The Gruenfeld Defence

An aggressive system against the Gruenfeld Defence


This opening paper focuses on the Russian system against the Gruenfeld defence. In this system, White can enjoy having minimal responsibility for the pawn centre. However the price paid is a Queen which can be embarrassed in some lines.

Increased responsibility for the centre is usually burdened on White in the the more common systems against the Gruenfeld for example in the variation of 4 cxd5 Nxd5 6 bxc3.  


Starting Positions
    Introduction: c6 system
    The Smyslov System
    The Prins system


Further Reading

Starting Positions

Russian System accelerated

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Russian system

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Introduction: c6 as a response to Qb3

cxd5 is the path explored in this opening paper.

The following favourable game tree (with White wins under 35 moves) is presented as evidence that c6 isnt particularly good. It is solid, but is not really a "counterplay" system as such.

Stem game against c6

Botvinnik - Yudovich
Moscow -, 1933

1.c4 Nf6 2.d4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 c6 6.cxd5

The recommended move of this opening paper.



Generally White has a solid position with good chances. The e5 square can be used in some variations, and there is pressure on the black queenside.White has the two main possibilities of Bf4 and Bg5, e.g.

A) 7.Bf4

0-0 8.e3 Nc6 9.Bd3 Nh5

The following game featured an accident on the light squares... Black losing the exchange.

(9...b6 10.h3 Bb7 11.0-0 Qd7 12.Rfc1 Rfc8 13.Bb5 Qd8 14.Ne5 e6 15.Nxc6 Bxc6 16.Ba6 Qd7 17.Bxc8 Rxc8 18.a4 Ne8 19.a5 b5 20.Na2 Bf8 21.Nb4 Nd6 22.Bxd6 Bxd6 23.Rc2 Bb7 24.Rac1 Rc4 25.Nd3 a6 26.Qa2 Ra4 27.Qb1 Rxa5 28.Nc5 Qe7 29.b4 Ra4 30.Nxa4 bxa4 31.Qa2 h5 32.Qxa4 1-0 Jakobsen Lars Veno-Zugic Igor/06 1995)

Black plays aggressively in the following game and later misses a Bh7 related tactic winning the exchange for white...

10.Bg5 h6 11.Bh4 g5 12.Bg3 Nxg3 13.hxg3 e5 14.dxe5 d4 15.exd4 Nxd4 16.Qc4 Nxf3+ 17.gxf3 Qa5 18.f4 Be6 19.Qe4 Rfd8 20.0-0 gxf4 21.gxf4 Qc5 22.Rfd1 Rd4 23.Qxd4 Qxd4 24.Bh7+ Kxh7 25.Rxd4 Bf8 26.Ne4 Kg6 27.Kh2 b6 28.Rg1+ Kf5 29.Ng3+ Kg6 30.f5+ 1-0 Gulko,B-Cseshkovsky,V/URS 1978;

B) 7.Bg5

Black has two main possibilities here

This is a very interesting game in that White gets away with not castling.

B1) 7...e6 8.e3 0-0 9.Bd3 (9.Be2 Nc6 10.0-0 h6 11.Bh4 g5 12.Bg3 Nh5 13.Ne1 Nxg3 14.hxg3 b6 15.Nd3 Bb7 16.Rac1 Rc8 17.Qa4 Na5 18.Rfd1 a6 19.Qc2 Qd6 20.b3 Rc7 21.Qd2 Rfc8 22.Na4 f6 23.Rxc7 Rxc7 24.Nb4 b5 25.Nc5 Bf8 26.Nbxa6 Bxa6 27.Qxa5 Bc8 28.Qxb5 e5 29.b4 e4 30.g4 h5 31.gxh5 g4 32.g3 Bh6 33.Qe8+ 1-0 Ward Christopher-Petrasch K/G&J 1989) 9...h6 10.Bh4 Nc6 11.h3 a6 12.Ne5 Na5 13.Qd1 Qb6 14.Rb1 Nd7 15.f4 Nc6 16.a3 Ndxe5 17.fxe5 g5 18.Bg3 f5 19.exf6 Rxf6 20.h4 e5 21.hxg5 hxg5 22.Qh5 Be6 23.Qxg5 e4 24.Bc2 Raf8 25.b4 Ne7 26.Be5 Qc6 27.Rb3 Qc4 28.Bxf6 Rxf6 29.Bd1 Nc6 30.Ne2 Bf7 31.Rf1 Rg6 32.Qf5 Rf6 33.Qc8+ Kh7 34.Rxf6 Bxf6 35.Qxb7 1-0 Deng Kongliang-Song Jiafu/Ch-KIN 1987;

B2) 7...Nc6 8.e3 Na5 9.Qa4+ Bd7 10.Bb5 Bc6 11.Ne5 0-0 12.Bxc6 Nxc6 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.Qxc6 Rb8 16.0-0 Rxb2 17.Nxd5 e6 18.Qc3 Rb7 19.Nxf6+ Qxf6 20.Rab1 Qe7 21.Rxb7 Qxb7 22.Rc1 Rb8 23.h3 Qb5 24.Qc7 Qb2 25.a4 Rb7 26.Qd8+ Kg7 27.Rc8 Qb4 28.Qg8+ Kh6 29.Rc5 f5 30.Kh2 Qd2 31.Qf8+ Kg5 32.Qc8 Rb2 33.Qd8+ Kh5 34.g4+ 1-0 Flohr,S-Cortlever,N/Amsterdam 1939] 7.Bd2


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Black has 3 main possibilties here:

