Best Openings for Club Players: Queen’s Gambit Accepted (#5) 

There are many mainstream openings for club players that everyone studies and plays. Some openings are considered a little off-beat, and most players hope they won’t have to face them – including the Queen’s Gambit Accepted.

Queens Gambit Accepted A Robust Feisty Chess Opening for Black blog image 1

One such opening is the Queen’s Gambit Accepted. Many club players hate playing against it with the white pieces.

It is not like the Semi-Slav or Grunfeld Defense which are common, well known, and frequently seen at club level.

That’s exactly what makes the Queen’s Gambit Accepted one of the best openings for club players because it can be used as a surprise weapon, backed up by a sound, safe plan.

IM Valeri Lilov is a popular presenter with a vast knowledge of opening theory, and in this video, he shares some of his knowledge about the Queen’s Gambit Accepted.

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Frequently Asked Questions

1.) What should I do if the Queen’s Gambit is accepted?

A simple but effective strategy for White is to play 3.e3 with Bxc4 and Nf3 to follow. This opening line is easy to remember and is well-suited to players who enjoy open positions.

2.) Is it better to accept or decline theQueen’s Gambit?

Whenever we offer a gambit in chess, the first thing we need to check is what happens if the gambit is accepted. When offering a gambit it is important to answer the question,”Why?” before playing it, even if it is an accepted part of chess opening theory.

The Queen’s Gambit involves offering a side pawn, the c-pawn, for a central pawn, Black’s d-pawn. The Queen’s Gambit is a temporary gambit since Black will lose too much time and create too many weaknesses if he tries to keep the extra pawn.

Essentially, White wants to get an extra pawn in the center and develop his bishop in one move with Bxc4. In the Queen’s Gambit Declined it’s possible for Black to delay dxc4.

Of course, there is a trade-off because White can choose to capture on d5 and enter the Queen’s Gambit Declined Exchange Variation.

Both the Queen’s Gambit Accepted and Queen’s Gambit Declined are excellent openings for club players.

3.) Is the Queen’s Gambit Accepted good?

The Queen’s Gambit Accepted has been played by almost every World Champion, including such greats as Karpov, Kasparov, and Anand. The Queen’s Gambit Accepted is a good opening that gives Black every chance to play for a win.

4.) Can you play the Queen’s Gambit with black?

No, Black cannot play the Queen’s Gambit because the opening moves that define the Queen’s Gambit 1.e4 d5 2.c4, and Black cannot play 2.c4.

The closest Black can get to playing the Queen’s Gambit Accepted is the Tarrasch Defense.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5

5.) Is the Queen’s Gambit a chess strategy?

No, the Queen’s Gambit is not a chess strategy it is a chess opening. There are different strategies White can use in the Queen’s Gambit.

In the Queen’s Gambit Accepted, White can play on the queenside with moves like Bb3 and a4 or look to play a central pawn advance with Qe2 and e4.

Queen’s Gambit Accepted: Three Main Lines

In the Queen’s Gambit Accepted there are three main lines for White:

3.Nf3 Furman Variation

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 c5 6.0-0 a6

7.Bb3 Nbd7 8.Qe2 b5, or

7.dxc5 Qxd1 8.Rxd1 Bxc5 9.Nbd2 Nbd7

3.e4 Central Variation

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4 e5 4.Nf3 exd4 5.Bxc4 Nc6 6.0-0 Be6

7.Bxe6 fxe6 8.Qb3 Qd7, or

7.Bb5 Bc5 8.b4 Bb6


1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e3 Nf6 4Queen’s6 5.Nf3 c5 6.0-0 a6

7.Bb3 Nc6 8.Nc3 cxd4 9.exd4 Be7, or

7.dxc5 Qxd1 8.Rxd1 Bxc5

The good thing about playing the Queen’s Gambit Accepted is that there aren’t many opening lines for you to study. Take a look at these examples of the Queen’s Gambit Accepted Main Lines.

Kramnik, Vladimir (2797) – Anand, Viswanathan (2794), 2018.02.01, 0-1

Queen’s Gambit Accepted Trap

The most dangerous Queen’s Gambit Accepted trap for Black gets sprung if he tries to hold on to his extra pawn.

This most commonly occurs with moves like …b5 and …c6. Here is an example of how this Queen’s Gambit Accepted trap line might unfold.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e3 b5 – defending the pawn.

