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Hi all!
The past few years I've been travelling the world making my norms and finally getting the GM title! Now that I'm done I'm back here happy to analyze what I know best, Queen's Gambit structures. I'm currently in Brazil where I am learning Portuguese and surfing.
This month we look at a variety of games, with 4 coming from the Mainline Slav, 2 from the Slav Exchange, 1 from the Semi Slav, and 1 from the Catalan.

Download PGN of January ’23 1 d4 d5 2 c4 games

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Slav Exchange, 4.Bf4 e6 [D10]

In Giri, A - Murzin, V we analyze the response 4...e6:

It seems that shutting the bishop in on c8 does lead to similar discomfort as doing so in the mainlines does. White has a nice variety of setups to play from here and we analyze several in detail.

Slav Exchange, Symmetrical line 8.Bb5 Bb4 [D14]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.cxd5 cxd5 4.Bf4 Nc6 5.e3 Nf6 6.Nc3 Bf5 7.Nf3 e6 8.Bb5:

In Vidit, S - Tin, J, we see Black try the dubious 8...Bb4 which quickly got him into hot water.

Mainline Slav, Geller Gambit 6.Be2 [D15]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.e4 b5 6.Be2 b4:

In Seemann, J - Licznerski, L we look at the modern version of the Geller in which White plays 6.Be2. This time we look at the natural response 7.Na4 to Black’s 7...b4.

Mainline Slav, 6.Nh4 Bc8 [D17]

After 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5, in Shipov, S - Toropov, P White essayed 6.Nh4 which led to a good game for White.

While objectively not great, I make the argument that this line has great practical value against the one-dimensional Slav player.

Mainline Slav, Dutch Variation, 9.Nh4 [D18]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.0-0 0-0 9.Nh4:

In Karthik, V - Dere, P we look at the response 9...Bg4. As the analysis shows this leads to an uncomfortable position for Black if White plays precisely.

Main Slav Dutch Variation 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.0-0 0-0 9.Qe2 [D19]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.0-0 0-0 9.Qe2:

In Tan Zhongyi - Goryachkina, A we saw Black play 9...Bg6 which allowed White to go for the bishop pair with 10.Ne5, though it didn’t seem to bring White a clear edge.

Semi-Slav, Anti-Meran Variation 8.0-0 dxc4 9.Bxc4 b5 10.Bd3 [D46]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.Bd3 0-0 8.0-0 dxc4 9.Bxc4 b5 10.Bd3:

In Sturt, R - Adhiban, B, we analyze the game which clinched my last GM norm for me and consequently made me a GM. Wanting to play for a win we see how the fighting Adhiban tries to bring some confusion to the position with 10...h6!?

Catalan Accepted, 5...Bd7 [E04]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 Bd7:

In Koustav, C - Karthik, V we see Black employ this dynamic and once popular system against the Catalan. We analyze 11.b3! which seems to be the reason why no-one wants to play it anymore.

Till next month, Raven

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