The Slav Defense: A Complete Guide of Slav Defense

The Slav defense chess opening has its own unique importance in the world of chess. It is one of the most resilient and solid openings available to black. The star feature of this chess opening that helps it to get into the list of best chess openings is that it is the best response against the Queen’s Gambit. It is alose among the safest reply to the Queen’s Gambit. Therefore, this opening becomes a must-learn chess opening for every chess player. In this article, we are going to help you in learning this opening. We will go through the history, the basics, and the detailed variations of the Slav defense in the upcoming text. So, without any further delay, let us move ahead and familiarise ourselves with the history of the Slav defense.

History of Slav Defense

It got its name as such from the players that contributed at various stages in the development of its theory. Those players came from the Slavic countries. And therefore, the opening got its name as the Slav defense. Although, the first citations of this chess opening date back to around 1590, but more extensive reporting of its use and analysis were only after the 1920s. The resilience that it provides to the black is the reason that the Slav defense is very much popular among modern-day chess players as well. Some of the names of Slavic players who contributed to the development of its theory include Alexander Alekhine, Semyon Alapin, and Efim Bogoljubov. Let us proceed further and learn about the basics of this defense.

Learn the slav defence!

The Key concepts of the Slav defense:

The key concepts of the Slav defense

The key feature of the Slav defense is that it allows the black to fight for the centre from the very beginning. And with the help of the solid pawn chain creation, black sets an impenetrable wall against the white. It helps the black to fight against the Queen’s Gambit. The typical chess moves involved in the Slav defense are listed below-

  1. d4 d5
  2. c4 c6

The 2..c6 move provides the advantage to other black as it does not block the light-squared bishop of the black. Which was the main problem for the black while facing the Queen’s Gambit. There are so many reasons for the black to opt for this opening. Below listed are some of the main reasons to do so-

  • The Slav defense has a marvelous score in the database and thus, it is the best choice for the black in order to win the game.
  • The Slav defense is the opening that has lowest number of wins for white ever.
  • The 2…c6 move of the Slav defense helps the black to keep control over the central square, which is essential to win.
  • Due to its classical moves, is the most conscious choice to play against the white’s Queen’s Gambit.
  • The Slav defense tends to bring asymmetry in the gameplay, thus, maximising the win chances of the black.
The Slav defense

Let us now move further towards the main variations of the Slav defense.

Variations of the Slav defense:

There are plenty of variations of the Slav defense. The main reason behind it is the several choices available to the white after the mainline 1. d4 d5 2, c4 c6. Every possible move of the white leads to a new variation of the Slav defense. Let us proceed further and discuss a few important ones.

Chess openings:- Slav defence

The Exchange Variation-

The key to winning for the black while facing the Exchange variation is to be patient. Patience and calmness will result in the black winning the game, even when the white player tries every bit to bring symmetry and draw the game. The classical moves leading to the Exchange variation are as follows-

  1. d4 d5
  2. c4 c6
  3. cxd5 cxd5

This variation is seen in about 10% of the games that start with this chess opening.

The Nc3 Variation-

The white playing the third move as Nc3 leads the progression of this chess opening into the mainline Nc3 variation. The very logical move that is available to the black after facing this variation is 4…Bf5. The chess moves involved in this variation are as follows-

  1. d4 d5
  2. c4 c6
  3. Nc3 Nf6
  4. e3

After the move 4…e3, it leads to an independent variable. But it can also transpose to a mainline variation after move 3. Nc3 Nf6.

The Nbd2 Variation-

This is the variation that has the least matter of concern to the black. The black has no fear against this variation as it literally does no harm to the blacks queenside development. The chess moves involved in the development of this variation are as follows-

  1. d4 d5
  2. c4 c6
  3. Nf3 Nf6
  4. Nbd2

Let us move further and summarise what we have learned till now about this chess opening.


The Slav defense is definitely the best choice to opt for the black. The resilience provides against the whites Queens Gambit is another star feature of this defense. It tends to bring asymmetry in the gameplay, making it easier for the black to win the game. Whereas, the variations of this opening proceed towards symmetry and equalizing positions. Therefore, black needs to have patience while facing any of the variations of this chess opening.

This chess opening has been very popular among the expert players of chess in the past. It is also trendy in modern-day gameplay and many renowned chess players frequently go for it. Some of the famous names include Shakhriayr Mamedyraov, Magnus Carlsen, and Vishy Anand.

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