Queen's Gambit Declined

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6

In the Queen's Gambit White offers on his second move a temporary pawn sacrifice in order to exchange the c-pawn for Black's central d-pawn in the hope of obtaining superiority in the centre. In the Queen's Gambit Declined Black does not accept and instead of capturing protects his d5-pawn with his e-pawn in order to recapture with it should White exchange.
In the Queen's Gambit Declined White usually first takes care of the development of his queenside before developing the pieces on his kingside. It is the exact opposite for Black. The Queen's Gambit is among the most important openings in chess and belongs in the repertoire of all strong grandmasters.

After the first two moves White almost always continues with the development of his two knights, leading to the following position:


In the following diagrams you can return to the starting position with and from there you can go backwards and forwards through the opening moves with the arrow keys and

Subsequently click on the name of the opening in order to get more detailed information.

Vienna Variation: 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 dxc4

In the Vienna Variation Black immediately goes for complications. He takes on c4 and gives White the chance to occupy the centre with a second pawn by e2-e4.The counter he plans is to put his dark-squared bishop on b4 and to attack the white centre with … c7-c5. Instead of 5. e2-e4 White has the quieter continuation of 5. e2-e3 and taking the pawn on c4 with his bishop.. Check with the queen from a4 is also worth considering for move 5.

Ragozin System: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Bb4

In the Ragozin Variation Black develops his dark-squared bishop to b4 and pins the knight on c3, similarly to the Nimzo-Indian Defence. But since Black has already played ...d7-d5 White has no need to worry about possible doubled pawns in the event of an exchange on c3 since at any time he can take on d5 with his c-pawn. The main variations contain the counter-pin on the f6-knight by means of 5.Bc1-g5 after White has first exchanged pawns on d5.

Queen's Gambit Declined - Main Variation: 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 Be7

In the main variation Black develops his bishop to e7 and prepares to castle kingside. That is a very important position in chess theory. White now develops his dark-squared bishop to g5 or f4 and afterwards takes care of the development of his kingside. Black does the opposite. After he has developed his kingside he gradually brings into play the pieces on the queenside. The light-squared bishop on c8 is often fianchettoed to b7 or developed along the c8-h3 diagonal if White exchanges pawns on d5.

Main variations with 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Nf3

Lasker Defence: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.e3 h6 7.Bh4 Ne4 8.Bxe7 Qxe7

The Lasker Defence is an example of how things can continue in the Queen's Gambit Declined. With his last move Black in principle forces the exchange of two minor pieces and thus relieves his defence. The manoeuvre can be traced back to the first and only German world champion, Emanuel Lasker..

White does not play 4.Bg5

The Exchange Variation: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5

In the Exchange Variation White releases the central tension too soon. There now ensues an asymmetrical pawn structure. White would subsequently like to play the so-called 'minority attack' with b2-b4-b5 and b5xc6 which leaves Black with a weak pawn on c6. Black defends with an attack on the kingside with moves such as f7-f5 and Nf6-e4.

Orthodox Defence - struggle for a tempo: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Rc1 c6 8.Qc2

In the struggle for a tempo in this variation White delays as long as possible the development of his Bf1-d3 as he waits for Black to play …. d5xc4. Then the bishop could get to c4 from f1 in a single move with Bf1xc4 instead of Bf1-d3xc4. White would have gained a tempo for his development.

Capablanca's relieving manoeuvre : 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Rc1 c6 8.Bd3 dxc4 9.Bxc4 Nd5 10.Bxe7 Qxe7 11.0-0 Nxc3 12.Rxc3 e5

Capablanca's relieving manoeuvre solves the problem of the development of Black's queen's bishop by the freeing move 12... e6-e5. However, after 13.dxe5 Nxe5 14.Nxe5 Qxe5 15.f4 White can set his kingside pawn majority rolling forward.

Tartakower Variation: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Nf3 h6 6.Bh4 0-0 7.e3 b6

Here the black queen's bishop is developed by fianchetto to b7. This system of the Queen's Gambit is considered very solid and Black retains counterplay. A disadvantage of the move … b6 is a slight weakening of the light squares on the queenside. White will continue with cxd5 in order to open the c-file.

Black plays 4.... Nbd7

Cambridge Springs Variation: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.e3 c6 6.Nf3 Qa5

In the Cambridge Springs Variation Black delays the development of his king's bishop in order to gain time for a counter-attack by pinning the knight on c3. The best move is now 7.Nf3-d2. If White stereotypically plays 7.Bf1-d3 he is faced with the unpleasant 7... Nf6-e4!

Queen's Gambit Declined - Exchange Variation: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5

In the Exchange Variation White exchanges the pawn on d5 and at first holds back with the development of the knight to f3. Instead he immediately pins the knight on f6 with 5. Bc1-g5 and keeps open the future development of his king's knight. He frequently puts the light-squared bishop on d3 and the king's knight on e2. Black quickly develops his dark-squared bishop and castles short.