Deep Dive: How to Play The Slav Defense (Download)
by GM Damian Lemos
The Slav Defense belongs to the group of closed chess openings for Black and occurs after the moves 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6.
The chess opening was named in honor of several strong players from Slavic countries, including well-known names like Semyon Alapin, Alexander Alekhine and Efim Bogoljubov, who contributed many ideas to its development. It is one of the most trusted openings in chess, popular at all levels from beginner to strong Grandmasters. It has been a regular guest in World Chess Championship matches throughout history.
For many 1.d4 players, the Slav Defense represents an impenetrable wall, too tough a nut to crack. In fact, the Slav Defense is one of the main reasons why plenty of 1.d4 players give up opting for main lines, and try their luck with more surprising sidelines. While it is true that the Slav is solid, that isn’t to say that it is an opening weapon simply used to make a draw. In fact, it carries some hidden bite. On many occasions, for example, Black can capture the White c4-pawn with his d-pawn and defend it with the move …b7-b5, claiming immediately an extra pawn.
In this comprehensive 8-hour "Deep Dive" course, GM Damian Lemos builds up your knowledge of this powerful opening weapon, demonstrating how to combat each of the main variations in turn.
How is this course going to help me?
The Slav Defense – Initial Position
If you’re looking for a chess opening for Black against 1.d4 which is solid, does not require an endless amount of theory to memorize and still offers decent chances to outplay your opponents, play the Slav Defense!
One thing that makes the Slav Defense so trendy in modern days is that even though opening theory continuously develops and incredibly strong engines frequently find novelties and new approaches, there is still no easy way for White to get an advantage against this opening.
Apart from a huge theory section which covers all reasonable setups for White to play against the Slav Defense, GM Damian Lemos shows how these ideas play out in practice through the analysis of instructive games, making sure you’re ready with the most powerful reply!
Here’s just part of what you’ll learn:
The Fianchetto System
The move 4.g3 leads to a relatively rare and harmless sideline which Black does not need to fear. It is usually played by Catalan/Reti players who do not want to enter the theoretical mainlines. However, the setups with the Bishop on g2 against the Slav Defense are only good for White if the Black light-squared bishop is boxed inside his own pawn chain (the positions where Black played an early …e6 before bringing the Bishop out).
After 4.g3, Black easily manages to bring out his Bishop to the active squares of f5 or g4. White’s Bishop on g2, in contrast, usually "bites on granite" on the h1-a8 diagonal as Black has the solid ...b7-c6-d5 pawn chain.
The Exchange Variation
The Slav Defense Exchange Variation is a tricky line to meet for two reasons. First of all, in the hands of a well-prepared White player, it looks harmless on the surface but there are many subtle opening traps that can lead to a dangerous White initiative on the Queenside.
The Exchange Variation has long been known to be a calm line, used by White players who only want to draw. In recent years, however, this variation gained mainline status and plenty of new ideas were found by White players. In these lines, Black can’t play on autopilot but needs to know some precise moves. Secondly, most Slav players don’t like to face this line against weaker opponents who only want to make a draw in a very symmetrical position.
After watching this course you’ll be able to play this strong defense against opponents of even much higher rating than you and still obtain a comfortable position for a positive result.
About the Author:
Damian Lemos is a Grandmaster from Argentina with a top rating of 2559 Elo. In his lessons, Damian works closely with students to first identify the flaws and weaknesses in their games so that they can be properly evaluated and corrected. By developing specifically-tailored training regimens for every one of his students, Grandmaster Lemos is able to achieve results that other chess coaches dream of.
Enjoy this course!