Chess Explained books provide an understanding of an opening and the middlegames to which it leads, enabling you to find the right moves and plans in your own games. It is as if you were sitting at the board with a chess coach answering your questions about the plans for both sides, the ideas behind particular moves, and what specific knowledge you need to have.

The Main-Line Slav is one of the key battlegrounds of modern chess, with adherents among all levels of chess-players. It is notoriously difficult for White to prove any advantage against Black's solid set-up, while the lack of symmetry in the position provides scope for creative players to obtain winning chances with either colour. This book discusses all major lines following the moves 1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 Nc3 dxc4. There are many strategic directions the play can take: sometimes the centre is blasted open and piece-play dominates, while in other cases the centre becomes fixed, or remains dynamic well into the middlegame. Vigorito dissects the most important themes and nuances, placing them firmly in the context of the practical struggle, making sure that readers will be familiar with the resources at their disposal, and understand when to employ them.

David Vigorito is an International Master from the United States. He plays regularly in high-level competitions, including the US Championship. He has written extensively for a variety of publications and is a chess teacher. This is his first book for Gambit. See also Understanding the Marshall Attack.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

"It is important to remember that the point of the book (of the 'Chess Explained' series as a whole actually) is to provide the reader with a fundamental overview of the opening, to set in place the ideas, principles, and foundations for further learning. Where this is concerned, IM Vigorito does extremely well. He writes more than competently, and with authority on his subject. In the games I examined, I found a nice balance between verbal commentary and variation analysis. Though experienced with the Slav, I found his conclusions and advice objective and with a wish to respect individual choice and tastes. I myself find this very important in a chess book, especially when it concerns an opening." - John Lee Shaw,

"Vigorito, now established as a first-class writer, has an amazing ability to include what seems like every important variation and all the key subvariations into one of Gambit's Chess Explained series (112 pages), and include a lot of valuable original analysis. On top of that, Vigorito has the knowledge and experience to locate the truly important lines and games in a variation and weed out the ones that have lost their significance (or have never had any)." - IM John Watson, The Week in Chess

"…explains the dynamics of a very tricky opening and the middlegame to which it leads." - Carl Portman, Defence Focus

"For players who want to get to know this opening this book is a good choice." - Frank Große,

"...the Main Line Slav has been played by an impressive list of World Champions as well as most of today's top grandmasters, which makes the theory of this opening an area of constant motion and developments. It is also an opening where a solid understanding of the pawn structures and piece-play will be the main factor in the success of any player who takes on this opening. ... As an introductory work to the Main Line Slav, this book is an excellent place to start" - Carsten Hansen,

"...comprehensive overview of recent developments in the main variation of the Slav" - E Carl, Rochade Europa

"I recommend the book personally because of the abundance of analysis and suggestions, nearly indispensable as a first step for setting up a super-solid opening repertoire." - Martin Rieger,

"This handy book contains from my point of view everything that one must know to play the Slav, especially the main lines" - Uwe Bekemann, BdF (

"Something I like about Vigorito is that he's top notch at pointing the reader to positions he thinks will be important for future games. He always gives clear explanations and evaluations making it easy for the reader to get to grips with the material. Reading this book will prove very rewarding for players wanting to get to grips with mainline Slav positions for either White or Black!" - GM-elect Stephen Gordon, 3Cs Chess

"Vigorito does a good job of weighting what is important and topical. This explains why the 5…Bf5 Slav gets over two thirds of the book devoted to it with particular attention given to the most challenging variation - 6.Ne5. ... [The book] explains this rock-solid and highly popular defense with a wide brush and rarely gets involved in long variations, but that doesn't stop Vigorito from throwing out nuggets." - IM John Donaldson, Chess Today

"I like his writing style and genuinely felt I understood The Slav better after studying this book. In my opinion this is one of the best of the 'Chess Explained' range and one which club players should find very useful and instructive." - Sean Marsh,

"This book is certainly worth every penny you pay for it!" - John Elburg,

"I found the introductory comments to each chapter ... readily comprehensible and provided enough initial information to get an immediate idea of what both Black and White are trying to achieve. Then in playing through the games I was struck by the high proportion of explanatory text ... [the author has] tried to stick to the ethos of the series in not giving too many side-lines and variations, though of course it is impossible to annotate games without looking at alternative variations at some point. ... high marks for sticking to the task in hand. ... highly readable and informative ... an ideal starting point for anyone seeking a new defence to 1 d4." - Alan Sutton, En Passant

"...a broad overview of a very complex system and fulfils its function very well" - John Saunders, BCM