Gruenfeld Defence (D70-D99)

The first instance of this opening is in an 1855 game by Moheschunder Bannerjee, an Indian player who had transitioned from Indian chess rules, playing Black against John Cochrane in Calcutta, in May 1855:

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.e3 Bg7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.Be2 Nxc3 8.bxc3 c5 9.0-0 cxd4 10.cxd4 Nc6 11.Bb2 Bg4 12.Rc1 Rc8 13.Ba3 Qa5 14.Qb3 Rfe8 15.Rc5 Qb6 16.Rb5 Qd8 17.Ng5 Bxe2 18.Nxf7 Na5
and White mates in three (19.Nh6+ double check Kh8 20.Qg8+ Rxg8 21.Nf7#). Cochrane published a book reporting his games with Moheshchunder and other Indians in 1864.

It gained popularity after Ernst Grünfeld introduced it into international play at Vienna 1922, where, in his first game with the defense, he defeated future world champion Alexander Alekhine. Grünfeld usually employed a very classical style. The defence was later adopted by a number of prominent players, including Vasily Smyslov, Viktor Korchnoi, Leonid Stein, and Bobby Fischer. Garry Kasparov often used the defence, including in his World Championship matches against Anatoly Karpov in 1986, 1987 and 1990, and Vladimir Kramnik in 2000. Currently active notable players who employ the opening include Loek van Wely, Peter Svidler, Peter Leko, Viswanathan Anand, Luke McShane and Gata Kamsky.[4] Anand employed it twice in the World Chess Championship 2010. In the World Chess Championship 2012 between Anand and Boris Gelfand, each player used the Grünfeld once with both games ending in draws. Anand faced the Grünfeld against Magnus Carlsen during the first game of the World Chess Championship 2014 and drew in a Rook and Queen ending.

The Game of the Century between Donald Byrne and 13-year-old Bobby Fischer on October 17, 1956, featured this opening, although arriving in the Grünfeld via a transposition of moves (using 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.d4 0-0 5.Bf4 d5).

Exchange Variation: 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4

The main line of the Grünfeld, the Exchange Variation (ECO codes D85–D89), is defined by the continuation 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4. Now White has an imposing looking centre – and the main continuation 5... Nxc3 6. bxc3 strengthens it still further. Black generally attacks White's centre with ...c5 and ...Bg7, often followed by moves such as ...Qa5, ...cxd4, ...Bg4, and ...Nc6. White often uses his big centre to launch an attack against Black's king. One subvariation, frequently played by Karpov, including four games of his 1987 world championship match against Kasparov in Seville, Spain, is the Seville Variation, after 6...Bg7 7.Bc4 c5 8.Ne2 Nc6 9.Be3 0-0 10.0-0 Bg4 11.f3 Na5 12.Bxf7+, long thought a poor move by theory, as the resultant light-square weakness had been believed to give Black more than enough compensation for the pawn.

White can develop his pieces in a number of ways in the Exchange Variation. For decades, theory held that the correct method of development was with Bc4 and Ne2, often followed by 0-0 and f4–f5, playing for a central breakthrough or kingside attack. It was generally thought that an early Nf3 was weak in the Exchange Variation because it allowed Black too much pressure on the centre with ...Bg4. In the late 1970s, however, Karpov, Kasparov and others found different methods to play the Exchange Variation with White, often involving an early Rb1 to remove the rook from the sensitive a1–h8 diagonal, as well as attempting to hinder the development of Black's queenside. Another, relatively recently developed system involves quickly playing Be3, Qd2, and Rc1 or Rd1 to fortify White's centre, remove White's rook from the diagonal, and possibly enable an early d5 push by White.

Vladimir Kramnik and Boris Gelfand are the leading practitioners as White, and Ľubomír Ftáčnik has had many fine results with the black pieces.

Russian System: 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3

In bringing more pressure to bear against Black's central outpost on d5, White practically forces ...dxc4, thus gaining a central preponderance; however, in return, his queen will often be exposed as Black's queenside play unfolds in the middlegame. After 5... dxc4 6. Qxc4 0-0 7. e4, Black has several primary options:

Hungarian Variation: 7...a6
The Hungarian Variation, 7...a6, has been championed by Peter Leko.

