Understand the Slav Defense

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Modern Chess


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Modern Chess Understand the Slav – EMAIL

This product includes all the videos from an online masterclass from our friends at Modern Chess, Understand the Slav Defense, as well as the PGN file related to the training sessions. Overall, the material consists of approximately 9 hours of video and a PGN database which includes 99 files!

You will find the following lectures:

Neutralizing White’s Bishop Pair in Slav Positions – GM Dejan Bojkov

Fighting the Setups Based on g2-g3 – GM Petar Arnaudov

Practical Repertoire against the Systems with e2-e3 – GM Michael Roiz

Neutralizing White’s Space Advantage in Slav Positions – GM Davorin Kuljasevic

Facing the Main Line – GM Boris Avrukh

Fighting the Exchange Slav – Positional Ideas and Theory – GM Ioannis Papaioannou

Here we will briefly present some interesting moments from the lectures

GM Dejan Bojkov
GM Dejan Bojkov

Neutralizing White’s Bishop Pair in Slav Positions

White’s bishop pair is one of the most common problems that Black faces in the Slav Defense. Contrary to the Queen’s Gambit Declined, in Slav Defense, Black’s light-squared bishop is “free as a bird” as GM Bojkov points out in the introduction to his lecture. Free as a bird, however, does not mean safe. Regardless of whether Black puts the bishop on f5 or g4, White can often try to chase it away. Usually, the bishop is getting exchanged for the f3-knight. In many Slav systems, White’s hope of an advantage is mainly based on the bishop pair.

In this lecture, GM Bojkov explains how exactly we need to fight against the bishop pair. The PGN version of the lecture consists of 25 annotated model games.

Fighting the Setups Based on g2-g3 

Slav g3

This is the starting position of the lecture. In the past, all these g3-setups  against Slav were considered dubious and harmless because the bishop is restricted by c6-d5 pawns. The recent years change this evaluation and nowadays more and more players choose this setup to fight for the advantage against Slav Defense. The game is dynamic. White is always ready to sacrifice a pawn for long-term compensation. Another drawback of this setup is that  Black’s bishop on c8 is free to go to g4 or f5. Those are my recommendations,  in my opinion, both of them are quite playable and interesting. 4…Bg4 is a  bit more ambitious and requires some theoretical knowledge. On the other hand,  4…Bf5 looks very natural and, in my opinion, equalizes. I will leave the decision of which one to choose to you.  For Semi-Slav or Chebanenko players, I  include just some directions in the file.  I didn’t analyze the popular setups  4…g6 and 4…dxc4 5.Bg2 g6, because I don’t like them very much for Black,  but should mention that both systems are perfectly playable. I conclude that Black is objectively fine in the 4.g3 line, but the positions are still fresh, not very well explored, and perfectly playable. I recommend you to study them seriously.

Practical Repertoire against the Systems with e2-e3

The lines based on e2-e3 are one of the most critical tests for the Slav Defense. In this lecture, the famous theoretician GM Michael Roiz provides a reliable repertoire against two move orders 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 and 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3. In these systems, White is playing for a very slight positional advantage (mainly based on a bishop pair). True to his approach, GM Roiz suggests many novelties and less explored ideas. He believes that Black can solve his problems in all the lines.

Neutralizing White’s Space Advantage in Slav Positions

If you have played the Slav Defense with Black, in many of your games, you must have felt the lack of space. This is quite normal, taking into account Black’s passive move 2…c6. Nevertheless, Black’s position remains quite solid and Black has reliable ways to neutralize White’s space advantage.

In the current lecture, GM Kuljasevic deals with three types of space advantage for White:

Typical Structure 1

1) Typical Slav Structure 1

Typical Structure 2

2) Typical Slav Structure 2

Typical Structure 3

3) Typical Slav Structure 3

GM Kuljasevic provides extensively annotated model games for each one of these pawn structures. The PGN version of the lecture consists of 13 annotated model games.

Facing the Main Line

When we study a given opening, always the main question is what to do against the mainline. Regarding the Slav camp, the answer to this question is given by no one else but the famous opening expert GM Boris Avrukh.

The main starting point of his lecture is the position arising after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4

Slav Main Line

Instead of 5.a4, Avrukh covers 5.e4 and 5.e3 as well. After 5.a4, Boris suggests two systems for Black – the almost unexplored Jobava System starting with 5…a5 and the solid 5…e6. Provided with this knowledge, you can confidently face any opposition.

Fighting the Exchange Slav – Positional Ideas and Theory

The Exchange Slav is sometimes wrongly considered as a boring and drawish line. If you look at the names of the players using this line for White, it will become obvious to you that such strong players cannot play for a draw. As it will become clear by the end of this lecture, not only White but also Black can create imbalances and fight for the win in this variation.

At the beginning of the lecture, GM Papaioannou explains all the must-know positional and tactical ideas. Only after that, he starts showing highly instructive model games. It goes without saying that he provides theoretical analysis which will help you to build a top-level repertoire against the Exchange Slav.

After studying the material, you will be ready to play this line with both colors.