White plays d4. Black plays d5. White plays c4.
What does Black do next? Capture or not?
Should Black let go of the free pawn? Guess what, it is not a free pawn! By capturing the c-pawn, you are losing a tempo and that’s what White wants.
Instead, what you need to do next is… play 2…e6!
The Queen’s Gambit Declined is one of the strongest responses to White’s d4-c4 setup. It not only grabs the center for Black but also releases the dark-squared bishop into the game.
What about the locking-in of the light-squared bishop, though? Black tries to exchange it off, or better yet, it is great for defensive purposes.
What if White wants to go for the Modern or the Exchange variation in the QGD?
What if White goes for the London system? Or the Catalan?
That’s where IM Milovan Ratkovic comes in with his latest course Queen’s Gambit Declined – a 10+ hour video training focusing on refuting the best possible replies by White (including some tricky ones like the Catalan or the London).
In this course, Ratkovic focuses on the less explored lines in the QGD where Black is most likely to struggle and lose to White – no more shooting arrows in the dark as Black!
Here’s what you are going to learn:
- Piece exchanges simplified. In the 4.Nf6/8.Bd3 variation, the game usually has a lot of piece exchanges. What should Black do? Trade-off the useless. Keep the good ones. And above all, follow Ratkovic’s advice for a winning endgame advantage.
- Lock the key squares. In some QGD positions, especially in the Alatortsev Variation, controlling the key squares makes or breaks the game. Ratkovic shows you which squares and diagonals to fight for, and how to control them.
- White’s 5.e3 setup. While White goes for the light squares, Black must focus on the dark squares—with a knight on c6 and the dark-squared bishop on c5. The queen should come to c7 covering the c-file. Every piece staring at the enemy king.
- White’s London attack. White’s f4-bishop usually falls back to g3. White has a solid control on the dark squares. As Black, challenge White’s bishop right away. Fianchetto the light-squared bishop. What else?
- Catalan sword broken. What is White’s most vital minor piece in Catalan? The g2-bishop! That’s what Black trades off right off the bat… by bringing his own light-squared bishop to b7. Learn how Black usually plays in this line.
- White’s tricky approaches. White may try something out of the ordinary, say 5.Nbd2 after 3.e3. The idea is to control the e4-square as well as defend the c4-pawn. Black usually needs to play precisely not to fall for any White’s trap here.
- Harrwitz Attack’s awkward knight. Black usually tries to equalize by exchanging off the light-squared bishop… and gets his knight on the awkward a6-square. Black usually plays …c5 to get it back into action. Ratkovic warns against a few White’s moves though. Watch Chapters 9 and 10 for more.
Chapter 1 Alatortsev Variation, 4.Nf3 8.Bd3 I
Chapter 2 Alatortsev Variation, 4.Nf3 8.Bd3 II
Chapter 3 Alatortsev Variation, 4.Nf3 8.Be2
Chapter 4 Alatortsev Variation, 4.Nf3 8.cxd5
Chapter 5 Alatortsev Variation, 4.Nf3 8.Rc1
Chapter 6 Alatortsev Variation, 4.Nf3 8.Qc2&Qb3
Chapter 7 Alatortsev Variation, 4.Nf3 6.Bxf6 I
Chapter 8 Alatortsev Variation, 4.Nf3 6.Bxf6 II
Chapter 9 Alatortsev Variation, Harrwitz Attack I
Chapter 10 Alatortsev Variation, Harrwitz Attack II
Chapter 11 Alatortsev Variation, 5.e3 Variation
Chapter 12 Alatortsev Variation, 4.Nf3 5.Qc2 & cxd5
Chapter 13 Against Catalan I
Chapter 14 Against Catalan II
Chapter 15 Against Catalan III
Chapter 16 Alatortsev Variation, 4.cxd5 I
Chapter 17 Alatortsev Variation, 4.cxd5 II
Chapter 18 Alatortsev Variation, 4.cxd5 III
Chapter 19 Against the London System
Chapter 20 Unusual Lines I
Chapter 21 Unusual Lines II
About the Author:
IM Milovan Ratkovic (FIDE 2411)
is a Serbian International Master and chess coach. Some of his top students were able to reach 2400 and 2300 Elo respectively. IM Ratkovic is an active tournament player and one of his near-future goals is obtaining the Grandmaster title.