One of them is 4. Bg5, often accompanied with Nbd2. After 4… dxc4 White can transpose to the Vienna Variation with 5. Nc3 or he can choose a sideline 5. Qa4+, where Black has a few paths to full equality, e.g. 5… Nbd7 6. e4 c6 7. Qxc4 h6 8. Bxf6 Qxf6. After 4… Bb4+ White can transpose to the Ragozin Variation with 5. Nc3, or he can go for 5. Nbd2, where the best response from Black is 5… dxc4. Another independent line is the Capablanca-Duras Variation 4… h6 5. Bxf6 Qxf6 where, again, Black should have no problems to reach good positions out of the opening.
The most solid variation for White is 4. e3, often followed by b2-b3, Bb2, Bd3 and O-O. Black can respond to that plan with many setups at his disposal. Symmetrical Tarash Defense (4… c5) usually leads to isolated d-pawn structures, for one of the sides. The other popular setup is a mixture of the Queen’s Indian and the Queen’s Gambit Declined, like after 4… Be7 5. b3 O-O 6. Bb2 b6 7. Bd3 Bb7, with even chances. Black can postpone c7-c5 until White completes his queen fianchetto: 4… Be7 5. b3 O-O 6. Bb2 c5, or he can opt for some of many other possibilities, like 4… Nbd7 or 4… Bd6.
[Diagram: White to Move] Black pieces are lacking coordination, but he only needs one move to reach a satisfactory position. What is the best way for White to seize the initiative?
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