A) 7...Nc7

8.Be3 0-0 9.Be2 (Alternatively White can go for a hack attack e.g.: 9.h4 h5 10.Rd1 e6 11.g4 hxg4 12.Ne5 Nd7 13.Nxg4 f5 14.Bg5 Qe8 15.Ne3 Qf7 16.e5 Nb6 17.f4 Kh7 18.h5 Rh8 19.hxg6+ Kxg6 20.Rg1 Kh7 21.Nxf5 Ncd5 22.Nxd5 exd5 23.Ne7 1-0 Koehler Ronald-Mayer H/09 1992) 9...b6 10.0-0 Ba6 11.Rac1 Bxe2 12.Nxe2 Qd7 13.Rfd1 e6

White has a nice classical centre here. There is much less pressure on the centre than in the exchange variation Gruenfeld.

14.Nf4 Nb5 15.d5 exd5 16.exd5 c5 17.Ne6 fxe6 18.dxe6 Qe7 19.Qxb5 Qxe6 20.Ng5 Qf6 21.b4 Nc6 22.bxc5 bxc5 23.Ne4 Qe6 24.Nxc5 Qe8 25.Nd7 Ne5 26.Qd5+ Rf7 27.Nxe5 Bxe5 28.Bg5 Bg7 29.Re1 Qf8 30.Be7 Qb8 31.Re3 Bf8 32.Rf3 Qe8 33.Bxf8 Rc8 34.Bc5 1-0 Reshevsky-Quesada/la Havanna <CUB> 1952;

B) 7...Nxc3

8.bxc3 0-0 9.Ba3 b5 10.Be2 a5 11.Rd1 Qc7 12.0-0 Ra7 13.Rfe1 Be6 14.c4 h6 15.d5 b4 16.dxe6 bxa3 17.exf7+ Rxf7 18.c5 Kf8 19.e5 Qc8 20.Bc4 Rf4 21.Be6 Qc7 22.Qd3 1-0 Adamski J-Bjerke R/it 1989;

C) 7...Nb6

8.Be3 (8.Bf4 0-0 9.Rd1 Bg4 10.Be3 Bxf3 11.gxf3 e6 12.h4 h5 13.a4 Qc7 14.f4 N8d7 15.f5 exf5 16.exf5 Kh7 17.Bd3 Rae8 18.Kd2 Qd6 19.Rhg1 Bxd4 20.fxg6+ fxg6 21.Rxg6 Bxe3+ 22.Kc2 Rxf2+ 23.Kb1 Qb8 24.Rdg1 Ne5 25.Rg7+ 1-0 Anand Viswanathan-Noll S/sim 1993) 8...0-0 9.Rd1 Be6 (9...Bg4 10.h3 Bxf3 11.gxf3 N8d7 12.f4 Nf6 13.a4 e6 14.Be2 Nc8 15.h4 Qa5 16.Kf1 b5 17.axb5 cxb5 18.e5 Nd5 19.Nxd5 exd5 20.f5 gxf5 21.h5 Ne7 22.Rg1 Rfd8 23.h6 Ng6 24.hxg7 f4 25.Bd2 Qb6 26.Qh3 Kxg7 27.Bxf4 h5 28.Bg5 1-0 Moskalenko Viktor-Zhelesny St/27 1992) 10.Qc2 N8d7 11.b3 h6 12.Bd3 Bg4 13.0-0 Bxf3 14.gxf3 e5 15.dxe5 Nxe5 16.f4 Ng4 17.h3 Nxe3 18.fxe3 Qe7 19.Ne2 Rad8 20.a4 Rfe8 21.a5 Nd7 22.e5 Qh4 23.Rf3 Qe7 24.Rdf1 Kh8 25.a6 Nc5 26.Bc4 b5 1-0 Letelier Martner,R-Reinhardt,H/Quilmes 1945;

Counterplay system: The Smyslov System

In this system, Black aims to put pressure on White's centre with Bg4, Nc6 and follow up manoeuvres such as Nf6-b6.

7...Bg4 subsystem

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This paper focuses on Be3! as an antidote to the Smyslov system. This is a logical move which supports the White centre, and is likely to cause black the most trouble. Blacks strategy revolves around the d4 square in this system.

A winning game tree with 8 Be3 !

Stem Game for anti-smyslov

Botvinnik,M - Smyslov,V [D98]
Groningen (3), 1946

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 0-0 7.e4 Bg4


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The key move of the proposed anti-dote to the Smyslov system. Be3 simply supports the d4 square which is Black's intended square to pressurise.

Nc6 9.d5 Bxf3 10.gxf3 Ne5 11.Qe2 c6 12.f4 Ned7 13.Bg2 Nb6 14.Rd1 Qc7 15.0-0 Rfd8 16.Rc1 Qd7 17.Rfd1 Qg4 18.Qxg4 Nxg4 19.Bxb6 axb6 20.dxc6 bxc6 21.e5 Nh6 22.Bxc6 Rxd1+ 23.Rxd1 Rc8 24.Nd5 Bf8 25.Rc1 Nf5 26.Rc4 e6 27.Nxb6 Rb8 28.Na4 Rd8 29.Be4 Nh4 30.Kf1 Bh6 31.Bb7 Nf5 32.Ke2 Nd4+ 33.Ke3 Nf5+ 34.Kf3 Nd4+ 35.Ke4 Ne2 36.Rc8 Rxc8 37.Bxc8 Nxf4 38.b4 Nh3 39.b5 Nxf2+ 40.Kd4 Bf4 41.h3 f6 42.Bxe6+ Kg7 43.exf6+ Kxf6 44.Nc5 Ke7 45.Kd5 g5 46.a4 Nd1 47.a5 Nc3+ 48.Kc6 Nxb5 49.Kxb5 Bb8 50.Kb6 1-0

Detailed analysis of the possibilities after Be3

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 0-0 7.e4 Bg4 8.Be3 Nc6


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With Nfd7, Black intends some potential harassment of the White queen with Nb6.

