In the traditional queen's gambit, white offers their c pawn to the e5 pawn, threatening to take back with their f bishop and enjoying a central pawn advantage. My response is to play symmetrically, that way I can learn how to play it by defending against it first, so I reject the c pawn and offer my own pawn on c5 in response. I also like to place my knight on c6 after that.

A common opening theme is for a bishop to pin a knight and a royalty piece, inhabilitating the knight and threatening to double up a pawn thus weakening the castle pawns. My tipical response is to block with my bishop.

Is it possible to respond to both of these threats simultaneously in the same way that I respond to them individually? This is important because it would simplify my opening book significantly. The main challenge is that the f bishop is overloaded with the task of defending the thematic c pawn and the f knight.

Consider the following game:

 [FEN ""]

 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Bg5 c5 5. e3

I would ideally delay c5, but I want to keep the example simple here. My dilemma is, how do I develop my f bishop? I can't move it to d6 because after:

 [FEN ""]

 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Bg5 c5 5. e3 Bd6 6. dxc5 Bxc5

I would have wasted a turn moving my bishop twice in a row, and I would have to waste another one if I ever want to move my queen or protect against a Knight attacking my f6 knight.

I can't move my bishop to e7 either because after:

 [FEN ""]

 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Bg5 c5 5. e3 Be7 6. Nc3 O-O 7. Bxf6 Bxf6 8. dxc5

And recapturing that pawn seems very awkward, all pieces are 2 moves away, and c5 is not a particularly good place for any piece to be, especially if cxd5 and the c file is open for white's a rook. At any rate the main theme of the opening is broken.

My best answer so far is to play b6, so that my c5 pawn will have 2 defenders. If after c5 my opponent immediately takes my pawn, I recapture with my bishop,

 [FEN ""]

 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Bg5 c5 5. e3 b6 6. dxc5 Bxc5

However if I my bishop had already developed to its knight-guarding spot, I take with my b pawn.

 [FEN ""]

 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Bg5 c5 5. e3 b6 6. Nc3 Be7 7. dxc5 bxc5
  • 1
    Tomas, your question from "Additionally" is not that clear. Please add in the specific lines as you did above that, and say something like "what if white takes (something) here?" That way, we can be sure what you are asking. Also, what Na3? I am not sure where you mean when you talk about b3, and if black plays c4, which is rarely good in the QGD. I am going to post an answer, but will update it when you clarify your question. Mar 15, 2020 at 9:36
  • 1
    Also, if you add a sample game where your opponent took on c5, and managed to hold the pawn, please post that. In my answer below, I mention that it is hard to keep, and there can be significant drawbacks to trying to hold it. Mar 15, 2020 at 9:46
  • 1
    Still, please put in the actual moves like you did for the other stuff up to 7. dxc5 Bxc5. I will then convert it to a PGN viewer board, and update my answer. That way we are sure we are talking about the same exact thing. Thanks. Mar 15, 2020 at 9:59
  • 1
    Here is how to add the PGN viewer: chess.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/179/… I will be glad to add it for you. That said, and this happens a lot in chess when describing something abstract, you know what you have in mind, but I still do not really, thus the request for you to put more moves to clarify. There are just so many possibilities. Mar 15, 2020 at 10:04
  • 1
    You might even want to break this down into several questions. Mar 15, 2020 at 11:18

2 Answers 2


There are a lot of different defenses to the Queen's Gambit Declined, but in most of them, you do not need to worry too much about white trying to take on c5, and holding it since it is very difficult to keep in most lines.

I am going to post some basic lines that lead to different variations, and some comments about each. This material will give you a very basic look at how you can play as black, and if you choose a line, I would gladly expound upon it, but the topic as a whole, can cover entire books. I mention the Ragozin with Bb4, for example, and I recently got a 351-page book on that one line alone.

There are a lot of notes to the moves, so make sure you read those as you go through this in the viewer.

 [FEN ""]

 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Bg5 c5 {If you play an early c5, then white might opt to give you an isolate pawn, and force you to play the Tarrasch Defense, which scores a sky-high 73.5% for white in the Mega 2020 database.} (4... Bb4+ {This is the Ragozin Defense, which also has drawbacks like giving up the bishop pair, or certain structural weaknesses, but in exchange for piece activity. Note that had white played the move order with 3.Nc3, white also has the option of Qa4+ since Bb4 is not check, thus it would force Nc6 blocking the c7 pawn.}) (4... Be7 {The traditional QGD, where black completes development, and only then is prepared to hit back in the center with c5, or play other lines with the freeing Ne4, or cxd4. In this line, you need to be prepared to play the Exchange Variation, which is very popular at the club level, and leads to the minority attack.} 5. cxd5 (5. e3 O-O 6. Nc3 Nbd7 7. Rc1 c6 8. Bd3 dxc4 9. Bxc4 Nd5 10. Bxe7 Qxe7 {Is one of the lines, for example.}) 5... exd5 6. Nc3 c6 7. Qc2 O-O 8. e3 Nbd7 9. Bd3 Re8 10. O-O Nf8 11. Rab1 {Preparing the "Minority Attack" (attacking the majority of pawns on the queenside with a lesser number) with b4-b5, weakening the black queenside.}) 5. Nc3 (5. cxd5 exd5 6. Nc3) 5... Nc6 (5... cxd4 $1 6. Nxd4 Be7 (6... e5 $1 {This is very active, and scores well for black with white winning only 42% of the time per the Mega 2020 Database. It would require learning a fair amount of theory though.}) 7. e3 O-O 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Bxe7 Nxe7 10. Be2 Nbc6 $14) 6. e3 Be7 7. dxc5 {This is a main line, but you do not need to capture back with the bishop right away.} Bxc5 {The line you gave.} (7... O-O $1 8. cxd5 (8. Qc2 $1) 8... exd5 9. Be2 (9. Bxf6 Bxf6 10. Nxd5 Bxb2 11. Rb1 Ba3 {And black will get back c5 with a good game, but white is still slightly better.} 12. Bd3 $1) 9... Be6 10. O-O Bxc5 11. Rc1 {With a typical Tarrasch.})

