I've reached this position, or something similar, a zillion times as both black and white (main line exchange queen's gambit):

[fen ""]

1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5 c6 6.e3 Be7 7.Bd3 O-O 8.Nf3 Nbd7 9. O-O

As white, I typically employ the plans: (a) a minority attack with the a- and b-pawns, (b) put the bishop behind the queen on the b1-h7 diagonal and create weaknesses in black's kingside [more effective if black has played h6], or (c) aim the push the e4-pawn.

As black, I feel planless. Hence...

Question: What are black's possible plans in the exchange variation of the Queen's Gambit?

The things that spring to mind are the ...c5 push (leading to a black IQP game), or ...b6 followed by ...Bb7 and ...c5 (although it always seems difficult to locate the queen after these moves).

  • I suppose you are not looking for plans for Black in this specific position only, but in the exchange variation in general. Is that correct? Commented May 3, 2014 at 0:53
  • Yes, I'd be interested in learning about plans that involve alternate opening moves, but still has the general QGD exchange theme. Commented May 3, 2014 at 1:05

2 Answers 2


Question: What are black's possible plans in the exchange variation of the Queen's Gambit?

I think the positions could be classified into two main types depending upon where White develops the g1 knight - f3 or e2.

A) Black's ideas when White develops Knight on f3

1) Knight mavouvere - d7-f8-e6-g7 followed by Bf5!

A very interesting idea was introduced in the game Reshevsky vs Stahlberg, 1937. Instead of "automatically" castling, Black first mavouvers the knight to e6, thereby saving a tempo and prepares to play g6 followed by Ng7 and Bf5! In his DVD on the Queens Gambit, Garry Kasparov considers this to be Black's main idea of solving the problem of the bishop on c8 and also exchanging White's strong bishop on d3.

  [Event "Knight manouvere d7-f8-e6-g7 followed by Bf5!"]
  [Date "1937"]
  [White "Reshevsky"]
  [Black "Stahlberg"]
  [Result "1/2-1/2"]
  [FEN ""]

    1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 Nbd7 6. cxd5 exd5 7. e3 c6 8.
    Qc2 Nf8 9. Bd3 Ne6 10. Bh4 g6 11. O-O-O O-O 12. Kb1 Ng7 13. h3 Bf5 14. Bxf6
    Bxf6 15. g4 Bxd3 16. Qxd3 Ne6 17. h4 c5 18. dxc5 Bxc3 19. Qxc3 Rc8 20. e4 Rxc5
    21. Qa3 Qd6 22. exd5 Rd8 23. Qxa7 Rxd5 24. Rxd5 Qxd5 25. Qe3 h5 26. Re1 hxg4
    27. Ne5 Ng7 28. Qe4 Qxe4+ 29. Rxe4 f5 30. Rc4 Kh7 31. Kc2 Re8 32. Nd3 Ne6 33.
    a4 Kh6 34. Rb4 Re7 35. Rb6 f4 36. Rb4 g5 37. hxg5+ Kxg5 38. Rb5+ Kh4 39. Re5
    Nd4+ 40. Kc3 Rxe5 41. Nxe5 Ne6 42. Nd3 f3 43. b4 g3 44. fxg3+ Kxg3 45. a5 Nf4
    46. Nc5 Kg2 47. Ne4 Nd5+ 48. Kb3 Nc7 49. Kc4 Ne6 50. b5 Ng5 51. Nd2 f2 52. a6
    Ne4 53. axb7 Nxd2+ 54. Kc3 f1=Q 55. b8=Q Qc1+ 56. Kd3 1/2-1/2

2) Traditional plan of equalizing with Ne4.

This is a very solid idea for Black to equalize. It leads to an exchange of pieces and stops White's ideas of pushing e4, thereby neutralizing White's positional advantage.

A sample line is

  [Event "Traditional plan of equalizing with Ne4"]
  [FEN ""]

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 Be7 6. e3 c6 7. Qc2 O-O 8. Bd3
  Nbd7 9. Nf3 Re8 10. O-O Nf8 11. h3 Ne4

Note that this is a general idea and could be played in many different move orders. Here are some sample Grandmaster games where Black successfully used this idea to equalize and then even went on to win the game.

