Master and Amateur explain the Queen's Gambit

by ChessBase
7/8/2014 – IM Lorin D'Costa and Nick Murphy are a strong team. As a club-level player Nick has a sound basic knowledge, but of course he does not know all crucial variations and the latest nuances. Lorin has the chess knowledge, and by asking the proper questions, he guides his co-presenter to discover the answers for himself. Enjoy the show!

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IM Lorin D'Costa/Nick Murphy
Queen's Gambit Declined

Review by Lukas Wedrychowski (Extract)

In the 70s and 80s one usually encouraged children to try 1.e4 to train their tactical abilities. [...] However, nowadays the Queens Gambit is a frequent guest in the games of many young players. But how to remember all the systems you have to learn after 1.d4?

On their new DVD, Lorin D'Costa and Nick Murphy respond to this problem by presenting the various aspects of the Queen's Gambit Declined (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6) in an accessible and structured way. The material divides into the main lines of the Queen's Gambit Declined:

Main Line

5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 0-0 7.e3

Here White has to know two systems. The Tartakower-System with 7...b6 and the modern Lasker-Variation with 7...Ne4. Both systems have a completely different character and are often played in top tournaments. Former World Champion Vishy Anand used the Queen's Gambit Declined in his World Champion match in Sofia 2010 against the Bulgarian GM Veselin Topalov, and won the final game - winning the match! The Queens Gambit also played a huge role in the Candidates Tournament in Kazan.

5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.e3

In the Orthodox Variation, Black avoids the move ...h7-h6 in the opening (and sometimes throughout the game) and keeps other options open. Lorin D'Costa and Nick Murphy explain this line by referring to the classic "Alekhine-Lasker", which shows two masters of their trade at work!


Currently, the Bf4-system poses Black the biggest problems. The main lines of the Lasker-variations are well playable for Black, but here some territory is still uncharted, particularly in a couple of lines in the 6…Nbd7 variation. The two authors show in detail how White can use the more active position of the bishop to his advantage. They illustrate the two main systems (6...Nbd7 and 6...b6) with games by strong grandmasters!

Sample video

Flash Animation

Exchange Variation

4.cxd5 exd5

For a long time the Exchange Variation has been annoying the World's elite. Many considered Black's third move 3...Nf6 after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Sc3 to be a mistake because White could opt for the Exchange Variation, in which he had numerous plans at his disposal. In fact, a lot of repertoire books for 1.d4-players recommend this line and the authors of these books all hold the line in high regard.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7

From a theoretical perspective Black was faced with a couple of problems in the classical Exchange Variation which he could not solve as comfortably as he would have liked, and therefore players opted for the line with 3...Be7, as if to say:

"I will play a waiting-move; which useful moves do you have that do not hinder your development?" After all, White eventually has to develop the bishop, and of course White would like to see it outside the pawn chain. D'Costa and Murphy demonstrate how developing the bishop to f4 affects the character of the position.

Cambridge Springs Variation

Strictly speaking, the Cambridge Springs Variation is part of the Queen's Gambit Declined, though I would rather count it as a Semi Slav because of the pawns on c6, d5 and e6, which form a typical Semi Slav structure. However, White can play the Exchange Variation to avoid this line. But similar to moving the bishop to b4, the queen sortie to a5 increases Black's pressure on White's centre and gives both sides interesting tactical possibilities.

Ragozin Variation

The Ragozin Variation is considered to be one of Black's most active weapons in the Queen's Gambit Declined. Black develops the bishop to b4, and increases the pressure against the knight on c3. In the main lines Black often attacks with ...c5 and ...Qa5, etc.

After 9...Bxc3, the question is asked: "Which way should White recapture on c3?"

The DVD emulates a training session, in which the beginner asks the questions or is asked questions while the experienced coach has the answers. Thus, the DVD is clearly targeted at beginners and players who are not familiar with this opening. At the end of the DVD you can test your knowledge and how well you understood the material with a number of interactive thematic puzzles about the Queen's Gambit Declined.


All-round, a good DVD. It is geared towards lower rated players, but is spot on and delivers what it promises: an overview of the Queen's Gambit Declined with all the plans for Black and White! I recommend it, particularly when searching training tools for young players, and I hope you will find this DVD as entertaining as I did.

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See the original review by Lukas Wedrychowski (German)...

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