knowledge of the theory.