Smyslov Variation: 7...Bg4 8.Be3 Nfd7
7...Bg4 8.Be3 Nfd7 was a topical line from the 1950s through the mid-1970s.

Prins Variation: 7...Na6
7...Na6 (Lodewijk Prins') idea, which Kasparov favoured in several of his World Championship matches against Karpov.

7...Nc6
This is recommended as the mainline by several recent Grünfeld texts.

Other lines
7...c6, 7...b6

Taimanov's Variation with 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bg5

In this line, favoured by Yasser Seirawan, after the nearly universal 5...Ne4, White plays 6.Bh4 or 6.cxd5, with Black then opting for either 6...Nxc3 7.bxc3 Qxd5 or 6...Nxg5 7.Nxg5 e6. In the latter case, 7...c6 is sometimes tried. 6.Nxd5? grabbing the pawn loses a piece after 6...Nxg5 7.Nxg5 e6. After 6.cxd5 Nxg5 7.Nxg5 e6, White has 8.Qd2 exd5 9.Qe3+, with attacking chances (though the interpolation 8...h6 9.Nf3 exd5 is a significant alternative), or the more usual 8.Nf3 exd5 after which play generally proceeds on lines analogous to the Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange Variation, with a queenside minority attack by White (b2–b4–b5xc6), as Black aims for his traditional kingside play with ...f7–f5–f4 and, in this case, ...g6–g5.

Lines with 4.Bf4 and the Grünfeld Gambit

For players who do not wish to take on the complexities of the Exchange Variation, the move 4. Bf4 is generally considered a safer continuation for White.[6] White opts for the initiative on the queenside with a smaller pawn centre. In the main line (D82), play proceeds with 4...Bg7 5.e3 c5 6.dxc5 Qa5, with White's choices at his seventh move being cxd5, Qb3, Qa4, or Rc1. Despite its reputation, in statistical databases this variation shows only a slightly higher percentage of White wins and draws, as opposed to the Exchange variation.[7][8] The variation is not often met in top-flight play today, its usage having declined significantly since its heyday in the 1930s.

Grünfeld Gambit
In this variation, play may also continue 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.e3 0-0, which is known as the Grünfeld Gambit (ECO code D83). White can accept the gambit by playing 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.Nxd5 Qxd5 8.Bxc7, or decline it with 6.Qb3 or 6.Rc1, to which Black responds with 6...c5.

Neo-Grünfeld Defence, Kemeri Variation
Systems in which White delays the development of his queen's knight to c3 are known as the Neo-Grünfeld Defence (ECO code D70–D79); typical move orders are 1.d4 Nf6 2.g3 g6 3.c4 d5 or, more commonly, 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 d5



D70

Neo-Gruenfeld Defence

D70 Neo-Gruenfeld Defence

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 d5

Study Games for Eco Code D70

D70

D71

Neo-Gruenfeld, 5.cxd5 Nxd5

D71 Neo-Gruenfeld, 5.cxd5 Nxd5

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. cxd5 Nxd5

Study Games for Eco Code D71

D72

Neo-Gruenfeld, Main line

D72 Neo-Gruenfeld, Main line

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. e4 Nb6 7. Ne2

Study Games for Eco Code D72

D73

Neo-Gruenfeld, 5.Nf3

D73 Neo-Gruenfeld, 5.Nf3

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nf3

Study Games for Eco Code D73

D74

Neo-Gruenfeld, 6.cxd5 Nxd5, 7.0-0

D74 Neo-Gruenfeld, 6.cxd5 Nxd5, 7.0-0

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. cxd5 Nxd5 7. O-O

Study Games for Eco Code D74

D75

Neo-Gruenfeld, 6.cxd5 Nxd5, 7.0-0 c5, 8.Nc3

D75 Neo-Gruenfeld, 6.cxd5 Nxd5, 7.0-0 c5, 8.Nc3

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nf3 0-0 6. cxd5 Nxd5 7. 0-0 c5 8. Nc3

Study Games for Eco Code D75

D75

D76

Neo-Gruenfeld, 6. cxd5 Nxd5, 7. 0-0 Nb6

D76 Neo-Gruenfeld, 6. cxd5 Nxd5, 7. 0-0 Nb6

 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nf3 0-0 6. cxd5 Nxd5 7. 0-0 Nb6

