How to Win Using Queen’s Gambit Accepted

This article is the second part of the analysis on the Queen’s Gambit. On the first one, I wrote about Queen’s Gambit Declined. On this article, I will write about the Queen’s Gambit Accepted which is one of the oldest and most solid openings in all of chess.  Players like Tal, Rubinstein, Karpov and the great Garry Kasparov used this strategy. Nowadays, world’s top players sometimes choose to use this opening when they are playing. It is obvious that if some strategy is used right now then, it must be effective.

An introduction to Queen’s Gambit Accepted.

Queen’s Gambit Accepted is an aggressive chess opening and it is reached after the moves 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4. Black faces a dilemma because he has the opportunity to capture the pawn at c4 square and he accepts it (see below).

Objectives for each player

At first glance, it is easy to miss this move’s purpose. Many players think that black aims for material advantage by holding onto the extra pawn, while others argue that capturing on c4 is a mistake because black gave a central pawn for a flank one. The truth is, both of these statements are wrong. Black takes the c4 pawn and gives it back immediately, all in order to free the pieces and achieve easier development, instead of having to defend the pawn on d5 which obstructs his or her pieces.

White’s possible strategies

  • Advance the central pawn majority: Seizing the center guarantees lasting advantage, and White’s pawn majority in the center makes this easier. This strategy, though, should be used only when Black’s pawn breaks can be prevented.
  • Develop quickly and attack: With the exchange of pawns the position has opened, making White’s lead in more relevant development. That’s why it is considered an aggressive chess opening.
  • Play with isolated d4 pawn: Positions with an isolated pawn on d4 (or d5) appear often in the queen’s gambit, and every player should be prepared to play either side of them. The pawn itself is a static weakness, but at the same time, it offers dynamic strength in the form of better control of the center.

Black’s possible strategies

Let’s see now what Black has gained by taking on c4:

  • Easy development and free, unobstructed pieces
  • Black’s position is solid, has no weaknesses and White doesn’t have easy targets
  • Healthy pawn structure which offers good endgame prospects

So, with these in mind, Black’s objectives are the following:

  • Complete development safely: The greatest danger Black faces is lagging behind in development,  so getting the pieces out as soon as possible is of utmost importance
  • Use pawn breaks: In order to stop White’s center from becoming dangerous, Black must counterattack with the pawn breaks e5 or c5, eliminating one of the white central pawns.
  • Go to the endgame: In the endgame phase, Black’s queenside pawn majority becomes an important feature, while White’s central majority loses some of its strength. To achieve this, try to make as many piece exchanges as you can.

Illustrative Games

As always when I am talking about a strategy, I like to show you great games on which this strategy is used. Please try to find the meaning behind each move and just don’t copy moves you find online. That’s why there are comments that help you improve in chess.

Classical Variation

Aggressive chess opening

Classical Variation

E3 Variation

 

Conclusion

The Queen’s Gambit Accepted is an opening with strategically rich positions and can be employed by all kinds of players, regardless of skill and style. Also, it’s main themes can be found in many different openings, the isolated d4 pawn and the queen’s pawn majority are two quick examples.That’s why studying this opening will not only give you a sound and solid defense against d4 but make you an overall better player as well. Please don’t hesitate to comment and share the article if you found it helpful. Enjoy playing chess.

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