[June 19, 2017] Updated Opening Line by Dragan Barlov:
Queen’s Gambit Declined, Semi-Slav Defense, Moscow Variation (incl. Hastings Variation)

[Line 272 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6]

After the exclusive reply 6… Qxf6 comes a first big branching for the players of White.

The idea of the Hastings Variation (7. Qb3) is to protect the c4-pawn and control the b4-square, while preparing 8. e4 where Black would not be able to play Bb4+ after 8… dxe4 9. Nxe4. Black has several good replies: 7… Nd7, 7… dxc4, and 7… a5, all of them leading to positions with roughly even chances.

Another popular option is 7. Qc2, where both 7… Nd7 and 7… dxc4 are perfectly fine for Black.

Move 7. g3 leads to a gambit line after Black takes the c4-pawn, for instance: 7. g3 Nd7 8. Bg2 dxc4 9. O-O Be7 10. e3, with compensation.

The main move is 7. e3 where 7… g6 is a decent alternative to the more common 7… Nd7. Line 273 deals with positions arising after 7… Nd7 8. Bd3, while other possibilities for White on the 8th move, such as 8. Qc2, 8. Rc1 and 8. a3, are covered here.

[Diagram: White to Move] White has already sacrificed the Rook, but he still needs to find that finishing blow against the Black King. Any thoughts?

Click here to see the line in our viewer…

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