Apart from 4. d4, which is covered in our Line 034, White has a choice between the symmetrical 4. e3 and standard 4. g3.
In the first case the Symmetrical Variation of the Tarrasch Defense usually occurs, often with Black’s isolated pawn on d5, e. g. like after 4. e3 Nc6 5. d4 d5 6. cxd5 exd5 7. Bb5 Bd6 8. O-O O-O 9. dxc5 Bxc5. Though the position is slightly preferable for White, Black can typically count on sufficient counterplay.
After 4. g3 Black can opt for a queenside fianchetto with 4… b6, thus transposing to our Line 044. The second most popular continuation for Black is 4… Nc6 5. Bg2 d5 6. cxd5 Nxd5, where White can go for 7. d4. These variations often lead to endgames after 7… cxd4 8. Nxd4 Nxc3 9. bxc3 Nxd4 10. Qxd4 Qxd4 11. cxd4, or White can castle first (7. O-O Be7 8. d4), thus choosing the line known as the Keres Defense, where in our opinion White can count on a slight edge.
[Diagram: White to Move] V. Utemov – V. Titenko, Moscow 1990. Black bishop on b6 is in danger and his queen is overloaded. How can White exploit that fact?
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