QGA Trap ...b5 1
Queen’s Gambit Accepted Trap 3…b5

4.a4 c6 – defending it again, but now White plays 5.axb5 cxb5 6.Qf3! and wins at least the knight.

QGA Trap 6.Qf3
Queen’s Gambit Accepted Trap 6.Qf3

This game study shows you how the Queen’s Gambit Accepted trap might unfold.

How to Play the Queen’s Gambit Accepeted From Vishy Anand

One of the best ways to get a feel for an opening is to play through the games of strong players. Vishy Anand has achieved excellent results with the Queen’s Gambit Accepted.

Here are three of Anand’s games to get you started.

Gelfand – Anand, 1993.03.01, 0-1, Linares Round 5, Linares ESP

Ljubojevic – Anand, 1997.11.19, 0-1, Belgrade Investbank Round 7, Belgrade SRB

Pelletier – Anand, 1997.07.31, 0-1, Biel Credit Suisse Round 9, Biel SUI

Queen’s Gambit Accepted In Action

The Queen’s Gambit Accepted starts with the following moves:

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4

Best Openings For Club Players: Queen’s Gambit Accepted (#5) 

Most Black players prefer not to take this pawn and stick to closed systems because by taking this pawn, Black temporarily gives up the center. The Queen’s Gambit is not a true gambit because White can win this pawn back with the simple 3.Qa4+.

However, this is not a very accurate nor necessary move. That’s why grandmasters tend not to play this move.

The most common response is:

3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3

Best Openings For Club Players: Queen’s Gambit Accepted (#5) 

White develops the knight to f3, which is White’s most logical square for the knight. It protects d4 and prepares short-side castling. Black responds with the symmetrical development of his knight, preventing the d4 pawn from capturing space with a d4-d5 push. The e3 move allows White to recapture the c-pawn. White wants to recapture on c4 with the bishop to level Black’serial on the board.

 4…e6 5.Bxc4 c5 6.0-0

Best Openings For Club Players: Queen’s Gambit Accepted (#5) 

Black cannot save the c-pawn, but he can immediately challenge white’s central presence. Black’s idea is to take control of the critical d5 square and execute a quick c7-c5 push.

You can see black defends the d5 square 3 times: with the queen, knight and e6 pawn.

White only attacks it twice, making d4-d5 not possible. Thus, White accepts the consequences of dealing with an isolated queen’s pawn and simply castles.

6…cxd4 exd4.

Best Openings For Club Players: Queen’s Gambit Accepted (#5) 

White has an isolated pawn, but this is not a weakness because it can easily be exchanged off. This is the type of position that elite GMs prefer not to play with black as white gets activity and can capitalize on their advantages.

However, this may be one of the best openings for club players because it avoids the main lines and requires a good understanding of the position from the white side. Those are things that can easily confuse many players under 2200 and give you a decisive edge.

Black plans to simply develop the knight to c6, bishop to e7, possibly play …a6, and quickly castle short. He will have a good position with many options and active play. On the other hand, White may try to play moves like Nc3, Be6, and Re1. At the right time, he will want to push d4-d5, get rid of the isolated pawn, and generate some activity.

This position is very playable, but if white is not careful, he may end up defending the isolated d-pawn from constant threats.

Understanding the Isolated Queen’s Pawn Strategy Is Essential To Chess Improvement

The isolated pawn concept is essential for players of all levels but especially for club players. When playing with or against an Isolated Queen’s Pawn you should always remember that it is usually a weakness in the endgame. Thus, exchanging pieces would benefit black.

If we assume a hypothetical position with no pieces on the board, Black has an edge because of the weakness on d4 requiring constant protection. Black pawn’s structure is more solid with just two pawn islands. White has three pawn islands because of the isolated d-pawn; he will have difficulty defending in this endgame.

At the same time, an isolated pawn may be an asset in some middlegame positions as the pawn can get pushed forward to generate activity and powerful attacks. Black must never forget that it’s crucial to blockade the isolated pawn with a knight and to anticipate possible pawn pushes.

Overall, isolated pawn positions are great for club players who wish to play aggressive chess and fight for a win with both colors. Therefore, the Queen’s Gambit Accepted is an excellent choice and perhaps one of the best openings for club players. Learn how to play the Queen’s Gambit Accepted, and you won’t regret it!

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