The Slav Defense – Chess Openings with GM Damian Lemos

Need a chess opening for Black against 1.d4 which is solid but does not require an endless amount of theory to memorize? Try the Slav Defense! Learn everything you need to know to play the Slav with confidence – get instant access to Deep Dive Slav with 35% off. ►

The Slav Defense is one of the most popular chess openings for Black in response to 1.d4 and enjoys the reputation of being one of the safest replies against the Queen’s Gambit. It is one of the most trusted openings in chess, popular at all levels from beginner to strong grandmasters.

The opening has been a regular guest in World Chess Championship Matches throughout history.

It has been played by World Champions Max Euwe, Mikhail Botvinnik and Vassily Smyslov, among others, and also by several modern World Champions.

Vladimir Kramnik, for instance, used the Slav Defense in six of his eight games with Black during his World Chess Championship match against Veselin Topalov in 2006. Vishy Anand used the Slav Defense in several World Championship Matches against Kramnik in 2008, Topalov in 2010 and Gelfand in 2012. The current Champion, Magnus Carlsen, played the opening in his match with Sergey Karjakin in 2016.

The Slav belongs to the group of closed chess openings for Black and occurs after the moves 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6.

One thing that makes the Slav Defense so trendy in modern days is that even though opening theory continuously develops and incredibly strong engines frequently find novelties and new approaches, there is still no easy way for White to get an opening advantage against this opening.

For many 1.d4-players, the Slav Defense presents an impenetrable wall, too tough nut to crack. In fact, the Slav Defense is one of the main reasons why plenty of 1.d4-players give up opting for mainlines and try their luck with more surprising sidelines.

In the Slav Defense, Black starts to fight for the center from the very beginning of the game and creates a very solid c6-d5 pawn chain.

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