♡ 112 ( +1 | -1 ) 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 a6As far as I know here both
Leave black in slightly inferior version of a6 Slav, unless he plays something else, for example 5.Qc2!? e6 6.Nf3 c5!? or QGA after 5.Bd3 dxc4 6.Bxc4 e6 7.Nf3 e6 etc. The point is 5.Qc2!? allows 5...b5 6.b3 Bg4 7.Nge2! followed by h3-Nf4, compared to the main line 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.e3 b5 6.b3 Bg4 7.h3 Bxf3! where white is forced to misplace his queen (after 8.Qxf3 black plays e6-Bb4-Qa5) or weaken his kingside (8.gxf3!?) to gain the bishop pair.
However I have seen some GMs play these variations recently - one example being Bareev vs Karpov (Tolya won a nice game after using the h3-Nf4-Nxg6 idea) - so I have to ask has someone found a way for black to equalize after 5.Qc2!? b5 6.b3 Bg4 or to stay in a6 Slav territory after 5.Bd3 (few years ago GM Sadler gave 5...Bg4!? 6.Qb3 Ra7)?
After trying 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 dxc4!? with poor results I have played 3...Nf6 4.e3 g6, transposing to a relatively quiet line of Grunfeld, also known as Schlecter Slav.
Also I have to ask about 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.e3 b5 6.b3 Bg4 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 e6, because now my ECO book gives 9.Bd3 +/= (no further analysis!) and I am not interested of playing more complex 8...e5!?
So, can anyone give me up-to-date theoretical recommendations here?
♡ 96 ( +1 | -1 ) Unfortunatelyin most games I have looked at White tends to get a slight advantage after 5... b5 6. b3 Bg4, so Black tends to play 5... e6 and often 6... c5. This game was interesting, though:
As for 5. Bd3, 5... Bg4 6. Qb3 Ra7 and 6... b6 have both been tried and have fared fairly well. 5... b5 6. b3 g6!? has also been tried, as well as 6... Bg4 (although that usually transposes to other Qc2 lines). 5... b5 6. b3 g6 seems to do fairly well.
And 4. Nf3 a6 5. e3 b5 6. b3 Bg4 7. h3 Bxf3 8. Qxf3 e6 9. Bd3 is fairly rare, probably due to White's success in this line. However, I noticed one game:
♡ 79 ( +1 | -1 ) Thanks!Yep, it seems the verdict of 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 a6 hasnt changed, black has to transpose to other lines or accept a disadvantage. Well, at least 4...g6 is a good line.
In 9.Bd3 line, I have played 9...Bb4 followed by for example 10.Bd2 Qa5, pretty much following the ideas of game Oll - Anand (although in that game white played modest Qd1 and gave black an easy play).
11...dxc4 12.bxc4 e5 looks interesting, but to be honest due the strong bishop pair white has (and black king still in e8) Im a bit suspicious of ripping the centre completely open here...thats why I prefer 9...Bb4, preventing a quick e4 and forcing white to react on pressure against Nc3. Eventually, after preparations black can play bxc4 - like in the line you gave - followed by c5. Of course this idea isnt always so easy to carry out...