[March 09, 2019] Updated Opening Line by Borki Predojević:
Queen’s Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch (incl. Pillsbury Variation)

[Line 243 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 without 4… Nbd7, 4… dxc4, 4… Bb4, 4… Be7, 4… c6]

The most common choices of Black are spread over various opening lines: 4… c6 can be found in Lines 265-285,  4… Be7 in Lines 253-264, 4… Bb4 in Lines 248-252, 4… dxc4 in Lines 245-247, and 4… Nbd7 in our Line 244.

The main topic of this opening line is the so-called Semi-Tarrasch (4… c5), where after 5. cxd5 Black replies 5… Nxd5. The Semi-Tarrasch gained a lot of popularity in the recent couple of years, mainly due to Kramnik’s efforts to revive this classical opening with black pieces. The usual follow-up is 6. e4 Nxc3 7. bxc3 cxd4 8. cxd4 Bb4+ 9. Bd2 Bxd2 10. Qxd2 O-O, where White obtains a pawn center, but Black has already exchanged two pairs of minor pieces, which gives him good chances to equalize.

Another viable option for Black is 5… cxd4, where after 6. Qxd4 exd5 the principal continuation is 7. e4 Nc6 8. Bb5. Even here Black is able to equalize with accurate play, as seen in the recent W. So – Wei Yi, Wijk aan Zee 2017 game.

The Pillsbury Variation 4… c5 5. Bg5 is a possible sideline for White, where after 5… cxd4 6. Qxd4 Be7 7. cxd5 exd5 the position is roughly balanced.

[Diagram: White to Move] L. Polugaevsky – M Tal, Moscow 1969. White has carried out a topical pawn sacrifice d4-d5 and intends to exert pressure on the kingside. White Bishop and Rook on d1 are currently under attack by the black Knight. How should White proceed and obtain an almost decisive advantage?

Click here to see the line in our viewer…

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