Chess Openings – Semi Slav

The Semi Slav is a very popular opening for black in defense of the Queen’s Gambit from white. It is seen at all levels of play and is thought to be one of the more sound defenses against the Queens Gambit. It is similar to the Slav defense, so if you haven’t seen that video already make sure you check it out.

chess software used in video can be found at and

70 Comments

  1. @DragonBice yea i loved that line 🙂 @thechesswebsite brilliant work again Kevin!

  2. kevin i'm playing the dutch defense and the stonewall variation but i think that the white bishop don't enter the game can you make a video about the leningrad variation? i will really appreciate it.

  3. @thechesswebsite And if people still want to see it from whites perspective they just put their monitor upside down.

  4. Very good video that showed me a lot. Thank you!

  5. I started viewing some of your videos thank you making them clear & understandable. The guys @ barber shop are impressed with my new game play…

  6. why didn't you play 4. Bg5. That is the main line in the queens gambit for white

  7. Why didn't you show the cambridge springs variation.

  8. Can someone please explain why (at the end of the vid) after the Bishop takes on g5 it wouldn't be able to immediately take on f6 (forking the Queen and Rook) I can't see a defence for black…I only mention it because Kevin insisted that the knight is threatened specifically by the pawn on e5.

  9. why would it be a bad idea so accept the gambit at 9:50? and why doesent white just play c5 pushing blacks bishop back?

  10. why shouldn't i take the knight with my bishop attacking the queen and the rook

  11. i play vs a cpu and it loves to bring out both knights first what opening do u think is best

  12. If you are not crazy like Kevin, i recomend the Cambridge Spring defense over the orthodox line beacuse It has a some traps for white and looks cooler.

  13. "He was pretty good at chess." haha, love this guy

  14. Hey I am an average player who normally starts with d5, e6, c6, and Nf6 in an order fitting opponents play. I than try pushing Ne4 if possible. I bring my queen and dark bishop to the line of the king pinning knight and putting tons of pressure. I was wondering what your opinion for this variation is.

  15. this is great! but when i tried this with my brother, like around 8:00 he pushed up c5 to attack my centralized bishop. i still won but i feel like i didnt do everything i was suppose to, what should i have done?

  16. In the main line c5 is not a strong move, because it locks up the position and it is difficult for white to make progress. Black should solidify with retreating the bishop, castleing and havong a quiet game.
    c5 in the mainline is very drawish!

    There are other lines in the semi-slav, where c5 is strong and worthy to consider. Gelfand had his only win against Anand in the last World Championship Match with such a line.

    Hope it helped you.

  17. Both knights first is dubious, but playable.
    A good way to begin a game is Nf3 which according to botvinnik (his style was that of a scientist) is "best by test". Nf3 can transpose into several types of position, but against computers, both the semi slav and the kings indian attack are strong.

    Good luck.

  18. I don't seem to understand why g4 (at 9:48 in the video) would be an advantage for white? Why wouldn't black counter with Nxg4, leaving white down material?

  19. What's the name of the gambit when white plays g4?

  20. black is to move, so he can just put his bishop between the knight and the queen 😉

  21. What does 4 …, Nbd7 actually accomplish and why can't white just push down with 5. c5 blocking in the black's king's square bishop?

  22. that's not crazy that's useless and will make you lose the game so why like crazy? you lose a knight and rook

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  24. you haven' t completed the variations looser some are not shown

  25. and you don t know how to play with shallow (g4) attack against white

  26. @shalithachess You're right, there are some variations which are left out. Just to show you how many variations there actually are, I have gathered some popular variations in here.

    the accelerated Meran, Alekhine variation 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 a6

    in Meran variation (shown in the video) 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 there are three popular continuations:

    old main line 8. …a6 9. e4 c5 10. e5

    Wade variation 8. …Bb7

    Pircs Variation 8. …a6 9. e4 b4

    Reynold's variation 8. …a6 9. e4 c5 10. d5

    neo-Meran Lundin variation 8. …b4

    But there are other options for black too in 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3, like:

    Chigorin defence 6. …Bd6

    Bogolyubov variation 6. …Be7

    Romih variation 6. …Bb4

    Stoltz variation/Anti-Meran Variation, popularized by Karpov: 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 (shown in the video) which usually continues with:

    Karpov Variation 7.Bd3 or Shirov–Shabalov Gambit 7.g4

    Also there are extremely analyzed and theoretical lines such as Moscov Variation which starts with 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 and continues usually 6. Bh4 dxc4 7. e4 g5 8. Bg3 b5 9. Be2.

    or even more wild and forced Botvinnik System (shown in the video): 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 dxc4 6. e4 b5 7. e5 h6 8. Bh4 g5 9. Nxg5 hxg5 10. Bxg5 Nbd7 11. exf6 Bb7 12. g3 c5 13. d5 Qb6 14. Bg2 O-O-O 15. O-O b4 which has two popular lines: 16. Na4 Qb5 17. a3 exd5 18. axb4 cxb4 or 16. Rb1 Qa6 17. dxe6 Bxg2 18. e7

    Cambridge Springs defence: 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 Nbd7 6. e3 Qa5 (shown in the video) which can continue with:

    Yugoslav variation 7. cxd5 Nxd5 

    Capablanca variation 7. Bxf6

    Bogoljubow variation 7. Nd2 Bb4 8. Qc2 

    Rubinstein variation 7. Nd2 dxc4 

    There's more too. To be honest, it is hard to think about anything more theoretical in chess than Semi-Slav Defense.

  27. Could you have elaborated more on the kasparov gambit?

  28. but still its a huge advantage for white if black takes !!! so its not really crazy , its pathetic for black to take. A huge blunder if they do so !

  29. 3:32 "And then black has 2 different options…"   It´s whites turn… 😉

  30. "Kasparov was pretty good at chess." Understatement of the year. Good video.

  31. Kevin, don't mind the people ubiquitously pointing out your technical errors. Those people are "perfect" after all. I just want you to know you really helped me out in my opening game, especially after watching your videos. Really, really helpful for beginners. I'm hovering in the 2000 mark now and it's partly thanks to you. So thanks! Keep up the good work!

  32. I didn't realize it, but I've been using a somewhat modified semi-Slav as Black. Can you also do a semi-slav as a White opening?

  33. Anandh crushed a semi slav in 2008, Beautiful Game

  34. The acid test of any gambit line is what happens if the gambit is accepted? You did not give us the follow up!

  35. I must say I've been more successful with the semi slav playing the slav d4, d5, c4, c6! Its been safer and more successful especially if the exchange slav comes cause u keep center majority equal! D4, d5 , c4 , e6 is a center collapse at higher level play inviting an inevitable exchange slav

  36. Hi Kevin…. what is the best answer if white continues to push the pawn to C5 ?

  37. To make him waste another move,why shouldn't we try fianchettoing dark squared bishop and bring rook to d1 ?

  38. it'd be great if you could explain why g4 is a good move instead of saying Kasparov played, so it should be good

  39. don´t say the pronoum "he" to refer to the pieces… I think the proper thing to say is "they" or "it"

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  41. 14:50 If dark bishop goes to f6 he would trap the queen or take the rook, how come you didnt mention that?

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