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Slav Defense Guide

Slav Defense Guide

The Slav Defense is a chess opening for Black that starts with the moves 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6

Slav Defense moves

When playing the Slav, Black and White know that the game will be closed and strategic.

Most chess grandmasters like playing the Slav Defense.

In fact, in the 2006 World Chess Championship match, the Slav Defense 8 times, always by Vladimir Kramnik, who ultimately won the match and became world champion.

Slav Defense 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6

The main advantages of playing the Slav Defense for Black are:

  • Strong center.
  • You free the light-square Bishop.
  • Solid position against the Queens Gambit.
  • Possibility to play for the win.

Now, the disadvantages:

  • The pawn on b7 is weak.
  • Black cant play c5 without losing a tempo.
  • Passive opening.

Main Line in the Slav Defense

The most played first moves at master level are the following:

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6

Slav Defense Main Line

Its Slav Defense time!

3.Nf3 Nf6

Slav Defense 3.Nf3 Nf6

Developing the Knights.

4.Nc3 e6

Slav Defense 4.Nc3 e6

White continues developing pieces, and Black decides to support the center. But with 4e6, the light-squared Bishop is no longer able to be developed properly. At least for now.

5.e3 Nbd7

Slav Defense 5.e3 Nbd7

With 5.e3, White allows the light-squared Bishop to move freely, but forces the dark-squared Bishop to stay put.

6.Qc2 Bd6

Slav Defense 6.Qc2 Bd6

7.Bd3 O-O

Slav Defense 7.Bd3 O-O

Both sides are close to finishing their development.

Pure Slav Defense

In the pure Slav Defense, the light-squared Bishop always moves to f5 or g4.

Pure Slav Defense

This is one of the most active variations in the Slav Defense.

Play usually continue like this:

Chebanenko Slav

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6

Chebanenko Slav

In the Chebanenko Slav, Black decides to plan an early a6 that will help to support the move b5.

Play can continue like this:

5.e3 b5 6.b3 Bg4 7.Be2 e6 8.O-O Nbd7

Chebanenko Slav 5.e3 b5 6.b3 Bg4

Semi-Slav

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 e6

Semi-Slav

In the Semi-Slav, or Slav Triangle, Black immediately plays e6, strengthening the center but depriving the light-squared Bishop to go to f5 or g4.

Watch IM Milovan Ratkovic analyze the Semi-Slav:


Get the full course here.

Exchange Slav

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 dxc4

Exchange Slav

The Exchange Slav is the most drawish of the Slav variations.

Play is simplified right away and makes it very difficult for both sides to attack.

Model Games

Chess Courses

Slav Defense Mastermind with IM Milovan Ratkovic

Slav Defense Mastermind

Other Chess Articles

Best Chess Openings for Beginners

Queen's Gambit Declined

How Do You Get Better at Chess (10 Practical Tips)

Overview

Games on Database: 98453
Last Played: Apr 2024
Overall score:
37.8% 39.5% 22.7%

Played frequently by:

White  
Loek Van Wely 210 games
Boris Gelfand 195 games
Aleksey Dreev 194 games
Black  
Aleksey Dreev 483 games
Alexei Shirov 339 games
Sergey Volkov 300 games

Possible continuations:

3. Nf3  51559
39.2 % 39.4 % 21.4 %
3. Nc3  30015
40.2 % 35.1 % 24.7 %
3. cxd5  11274
24.9 % 53.9 % 21.3 %
3. e3  4956
38 % 36.9 % 25.1 %
3. Bf4  175
39.4 % 23.4 % 37.1 %
3. g3  150
44 % 23.3 % 32.7 %
3. Qc2  103
36.9 % 35 % 28.2 %
3. c5  66
24.2 % 15.2 % 60.6 %
3. Nd2  57
29.8 % 31.6 % 38.6 %
3. b3  38
26.3 % 18.4 % 55.3 %
3. a4  32
34.4 % 25 % 40.6 %
3. Qb3  13
38.5 % 38.5 % 23.1 %
3. Bg5  4
25 % 75 %
3. e4  3
33.3 % 66.7 %
3. a3  3
33.3 % 66.7 %
3. h3  2
50 % 50 %