01 July 2012

Why I Play the Slav

During my initial process of openings selection, I settled on the Slav rather early as my defense to 1. d4.  Unlike with the 1. e4 suite of openings, I didn't try out as many different defenses, only playing the King's Indian Defense and the Queen's Gambit Accepted in informal games prior to deciding on the Slav.  At the time, I simply didn't understand the KID and was not a tactically-oriented player, so passing on the KID was a good choice.  The QGA I felt more comfortable with, but I did not handle very well the more open positions that resulted from it.  The Slav is characterized by semi-open positions, as with the Caro-Kann, so it fit my needs at the time.

What follows is my first tournament game ever - a win with the Slav.


The basic ideas in the Slav I find easy to comprehend and implement during a game.  Black's central pawn presence is supported with c6 and the light-squared bishop normally finds a home on f5 before e6 is played, with standard development occurring with Be7/Bb4 and Nbd7 in many lines.  This, along with the opening's generally solid nature, have given me no cause for complaint over the years.  There is also enough variety in the different variations, including some White gambits and Black sidelines, that keep the opening from being stale.  It is also an opening in which knowledge and preparation can pay off against any level of opposition, for example in the simul game with GM Alex Yermolinsky (which also highlights my poor endgame play, but that is another story) and in the "Punishing Slav" game.

In order to increase my winning potential against queen pawn openings - if White wants a draw against the Slav, he can usually obtain one easily - and expand my chess horizons, I've been looking at the Dutch Defense.  However, I'll never abandon the Slav, which has done well for me, from the very beginning until the present day.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a class player who generally plays 3.Nf3. Sometimes, I'll play 1.Nf3 and still end up in a Slav. My opponents seem to play 2...e6 right away. In my experience as White and my play as Black, the Semi-Slav gets more play than the Slav.

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