The Schlechter Variation, where White plays early e2-e3, has a reputation of a solid opening choice for Black. Since it’s a sort of combination of Slav and the Grünfeld Defense, it bears obvious similarities to the both. After 6… O-O 7. O-O Black typically has a choice among several plans.
For beginners we recommend 7… Bg4, with the idea to give away that Bishop for the Knight of f3 at some point, followed by placing practically all the pawns on white squares. White can try 8. cxd5 cxd5 9. Qb3 b6 10. h3 Bxf3 11. Bxf3 e6, and although he has a bishop pair, Black’s position is rock-solid without obvious weaknesses.
Another suggestion of ours is 7… Nbd7. Depending on White’s reaction, Black can either play slowly by opting for b7-b6 and Bb7, or he can choose Ne4 with the idea to trade a pair of Knights. If White fights it with 8. Qc2, there is an interesting possibility that Black can try: 8… Nb6 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. a4 Be6, and his position should be fine.
Black can also play 7… b6, most typically followed by Bb7 and Nbd7, though White has a way to keep a slight, but long-term pull.
The main variation in this line is 7… a6 8. a4 a5, with the idea to transfer the Knight from b8 to b4, or to make a queenside fianchetto. White has a few ways to fight for opening advantage, but Black should be able to equalize.
[Diagram: White to Move] White would like to play e3-e4, but it seems that Black has full control over the e4-square. How can White accomplish his plan?
Click here to see the line in our viewer…