I am a 1750 Elo player with a very positional, quiet and strategic style of play.

I would like to know which variation I should play when, as White, I face the Queen's Gambit Declined.

The variation must meet these two conditions:

  • On average it must tend to lead to positions which are as much solid, positional, slow, closed, quiet and strategic as possible (I want nothing sharp and tactical).
  • I should be able to play it both by beginning with 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 and by beginning with 1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6

    [fen "rnbqkb1r/ppp2ppp/4pn2/3p4/2PP4/5N2/PP2PPPP/RNBQKB1R w - - 1 0"]

I am hesitating between these three variations :

  • The 5.Bf4 variation: 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4
  • The 5.Bg5 variation: 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5
  • The Catalan: 4. g3
  • 1
    Go for the Catalan, it is very hard to meet for Black. There is a lot of theory, but it is worth it, since it is Black who has harder time playing this opening ( speaking from personal experience). White can always play "on general principles" and be equal while Black can not ( sadly, this is confirmed with my personal experience ). 5.Bg5 excludes Exchange variation, but you can still enter Classical defense/Tartakower... 5.Bf4 is theoretical if I recall correctly, and too sharp for your taste in my opinion. Jul 13, 2014 at 13:57
  • 1
    I honestly doubt such a variation exists, because it is not simply White who controls what happens. Black can also complicate the position at any moment. Jul 13, 2014 at 15:50

2 Answers 2


The fact that you would consider opening Nf3 suggests that you are open to openings like the Reti. The Catalan g3 leads to (somewhat) this kind of opening, albeit with a pawn on d4. More to the point, with the light squared bishop on the long diagonal, it appears to be an opening of the slow, steady, quiet variety that you favor, keeping White's strategic advantage for as long as possible, at least until you make a mistake, or Black outplays you.

The other variations, with the black-squared Bishop, do have the advantage of developing a new piece, but they are also more "tactical" and lead to earlier conflict. If I understand your question correctly, that's precisely what you want to avoid.


You can also play the London system, which has these categories you like to play and also you can try Rubinstein attack and the Pillsbury attack with knight to e5 pawn going to f4 and after captures the rooks file opens, the f6 knight has to move and the queen is free for a kingside attack.

  • issue is two things- 1) OP doesn't exactly want an attacking game 2) I should be able to play it both by beginning with 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 and by beginning with 1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6
    – pulsar512b
    Nov 6, 2020 at 4:33

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