Finding Home in the Grunfeld Defense

Finding Home in the Grunfeld Defense

Jan 17, 2015, 5:42 PM |

A short list of systems I've attempted against the Grunfeld:

  • Exchange Variation

  • The Russian System

  • Qa4+ System

  • Bf4 System

  • The Solid e3

When I first learned of the Grunfeld, I read something to the effect of “just exchange on d5 and then shove your own d-pawn down the board.” Simple enough. In fact, I won an easy game shortly thereafter with this exact plan. I now suspect that game was a lucky coincidence as somehow the Grunfeld grew more complicated, and I stopped getting comfortable positions.


Nigel Davies in his Chessbase video on the QGD Exchange mentions reaching a Carlsbad structure is possible in the Grunfeld after the Bg5 systems. Being a lover of the QGD exchange, why I didn't immediately latch onto that idea, I'll never know. But in today's game I stumbled into this line! I've found home in the Grunfeld.



Yelan Dembo in Play The Grunfeld describes this system as “a sound and solid way of meeting our ambitious opening. White aims for simple yet somewhat annoying development, as he increases the pressure against d5 by threatening to exchange on f6.”


Sound, Solid and annoying to the other player: everything I want in an opening!


Let check out my game stumbling in to this line.


Defeat of the Day

First, the YouTube Video with my live thoughts. Click Here to check out other videos on my channel.



All in all, I didn't do too badly in the opening that I played a line Petrosian used several times. My main errors were not recognizing my tactical chances, and failing to notice he could play c5 since my knight on c3 was hanging which resulted in a different pawn structure than I was intending, which usually isn't an issue in a standard QGD exchange.


Regardless, in my research I found a variation that Yasser Seirawan used to beat both Kortschnoi and Kasparov. Even Nakamura found himself lost in this variation once. Oddly enough all three players lost in exactly 62 moves.


Seirawan vs Kortschnoi is especially instructive:

The Master Plan



Seirawan neutralized the Grunfeld bishop, and forces black to accept an isolated pawn to activate it. Following that is text book play against and IQP. Exactly the type of chess game I enjoy. Solid position while playing against opponent's pawn deficiency.


Are you a Grunfeld player? If so, Please message me and we'll play a series of game in this line! I'd love to practice.


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