[quote author=nmga link=1256930092/0#4 date=1256948207]Sure, Markland--Hort is a great reminder of what can befall Black if he eschews his usual setup with ...Nc6 against the Botvinnik, and then gets careless. But still, after 1 c4 Nf6 2 g3 g6 3 Bg2 Bg7 4 Nc3 d6, [i]if[/i] White plays 5 d3 then after 5 ... 0-0 he needs a move. Isn't your aim of going for a Botvinnik setup, kylemeister, best met by 6 Bg5 (since ...e5 is quite likely to follow)? Of course White [i]can[/i] go e4 without ...e5 having been played, and some think this is by no means as bad as traditional 'wisdom' says. Or else we can give up Botvinnik hopes and just play 6 Nf3. I'd also like to know what to think of 6 Rb1 and 6 e3/7 Nge2.* Which option do people think is strongest? Time for a poll?
* When is this setup strong and when anodyne? Is there any consensus about this?[/quote]
From my limited exposure to 6. Bg5, it hasn't been clear to me what the point of it is, so to speak, although I know it can lead to a sort of Botvinnik. I'm not sure why ...e5 is "quite likely to follow."
I'm not aware of traditional wisdom saying that the Botvinnik is bad when Black hasn't played ...e5. Emms in NCO thought that the branch reached by e.g. 1. c4 Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. Nc3 0-0 5. e4 d6 6. Nge2 c5 7. d3 Nc6 8. 0-0 should be slightly better for White, and I seem to recall Watson in his old 1. c4 c5 book having a similar view based on 8...Ne8 (often given as the main move, though that seems questionable to me) 9. Be3 Nd4 10. Rb1 “triangle” b4, though I've also seen sources that thought this stuff should be equal or unclear with best play.
After all, the Botvinnik is generally quite respectable when played by Black even when White hasn’t played e4. (Here the first game I think of is another oldie, Evans-Karpov 1972, in essentially the reversed version of the above.)
In the sequence you gave, 6. e3 looks out of place to me because of Black's ability to play for ...c6 and ...d5; relatedly, on 6. Rb1 a possibility is 6...c6 7. e4 d5 as in M. Gurevich-Nijboer 1997, cited by ECO as leading to "compensation for the material."