The Fighting Slav Triangle Marshall Gambit 8.Ne2 – IM Robert Ris (iChess Club)

The advantage of 8.Ne2 in the Slav Marshall Gambit is that it keeps the g2-pawn defended. However, it makes it challenging to develop the kingside pieces for white.

This is part five of a six-part series about the Triangle Slav. In case you missed the earlier parts, you can find them here:

Part 1 – Slav Triangle Noteboom Variation

Part 2 – Slav Triangle versus Catalan System

Part 3 – The Slav Triangle 4.e3

Part 4 – The Marshall Gambit 8.Be2

We reach the starting position of this variation in the Slav Marshall Gambit after:

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e4 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Qxd4 7.Bxb4 Qxe4 8.Ne2

VECO Slav Marshall Gambit 8.Ne2
VECO Slav Marshall Gambit 8.Ne2

Then there are two main moves for Black:

  • 8…Na6
  • 8…Nd7

IM Robert Ris suggests playing 8…Na6. Developing the knight this way is the safest option for Black, but in many lines, both sides find themselves in positions where a draw by repetition is best.

In light of this, if you find yourself in need of a win, you might want to switch to 8…Nd7. IM Robert Ris does give a sample line in this variation at the end of the 30-minute video, so be sure to check that out!

VECO Slav Marshall Gambit 8.Ne2
VECO Slav Marshall Gambit 8.Ne2

Slav Triangle Marshall Gambit: The Dependable 8…Na6

In this position (see diagram to the right), the move 8…Na6 strikes at the bishop on b4. Surprisingly, the best square for the bishop is f8.

On f8, the bishop cannot get captured because Qd8 is checkmate.

Black’s best move in reply to 9.Bf8 is 9…Ne7. Even though White can often capture the rook on h8, Black has …Nc2+ forking the rook on a1.

That being said, rushing to capture the rook on a1 can get Black into trouble. There are times when you might prefer to play …Nd3+ even if you go down a rook.

That is why the Slav Triangle is an excellent choice for attacking players. 

There is plenty of scope for players with both colors to go wrong before reaching the lines where a draw by repetition is inevitable.

In Conclusion

Captures in chess are not compulsory, so White doesn’t have to take the rook on h8. IM Robert Ris will show you how to meet White’s main alternative 11.Qd6.

As is the case in many variations of the Slav Triangle, it is time for Black to choose between an active or more solid move. Whether you choose the active or solid option, Black is doing fine.

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