I play d4 with White and against the slav/semislav I start with the order of d4,c4,e3,Nc3 usually. But when I face the 3...Bf5 variation in the slav I do 4.Nf3. My problem is with a certain variation where I can't play Nh5 trying to capture the the light-squared bishop at the right time as illustrated in this variation:

[FEN ""]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.e3 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 Nd7 6.Nc3 Bd6 7. O-O h6 8. b3 Ngf6 9. Bb2 O-O 10.Rc1 
Qe7 11. h3 

After move 7...h6 I really don't know for which pawn structure I should go for. I noticed that Radjabov went for a b3 system and played the moves that I suggested up. But Black is better out of the opening and this really pisses me off! I mean I'm playing with White, I should have a slight advantage. My dark-squared bishop is bad, and Black's bishops are well developed! I would really appreciate your feedback about this position after move 3...Bf5 or 5...Nd7. How White should set up his pieces? and what are the general plans in these positions? In the variations where I'm allowed to play Nh5 to capture the bishop, I always do it. But if I can't, this is where I get stuck. btw I also checked the move 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Qb3 or 5.Nc3 and then 6.Qb3

[FEN ""]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.e3 Bf5 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Qb3 (5.Nc3 Nf6 (5...e6 6.Qb3)(5...a6 6.Qb3)6.Qb3)

but I'm not sure about it. Let me know what you think.

1 Answer 1


After 4.cxd5 the Queen cannot take because of 5.Nc3 Qa5 6.Bd2 which renders black in a horrible game (Stockfish says +1.4). So black has to play 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Qb3 which either wins the pawn on b7 or forces black to play Qd7 (or Bc8)

[FEN ""]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.e3 Bf5 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Qb3 Qd7 6.Nc3 e6 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.Bd2

However, this is 0.0 or maybe +0.1. So it is not desirable for White. Instead, I advise you to play 4.Bd3

[FEN ""]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.e3 Bf5 4.Bd3 Bxd3 5.Qxd3 e6 6.Nf3

or 3.cxd5. Even though it is frowned upon as a Remis variant.

[FEN ""]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.cxd5 cxd5 4.Nc3 Nc6
  • Thanks for the feedback. In the first diagram, Black can play 5...Qc7 because if 6.Qxd5 Qxc1+!. And after 5...Qc7 6.Nc3 there's 6...e6. Now my question is about the second diagram. Why would I trade my good bishop for Black's bad bishop!?
    – Guess601
    Feb 3, 2021 at 22:17
  • @Guess601 5...Qc7 is -0.9 on Stockfish because of 6.Nc3 e6 or Nf6 and then 7.Nb5 Qb6 8.Bf4 Na6. I am literally just copying the engine and the position doesn't look good for black: He moved his queen twice, his knight is on a6, he is underdeveloped and white still maintains the initiative. To your second question about the Bishop trading. The black white squared bishop is not per se a bad bishop. Also, if you don't want to trade the bishops it is up to you. You can play whatever you like. Still, trading the bishops is a valid choose played by many good chess players.
    – Hacker
    Feb 8, 2021 at 7:29

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