Slav Triangle Marshall Gambit 8.Be2 – IM Robert Ris (iChess Club)

In this exclusive iChess Club video, IM Robert Ris continues his exploration of the Slav Triangle. This is part 4 of a 6-part series. If you missed any of the earlier parts, click on the links below:

Part 1: Slav Triangle Noteboom Variation

Part 2: Slav Triangle Versus the Catalan System

Part 3: Slav Triangle 4.e3 Stonewall Dutch

This variation bears the name of Frank Marshall, who also played the Marshall Gambit in the Ruy Lopez. Play in the Slav Triangle Marshall Gambit is sharp, and Black must know when it’s safe to capture material.

The Ideas Behind the Slav Triangle Marshall Gambit

Although Marshall played in the early to mid-1900s, his style of play closely resembled today’s approach – active, concrete play based on solid positional grounds that puts pressure on the opponent from the start.

In light of this, Black must strive to minimize White’s initiative and pay close attention to mating threats. Capturing the pawn on g2 after trading the dark-squared bishop requires excellent timing because it gives White play on the semi-open g-file.

White will often gain a strong initiative on the d-file with long castle!

However, the resulting positions are theoretically sound for Black, and you get to enjoy exciting chess games. There are winning chances for both sides.

A good guiding principle for Black is to focus on improving his position before grabbing material. One crucial part of this is establishing the f6-e5 pawn chain to hold space in the center and free the light-squared bishop.

Remember, exchanging light-squared bishops is almost always in Black’s favor!

The Slav Triangle Marshall Gambit Move Order

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e4 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Bb4+

VECO Slav Triangle Marshall Gambit
VECO Slav Triangle Marshall Gambit

6.Bd2 Qxd4 7.Bxb4 Qxe4+ 8.Be2

VECO Slav Marshall Gambit 8.Be2
VECO Slav Marshall Gambit 8.Be2

Don’t get greedy with 8…Qxg2 because White develops a strong initiative with Bf3, Ne2, Bc3, Rg1, and long castle.

8…Na6 9.Ba5

Slav Triangle Marshall Gambit 9.Ba5
Slav Triangle Marshall Gambit 9.Ba5

Now Black must deal with the threat of checkmate with Qd8. In view of this threat of checkmate on d8, Black’s best option is 9…b6.

Play is likely to continue 10.Qd6 Bd7 11.Bc3 f6, leading to a sharp position.

Slav Triangle Marshall Gambit 11...f6
Slav Triangle Marshall Gambit 11…f6

In Conclusion

The Slav Triangle Marshall Gambit is an excellent weapon for White, but not many players enjoy going a pawn down so early in the game. Both sides have opportunities for attack and counter-attack, tactics, and counter-tactics.

Attacking players will find this opening very much to their liking regardless of their playing color. Of course, attacking players will accept the challenge and enjoy these exciting positions.

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