The most frequent choice of the players of White in the stem position of this line is 10. a3, where apart from 10… Na5, covered in our Line 399, Black has two options of about the same strength: one is 10… Qd7 with the idea Nd8-e6, Re8 and Bf8, and the other is 10… Nb8, followed by Nbd7 and later Nc5-e6. In any case, Black should have no difficulties reaching the equality.
Move 10. c3 is more suitable for beginners, and it is often connected with the Nb1-d2-f1-g3 maneuver, followed by the d3-d4 advance.
[Diagram: White to Move] Black intends to transfer the Knight from b8 to d4, while if White takes twice on f4, Black gets sufficient compensation in his bishop pair. What is the best continuation for White in the diagrammed position, which secures him a long-term advantage?
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