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Tartakower Defense

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Tartakower Defense
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
f8 black rook
g8 black king
a7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
e7 black bishop
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
b6 black pawn
e6 black pawn
f6 black knight
h6 black pawn
d5 black pawn
c4 white pawn
d4 white pawn
h4 white bishop
c3 white knight
e3 white pawn
f3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
h1 white rook
Moves1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 O-O 7.e3 b6
Named afterSavielly Tartakower
ParentQueen's Gambit, Neo-Orthodox

The Tartakower Defense is a chess opening characterized by the moves:

1. d4 d5
2. c4 e6
3. Nf3 Nf6
4. Nc3 Be7
5. Bg5 h6
6. Bh4 O-O
7. e3 b6

The Tartakower Defense is the most popular reply to the Neo-Orthodox variation of the QGD. This system was popularized by Savielly Tartakower, who also helped orchestrate many other openings, including the Bayonet Attack or Tartakower Variation of the Staunton Gambit.

The Point of the Tartakower is to fianchetto the light squared bishop (as opposed to developing it to the passive d7 square), and preparing c5 to destabilize white's center and take advantage of the uncastled white king. Because of this, most of white's responses center around the c4-d5 tension, which most often results in white taking the d-pawn immediately, developing the light bishop, and castling.

The Tartakower hasn't reached top-level games, as not many grandmasters play the QGD, Neo Orthodox Main Line. However, when it does come up, many notable players keep the Tartakower in their toolbelt, including Magnus Carlsen, Anish Giri, and others.

White Responses[edit]


The most popular reply, white would prefer to execute a mass simplification on their terms. Possible continuations:

  • 8...Nxd5 9.Bxe7 Qxe7 10. Nxd5 exd5
  • 8...exd5 9.Bd3 Bb7 10. O-O c5


Here white allows black to play c5, with the intention of castling. Black doesn't usually play c5 because of the advantage white would get in the center, and instead focuses on putting pressure on white's center. Possible continuations:

  • 8...Bb7 9. O-O Nbd7 10. Rc1 c5
  • 8...dxc4 (forcing the light bishop to move twice) 9.Bxc4 Bb7 10.O-O


Planting the rook on the soon-to-be open c-file. The drawback is that this move is very passive and gives options for black, meaning it's rare to see at higher level games. Most games continue:

  • 8...Bb7 9. Bd3 Nbd7 10. O-O


Using the same strategy at 8.Rc1, but instead using the queen. This move isn't popular above intermediate level, however, as it removes a defender of the d-pawn for little gain. Most often, black tries to undermine white's center quickly with the King still in the center and the queen on an awkward square. Possible continuations:

  • 8...Bb7 9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.cxd5 exd5 11.O-O-O


  • 9.cxd5 exd5 10.Bd3 Nc6
  • 9.dxc5 bxc5 10.Rd1 Bb7
  • 9.Rd1 cxd4 10.exd4 Bb7


This article "Tartakower Defense" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical and/or the page Edithistory:Tartakower Defense. Articles copied from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be seen on the Draft Namespace of Wikipedia and not main one.