Apart from 4. Nf3 (Lines 098-111), which is the main variation of the Slav Defense, players of White often go for 4. e3, defending the c-pawn with the light-squared Bishop. Black has a couple of options of about the same strength: 4… a6 and 4… e6, while after 4… g6 the game usually transposes to the Schlechter Variation with 5. Nf3 (Lines 088-089).
A big part of the Chebanenko Variation (4… a6) that occurs after 5. Nf3 is covered in our Lines 102-103. Other popular choices for White are 5. Qc2 and 5. Bd3. Responding with 5… e6 against the first option is dealt with separately, while its alternative 5… g6 is also fine for Black. After 5… b5 6. b3 and 5… Bg4 6. h3 Bh5 7. Qb3 White gets somewhat better prospects.
[Diagram: White to Move] White Knight is under attack and moving it away is not an option. How should White fight for a longterm initiative?
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