Semi-Slav Defense

Semi-Slav Defense

Chess Opening
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Semi-Slav Defense

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The Semi-Slav Defense is a variation of the Queen's Gambit chess opening, defined by the position reached after
1. d4 d5
2. c4 e6
3. Nc3 Nf6
4. Nf3 c6
though the position may readily be reached by a number of different move-orders. The opening resembles a mixture of the Orthodox Queen's Gambit Declined and the Slav Defense, with Black advancing pawns to both c6 and e6.

With 4...c6, Black threatens to capture the white pawn on c4, and hold it with ...b7-b5. White can avoid this with 5.e3, though at the cost of restricting the dark-squared bishop from its natural development to g5. Alternatively, White often gambits a pawn with 5.Bg5, the Anti-Meran Gambit, which Black may accept with 5...dxc4 6.e4 b5, leading to sharp play, or decline with 5...h6, the Moscow Variation. If Black plays the latter variation, White can play 6.Bxf6 Qxf6, ceding the bishop pair in exchange for a lead in development and a freer game, or again offer a gambit with 6.Bh4!? The Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings designates the Semi-Slav with codes D43 through D49.

Main variations


The main line continues with 5.e3, when Black usually develops with 5... Nbd7; though a developing move, 5....Be7 is seldom seen nowadays, as players realised early on that at e7, the bishop was passively placed and does nothing to further one of Black's aims, the freeing move ....e5.

Meran Variation

The main variation of the Semi-Slav is the Meran Variation, 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5, (ECO codes D46 to D49),...
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