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The Queen’s Gambit Declined is one of the most classical responses to 1. d4, has been played by almost all of the great players in history from both sides of the board and is definitely one of the best chess openings for beginners.
The Queen’s Gambit begins with the following moves: 1.d4 d5 2. c4.
With the move 2.c4, White threatens to exchange the c-pawn (a flank pawn) for Black’s d-pawn (a center pawn). At the same time, by moving his pawn to c4, White also offers a pawn sacrifice as the c-pawn is unprotected.
This is why the first opening moves are called the Queen’s Gambit. Black can simply capture the pawn with 2…dxc4. However, this is not a true gambit since Black cannot hang on to the pawn.
White easily wins it back with 2…dxc4 3.Qa4+, recapturing the pawn one move later) or plays 3.e3, threatening to capture on c4 with the bishop on the next move. Black has to be careful to not desperately hold on to the pawn. Instead of accepting the pawn sacrifice with 2…dxc4 (the Queen’s Gambit Accepted), Black plays another logical move: 2…e6.
This is what’s called the main line of Queen’s Gambit Declined. Black declines the “pawn sacrifice” and builds up a solid position as the pawns on e6 and d5 secure Black strong central control.
Almost all of Black’s pieces can be developed to natural squares. Moreover, The move 2…e6 frees the dark-squared bishop on f8 so it can be brought to e7, bringing Black one step closer to castling.
However, the downside of 2…e6 is that it locks in Black’s light-squared bishop for the moment.
In this video, GM Damian Lemos introduces you to this famous chess opening, explaining the ideas behind it and showing you the best moves so you can start playing this opening in your own games.
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