Pavel Eljanov vs Yuriy Kryvoruchko, 2013 0-1

Athanasios Mastrovasilis vs Mikhail Gurevich, 2007 0-1

3) Prevent minority attack with a timely b5 and invite White to overextend.

If Black doesn't employ the earlier ideas, then Black has to passively defend the position a bit longer. However, this often has the added psychological ploy of inviting White to overextend in his/her efforts to win from their "better" position. I found this Grandmaster game where Black manages to prevent the minority attack and White ends up overextending and actually losing the game.

Pavel Maletin vs Vladimir Malakhov, 2008 0-1

    [Event " Prevent minority attack with a timely b5 and invite White to overextend"]
    [Date "2008"]
    [White "Maletin"]
    [Black "Malakhov"]
    [Result "0-1"]
    [FEN ""]

    1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 Nbd7 6. cxd5 exd5 7. e3 Be7 8.
    Bd3 O-O 9. Qc2 Re8 10. h3 Nf8 11. Bf4 Be6 12. O-O Bd6 13. Bxd6 Qxd6 14. Rab1 a5
    15. a3 N6d7 16. Rfc1 Rec8 17. Ne2 b6 18. b4 axb4 19. axb4 b5 20. Nf4 h6 21. Qd1
    Nb6 22. Ne5 Nc4 23. Qh5 Rc7 24. Bc2 Ra2 25. Ned3 Rca7 26. Bb3 R2a3 27. Rd1 Bc8
    28. Nc5 g5 29. Nfd3 Bf5 30. Qf3 Bg6 31. Rbc1 Be4 32. Qe2 Bxd3 33. Rxd3 Ne6 34.
    Bxc4 bxc4 35. Rxa3 Rxa3 36. Qb2 Ra7 37. b5 cxb5 38. Qxb5 Kg7 39. Rb1 Rc7 40.
    Qb2 Qc6 41. Rc1 Nxc5 42. dxc5+ f6 43. Ra1 Qxc5 44. Qb8 Rf7 45. Ra8 Qf8 46.
    Qxf8+ Rxf8 47. Ra5 Rd8 48. g4 Kf7 49. Kf1 Ke6 50. Ke2 h5 51. gxh5 Rh8 52. e4
    dxe4 53. Rc5 Rxh5 54. Rxc4 Ke5 55. Rc5+ Kd6 56. Rc3 Rh8 57. Ra3 Ke5 58. f3 f5
    59. fxe4 fxe4 60. Kf2 Kf4 61. Kg2 Rb8 62. Ra2 Rb3 63. Ra8 Rb2+ 64. Kf1 Kf3 65.
    Rf8+ Kg3 66. Rf5 Kh4 67. Re5 Rb3 68. Rxe4+ Kxh3 69. Re1 Kh2 70. Re2+ Kh1 71.
    Re4 Rf3+ 72. Ke2 Rf5 0-1

B) Black's ideas when White develops Knight on e2.

This is actually a more critical line than the Nf3 variation. In his aforementioned DVD, Kasparov claims that the results with Ne2 are in favor of White and looking at the games at the highest level, I have to agree with him.

Searching through a database, I found that the highest rated player to play this setup with Black was Ivanchuk against Carlsen in 2009. In that game Ivanchuk had to resort to passive defense and Carlsen missed a move which could have given him a decisive advantage.

Carlsen vs Ivanchuk 2009 1/2-1/2

Yusopov beat Portisch in this line way back in 1986 by first defending passively and then embarking on a kingside attack, although this cannot be suggested as a "general idea", so use this with caution.