There are four reasonable White options if Black does Nfd7. Because BCC technical white papers are aggressively oriented, we shall focus on 0-0-0 and ignore the other possibilities! There are too many possibilties in chess to exhaust, let us choose one road !

A) 9.0-0-0

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Black may be laughing at White for castling queenside here. But White has supported the d pawn with a rook, and is not worried by Blacks Bxf3 possibility.   

9..c6 creates the possibilities of b5 and b4. In the following main game, White managed to manoeuvre around the weaknessed created by b5-b4, and invade the dark squares in Black's position.

A1) 9...c6 10.h3 b5 (10...Nb6 11.Qc5 N8d7 12.Qa3 Bxf3 13.gxf3 Re8 14.f4 Qc7 15.Bd3 a5 16.h4 a4 17.Ne2 c5 18.d5 c4 19.Bc2 c3 20.bxc3 Nc4 21.Qb4 Nxe3 22.fxe3 Rec8 23.e5 Nb6 24.h5 Nc4 25.hxg6 hxg6 26.Rh3 Ra6 27.Bd3 Qd7 28.e6 fxe6 29.Bxc4 exd5 30.Bxd5+ Kf8 31.Rh7 Qg4 32.Rxg7 Qxe2 33.Rg8# 1-0 Kakhiani Ketevan-Claus Carolin/ChWjw-CHI 1990; 10...Bxf3 11.gxf3 b5 12.Qd3 Qa5 13.Kb1 b4 14.Ne2 c5 15.f4 Nc6 16.d5 b3 17.a3 Nb4 18.Qd2 Nb6 19.Nc1 Qa4 20.axb4 cxb4 21.Qd3 Bxb2 22.Qa6 Qa3 23.Bb5 Rfc8 24.Qxa3 bxa3 25.Nxb3 Rab8 26.Bc6 Nxd5 27.exd5 Rxb3 28.Ka2 Rc3 29.Rd2 e6 30.Bd7 Rc1 31.Rxc1 Rxc1 32.dxe6 Ra1+ 33.Kb3 Bf6 34.Ra2 Rb1+ 35.Kc2 Rb2+ 36.Rxb2 axb2 37.Bd4 1-0 Piket J-Shirov A/Hoogovens 1996) 11.Qe2 Bxf3 12.Qxf3 Qa5 13.Kb1 b4 14.Ne2 c5 15.Nc1 cxd4 16.Nb3 Qa4 17.Bxd4 Bxd4 18.Rxd4 Nc6 19.Rd5 Rab8 20.Be2 Nf6 21.Rg5 h6 22.Rc5 Nd7 23.Rc2 Rbc8 24.Rhc1 e6 25.Qf4 Kg7 26.Qd6 Ndb8 27.Qc5 a6 28.Qb6 Kg8 29.f4 Rfe8 30.e5 1-0 Szabo Laszlo-Uhlmann Wolfgang/OS 1958;

In the following game, White managed to hack black utilising the h file. with a6 and b5, Black was revolving the play around the c4 square occupation. This did not prove enough in this example.

A2) 9...a6 10.h3 Bxf3 11.gxf3 b5 12.Qb3 Nc6 13.h4 Nb6 14.e5 Na5 15.Qb4 Nac4 16.Bxc4 Nxc4 17.f4 Qd7 18.h5 c6 19.f5 Qxf5 20.hxg6 fxg6 21.Qxe7 c5 22.dxc5 Nxe5 23.Nd5 Nd3+ 24.Rxd3 Qxd3 25.Qe6+ Kh8 26.Nf4 Rxf4 27.Bxf4 Qf3 28.Rh4 g5 29.Bxg5 Qg2 30.Qf5 Qf1+ 31.Kd2 h6 32.Bf6 Qg2 33.Rxh6+ Kg8 34.Qe6+ Kf8 35.Be7+ 1-0 Gulko,B-Cseshkovsky,V/Leningrad 1974;

The following game by British Grandmaster Glenn Flear shows that White can get away with dxc5. Glenn forcefully exchanged queens off, and managed to win a piece using the pins created by Blacks attempted regain of the c5 pawn.

A3) 9...c5 10.dxc5 Qa5 11.Be2 (11.h3 Bxf3 12.gxf3 b6 13.Nd5 Nc6 14.Qa6 Rab8 15.Qxa5 bxa5 16.Nc3 Bxc3 17.bxc3 Rb7 18.Ba6 Rc7 19.Bb5 Ncb8 20.Bf4 e5 21.c6 Nxc6 22.Bh6 Nd4 23.Bxf8 Nxb5 24.Be7 Nxc3 25.Bd8 Nxd1+ 26.Bxc7 Nxf2 27.Rh2 Nd3+ 28.Kd2 Nf4 29.Ke3 f6 30.Bxa5 Kf7 31.h4 h5 32.Rd2 Nf8 33.Bb4 N8e6 34.Rd7+ Kg8 35.Rxa7 g5 36.hxg5 fxg5 37.Bd6 h4 38.Bxe5 h3 39.Ra8+ Kh7 40.Rh8+ Kg6 41.Bxf4 Nxf4 42.Kf2 Kg7 43.Rb8 1-0 Farago,I-Doncevic,D/Rome 1990) 11...Rc8 12.Nd5 Nc6 13.Kb1 Kf8 14.Qb5 Bxf3 15.gxf3 e6 16.Qxa5 Nxa5 17.Nf4 Rc7 18.Rc1 Rac8 19.Rhd1 Nc6 20.a3 Nce5 21.b4 a5 22.Rc2 axb4 23.axb4 b6 24.Nd3 Nxd3 25.Bxd3 bxc5 26.Bb5 Bd4 27.Bxd7 Rxd7 28.Bxd4 1-0 Flear GlennC-Doncevic Dario/x 1988;

