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  3. Avoid the Marshall Attack?

Would you rather try to play 8. a4 or d3 (a closed variation) or even switch to another opening - or - play c3 and deal with the Marshall attack? Should I learn how to respond to the Marshall Attack? Or should I focuse on how to avoid it?

Example of lost game:

I played the exchange to avoid all these main lines. Now I play the Scotch Gambit.

I play 9.a4 with d3 to follow, especially if they put the bishop to b7. 9.h3 is good too, if black responds with ...d6 then we are back in Lopez territory, if they respond with bishop to b7, then d3 is good and you play to build up your strong center

The marshall requires a lot of computer preparation and memorization of lots of boring forced lines or complicated lines.. black would have a fairly easier game.. d3 is better

Instead of c3 play h3. Then if they play d6 play c3 and it's the main line. If they play Bb7, then you play c3 d5 d4

But usually after h3 most people play d6 and it's main line which is pretty good for white

Thank you very much @ezasucanget I will try h3. I guess black is just developing too fast in the Marshall attack and even one single tempo like h3 can change a lot. I was just too quick playing c3 and should have prepared better for attacks.

8. h3 d6 9. c3 d5 10. exd5 Nxd5 doesn't work anymore. At least its not that easy for black.

@deepLA I might consider d3. But what would you play after d3 ...d6? 9. h3 or c3 or Nd2? Should I give up my lightsquared bishop? (Na5 attacking it)

@skull112 thank you very much, I really need that strong center as a beginner! I like your suggestion! I don't really like closed games, but I like the idea of getting control over the center and this variation may allow me to do so.

Maybe a4, b4, c3! Very interesting, but clear.
Your opponent can't attack the center by d5, because of exd5, and the knight and rook are both attacking e5 for a free pawn.
If bxc3, then dxc3 making the queen and bishop open. Very nice.

The computer says d6, h3 are the best next moves. The computer says the position is equal after that.

"Your opponent can't attack the center by d5, because of exd5, and the knight and rook are both attacking e5 for a free pawn."

Yes he can. You know what a gambit is? First of all if you take this "free" pawn the engine says it's +0.3, not +1. But the main reason why you don't want to take this pawn is that it will be very hard to keep this advantage and very likely that you lose the game if you don't know exactly what you have to play next.

Main line is 12.d4 (not 12.Qf3?) Bd6 13.Re1 Qh4 14.g3 Qh3 15.Re4 (i think Leko introduced this move) That is not bad for White, eg. 15...g5 Qf1!?

But agree, there are some side lines, like 11...Nf6?! (played my Marshall himself against Capablanca) 12.d4 Bd6 13.Re2 or 9...e4? 10.dxc6 exf3 11.d4!? which are all refuted but white needs to know some moves.