Monday, June 4, 2012

105 London System Repertoire as Exchange Slav

Welcome to main line Monday. Today we look at a practical variation that White can choose vs the Slav Defence: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6. That variation is the Exchange Variation 3.cxd5 cxd5. Below the main line of that variation where White continues 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Bf4.

Cyrus Lakdawala in his book "Play the London System" recommends this idea. In his chapter on the London vs the Benoni, Lakdawala shows how the opening becomes a Slav Defence Exchange Variation after 1.d4 c5 2.c3 cxd4 3.cxd4 d5. On page 198 he writes:

"I get this quite often so be warned that you need to know the basic ideas of the Exchange Slav. Some opening books dismiss his line as equality for Black, but I do not believe it is so straightforward for Black to equalize. Having the move in a symmetrical position is like having the serve in tennis."

I find Lakdawala's comments interesting. In my own games, I have scored 57% in the Exchange Slav with a performance rating over 100 points above my actual rating, based on 38 games. It is not a huge sample, but it points in the right direction for White.

[Event "Repertoire"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2012.06.04"]
[Round "?"]
[White "London 105"]
[Black "Slav Defence Exchange"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "D00"]
[PlyCount "25"]
[SourceDate "2012.01.29"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. cxd5 cxd5 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. Bf4 Bf5 (6... a6 7. e3
Bg4 8. Be2 e6 9. O-O Be7 (9... Bd6 10. Bxd6 Qxd6 11. Rc1 O-O 12. Na4) 10. Rc1
O-O 11. h3 Bh5 12. Ne5 Bxe2 13. Qxe2) (6... Ne4 7. e3 Nxc3 8. bxc3 g6 9. Bd3
Bg7 10. O-O O-O 11. e4 Bg4 12. h3 Bxf3 13. Qxf3) (6... g6 7. e3 Bg7 (7... Nh5
8. Bg5 h6 9. Bh4 g5 10. Ne5) (7... a6 8. Bd3) 8. h3 O-O (8... a6 9. Bd3) 9. Bd3
a6 (9... Qb6 10. a3) (9... b6 10. O-O Bb7 11. Rc1) (9... Bf5 10. Bxf5 gxf5 11.
O-O) 10. O-O b5 (10... Bf5 11. Bxf5 gxf5 12. Ne5) 11. Rc1 Bb7 12. Ne5) (6...
Qb6 7. Na4 Qa5+ (7... Qb4+ 8. Bd2 Qd6 9. e3) 8. Bd2 Qd8 (8... Qc7 9. Rc1) 9. e3
e6 10. Bd3) (6... Nh5 7. Bd2 e6 (7... Nf6) 8. e3 Nf6 (8... Bd6 9. Bd3) 9. Bd3)
(6... Bg4 7. Ne5 Qb6 8. Nxg4 Nxg4 9. e4 e5 10. Bd2) 7. e3 e6 (7... a6 8. Rc1
Rc8 (8... e6 9. Qb3 Ra7 10. Be2 Be7 11. O-O) 9. Be2 e6 10. O-O Bd6 (10... Nd7
11. a3) (10... Be7 11. Qb3) 11. Bxd6 Qxd6 12. Qb3) 8. Qb3 Bb4 (8... Qb6 9. Qxb6
axb6 10. Bb5 Nd7 (10... Bb4 11. O-O) 11. Nh4) 9. Bb5 O-O (9... Qa5 10. O-O) (
9... Bxc3+ 10. Qxc3 O-O 11. Bxc6 Rc8 (11... Ne4 12. Qa3) 12. Ne5 Ng4 (12...
bxc6 13. Rc1) 13. Nxg4 Bxg4 14. Qb4) 10. O-O Bxc3 (10... Qa5 11. Bxc6 bxc6 12.
Bc7 Qxc7 13. Qxb4 Rab8 14. Qa3) (10... Qe7 11. Bxc6 bxc6 12. Na4) 11. Bxc6 Bxb2
12. Bxb7 Bxa1 13. Rxa1 *

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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  1. How much coverage does Lakdawala give on the Exchange Slav from the White point of view? I have his Colle Move by Move book, and he only provides one annotated game on the Exchange Slav. So I've put together a White repertoire similar to yours based on the following Black repertoire books: Play the Slav by Vigus, The Classical Slav by Avrukh, The Slav Move by Move by Lakdawalla, and Play the Semi-Slav by Vigorito. I also have Kraai's Exchange Slav for White videos from But it would sure be nice to have a recent book written from the White side.

    1. See my comment below on this blog post. Thank you.

  2. Hey BikingBrian, thanks for the comment! Lakdawala in his Slav book as Black gives the line of the 6...a6 variation as 8.e3 Be7 9.h3! at the top of page 345. In his London book he gives 8 pages on the Slav. On page 205 he cites part of a game that went 8.e3 Bd6 9.Bg3 where he won as White. My conclusion is that the Exchange Slav gives both sides chances to win. The results favor the player who understand the position deepest and plays better tactically. In theory White must have a very slight edge because of the one tempo. Lakdawala has played these lines from both sides for years, probably thousands of times in blitz. He knows them very well. No one move wins for either side. You need a sound plan that works tactically. Any good one gives you chances. Best wishes!

  3. Thanks for the reminder of the game in the Slav book! His move order opens the door for 9 ... Qb6 making for an exciting game. (Note to self: add this to my PGN file.) I can assure you that Lakdawala plays exchange variations for the win, he beat me (2100 at the time) in a tournament game about twenty-five years ago playing the White side of an Exchange Classical in the King's Indian Defense. Thanks again, and I agree with your assessment of the Exchange Slav!


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