A4) 9...Nc6 10.h3 Bxf3 11.gxf3 Nb6 12.Qc5 f5 (12...a6 13.h4 Nd7 14.Qg5 e5 15.dxe5 Qxg5 16.hxg5 Ndxe5 17.Be2 Rfd8 18.f4 Nd7 19.Nd5 f5 20.Bc4 Kh8 21.Nxc7 Rac8 22.Rxh7+ Kxh7 23.Rh1+ 1-0 Milov Vadim-Vegh JP/It op 1996) 13.Ne2 (13.d5 Ne5 14.f4 Ned7 15.Qa5 Bxc3 16.Qxc3 fxe4 17.h4 Rf6 18.Kb1 Rd6 19.h5 Nxd5 20.Rxd5 Rxd5 21.Bc4 Nf6 22.hxg6 Kg7 23.Bxd5 Qxd5 24.Bd4 c5 25.Rxh7+ Kxg6 26.Rxe7 Qh5 27.Qg3+ Ng4 28.Rg7+ Kh6 29.Rxg4 Rg8 30.f3 1-0 Vonk-Raisanen/cr 1985) 13...Qd6 14.e5 Qxc5+ 15.dxc5 Nc4 16.f4 Rfd8 17.Bg2 Nxe3 18.fxe3 Nb4 19.Bxb7 Rab8 20.c6 Kf7 21.Nd4 e6 22.Nb5 Nd5 23.Rxd5 exd5 24.Nxc7 Rdc8 25.Bxc8 Rxc8 26.Nxd5 Rxc6+ 27.Kd2 Ke6 28.Nc3 1-0 Smyslov,V-Botvinnik,M/Moscow Wch-m 1957;

Black plays 8...Nbd7

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8...Nbd7 9.Qb3 c5 10.d5 Qb6 11.Nd2 Qxb3 12.axb3 Nb6 13.Bxc5 Nc8 14.f3 Bd7 15.Be2 Be8 16.0-0 Nd7 17.Be3 b6 18.f4 Nc5 19.b4 Nb7 20.Ba6 Rb8 21.e5 Bd7 22.Nf3 Rd8 23.Nd4 Re8 24.Nc6 1-0 Karpeshov O-Mantsinov B/Ch RUS 1994]

Black playes Nc6

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Two main white possibilities considered after Nc6: d5 and h3. This paper looks at d5 here which is aligned to the stem game.


9...Bxf3 10.gxf3 Ne5 11.Qe2 c6

[11...b5 12.Rd1 a6 13.Bg2 Nc4 14.f4 Nxe3 15.fxe3 Rb8 16.e5 Nd7 17.h4 Nc5 18.h5 b4 19.Ne4 Nxe4 20.Bxe4 Rb6 21.hxg6 fxg6 22.Qh2 h6 23.Rg1 Qe8 24.Qg2 g5 25.Bd3 Rf7 26.e6 Rf6 27.fxg5 hxg5 28.Qxg5 Qf8 29.Qh5 1-0 Portisch,L-Simagin,V/Kecskemet 1966]

12.f4 (Stem game) Ned7 13.Bg2 Nb6 14.Rd1 Qc7 15.0-0 Rfd8 16.Rc1 Qd7 17.Rfd1 Qg4 18.Qxg4 Nxg4 19.Bxb6 axb6 20.dxc6 bxc6 21.e5 Nh6 22.Bxc6 Rxd1+ 23.Rxd1 Rc8 24.Nd5 Bf8 25.Rc1 Nf5 26.Rc4 e6 27.Nxb6 Rb8 28.Na4 Rd8 29.Be4 Nh4 30.Kf1 Bh6 31.Bb7 Nf5 32.Ke2 Nd4+ 33.Ke3 Nf5+ 34.Kf3 Nd4+ 35.Ke4 Ne2 36.Rc8 Rxc8 37.Bxc8 Nxf4 38.b4 Nh3 39.b5 Nxf2+ 40.Kd4 Bf4 41.h3 f6 42.Bxe6+ Kg7 43.exf6+ Kxf6 44.Nc5 Ke7 45.Kd5 g5 46.a4 Nd1 47.a5 Nc3+ 48.Kc6 Nxb5 49.Kxb5 Bb8 50.Kb6 1-0 (Botvinnik vs Smyslov 1946)

Counterplay system: The Prins system

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In this system Black aims to play c5. This will have implications for Blacks bishop on the a1-h8 diagonal.