Portisch vs Yusopov, 1986 0-1

  [White "Portisch"]
  [Black "Yusopov"]
  [FEN ""]
  [Event "Passive queenside defense followed by kingside attack"]
  [Result "0-1"]
  [Date "1986"]

   1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d4 Nf6 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 Be7 6. e3 Nbd7 7. Bd3 O-O 
   8. Nge2 Re8 9. O-O c6 10. Qc2 Nf8 11. Rab1 Be6 12. b4 a6 13. Na4 N6d7 14. Bxe7 Qxe7 
   15. Nc5 Nxc5 16. bxc5 Rad8 17. Rb2 g6 18. Rfb1 Bc8 19. Nc1 Rd7 20. Nb3 Ne6 
   21. Na5 Nd8 22. Qd1 h5 23. Qf3 Kg7 24. h3 h4 25. Qf4 Rc7 26. Kf1 Rh8 27. Rb3 g5 
   28. Qh2 f6 29. R1b2 Nf7 30. Ke1 Re8 31. Kd1 f5 32. Re2 Qd8 33. Rb6 f4 34. exf4 Rxe2 
   35. Kxe2 Qf6 36. Rb4 gxf4 37. Kd2 Re7 38. Qh1 f3 39. Kc3 Ng5 40. gxf3 Qf4 
   41. Rb1 Nxf3 42. Nb3 Kf8 43. Rd1 Ng5 44. Nd2 Rf7 45. f3 Nxh3 46. Re1 Ng5 47. Re2 Re7 
   48. Rxe7 Kxe7 49. Qe1 Be6 50. Qb1 h3 51. Qxb7 Bd7 52. Qa8 h2 53. Qh8 Nh3

1) New Idea - knight maneuver d7-f8-e6 followed by bishop to b7.

Nubairshah Shaikh vs Arvindh Chithambaram 2013 0-1

I came across a recent interesting game by India's rising star Arvindh Chithambaran. The idea, as I understand it, is to maneuver the knight to e6, develop the bishop on b7 and then invite White to trade the dark squared bishops. Black can also play f5 considering the fact that the knight on e2 cannot really get to the outpost created on e5.

   [Event "knight maneuver d7-f8-e6 followed by bishop to b7"]
   [Date "2013"]
   [White "Shaikh"]
   [Black "Chithambaram"]
   [Result "0-1"]
   [FEN ""]

    1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 Be7 6. e3 c6 7. Bd3 Nbd7 8.
    Qc2 Nf8 9. Nge2 Ne6 10. Bh4 g6 11. O-O O-O 12. f3 b6 13. Rad1 Bb7 14. Kh1 Rc8
    15. a3 Nh5 16. Bf2 f5 17. b4 Bd6 18. f4 b5 19. Ng1 a5 20. Rb1 Nf6 21. Bh4 Ra8
    22. Nf3 Qe7 23. Bxf6 Qxf6 24. Ne5 Qe7 25. Qb2 Ra7 26. Rfc1 Rfa8 27. h3 Ng7 28.
    Rc2 axb4 29. axb4 Ra6 30. Qc1 Ne8 31. Ne2 Ra3 32. Qd2 R8a6 33. Kh2 Nf6 34. Nc1
    R3a4 35. Rcb2 Nd7 36. Nxd7 Qxd7 37. Bc2 Ra3 38. Nd3 Qe7 39. Bb3 Kg7 40. Nc5
    Bxc5 41. dxc5 Ra8 42. Qd4+ Qf6 43. Rd2 Re8 44. Kg1 Re4 45. Qxf6+ Kxf6 46. Bc2
    Rexe3 47. Kf2 Bc8 48. Bd1 Re4 49. Bf3 Rxf4 50. Re2 Be6 51. Rbe1 Re4 52. Bxe4
    dxe4 53. Rb2 Bd5 54. Rbb1 Ra4 55. h4 f4 56. g3 Ra2+ 57. Re2 fxg3+ 58. Ke3 Ra3+
    59. Kd2 Ke5 60. Re3 Ra2+ 61. Kc3 Kf4 62. Ree1 e3 63. Ra1 Rxa1 64. Rxa1 g2 65.
    Re1 Kf3 66. Kd4 Kf2 67. Ra1 e2 0-1

2) Preventing the Ne2 line altogether by playing an intermediate move 3...Be7!?

    [Event "Black plays 3...Be7!? and White is unable to get both Bg5 and Ne2"]
    [FEN ""]

    1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7!?

3...Be7 puts White in a dilemma because White cannot get in both Bg5 and Ne2. White has to try Bf4, but then Black's kingside is not pressured as much as after Bg5. In some lines, Black can once again follow the same plan of knight maneuver to e6 followed by g6 and Bf5.