It was starting to get too deep for one board, so I put the answers to your edited question in this board. Again, make sure you look at the prose that is include with the various lines.

 [FEN ""]

 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Bg5 c5 {I feel like this is just too early for my solid style.} 5. e3 Be7 (5... Bd6 6. cxd5 exd5 7. Nc3 Be6 {And having moved the bishop twice is not that big a deal, but you have to be prepared to play the Tarrasch which requires good opening preparation due to the fact that you have the isolated pawn, and you need to know how to get the piece activity that is associated with it. I have a student at the high school club that I run, who plays this all the time, but I have been telling him lately to avoid it since it does not fit his style. If you are a player, who likes very complicated open positions and play 1.e4, the Tarrasch might be for you.}) (5... b6 $4 {A positional blunder since it wastes too much time, and weakens the light squares heading toward the king. It is almost losing since your king is not developed.} 6. cxd5 Qxd5 (6... exd5 7. Bxf6 Qxf6 8. Nc3 {And there is no good way to defend d already.} Be6 $2 9. Bb5+ {The light squares come into play.} Nd7 10. dxc5 (10. Bxd7+ Kxd7 11. dxc5 Bxc5 12. Nxd5 Bxd5 13. Qxd5+ Kc7 14. O-O $18) 10... bxc5 11. Nxd5 Qxb2 12. Rb1) 7. Bxf6 gxf6 8. Nc3 {With a winning position.}) 6. Nc3 O-O 7. Bxf6 $2 {Giving up the bishop pair since you cannot really win c5 is not good. Black will give it back, and you will have a huge weakness on c3 on an open file.} Bxf6 8. dxc5 $2 {This makes it worse.} Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 Qa5 10. Rc1 dxc4 11. Bxc4 Qxc5 12. Qd4 Qe7 13. O-O Nd7 14. Rfd1 Nc5 15. Ne5 b6 {With the slightly better position after Bb7, and the rooks coming to the center.}
  • Thank you very much for the answer. The lines you post with c6 are interesting and I will experiment with them out in some games. But for the moment I am more interested in studying lines with c5 in my arsenal, to keep the symmetric theme throughout different openings. The line with a delayed capture on bxc5 is interesting, but it only delays my problem. Which is twofold, first how do I ever move my queen away? Won't remaneuvering my bishop to e7 provide my opponent with one or 2 tempo advantages in most situations? Additionally, isn't a lone pawn after Rc1 disadvantageous to black?
    – TZubiri
    Mar 15, 2020 at 10:15
  • Again, on this site, you need to be very specific about positions when asking most questions. I cannot answer until you give exact lines. Mar 15, 2020 at 10:24
  • I made a final draft of the question. Instead of using the widget which I found hard to use, I used the classical book-style notation.
    – TZubiri
    Mar 15, 2020 at 11:36
  • Today I played a neat short game with Be7, he traded knights and took my c5 pawn as I feared, but my newlyfound diagonal proved too strong and he resigned after losing an early queen. Thanks! 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Cc3 C f6 4. Ag5 Ae7 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Cf3 O-O 7. e3 c5 8. dxc5 Cc6 9. Axf6 Axf6 10. Dxd5 Axc3+
    – TZubiri
    Jun 7, 2020 at 20:35

You are overcomplicating your question by misusing a lot of terminology you apparently don't understand. There is no countergambit here nor is there an offer of a pawn nor is the bishop overloaded.

This is a very simple position and black has several choices that are equal or near equal: Be7, dxc4, c6, Nbd7 and Bb4+ are perfectly playable. White isn't threatening anything.

  • "Overloading is a chess tactic in which a defensive piece is given an additional defensive assignment which it cannot complete without abandoning its original defensive assignment. " The f bishop must defend the c5 pawn and must block the queen pin.
    – TZubiri
    Mar 15, 2020 at 11:42
  • 2
    @Tomas- I know exactly what it is but the term isn't applicable in this situation.
    – Savage47
    Mar 15, 2020 at 11:46
  • I do use counter-offer in my title, but if I said countergambit, I stand by it, the queen's gambit is a fake gambit anyways, you get that pawn sooner or later, unlike the king's gambit.
    – TZubiri
    Mar 15, 2020 at 11:46
  • 1
    Oh ok, you are allowed to be wrong, but my bishop is overloaded.
    – TZubiri
    Mar 15, 2020 at 11:48
  • I'm right. The only question is whether or not you understand that I'm right.
    – Savage47
    Mar 15, 2020 at 11:49

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