Another of Gerard Welling’s successful, “stress-free” Slav lines was seen in his 8th round game against Viktorija Cmylite, presented below. 5…a5 is an idea of the endlessly creative Yasha Murei, and is much less well-known than the main line 5…Bf5, or other less popular variations, such as Smyslov’s 5…Na6 or Bronstein’s 5…Bg4. But 5…a5 fixes the white Q-side hole on b4, and waits for White to move his e-pawn, whereupon Black will play …Bg4. Mainstream theory books give hardly anything on the line, but it is perfectly sound. According to Megabase, Gerard’s score with it is 5/7, including three games against GMs, and his only defeat in the line, against GM Boris Avrukh, was not the fault of the opening.
In this game, Cmylite had anticipated the variation and prepared specifically for it, yet she got less than nothing (she admitted as much after the game) and was lucky to draw. If a professional GM cannot refute the variation, despite spending all morning preparing for it, why should any of your opponents be able to do so?