     [Event "Sample lines after 3...Be7"]
     [FEN ""]

     1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. cxd5 (4. Bf4 Nf6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. c5 c6
     8. Bd3 b6 9. b4 a5 10. a3 Ba6 11. O-O Qc8 12. h3 Qb7) (4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bg5 c6 6.
     e3 Nbd7) 4... exd5 5. Bf4 Nf6 6. Nf3 O-O 7. e3 c6 8. Bd3 Nbd7 9. Qc2 Re8 10. h3
     Nf8 11. O-O Ne6 12. Bh2 g6

P.S. This is definitely the longest I have spent answering a single question on chess.stackexchange.com!

  • 1
    That's a really good answer!! Thanks for taking the time to write this (I didn't realize how much I was asking!). I particularly like the first plan. (It's clever the way black implemented it too: refraining from castling and playing ...h6.) Commented May 3, 2014 at 23:09
  • I'm glad it was useful! Please feel free to accept the answer! :) Commented May 3, 2014 at 23:23
  • I would do, but AlwaysLearningNewStuff's comment above makes me think I should wait. Commented May 4, 2014 at 2:22
  • 1
    Always always seems to do this lol! :D Commented May 4, 2014 at 3:34
  • 1
    @RebeccaJ.Stones, certainly you have waited long enough by now? ;P
    – hkBst
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 7:59


Exchange variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined can be reached via many move orders so there is no point in posting theoretical lines here since they will not fit ( they are too broad ). The best way to answer this question is to actually explain how to play positions that arise. To start explaining this line, the below pawn structure must be considered :

[Title "Typical pawn structure"]
[fen "8/pp3ppp/2p5/3p4/3P4/4P3/PP3PPP/8 w - - 0 1"]

Central formation is fixed, so pawn breaks must be considered in order to evaluate which player stands better, if any.

Black has only one pawn break -> ...c5 but that will leave him with isolated d-pawn. Owner of such pawn stands weaker in pure pawn ending but in middlegame has good compensation in view of active piece play and pressure.

Black can not obtain satisfying position with the isolated d-pawn because of the following:

  1. White is usually ahead in development;

  2. White has strong pressure on c-file with Rc1 + Qc2;

  3. White easily exchanges pieces which reduces Black’s attacking chances;

As for White, he has central pawn break e4 that might leave him with isolated d-pawn, but unlike Black, in some lines he can actually obtain fully satisfactory position. Still, most of the time playing with isolated pawn is not very rewarding for White.

Since both sides have no satisfactory breaks in the center, we need to consider play on wings.

White absolutely dominates in this aspect. Practice has seen White successfully operating on queenside ( minority attack ) and on kingside ( f4 push ). Black usually can’t use his queenside pawn majority effectively, since he will create a backward pawn on c6 which usually costs him the game.

Since he can’t strike in the center and queenside, Black must seek chances on kingside. Since pawn storm with ...f5 fails, Black tried with piece attack against opposing king which gave decent results. White started to play slowly and after preventing the kingside attack went on to continue with his plans.

That is why Black adopted the following plan : Black keeps his pieces centralized, and positioned to counter/prevent opponent’s action. He will try to generate kingside play by attacking there with pieces first. After White makes a pawn move with pawns in front of his king, Black launches pawn storm.

The last nuance, that is very important, is the position of the White’s king knight. If posted on f3, lines are harmless for Black, but if on e2 then Black will defend for a long time.

Now is the time to move on the next section that explains concrete plans for both sides.


1. Central breakthrough;

2. Kingside initiative with f4;

3. Queenside initiative-minority attack;

4. Opposite-side castling;

5. Short Endgame;

6. Alatortsev variation;

1.Central breakthrough;

With Nf3 this is not dangerous for Black. As soon as White plays Rae1 with the idea of e4, Black responds with ...Ne4! and gets equal position:

[Title "Black equalizes with White knight on f3"]
[fen ""]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 c6 6. Qc2 Be7 7. e3 O-O 8. Bd3 Nbd7 9. Nf3 Re8 10. O-O Nf8 11. Rae1 Ne4!

However, with Ne2 things are critical for Black. Black’s main idea is to play ...c5! in order to further weaken dark squares in White camp, especially a7-g1 diagonal. Knight on f6 is rerouted to b6.