Stem game for anti-Prins system

Karpov Anatoli - Kasparov Garry [D97/19]
19, Leningrad, 1986

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 0-0 7.e4 Na6 8.Be2 c5 9.d5 e6 10.0-0 exd5 11.exd5 Bf5 12.Bf4 Re8 13.Rad1 Ne4 14.Nb5 Qf6 15.Bd3 Nb4 16.Nc7 Nxd3 17.Nxe8 Rxe8 18.Qxd3 Qxb2 19.Rde1 Qb4 20.Nd2 Qa4 21.Qc4 Qxc4 22.Nxc4 Bc3 23.Nd2 Bxd2 24.Bxd2 Bd7 25.Bf4 Bb5 26.f3 g5 27.Bxg5 Bxf1 28.Kxf1 Nd6 29.Be7 Nc8 30.Bxc5 Rd8 31.Re5 f6 32.Rf5 b6 33.Bd4 Ne7 34.Bxf6 Rxd5 35.Rg5+ Rxg5 36.Bxg5 Nc6 37.Ke2 Kf7 38.Kd3 Ke6 39.Kc4 Ne5+ 40.Kd4 1-0

Winning (biased!) game tree after 11. exd5

Ilivitsky G - Dubinin P
t, 1949

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 0-0 7.e4 Na6 8.Be2 c5 9.d5 e6 10.0-0 exd5 11.exd5

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Black has six main possibilities here: 11..Ne8, 11..Bf5, 11..Qb6, 11..Re8, 11..Bd7 and 11..Qa5



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12.Bg5 f6 13.Bf4 Rf7 14.Rad1 Bf8 15.d6 Ng7 16.d7 Bxd7 17.Qe4 Qc8 18.Bc4 Be6 19.Rfe1 Bxc4 20.Qxc4 Nb4 21.Nb5 Ne8 22.a3 Na6 23.h4 Nec7 24.Bxc7 Nxc7 25.Nd6 Bxd6 26.Rxd6 Kg7 27.h5 Ne8 28.h6+ Kf8 29.Rde6 Qc7 30.b4 Nd6 31.Qc3 Nf5 32.Ng5 Nd4 33.Nxf7 Nxe6 34.Rxe6 Re8 35.Ng5 1-0 Szabo,L-Wade,R/Tr.Teplice 1949;


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White has 5 main choices here. Bg5, Be3, a3, Rd1, Bf4. This paper focuses on Bf4 (influenced by the Karpov stem game)

E) 12.Bf4

E1) 12...Re8 13.Rad1 Qb6 (13...Ne4 14.Nb5 Qf6 15.Bd3 Nb4 16.Nc7 Nxd3 17.Nxe8 Rxe8 18.Qxd3 Qxb2 19.Rde1 Qb4 20.Nd2 Qa4 21.Qc4 Qxc4 22.Nxc4 Bc3 23.Nd2 Bxd2 24.Bxd2 Bd7 25.Bf4 Bb5 26.f3 g5 27.Bxg5 Bxf1 28.Kxf1 Nd6 29.Be7 Nc8 30.Bxc5 Rd8 31.Re5 f6 32.Rf5 b6 33.Bd4 Ne7 34.Bxf6 Rxd5 35.Rg5+ Rxg5 36.Bxg5 Nc6 37.Ke2 Kf7 38.Kd3 Ke6 39.Kc4 Ne5+ 40.Kd4 Nc6+ 41.Kc4 Ne5+ 42.Kb5 Kd7 43.Ka6 Nc6 44.Bd2 Kc7 45.Bc3 1-0 Karpov An-Kasparov G/WM Leningrad 1986) 14.Nh4 Bd7 15.Be3 Qb4 16.Nf3 Rxe3 17.fxe3 Ng4 18.Qf4 Bh6 19.Ng5 Qxf4 20.exf4 Ne3 21.Nge4 Bf5 22.Bxa6 Nxd1 23.Bxb7 Nxc3 24.Nf6+ Kg7 25.Bxa8 Ne2+ 26.Kf2 Nxf4 27.Ne8+ Kf8 28.Nd6 Bc2 29.b3 Nd3+ 30.Kg3 f5 31.Nc4 f4+ 32.Kf3 g5 33.d6 Bg7 34.Be4 h5 35.Bxd3 Bxd3 36.Rd1 Bc2 37.Rd5 Bf6 38.d7 Bd8 39.Re5 g4+ 40.Kxf4 Bc7 41.Kg5 1-0 Gavrikov V N-Veingold A/Ch URS 1984/Inf 01;

E2) 12...Nd7 13.a3 Nb6 14.Qa2 Re8 15.Rad1 h6 16.Rfe1 Bd7 17.h3 Na4 18.Nxa4 Bxa4 19.b3 Bd7 20.Qd2 g5 21.Bg3 b5 22.Bd3 Rc8 23.Ne5 f5 24.Nxd7 Qxd7 25.Rxe8+ Rxe8 26.Qa5 c4 27.bxc4 Nc5 28.Bf1 f4 29.Bh2 Ne4 30.Qxb5 Qf7 31.Qb3 Bf8 32.Bd3 Bc5 33.Bxe4 Rxe4 34.Kf1 Qe8 35.Bg1 Re7 36.d6 Rd7 37.f3 Bxg1 38.c5+ Kf8 39.Kxg1 Rd8 40.Qd5 Qa4 41.c6 1-0 Marinelli Tullio-Rogozenko Dorin/it 1992; E3) 12...Ne8 13.d6 Be6 14.Qa4 Nb4 15.Rfd1 a6 16.Rd2 Nc6 17.Ne4 b5 18.Qd1 c4 19.d7 Nf6 20.Bg5 h6 21.Nxf6+ Bxf6 22.Bxh6 Bg7 23.Bxg7 Kxg7 24.Rd6 Na5 25.Nd4 Qf6 26.Bf3 Rad8 27.Qd2 c3 28.Qxc3 Nc4 29.Rxe6 fxe6 30.Nxe6+ Kf7 31.Nxf8 Rxf8 32.Bd5+ Kg7 33.Qxf6+ Kxf6 34.Bxc4 bxc4 35.Rd1 1-0 Szily,J-Paoli,E/Tr.Teplice 1949;

