Baltic Defense

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Baltic Defense
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
d5 black pawn
f5 black bishop
c4 white pawn
d4 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
Moves1.d4 d5 2.c4 Bf5
Named afterPaul Keres
ParentQueen's Gambit
Synonym(s)Grau Defense
Sahovic Defense

The Baltic Defense (also known as the Grau Defense, or the Sahovic Defense) is a chess opening characterized by the moves:

1. d4 d5
2. c4 Bf5!?

The Baltic is an unusual variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined (QGD). In most defenses to the QGD, Black has difficulties developing his queen bishop. This opening takes a radical approach to the problem by bringing out the queen bishop immediately.

The Baltic has not found widespread acceptance among chess masters, but some world-class players have used it including grandmasters Paul Keres and Alexei Shirov.

The ECO code for the Baltic Defense is D06.

White responses[edit]

White has a number of replies to this opening, including 3.Nf3, 3.Qb3, 3.cxd5, and 3.Nc3. Play might continue:

3.Nf3 e6[edit]

  • 4.Qb3 Nc6
  • 4.e3 Nf6 5.Qb3 Nc6
  • 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Qb3 Nc6
  • 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Qb3 Nc6


3...e5 4.Qxb7 Nd7 5.Nf3 Rb8 6.Qxd5 Bb4+ 7.Nfd2 (7.Bd2?? Ne7−+ Webb–Sinclair, England 1971) Ne7 8.Qf3 exd4 and Black has development and initiative for his pawn.

3.cxd5 (Main line)[edit]

3...Bxb1 4.Qa4+ Qd7 5.Qxd7+ Nxd7 6.Rxb1 Ngf6 7.Nf3


3...e6 4.Qb3?! (4.Nf3) Nc6 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Qxd5 (this is a mistake, as Black has 6...Nxd4, winning) Qxd5 7.Nxd5 0-0-0−+

See also[edit]


  • Nunn, John (1999), Nunn's Chess Openings, Everyman Chess, ISBN 1-85744-221-0
  • Polugajewski, Lev (1984), Damengambit, Tschigorin System bis Tarrasch-Verteidigung, Sportverlag Berlin

Further reading[edit]