The queen’s gambit was known for many decades as “the weapon”. The idea was that Black had a lot of trouble getting equality no matter what he did and it was a very long protracted battle for Black to just survive.  The major choices for Black include the Queen’s Gambit Accepted, the Queen’s Gambit Declined, and the Slav Defense.  The second and third options both involve defending Black’s pawn on d5 with another pawn. As commonly played, White’s pawn sacrifice is only temporary. White can always regain the sacrificed pawn by force and this how the Queen’s Gambit Accepted is most often played. Another variation occasionally seen is the Albin CounterGambit which has long been considered suspect. (Black plays 2____e5)

Queen's Gambit Tarrasch Defense

One branch of the Queen’s Gambit Declined occasionally seen is the Tarrasch Defense. This defense occurs with the sequence: 1. d4  d5; 2. c4  e6; 3. Nc3  c5.  At this point 4. cd  ed  is nearly always played. This leaves Black with a weakened d pawn. Black has less than equality and the battle to equalize often continues on for many moves.  Black has more freedom for his pieces than in other variations of the Queen’s Gambit Declined but the danger that Black will eventually have the d pawn captured limits what he can do. The basic issue is which set of problems would Black rather deal with: Problems freeing his cramped position or problems with a weak d pawn. Another branch of the Queen’s Gambit Declined that can occur is the Semi-Tarrasch. It can arise via the sequence 1. d4 d5; 2. c4 e6; 3. Nc3 Nf6; 4.Nf3 c5. Black can avoid a weakened d pawn by answering 5. cd5 with Nxd5. White can then proceed with 6. e4 Nxc3; 7. bc3. White bases his prospects for an advantage on his pawn center and more space for his pieces. The Ragozin variation is basically a Queen’s Gambit Declined/Nimzo-Indian hybrid. It can be reached via a sequence such as 1. d4 d5; 2. c4 e6; 3. Nc3 Nf6; 4. Nf3 Bb4.

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How to play the Queen’s Gambit – Kasparov

Queen’s Gambit Declined – D’Costa / Murphy


Queen’s Gambit Accepted (CD) – Schipkov

Play the Queen’s Gambit – Ward

The Ragozin Complex – Barsky

Tarrasch Defence – Davies



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The Slav Move by Move The Classical Slav Starting out: Slav and Semi-Slav

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