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Black plays 11 ...Qb6


a3 was played by Kotov in 1950:-

A) 12.a3 Bf5 13.Nh4 Bc2 14.Bd1 Bxd1 15.Rxd1 Ne8 16.Ne4 Nd6 17.Nxd6 Qxd6 18.Nf3 Rfe8 19.Rb1 Qd7 20.d6 b5 21.Qd5 Rac8 22.Be3 Rc6 23.Bg5 Rcc8 24.Be7 h6 25.Nh4 c4 26.b4 c3 27.Rbc1 c2 28.Rd2 Rxe7 29.dxe7 Qxe7 30.Nxg6 Qf6 31.Qf5 Rc4 32.Qxb5 Qb2 33.Ne7+ Kf8 34.Re1 Re4 35.Rd8+ Kxe7 36.Rxe4+ Kxd8 37.Re8+ 1-0 Kotov A A-Lilienthal A/it 1950;

More common however is Bf4

B) 12.Bf4

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Black has 2 main possibilties here: Bf5 and Re8

B1) 12...Bf5 13.Be5 (13.Nb5 Rad8 14.Rad1 Rfe8 15.Ne5 g5 16.Bg3 Ne4 17.Bg4 Bxg4 18.Nxg4 h5 19.Ne3 h4 20.Nf5 hxg3 21.fxg3 Qg6 22.d6 Bf8 23.Qd5 Rd7 24.a3 Nf6 25.Qd3 Re5 26.Qf3 Ne4 27.g4 c4 28.Nxa7 Bxd6 29.Nxd6 Rxd6 30.Nc8 Rxd1 31.Rxd1 Re8 32.Rd8 Rxd8 33.Ne7+ Kg7 34.Nxg6 Nac5 35.Ne5 f6 36.Nxc4 b5 37.Ne3 Rd2 38.b4 Rf2 39.Nf5+ Kf7 40.Nd6+ Ke6 41.Nxe4 1-0 Sapi,L-Pribyl,J/Smokovec 1988) 13...Rad8 14.Rfd1 (14.Rad1 Rfe8 15.Qh4 Nd7 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Rd2 Nf6 18.h3 Nb4 19.g4 Bc8 20.Bc4 h6 21.a3 Ne4 22.Nxe4 Rxe4 23.Rc1 Rf4 24.axb4 Rxf3 25.Qe7 Qxb4 26.Rcc2 Qa5 27.d6 Bd7 28.Qe5+ Kh7 29.Kg2 Bc6 30.Bd5 c4 31.Kxf3 Re8 32.Qd4 Re1 33.Bxc6 bxc6 34.Re2 Rh1 35.Re7 1-0 Renman NilsGustaf-Welin Thomas/02 1988; 14.b3 Qb4 15.Rfd1 Ne8 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Rac1 Qxc4 18.Bxc4 Nac7 19.Nb5 Nxb5 20.Bxb5 Nd6 21.Bf1 b6 22.Ne5 Rfe8 23.Nc6 Rd7 24.f3 Rc7 25.Kf2 Bd7 26.Nd4 Rcc8 27.Nc2 f5 28.Ne3 b5 29.g3 g5 30.Rd2 Rc7 31.Rdc2 Rec8 32.Bd3 h6 33.f4 gxf4 34.gxf4 Kf6 35.a4 a6 36.axb5 axb5 37.Ra2 c4 38.Rac2 c3 39.Ra2 Rg8 40.Ra6 Ke7 41.Re1 1-0 Akhmilovskaya Donaldson-Klimova-Richtrova,E/Borschomi 1990; 14.d6 Rfe8 15.Qh4 Ne4 16.Nxe4 Bxe5 17.Neg5 Bg7 18.Qxh7+ Kf8 19.Bc4 Rd7 20.Nxf7 Bxb2 21.Rae1 Rxe1 22.Rxe1 Qxd6 23.Re8+ Kxe8 24.Nxd6+ Rxd6 25.h4 Kd8 26.Qxb7 Nb4 27.Qxa7 Bf6 28.Qxc5 Be7 29.Qa5+ Kc8 30.Qa8+ Kc7 31.Nd4 Bd7 32.Qa7+ Kc8 33.Nb5 Bxb5 34.Qxe7 Rd1+ 35.Kh2 Bxc4 36.Qc5+ 1-0 Babula V-Konopka M/It Moravia-91, 1991) 14...Nd7 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.Na4 Qb4 17.Rac1 Rfe8 18.Nh4 Be4 19.f3 Nf6 20.Qxb4 Nxb4 21.fxe4 Rxe4 22.Bf3 Rxh4 23.Nxc5 Nbxd5 24.Nxb7 Rb8 25.Nd6 Ne3 26.Rd3 Nf5 27.Nxf5+ gxf5 28.b3 Rhb4 29.Rc7 a5 30.Ra7 R4b5 31.Rc3 Ne4 32.Rcc7 Ng5 33.Bh5 Rd8 34.h4 Kh6 35.Be2 Ne6 36.Rxf7 Kg6 37.Bxb5 1-0 Kakhiani K-Gurieli N D/it 1988;

