In the following opening:

[FEN ""]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e3 b5 4. a4

There is a well-known trap if Black tries to defend the c file pawn with:

[FEN ""]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e3 b5 4. a4 c6

However I got the following played against me:

[FEN ""]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e3 b5 4. a4 Bd7

How should White respond?

  • 1
    What did you find when checking the variation with an engine?
    – Rafiek
    Jan 25 '14 at 15:10
[fen ""]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e3 b5? 4. a4! Bd7? 5.axb5! Bxb5 6.Bxc4! Bxc4 7.Qxa4+ 

and White gets back the bishop with the advantage ( no matter what Black plays Qxc4 is White's next move ).

Hopefully this answer helped.

Best regards.

  • @bof: Both your suggestions are good. I just like the fact that my queen is active and I also exchange the only active piece Black has. Queen can also have decisive role in pressuring weak queen side pawns. I guess that with my move White wishes to start developing initiative immediately, while your suggestions tend to positionally strengthen White first, postponing the active moves for a while. Best regards. Jan 25 '14 at 16:43
  • 3
    no matter what Black plays Qxc4 is White's next move Not if black plays Bb5 :)
    – user2351
    Jan 27 '14 at 17:30
  • @BlueMoon: If you wish to nitpick... :) Jan 27 '14 at 18:02

After giving the issue some thought I think White has better prospects with:

[fen ""]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e3 b5 4. a4 Bd7 5. axb5 Bxb5 6. Nc3 *

At the very least a tempo is won. If Black is not very careful as to where he retreats his Bishop he may very well lose material in addition to the c4 pawn which is doomed by all accounts.

  • You are correct, Nc3 is better option. When I wrote my answer I focused to show you that you can always return the pawn and Bxc4 demonstrated it better than Nc3. It is a standard motif in QGA for White so I thought it would be more useful to you if you know it, than not. +1 from me. Best regards. Feb 4 '14 at 22:24
  • 2
    BTW, if you wish to unaccept my answer and accept yours know that I will not be offended. My main purpose was to show you a standard tactical motif that is use in many variations to return the pawn. Best regards. Feb 5 '14 at 4:30
  • And after 6... Ba6, 7.Qf3 c6 {The only reply that doesn't instantly lose the rook.} 8.Rxa6 Nxa6 9.Qxc6+ Qd7 10.Qxa8+ Qd8 11.Qc6+ Qd7 12.Qxa6
    – BOY
    Sep 28 '14 at 17:26
  • I didn't see an immediate refutation to ...c6 but b3! will allow Nxb5 and rounding up the c-pawn(s) soon enough. Fritz gives White a huge advantage here because White can get a lot of pressure before Black castles due to the huge development lead. It isn't just that the a-pawn is doomed. The two bishops are big, too, and no matter where the black king bishop develops, White can threaten e4-e5 on Bd6 or Nf3-e5 on Be7. So the move is not just positionally suspect. The boomerang isn't immediate, but it's pretty clear.
    – aschultz
    Sep 24 '16 at 0:09

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