Queen's Gambit Declined - Repertoire for Black after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5
Queen's Gambit Declined is probably Black's most solid response to 1.d4. This opening is especially effective when White has already committed to Nf3. In this course, GM Arjun Kalyan builds a powerful repertoire for Black based on 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5
On the board, we have one of the basic positions of the Queen's Gambit Declined. The current database provides a repertoire for Black against everything except the Catalan Opening. In most of the lines, GM Kalyan opts for fresh and relatively less explored ideas. This approach makes the repertoire very practical and suitable in terms of playing for a win.
If you want to complete your repertoire, including the systems with 3.Nc3, we can suggest the excellent course by GM Renato Quintiliano Queen's Gambit Declined - Exchange Variation for Black
The course consists of 9 theoretical chapters, 20 interactive test positions, a Memory Booster, and a Video Version (2h and 40min).
Preview by the Author
After the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5, White's main move is 4.Nc3.
Before delving into this direction, let's take a look at White's deviations. Recently, many strong players started playing 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Qc2
This move is designed to prevent ...Bf5. At the same time, White is ready to follow with Bg5 on the next move. At this point, my suggestion is 5...Nc6!. This is something that I have never seen in Queen's Gambit Declined type of positions, as the knight is usually misplaced on c6. However, we want to get our knight to e7 and the bishop to f5 very quickly. The knight will quickly head to g6. Also, we have a big threat of going ...Nb4 followed by ...Bf5 which he has to take care of.
Another interesting direction is 4.Bg5 dxc4
I think we should go for the principled lines against such moves. We are planning to meet 5.e4 with 5...b5. I like such moves which force the opponent to prove his compensation. No, giving back the pawn easily.
Now, it's time to take a look at the main lines arising after 4.Nc3. In this case, our choice is 4...Nbd7.
Now, White's most challenging continuation is 5.Bf4. Nowadays, this is known to be the most critical way to fight against the Queen's Gambit Declined. White wants to get the bishop out before going for e3, and it is not easy for us to trade the bishop on f4. Let us compare this position to the one after 4...Be7 5.Bf4 - I feel Nbd7 is more flexible as we have the option to develop the bishop to e7/b4/d6.
Another direction that I examine in the course is 5.g3 dxc4 6.Bg2 a6
This is independent of other Catalan systems and is also very rare. The best move for White has never been played!
Queen's Gambit Declined players should also be aware of the move 5.Qc2.
This has not been played much, but it is something we should be aware of. White wants to fight for the center with e4 very quickly. My suggestion is 5...dxc4 6.e4 c5. We have to play very energetically to fight against White's control over the center. There are two ways for White to respond.
Of course, against Queen's Gambit Declined, White can always opt for a strategic system such as 5.e3.
White is showing signs of weakness already, as this is not one of the principled continuations. However, we do need to know exactly what we are doing in these structures. It is a good chance for us to fight on equal terms with White. I have seen a few lower-rated players go for this to avoid the main lines. At this point, my suggestion would be 5...a6. A very flexible waiting move asking White to show his hand. We will, of course, meet both Be2/d3 with dc4 followed by a quick b5 and c5.
A very important move is 5.Bg5.
This used to be the big critical line against the Queen's Gambit Declined (with 4...Be7), but over the last decade, it has been replaced by Bf4. The bishop on g5 can easily be exchanged, especially when White takes on d5. There are quite a few setups to equalize for Black, but the modern approach is with Nbd7 which we transpose to. The important tabiya arises after 5...h6 6.Bh4 Be7 7.e3 0-0
Here are several options for White. Our plan is simple: to go for the move c5 next. If the bishop moves, we will take on c4 and get a tempo.
Another very challenging system is 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5.
This was definitely one of the most annoying lines to deal with when playing this system. White goes for a Carlsbad structure, but the silver lining is that the knight is already on f3. I think the most critical system for White is to go e3, Bd3 and Nge2 followed by f3/e4. In the course, you will find in-depth explanations of this important branch of Queen's Gambit Declined.
Let's now get back to the main line starting with 5.Bf4. Our choice now will be 5...Bb4.
We take the chance to develop the bishop directly to b4. In these lines, the white bishop is usually much better on g5. We have two plans: to go for c5 next or Ne4 followed by g5. Both are quite dynamic and very fighting. White's most ambitious choice is 6.cxd5. This is the most critical move to fight for an advantage. White goes for a Carlsbad structure, where he is usually slightly better.
The alternative 6.e3 is a safe approach from White but lets us equalize very easily. It was played by Pragg when he needed only a draw as White, but it backfired and he went on to lose. Black should respond with 6...c5. This is more energetic, fighting for the center. This is one of the major advantages of the Queen's Gambit Declined: unlike other openings, Black can fight back equally in the center.
After 6.cxd5, Black goes for the following sequence - 6...exd5 7.e3 Ne4 8.Qc2 g5
These are my favourite lines in the course, and the play is very double-edged.
All in all, this repertoire is an excellent choice for players who want to fight for a win with Black. I am sure that this way of playing the Queen's Gambit Declined will keep gaining popularity in the future.