I'm looking for QGD repertoire book as Black. Would Sadler's Queen's Gambit Declined fulfill this, or is it focused on White?

  • Any opening book that is more than 20 years old is really only of interest or use to chess historians. Theory moves at far too fast a pace for you to be able to rely on lines in books that old.
    – Brian Towers
    Commented Sep 24, 2022 at 18:34
  • Thank you, I don't usually play Queen's Gambit so I didn't know. I've just heard a lot of praise for this particular one. What "modern" book would you recommend for QGD as black?
    – Anna
    Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 0:11
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    Nils Grandelius has a chessable course called 'Magnus Queen's Gambit' , a modern way of playing QGD
    – cmgchess
    Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 7:35
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    @Anna In addition to cmgchess' suggestion, "The Queen's Gambit Declined: Move by Move" could be a good - this series tends to focus more on explanations of plans and such. If you're more advanced and care more about the theory itself, there's "Playing 1.d4 d5: A Classical Repertoire". These books are both from 2017, so while not cutting edge they aren't too old either. Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 15:12
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    @Beginner I'm not below 2000 Elo, apologies if I gave this impression
    – Anna
    Commented Oct 1, 2022 at 11:21

3 Answers 3


I got pointed to this topic by a friendly chatter at the TCEC. In principle, Brian is absolutely right - an opening book 20 years old is really going to be missing some stuff and certainly won't give you the complete modern picture of the opening. In the specific case of the QGD book, there are some parts of my book that are still relevant and still very useful - in particular about the typical pawn structures that you can encounter in the opening. I once had the privilege of studying for a couple of weeks with the great trainer Mark Dvoretsky and he gave me an amazing overview of how to play the Carlsbad structures from both sides (when White plays cxd5 and Black replies ...exd5). That went into the book, and I think it's timeless advice! Whatever you do, you should get a modern course as the basis, but if you're looking later for some extra insight into typical positions (maybe once you've got all your lines sorted out) then this is one of the extras you could think about! Hope that helps! Best Wishes, Matthew

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    – Glorfindel
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 14:36
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    Thank you very much! I ended up picking up your book as well as Ntirlis' d4 d5 repertoire book, and have been enjoying the clear Q&A format of insights greatly so far.
    – Anna
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 21:34
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    Ah great - I was going to add a comment recommending the Ntirlis book so I think you've made an excellent choice! :) Best Wishes, Matthew Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 7:16

I haven't read the book but from a quick view at the first few pages it looks like it comes from a White perspective, at least when it comes to "completion" (it covers several options for Black from the same position, while it sticks to one recommendation for White).

This doesn't mean the book is useless if you want to study the QGD for Black though. It can give you an overview and some examples of the options you have and help you choose the most practical one.

As for the opinions that old opening books are not useful anymore today, well, it depends. Some lines may be outdated and need revision or further analysis if you want to play them at stronger levels, but you can still get a lot of knowledge about common themes and middlegames arising from the QGD. At lower levels you may even do well with theory that is a century old specially considering the QGD does not rely on too many "critical" lines.

For instance, in the QGD, you'll find much more use in learning how to play isolated "d" pawn positions and Karlsbad structures than in studying the exact best continuation in most lines. It all depends on your level though, could you give us an approximation of your current Elo?

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    Thank you! I've been browsing through Sadler since I asked the question, and found that the book contains many useful paragraphs on high-level ideas and structures. It seems focusing on those is the best use of the book, and getting my repertoire from elsewhere? I've been looking at Nitrlis' 1. d4 d5 book. My FIDE Elo is 2050.
    – Anna
    Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 13:22
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    @Anna our ratings are pretty much the same so take my advice with a grain of salt but In my experience I'd say yes, at first take as much knowledge about general plans so when you finally start building up the lines in your repertoire, most of the moves will already feel natural and you'll get the same results with less work. I'm no expert in 1.d4 d5 so I can't tell if that book is the best option, but the themes of the QGD are common and you'll find many of them in most middlegame strategy books. I do have some stuff on the Catalan though, so if you're interested we can trade some materials
    – David
    Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 14:08

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@InertialIgnorance gave you excellent advice. I agree that the "Move by Move" series is excellent. Without a doubt, start with "The Queen's Gambit Declined: Move by Move, by Nigel Davies." About your question, Matthew Sadler is a genius! And the book won the Book Of the Year award in 2000 from the British Chess Federation. How can you go wrong with that? Of course, when a book is not new, learn ideas, not moves. Also, evaluate the lines using Stockfish because sometimes an important detail has not been analyzed. This trick works for old and new books as well. About another part of your question, Sadler authored the book taking into consideration both sides. He gave ideas for White and Black. At the end of each chapter, he made a summary. The image that is above is a good example that he took both sides into account.

However, the study of openings is one of the most difficult parts of chess training. I suggest my students focus on strategy, tactics, and endgames, unless they are fighting for the international master or the grandmaster title.

For openings, I suggest to my students that AFTER they finish their games to compare their moves with the suggestions that are in Nunn's Chess Openings. It is an old book, but good enough for players that have less than 2000 ELO rating points. You can find used books of this kind on eBay for $10. Nunn's Chess Openings has almost all the possible openings that exist.

If your rating is above 2000, in addition to comparing your moves with Nunn's Chess Openings you should compare and analyze your moves with a chess trainer (some chess trainers charge only $10 per hour), and with the most modern version of Stockfish that is available for free in www.lichess.org Here is the link: https://lichess.org/analysis It is important to notice that to get excellent quality in the analysis, you need to provide enough hardware and time to Stockfish.

Additionally, for openings, I like the books from this publisher: qualitychess.co.uk/sections/1/opening

One of my closest friends who is a FIDE Grandmaster and writes for the best chess magazines of the world suggested me Chess Publishing that has the best information for $19.50 per year: https://www.chesspublishing.com/content/7/index.htm

Chessable offers a thirty day money back guarantee. So, I suggest to try with Chessable. They also offer some free courses in the Queen's Gambit Declined: https://www.chessable.com/courses/s/Queen's%20Gambit%20Declined

I like also Modern Chess. They offer some free material that you can analyze. https://www.modern-chess.com/chess-databases?database_author=&database_opening=Queen%27s+Gambit+Declined&partner=

ChessBase has some good video courses as well: https://shop.chessbase.com/en/search?query=Queen%27s%20Gambit%20%20Declined&cat=0

New In Chess also has some good material: https://www.newinchess.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=Queen%2BGambit%2BDeclined

In addition to that, nothing better than studying chess in general, and openings, is to play the opening in correspondence chess with white and black pieces. Sometimes thematics tournaments are available. My favorite website is Lechenicher SchachServer, that is 100% free: https://www.chess-server.net/en/ Lichess also has correspondence chess.

Again, my advice is to prioritize endgames, strategy, and tactics, unless you are fighting for the international master or the grandmaster title. Good luck with your chess journey!

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