[February 02, 2018] Updated Opening Line by GM Dragan Barlov:
Queen’s Gambit Declined, Semi-Slav Defense – Meran (Reynolds Variation)

[Line 277 : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 a6]

8… a6 is a classical continuation in the Meran Defense, that was played in a few games during the Meran 1924 tournament, where this defense was officially born!

After 9. e4 c5, the Reynolds Variation 10. d5 is not considered particularly dangerous, as it gives Black comfortable play after 10… c4.

The main variation in this line is 10. e5 cxd4, where White’s only serious try is 11. Nxb5. Black now has two interesting choices: the most popular is 11… axb5 12. exf6 gxf6, and the equally interesting alternative is  11… Nxe5 12. Nxe5 axb5 13. Bb5+ Bd7. In our opinion, line 11… Ng4 12. Qa4 Bb7 13. Nbxd4 is an inferior choice that leads to favorable positions for White.

The most memorable game in these lines is V. Kramnik – V. Anand, Bonn (m/5) 2008, played in the World Championship match, where Anand scored an important victory.

This line should give Black sufficient resources to get satisfactory play, though some accuracies are certainly required.

[Diagram: White to Move] The diagrammed position stems from an engine game. Our silicon friends are merciless when some tactics occur. Without further ado, White to play and win!

Click here to see the line in our viewer…

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