After 3… cxd4 4. Nxd4 Black has a choice among several possibilities. The Taimanov Variation (4… Nc6) is covered in our Lines 449-456, and the other major line is the Kan Variation (4… a6), which is partially examined here.
The Anderssen Variation (4… Nf6 5. Nc3 Bb4) is rarely seen nowadays, since it is considered to lead to longterm advantage for White.
The main focus of Line 442 is the Kan Variation with early c2-c4: 4… a6 5. c4. White gets more space, and if he manages to neutralize Black’s pressure on central squares, he has good chances to secure more pleasant positions. After 5… Nf6 6. Nc3 there are two essentially different plans for Black: 6… Bb4 and 6… Qc7.
After 6… Qc7, Black leaves his opponent with a strong center, generally planning to play d5 in the later stage of the game. The game here usually continues with 7. a3 b6 8. Be3 Bb7 9. f3 d6 10. Be2 Be7 11. O-O O-O 12. Qd2, and though White’s position is preferable, Black has a very flexible setup, so a strategic battle typically follows.
[Diagram: White to Move] Black’s last move was Nxe4, overlooking White’s strong response. How can White gain an almost decisive advantage?
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