Study Games for Eco Code D76

D77

Neo-Gruenfeld, 6.0-0

D77 Neo-Gruenfeld, 6.0-0

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. O-O

Study Games for Eco Code D77

D78

Neo-Gruenfeld, 6.0-0 c6

D78 Neo-Gruenfeld, 6.0-0 c6

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. O-O c6

Study Games for Eco Code D78

D78

D79

Neo-Gruenfeld, 6.0-0, Main line

D79 Neo-Gruenfeld, 6.0-0, Main line

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. O-O c6 7. cxd5 cxd5

Study Games for Eco Code D79

D80

Gruenfeld Defence

D80 Gruenfeld Defence

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5

Study Games for Eco Code D80

D80

D81

Gruenfeld: Russian Variation

D81 Gruenfeld: Russian Variation

 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Qb3

Study Games for Eco Code D81

D82

Gruenfeld 4.Bf4

D82 Gruenfeld 4.Bf4

 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Bf4

Study Games for Eco Code D82

D83

Gruenfeld Gambit

D83 Gruenfeld Gambit

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Bf4 Bg7 5. e3 O-O

Study Games for Eco Code D83

D83

D84

Gruenfeld Gambit accepted

D84 Gruenfeld Gambit Accepted

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.e3 O-O 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.Nxd5 Qxd5 8.Bxc7

Study Games for Eco Code D84

D85

Gruenfeld, Nadanian Variation

D85 Gruenfeld, Nadanian Variation

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5

Study Games for Eco Code D85

D85

D86

Gruenfeld, Exchange, Classical Variation

D86 Gruenfeld, Exchange, Classical Variation

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Bc4

Study Games for Eco Code D86

D86

D87

Gruenfeld, Exchange, Spassky Variation

D87 Gruenfeld, Exchange, Spassky Variation

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Bc4 O-O 8. Ne2 c5

Study Games for Eco Code D87

D87

D88

Gruenfeld, Spassky Variation, Main line, 10...cxd4, 11.cxd4

D88 Gruenfeld, Spassky Variation, Main line, 10...cxd4, 11.cxd4

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Bc4 O-O 8. Ne2 c5 9. O-O Nc6 10. Be3 cxd4 11. cxd4

Study Games for Eco Code D88

D89

Gruenfeld, Spassky Variation, Main line, 13.Bd3

D89 Gruenfeld, Spassky Variation, Main line, 13.Bd3

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Bc4 0-0 8. Ne2 c5 9. 0-0 Nc6 10. Be3 cxd4 11. cxd4 Bg4 12. f3 Na5 13. Bd3

Study Games for Eco Code D89

D89

D90

Gruenfeld, Three Knights Variation

D90 Gruenfeld, Three Knights Variation

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3

Study Games for Eco Code D90

D90

D91

Gruenfeld, Three Knights Variation

D91 Gruenfeld, Three Knights Variation

 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bg5

Study Games for Eco Code D91

D92

Gruenfeld, 5.Bf4

D92 Gruenfeld, 5.Bf4

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bf4

Study Games for Eco Code D92

D93

Gruenfeld with 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3

D93 Gruenfeld with 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bf4 0-0 6. e3

Study Games for Eco Code D93

D94

Gruenfeld, 5.e3

D94 Gruenfeld, 5.e3

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. e3

Study Games for Eco Code D94

D94

D95

Gruenfeld with 5.e3 0-0 6.Qb3

D95 Gruenfeld with 5.e3 0-0 6.Qb3

 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. e3 0-0 6. Qb3

Study Games for Eco Code D95

D95

D96

Gruenfeld, Russian Variation

D96 Gruenfeld, Russian Variation

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

Study Games for Eco Code D96

D97

Gruenfeld, Russian Variation with 7.e4

D97 Gruenfeld, Russian Variation with 7.e4

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

Study Games for Eco Code D97

D97

D98

Gruenfeld, Russian, Smyslov Variation

D98 Gruenfeld, Russian, Smyslov Variation

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

Study Games for Eco Code D98

D98

D99

Gruenfeld Defence, Smyslov, Main line

D99 Gruenfeld Defence, Smyslov, Main line

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Qb3 dxc4 6. Qxc4 0-0 7. e4 Bg4 8. Be3 Nfd7 9. Qb3

Study Games for Eco Code D99

D99

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