[FEN ""] 

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3

Here we reach slav defense main line and theory goes with 4...e6

As a way to avoid theory as black I used to play in blitz 4...g6, goes with bishop fianchetto and castle.

As white I'm a d4 player and although not many people deviate 4...e6 with 4...g6 this could happen.

Searching in professional games I didn't see many games with 4...g6.

My question is: How white proceed after 4...g6? (there must be a reason why professionals rare play this move)

  • 2
    4... g6 is called the Schlechter variation. Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 6:22
  • There are many more options for black besides 4... e6. For instance 4... dxc4 is the main-line Slav, which is known to be quite solid for black. There's also 4... a6 which I think is called the Chebanenko Slav, further preparing a future dxc4 and b5 to defend the extra c-pawn (essentially forcing white to do something about the tension on c4-d5). And I think there are even some people advocating the "liberated bishop opening" with moves like 4... Bf5, although I don't really believe that is theoretically playable for black.
    – TMM
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 22:40
  • 4... dxc4 and 4... a6 have a huge theory, exactly what I am trying to avoid. And 4... Bf5 as you pointed out is weak.
    – Marco
    Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 17:35

3 Answers 3


According to this database:

The next move for white will be:

  • 5.e3 with 40% of win, 46% of draw and 14% of lose. (3538 games were played like that)

  • 5.cxd5 with 48.5% of win, 41.5% of draw. (344 games were played like that)

Example for a game which start like this:

[Event "1st Rottal Open 2017"]
[Site "Pfarrkirchen GER"]
[Round "6.1"]
[Date "2017.4.17"]
[White "Haba, Petr"]
[Black "Riediger, Martin"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]

[FEN ""]    
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 g6 5.cxd5 cxd5 6.Bf4 a6 7.h3 Bg7 8.e3 Nc6 9.Be2 O-O 10.O-O Bf5 11.Rc1 Ne4 12.Na4 Bd7 13.Qb3 b5 14.Nc5 Nxc5 15.Rxc5 e6 16.Bd6 Re8 17.Ne5 Nxe5 18.dxe5 f6 19.Bc7 Qe7 20.Bd6 Qd8 21.Bc7 Qe7 22.Bd6 1/2-1/2
  • 1
    He already looked in a database, you didn't answer his question. Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 13:19
  • @RemcoGerlich, maybe it was added later, but the question as it stands now specifically asks "How white proceeds after 4..g6?", which is what this answer seems to address.
    – firtydank
    Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 9:30
  • @firtydank: I feel the question is more "why isn't 4...g6 played more often", or alternatively "how should white proceed". Just which two moves are played most, without any information of why those moves, or how strong the players are who play that, or how the lines continue, when OP was already looking in a database, just seems to say nothing useful to answer those questions. Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 9:39

I play both sides of the and have not come across 4...g6 as the dark square bishop usually belongs on b4 (in the mainline Dutch), d6 (in the exchange) or maybe e7.

Having said that, this is how I would play

[FEN ""]
[StartPly "8"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 g6 5. cxd5 cxd5 (5...Nxd5 {This transposes to the Grunfeld} 6. e4 Nxc3 7. bxc3) 6. Bf4 Bg7 {Aiming to play Qc1, Bh6 and trade dark square bishops} (6...Nh5? 7. Bxb8 Rxb8 8. Qa4+ {This wins a pawn}) 7. Qc1 (7. Qd2 Ne4 8. Nxe4 dxe4 9. Ng1 Qxd4)

N.B. This analysis has not been checked by an engine

  • I think you point something very interesting. Black's bishop belongs to f8-b4 diagonal. But in my experience if I delay as much as I can e7-e6 dark squares don't become very weak. In blitz works perfectly because of no one is ready for reply this move. Even if your variation is strong takes time to find it over the board. But I was thinking in play it in classical chess. I had very bad time playing cambridge springs and botvinnik variation with huge preparation.
    – Marco
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 13:37
  • 6...Bg7 does not fall in the same trap? I think correct is 6...Nc6
    – Marco
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 13:52
  • @Marco: White can still win a pawn, but the lead in development is better for black this time around so black has more compensation. But 6...Nc6 is also fine
    – user1108
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 13:55
  • 2
    I think you should reconsider the plan to exchange dark squared bishops.
    – hoacin
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 14:09
  • white moved queen to c1 and if i think it is important avoid this trade I could play h6 or h5.
    – Marco
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 14:20

The main reason 4...g6 is not played is because White can put his dark squared bishop out side the pawn chain (Bf4) followed by e3. Blacks fianchettoed bishop will not have good influence as d4 is firmly held. Whites dark square bishop however will influence the queenside where White will be seeking an advantage. You will see more games with g6 when White has played an early e3 blocking the bishop. Smyslov played some nice games on the Black side of the Schlecter -- see his 125 Selected Games book.

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