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B2) 12...Re8 13.Be5 Bg4 14.Bxf6 Bxf3 15.Bxf3 Bxf6 16.d6 Bd4 17.Nb5 Rad8 18.Rae1 Nb4 19.Rxe8+ Rxe8 20.d7 Rd8 21.Qe2 Kg7 22.Nxd4 cxd4 23.Qe7 Na6 24.Rc1 Qxb2 25.Qe5+ Kg8 26.Qe8+ Kg7 27.Qe5+ Kg8 28.Rd1 Qb6 29.Rxd4 Nc5 30.Rd6 Qb1+ 31.Rd1 Qb6 32.g3 Kf8 33.Re1 Ne6 34.Bd5 Rxd7 35.Bxe6 fxe6 36.Qh8+ Ke7 37.Qxh7+ Kd8 38.Qh8+ Ke7 39.Qg7+ Ke8 40.Qxg6+ Ke7 41.h4 Rd5 42.h5 Qd6 43.h6 Rd1 44.Qg7+ Ke8 45.h7 Rxe1+ 46.Kh2 1-0 Hybl J-Husek Z/cr. 1968; C) 12.Rd1 12...Bf5 13.h3 (13.Qh4 Rfe8 14.Bb5 Red8 15.Bg5 Nc7 16.Bc4 Nce8 17.Bb3 Bg4 18.Rd3 Qb4 19.Re1 h6 20.Rxe8+ Rxe8 21.Bxf6 g5 22.Bxg5 hxg5 23.Qxg5 Bxf3 24.gxf3 Re5 25.Qg4 Qxg4+ 26.fxg4 Re1+ 27.Kg2 a6 28.d6 b5 29.Bd5 Rd8 30.Ne4 c4 31.Rf3 Rxe4 32.Bxe4 Rxd6 33.b3 c3 34.Rf5 Rd2 35.Rc5 Bd4 36.Rc8+ Kg7 37.h4 Bxf2 Tukmakov,V-Semeniuk,A/Riga 1988/1-0 (51)) 13...Rfe8 14.Nh4 Bd7 15.Be3 Rac8 16.a3 Qd8 17.Nf3 Qa5 18.Qb3 Qb6 19.Qxb6 axb6 20.Nd2 Bf8 21.Nc4 b5 22.Nb6 b4 23.Nxc8 bxc3 24.Nb6 cxb2 25.Rab1 Bf5 26.Rxb2 Ne4 27.g4 Bc8 28.Bb5 Rd8 29.Rc2 Bg7 30.Bxa6 bxa6 31.Nxc8 Rxc8 32.d6 Bf8 33.d7 Rd8 34.f3 Nf6 35.Rcd2 Be7 36.Bf4 1-0 Evans L M-Heinkinheimo/it 1950;

Black plays 11.. Re8

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This paper shall be bias around the stem Karpov game, and therefore preference will be given to 12 Bf4, with the idea of using the Queens rook to support Whites passed d pawn.

B) 12.Bf4 Bf5 (12...b6 13.d6 Nb4 14.Ng5 Qd7 15.Qb3 Rxe2 16.Nxe2 Ba6 17.Nc3 Bxf1 18.Rxf1 Re8 19.h3 h6 20.Nf3 Qf5 21.Bh2 a6 22.Rd1 Nd7 23.Bg3 g5 24.Rd2 Kf8 25.a3 Nc6 26.Kh2 Nd4 27.Nxd4 cxd4 28.Nd5 h5 29.f4 Nc5 30.Qc4 gxf4 31.Bxf4 Re4 32.g3 d3 33.Ne3 Qg6 34.Qd5 Bf6 35.Nf5 Re8 36.b4 Ne6 37.Bh6+ Kg8 38.Qxd3 Kh7 39.Be3 Ng5 40.Bxb6 Ne4 41.d7 Re6 42.Nh4 Bxh4 43.gxh4 Qf5 44.d8Q Qf4+ 45.Kh1 Rg6 46.Bd4 1-0 Annageldiev O-Arbakov V/Ch URS select 1988)

B1) 13.Ne5 Nxd5 14.Nxf7 Kxf7 15.Bf3 Be6 16.Bxd5 Bxd5 17.Nxd5 b5 18.Qb3 Bd4 19.Nc3+ Kg7 20.Nxb5 Bf6 21.Rad1 Qe7 22.Nd6 Reb8 23.Qg3 Qe6 24.b3 Bd4 25.Rfe1 Qf6 26.Bg5 Bxf2+ 27.Qxf2 Qxg5 28.Qf7+ Kh6 29.Rd3 Rb4 30.Nc4 Qf5 1-0 Marinelli,T-Spiriev,P/Budapest 1989;

