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The Grunfeld Defense in chess
The Grunfeld Defense in chess

The Grunfeld Defense in chess is a young opening. He is about a hundred years old. This is the start for those who prefer counterattacking play while maintaining a secure position. It was first used on the professional stage in 1922 by Ernst Grunfeld during a match against Albert Becker.

Grunfeld Defense Ideas

This opening game was developed shortly after the opening of the Alekhine Defense and is similar to it. Black provokes the opponent to attack the knight on f6 by advancing the infantryman forward, and after the retreat, he attacks the weakened center of White with pieces and by undermining the pawns.

The Grunfeld Defense did not correspond to the concept of chess of its time, therefore it was mercilessly criticized by theoreticians. It was difficult to learn and was recommended for use by those who enjoy complex intricate positions. Later, after an in-depth analysis of high-level chess players, the opening was enriched with strategic ideas.

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Development of the chess opening

One hundred years ago, this beginning was considered erroneous from a positional point of view. It was recommended to play the Grunfeld Defense for White. Histried to refute by exchanging pawns on d5 and exchanging knights on c3 with an intermediate move e4. As a result, White received a pawn center, while Black was left without developed pieces and without, at first glance, an immediate opportunity to attack the center. But it's not.

In this variation, this position is what Black is striving for today. His dark-squared bishop will take the g7-square, after which Black will undermine the center with c5. With this arrangement, they are in a good position. On occasion, they will exchange the light-squared bishop for the enemy knight standing on f3, or they will put it on b7 and strengthen the position of the second knight without any problems. The exchange on f3 was used in the Vidmar-Alekhine match in 1936 and White did not succeed.

After ten years, a new variation was found, in which the light-squared bishop develops on c4, and then the king's knight on e2. This allows you to save the pawn center. In the middle of the last century, this development was successfully used by Boris Spassky and Efim Geller.

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Initial exchanges in the center and development by Vasily Smyslov

Later, when it was found out that after capturing the center, the attacking side did not get an advantage, the search for other possibilities continued in order to secure a pawn advantage in the central zone. After the discovery of the main drawback of the variation, namely the possibility of Black exchanging horses and simplifying the game, the idea of ​​capturing the central zone without simplifying the game was introduced. At this time, when playing for black, the Grunfeld defense was considered convenient and reliable.

BIn the 1933 match between Ragozin and Romanovsky, the attacking side created a reserve in the center without exchanging pieces and gained an advantage. For a long time, the option was considered beneficial for the attacking side. Before moving the e-pawn, White takes the king's horse to f3, takes the queen to b3, and only after the exchange on c4 does he play e4. It was only in the late 1940s that the plan invented by Vasily Smyslov was recognized as convenient for Black.

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Main continuation

In the main theoretical variation of the Grunfeld Defence, after exchanging a pair of pawns and knights, Black carries out the planned fianchetto of the dark-squared officer on the main diagonal h8-a1. Their opponent, in turn, first brings the king's bishop to c4. Its early removal is due to the fact that White plans to bring the knight to e2, with the subsequent movement of the f-pawn and, in order not to block the path, it is necessary, contrary to chess fundamentals, to develop the officer first, and then the knight.

Black immediately breaks black's center by advancing c7-c5. And their opponent, as planned, brings the horse from the kingside to e2. After that, the defending side will castle and, having finally consolidated combat units, will attack White's pawn center, seizing the initiative. The attacking side will try to keep him and develop their own initiative.

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Computer version

Currently, the main continuation of the Grunfeld Defence, after exchanging pawns on d5 and knights on c3, is the fianchetting of the dark-squared bishop. After thatWhite develops the kingside knight on f3, and the opponent immediately undermines the center by advancing the infantryman to the c5 square. The attacking side brings the light-squared officer to e2, preparing to castle on the short side, while the defending side develops the queenside knight on c6.

White spends d5, forcing the knight to decide on the next station, but Black is in no hurry with this, taking the pawn on c3, at the same time declaring a check to the enemy king and going to win material on a1. White covers with the bishop, black takes the rook, after which their opponent wins back the piece that was important on the board. Black's knight moves to d4, where exchanges take place again, after which he is left with extra material. White, with the help of two powerful bishops, a queen, rooks joining in the future and a pair of strong central pawns, will put pressure on the camp of the enemy king.

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