Understanding The Slav D16

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6

The most solid defenses to the Queen Pawn Opening is the Slav Defense, which was favored by World Champion Vasily Smyslov, and World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik.

The full Slav Defense is an uncompromising opening, with a reputation for exciting chess, or a very dull draw.

The Slav is a relatively recent addition to Black's queen pawn defenses. It was originated by Alapin a century ago and came into prominence during the 1935-37 World Championship matches between Alekhine and Euwe. It has remained popular since, and today it is used by several young Russian stars, although its leading exponent is Anand, who is virtually invincible with it.

There are two strategic ideas behind 2c6. The first is to bolster the center without hemming in Black's "problem child" like in the Queen's Gambit Declined, the light-squared bishop. The second is to be able to support the advance of b5 after a later dxc4. This would either guard the pawn on c4 or attack the piece that has captured it, winning a tempo for queenside expansion.

The Variations
1. Slav Defense
2. Slav Defense Winawer Counter Gambit
3. Slav Defense Slav-Reti Hybrid
4. Slav Defense Exchange Variation
5. Slav Defense Geller Gambit
6. Slav Defense Main Line Czech Variation
7. Slav Defense Schlechter Variation

The Games
1. Alekhine - Euwe
2. Alekhine - Bogoljubow
3. Kortschnoj - Smyslov
4. Szekely - Canal
5. Regedzinski - Betgeder
6. Zhivtsov - Alatortsev
7. Van den Berg - Kinzel
8. Larsson - Andersson
9. Barbler - Bellmann
10. Hasson - Widjajanti