B2) 13.Be5 Rc8 14.Qb5 Nxd5 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.Qxb7 Nxc3 17.Bxa6 Rc7 18.Qb3 Ne2+ 19.Bxe2 Rxe2 20.Rae1 Rxe1 21.Rxe1 Qf6 22.Qb8 Rd7 23.Ne5 Re7 24.b3 h5 25.Re3 h4 26.a3 a5 27.f4 h3 28.g4 Be6 29.Rxh3 1-0 COMP GriffySr-junior/ICC 1994; B3) 13.Rfe1 h6 (13...Nb4 14.Rad1 Rc8 15.Bf1 Rxe1 16.Nxe1 Nc2 17.Nxc2 Bxc2 18.Re1 Qd7 19.d6 Bf5 20.Re7 Qc6 21.Qxf7+ 1-0 COMP WchessX-broom/ICC 1995) 14.Rac1 Nd7 15.Qb3 Qb6 16.Nh4 Qxb3 17.axb3 Nb4 18.Nxf5 gxf5 19.Bb5 Rxe1+ 20.Rxe1 Nf6 21.d6 a6 22.Bc4 b5 23.Be2 Re8 24.Rd1 Rd8 25.Be3 Nd7 26.Nd5 Be5 27.Ne7+ Kh7 28.Nxf5 Nc2 29.Bxh6 Kg6 30.Bd3 Nd4 31.Nxd4+ Kxh6 32.Nc6 Re8 33.Bf5 1-0 COMP WchessX-broom/ICC 1995; B4) 13.Rad1 13...Ne4 (13...Nd7 14.Qb3 Nb4 15.Rd2 Nb6 16.Bb5 Bd7 17.Bg5 Qc8 18.Rc1 a5 19.Na4 c4 20.Qd1 Nxa4 21.Qxa4 Bxb5 22.Qxb5 Qf5 23.h4 c3 24.bxc3 Rec8 25.c4 Nd3 26.Rb1 Bc3 27.Re2 Bb4 28.Rd1 Bc5 29.d6 h6 30.d7 Rf8 31.Bxh6 Rfd8 32.Re8+ Kh7 33.Be3 b6 34.Ng5+ Kg7 35.Rxd3 Qxd3 36.Qb2+ f6 37.Ne6+ Kh7 38.Qxf6 Rxd7 1-0 Ivanchuk,V-Kotronias,V/Lvov 1988) 14.Nb5 (14.Bd3 Bxc3 15.bxc3 b5 16.Qxb5 Nxc3 17.Qxa6 Bxd3 18.Qxd3 Ne2+ 19.Kh1 Nxf4 20.Qc4 Qd6 21.Nd2 Rad8 22.Ne4 Qe5 23.f3 Kg7 24.d6 Qb2 25.Rg1 Qb4 26.Qc1 Ne2 27.Qa1+ Nd4 28.Rb1 Qa5 29.Rbc1 Qb6 30.Rgd1 Re6 31.Nxc5 Rexd6 32.Rc4 1-0 Annageldiev,O-Chudinovskikh,A/Yalta 1989) 14...g5 (14...Bxb2 15.Bd3 Qf6 16.Rde1 g5 17.Bxe4 Rxe4 18.Rxe4 Bxe4 19.Nxg5 Bg6 20.Nf3 Nb4 21.Bg5 Qf5 22.Qxc5 Nd3 23.Qe7 h6 24.Bxh6 Qxd5 25.Nd6 Ba3 26.Nf5 Bb2 27.N5h4 Bh5 28.h3 Rc8 29.Rd1 Bc1 30.Qf6 Bxh6 31.Qxh6 Bxf3 32.Nxf3 Qf5 33.Qe3 Nf4 34.Rd4 Ng6 35.Rg4 Qb1+ 36.Kh2 Qxa2 37.Nh4 Rc6 38.Nf5 Kf8 39.Re4 1-0 Erykalov A-Budnikov A/it 1987) 15.Nxg5 Nxg5 16.Nd6 Re4 17.Nxe4 Nxe4 18.d6 Bd4 19.Qd5 Qd7 20.Bxa6 Nf6 21.Qxb7 Qxb7 22.Bxb7 Rb8 23.d7 Rd8 24.Be3 Rxd7 25.Bc8 1-0 Golovko N-Mishin A/t 1987;

Black plays 11..Bd7

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11...Bd7 12.Bf4 Nh5 13.Be5 f6 14.Bd6 Rf7 15.Rad1 1-0 Battistini,R-De Biaggi,P/1 1990] 12.a3 Bf5 13.Qh4 Rfe8 14.Bh6 Ne4 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.Ng5 Nf6 [16...Nxc3 17.Qxh7+ Kf6 18.bxc3 Kxg5 19.Qg7 Re4 20.f4+ Rxf4 21.Rxf4 Kxf4 22.Rf1+ Ke3 23.Qe5+ Kd2 24.Bc4 Qxc3 25.Rf2+ 1-0 Smyslov V V-Florian T/it 1949] 17.Bc4 Nc7 18.d6 Ne6 19.Nd5 Nxg5 20.Nxf6 Kxf6 21.f4 Qd2 22.fxg5+ Kg7 23.Rxf5 gxf5 24.Qh6+ Kg8 25.Bxf7+ Kxf7 26.g6+ 1-0 (Illitsky vs Dubinin 1949)


The Qb3 system is one of the more popular methods against the Gruenfeld defence. It takes a more subtle approach to occupying the centre than the exchange variation. If White can avoid the bad implications of the Queen being embarrassed, the classical centre will often reap benefits such as a strong passed d pawn. The Queen can also play a positive role in discourage Black to bite the White centre with ...c5.

The Smyslov system is an attempt to use piece pressure to try and statify the White pawn centre, and target the d4 square.  The stem game chosen against the Smyslov system, shows that White is not afraid of doubling the pawns on f2 and f3.

The Prins system with Na6, is an attempt to force through c5, and the method indicated in this paper is to play d5, and go for the passed d pawn. The stem Karpov game, places emphasis on using the Queens rook to support the d pawn, and in this respect Bf4 is a necessary move in many lines.

Further Reading

The Gruenfeld Defense
Leonid Shamkovich, Grandmaster Leonid Shamkovich / Paperback / Published 1997
Gruenfeld Defense
Estrim Botvinnik