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My style favors aggressive, complicated openings. I have constructed a suitable repertoire with White beginning with 1. d4 with one exception. I have so far been unable to find a satisfactory response to

[fen ""]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6. 

I would prefer not to play the Exchange Variation because it is extremely popular among my regular opponents, but if it is the only option I would consider it. However, this would mean also finding something against the Alatortsev (3... Be7).

Can anyone give me a good suggestion? I'm willing to go into less popular lines if they have been tested by a 2700+ at least once.

Edit: To be clear, I'm already set vs. the Slav/Semi-Slav. I'm purely concerned with situations where Black does not play c6 at some point.

  • Could you say a little more about which approaches you've already found unsatisfactory thus far? – ETD May 9 '15 at 23:34
  • I played the Exchange for a while and was generally unhappy with it; the new top-level idea for Black of Ne4 and 0-0-0 was particularly annoying. I tried a Catalan setup and got positions that I was uncomfortable with because there was little to calculate. I tried just d4, c4, Nc3, e3, Nf3, Bd3 but found that opponents were equalizing too easily. – Cleveland May 10 '15 at 1:14
  • I have so far been unable to find a satisfactory response to 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6. What is wrong with Nge2 setup? Find Playing 1.d4 - The Queen's Gambit by Lars Schandorff book for details. However, this would mean also finding something against the Alatortsev Botvinnik plan with early g4 is very strong, giving complex struggle. The lines are also described in the book I mentioned. the new top-level idea for Black of Ne4 and 0-0-0 was particularly annoying.I tried just d4, c4, Nc3, e3, Nf3, Bd3 but found that opponents were equalizing too easily. Show sample lines please. – AlwaysLearningNewStuff May 10 '15 at 17:55
  • 1.d4 is positional players style, I would offer you to play 1.e4 if you are really aggressive. – Saeed Amiri May 16 '15 at 19:22
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Maybe the 5.Bf4 lines are a good fit. In the 5.Bg5 lines, black can often exchange bishops with the Lasker/Capablance maneuver, involving an early ...Ne4 or ...Nd5 forcing the bishop exchange, and it is hard to get aggressive play against that. 5.Bf4 avoids that, with the drawback that there is less pressure on d5, allowing ...c5 by black. Usually white takes the pawn.

There's an all star list of top players who have used it -- Kasparov, Topalov, Ivanchuk, Kramnik, Gelfand, Korchnoi, et cetera.

I should probably add an example game here but I don't know one from the top of my head and I don't have much time...

A recent book that advocates this line is Burgess' "A Cunning Repertoire for White", which is a generic 1.d4 opening repertoire book.

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For your style my suggestion is e4 followed by f3 if he capture with the pawn, if he capture with the knight,take knight and then f3!

  • "Aggressive, complicated opening" should note be mistaken for "playing whatever unsound gambit"... – Evargalo Nov 13 '18 at 14:44
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Im pretty sure I have seen strong grandmasters play a setup with Nf3, e3 and g4!?. You may want to look closer at this.

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