Slav Triangle Versus the Catalan (4.g3) – IM Robert Ris (iChess Club)

Many players with White adopt a Catalan System as their approach against 1…d5. They do so with good reason, but the Slav Triangle variation stands firm.

In this exclusive iChess Club video, IM Robert Ris continues his exploration of the Slav Triangle. This is part 2 of a 6-part series. If you missed part 1 on the Noteboom Variation, click here.

Black can choose to play vigorously to win in this dynamic variation of the Slav Defense. Capturing the pawn with …cxd4 and holding onto it with …b5 at the cost of development is ambitious.

There is no need to fear you are overreaching because Black stands well against White’s two main strategies.

White’s Two Most Dependable Strategies

After the initial moves 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c6 4.g3

VECO Slav Triangle 4.g3
VECO Slav Triangle 4.g3

Black can continue with 4…dxc4 5.Nc3 b5 6.Bg2 Bb7 7.0-0 Nf6

VECO Slav Triangle 7...Nf6
VECO Slav Triangle 7…Nf6

In this position, White must choose between a central strategy with 8.e4 or place pressure on Black’s queenside with 8.Ne5.

A little preparation is all you need to reach a sharp yet perfectly playable position with Black against either approach.

Black’s usual strategy in the Slav Triangle Variation is to create a protected passed pawn on the queenside to negate White’s space advantage and attacking plans. The passed pawn is usually well-advanced and inhibits White by forcing him to watch the pawn closely.

Understanding which squares are best for your pieces is, as usual, key for holding these sharp positions with Black.

For example, the Black queen is safer defending the bishop on b7 from the c8 square instead of the c7 square. Placing the queen on c8 allows it to support the c6-pawn and bishop without allowing White tactical chances with Bf4.

Final Thoughts

It is essential to remember chess is a game played between two players. Don’t only focus on your plans but make sure you understand White’s tactics as well.

When you are familiar with White’s attacking plans and piece set-ups, you can use the position on the board as an aid to remember where your pieces need to go in the Slav Triangle Variation.

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