The reason why this sub-variation is not a mainline is because Black successfully uses various move orders to dodge it. So far nobody found a solid equalizer, and White enjoys permanent, but slight, advantage. Since there is no solid equalizer, the only thing I can recommend is to study most up-to-date literature on this subject. I recommend you Lars Schandorff-Playing the Queens Gambit (2012).

2.Kingside initiative with f4;

This plan is played with Nf3 setup. The point is to restrict Black’s white bishop and maintain space advantage. Game Petrosian-Beliavsky, USSR championship 1983 is the first time this plan was tried ( if I am not mistaken ). Usually Black plays ...f6 and posts bishop to f7, achieving solid position with equal chances.

3.Queenside initiative-minority attack;

This plan is good only with Nf3. With Ne2 it fails.

White plans to play b4-b5-bxc6 to create backward pawn on c6 and isolated a-pawn. Then he will use the c-file to put pressure on c6 and will eventually capture the c6 pawn. The ideal pawn structure for White is shown in following diagram:

[Title "Minority attack pawn structure"]
[fen "8/p4ppp/2p5/3p4/3P4/4P3/P4PPP/8 w - - 0 1"]

Since Black is too late with ...f5 counterplay he concentrates on exchanging bishops ( positions with "knights-only" are good for Black; Black posts a knight on d6 where it controls b5+c4+e4+f5 squares; good illustrative game is Bobotsov-Petrosian,Lugano 1968 ).

In order to exchange white bishop Black tried maneuver Nf8-e6-g7-Bf5 and to exchange black bishop he usually plays ...Ne4 at some point. Practice showed that plan with Nf8-e6-g7-Bf5 is too slow ( but might be valid if White’s action is slow ), so Black turned his attention to other possibilities.

In practice, plan with ..a5 proved best. Since White will play a3 in order to achieve b4 Black can slow down minority attack by simply ignoring it for a moment because a3 pawn will hang, or can exchange on b4 ( which will reduce the number of weak pawns he must defend -> this idea can be implemented with ...a6 as well, since both moves usually lead to the same position after Black exchanges with ...axb4 ) and then play ...b5! to stop minority attack.

The backward ...c6 pawn will be shielded by a knight on ...c4 and Black will put pressure on b4 pawn with queen and rook. He will also posses a-file, which will give him sufficient counterplay. Black must prevent e4 push and must not allow Ne5 in order for this plan to work.

An important note: If White exchanged black bishop for ...Nf6 ( and you have played ...a6 ) then after White plays b5 you may want to play ...a5! to prevent Nc3 to reach strong c5 square. Black bishop must go to d6.

Another plan Black has is to respond on b5 with ....cxb5+...a5! followed by ...Nb6 or ...b6 ( b6 square must be blocked ) which will create passed pawn on the a-file. This is not common to see, but sometimes is the only way to play so I am mentioning it.

The last plan is probably the best, and can be combined with others: Black will respond on b5 with c5!. Although he will have isolated pawn, he will be able to harass White’s b5 pawn, and after ...cxd4 or dxc5 the c3 knight will be under pressure, and White queen can be subjected to annoying pin as well.

[Title "Plan with ...a5, a3 pawn hangs"]
[fen "r1bqrnk1/1p2bppp/2p2n2/p2p2B1/3P4/P1NBPN2/1PQ2PPP/1R3RK1 w - - 0 1"]

1.b4 Bd6! 2.b5 Bxa3 3.bxc6 bxc6

It will be harder for White to attack a-pawn since his pieces are no t well posted for that task. Black can easily defend the a-pawn since his pieces are flexibly posted. Being temporarily a pawn up, Black can return one pawn in order to favorably simplify the position.

[Title "Plan with ...a5, blocking b5"]
[fen "r3r1k1/1p1nqp1p/2pn2p1/p2p4/3P4/P1NQPN2/1P3PPP/1R3RK1 w - - 0 1"]

1.b4 axb4 2.axb4 b5 

Black will post a knight on c4, rook goes to a3. God example is this game. This plan can be achieved also with 1....a6 2.b4 b5, with the same rules applying. You will have to choose a proper moment to open a-file...

