Popular Queen’s Gambit Variations

Popular Queen's Gambit Variations

The Queen’s Gambit is one of the most popular openings in all of chess. If you are going to play this opening as white or black, it’s important to understand the most popular variations that you can expect to see.

The Queen’s Gambit starts with the moves:

1. d4 d5
2. c4

White offers up the c-pawn, but can eventually get it back with optimal play.


This is the Slav Defense. Black tries to solidify the d-pawn. Play normally continues with 3. Nf3 Nf6. Then black can decide if they want to bring the light square bishop into the mix before they play e6. If black decides to play e6 before the light square bishops moves, this is the Semi Slav Defense and is also very popular.


This is the Orthodox line. Black prepares to get the dark square bishop involved into the game. Most of the development in this line comes from the material on the king side.


The accepted line is the third most popular variation in the Queen’s Gambit opening. While black is up a pawn in material, white can get the material back fairly early in the game. Because of that, black will usually avoid trying to hold onto the pawn, and develop material normally.

2…Nc6 and 2…Bf5

The last two variations you might encounter in the Queen’s Gambit are the Chigorin Defense (2…Nc6) and the Baltic Defense (2…Bf5).

To watch an overview of these opening variations you can check out the video below.