[Title "Stopping Nc5 after Bxf6"]
[fen "4r3/pp2bppp/2p2n2/3p2B1/1P1P4/2N1P3/P4PPP/1R6 w - - 0 1"]

1.Bxf6 Bxf6 2.a4 a6! 3.b5 a5! 4.bxc6 bxc6

This idea is very important once White exchanges black bishop for your knight. In positions with ...a6, you must not allow Nc5!

[Title "Passed a-pawn"]
[fen "r7/1p1n1ppp/p1p5/3p4/PP1P4/4P3/5PPP/8 w - - 0 1"]

1.b5 cxb5! 2.axb5 a5!

Now you have passed pawn, but remember to play ...b6 or ...Nb6! The point is to control the b6 square or else you will stand worse.

[Title "The ...c5! push"]
[fen "r1r5/1p2bppp/2p5/3p4/1P1P4/2N1PN2/2Q2PPP/1R6 w - - 0 1"]

1.b5 c5! 2.dxc5 ( 2.Qb3 cxd4 3.Nxd4 Ra3-+ ) 2...Rxc5

Although you get isolated d5 pawn, White's pieces are awkwardly placed so you get good compensation in view of your piece activity. Furthermore, the pawn on b5 is weak, and your pieces are well placed to defend your isolated pawn and attack White b5 pawn.

4.Opposite-side castling;

Works for White in both setups, but is not considered that dangerous with Nf3 since Black can simplify the position with timely ....Ne4! jump. With Ne2 setup you must immediately launch pawn storm. In both cases you must know theory well, which I will not cover here since it is too broad.

5.Short endgame;

If Black is happy with a draw, he can play slightly worse, but equal, endgame:

[Title "Short endgame"]
[fen ""]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5 c6 6.e3 Bf5!? 7.Qf3 Bg6 8.Bxf6 Qxf6 9.Qxf6 gxf6

5.Alatortsev variation;

This line was invented so Black can dodge Exchange variation with Ne2 and is very effective in it.

The fact that in the last 3 or 4 candidates tournament Black played “Queen gambit type of openings” with ...Be7 move order “speaks” a lot ( hopefully now you grasp the difficulty of Black’s position in lines with Ne2 ).

The beauty of this line also lies in the fact that White can’t enter favorably into some lines with Nf3 either, which will be demonstrated in the diagram below:

[Title "QGD White tries to reach Nf3 mainline "]
[fen ""]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7! 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Bg5 c6 7.Qc2 ( 7. e3 Bf5! 8.Bd3 Bxd3 9.Qxd3 Nbd7 10.O-O O-O 11.Rab1 a5! 12.a3 Ne4! 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.b4 b5! $15 ) g6! 8.e4!? ( 8.e3!? Bf5 ) dxe4! 9.Bxf6 ( 9.Nxe4 Nxe4 10.Qxe4 Be6!? ) Bxf6 10.Qxe4+ ( 10.Nxe4 O-O!?= ) Kf8 ( 10...Qe7!?= ) 11.Bc4 Kg7 12.O-O Re8 13.Qf4 Be6 14.Bxe6 Rxe6 15.Rfe1! Qd6! 16.Qxd6 Rxd6 17.Re8 Rd8 18.Rxd8 Bxd8 19.Re1 Nd7=

Therefore White plays Bf4 instead of Bg5 and that became the main line.

Black’s most solid approach seems to be ...Bd6 in response to Bf4. However, in practice ...Bf5 is the main line. White then responds with g4 or Ne2+g3 chasing the bishop away and launching kingside pawn storm afterwards. Lines are complex and sharp, so I will not cover them as they are too broad but Schandorff’s book, recommended earlier, covers this line well.


As Black, you try to generate kingside attack with pieces that will force a weakness in pawn structure around White king. Once that happens you launch a pan storm or simply finish the attack with a mate.

If White is faster on the queenside, you fight minority attack usually with ...a5 or ...a6, and try to get counterplay on the a-file. Post a knight on c4 and if you have a black bishop he goes to d6.

For detailed coverage of this line, the best book is M.Sadler-Queen’s Gambit Declined (2000) and for current theory you should get Schandorff’s book.

If you have further questions leave a comment. Good luck!

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