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Grunfeld Defense Guide

Grunfeld Defense Guide

The Grunfeld Defense is a chess opening for Black that starts with the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5. It is a hypermodern chess opening, meaning that Black allows White to build up in the center only to strike it later with c5, Bg7, Nc6, and more. The Grunfeld Defense started gaining popularity in the 1920s. Since then, it has been played at the highest level by many of the chess legends, including Bobby Fischer, Garry Kasparov, and Magnus Carlsen.

Grunfeld Defense moves

Main Ideas in the Grunfeld Defense

The main idea in the Grunfeld Defense is that Whites huge center can become a liability. Black will try to undermine it by all means possible, while White will try to hold on to it.

In the Grunfeld Defense, the main fight takes place in the center, as opposed to the Kings Indian Defense, for instance, where White tries to attack the queenside and Black, the kingside.

Most Played Line in the Grunfeld Defense

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6

3.Nc3 d5

Grunfeld Defense moves

The move 3d5 is the determining move of the Grunfeld Defense.

4.cxd5 Nxd5

Grunfeld Defense moves

White decides to exchange pawns.

5.e4 Nxc3

Grunfeld Defense moves

White builds up a gigantic center. Black gets rid of Whites knight to weaken Whites center.

6.bxc3 Bg7

Grunfeld Defense moves

Black fianchettoes their bishop and aims at the d4 pawn.

7.Bc4 c5

Grunfeld Defense moves

With 7c5 Black is putting even more pressure on the d4 pawn, and on the g7-a1 diagonal.

8.Ne2 Nc6

Grunfeld Defense moves

White protects the pawn. Black increases the pressure even more.

9.Be3 O-O

Grunfeld Defense moves

10.O-O Bg4

Grunfeld Defense moves

Both sides have completed their piece development and are ready to get into the middlegame.

Exchange Variation

The Exchange Variation is the most played line in the Grunfeld Defense.

We have already seen it in action just before, but lets see some of the alternatives available for both sides.

The Exchange Variation goes like this:

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

Grunfeld Defense moves

4.cxd5 Nxd5

Grunfeld Defense moves

At this point, White usually plays 5.e4, although 5.Bd2 and 5.g3 are also possible.

If White goes for 5.e4, attacking the knight, Black has the possibility of exchanging knights, which is the main move by far, or retreating the Knight to b6.

Grunfeld Defense moves

Russian Variation

In the Russian Variation, White doesnt exchange pawns in the center, and instead plays 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3.

Grunfeld Defense moves

After this, Black usually plays 5dxc4, and then 6.Qxc4 0-0 7.e4.

Grunfeld Defense moves

Petrosian System

In the Petrosian System, White plays 5.Bg5 instead of 5.Qb3.

Grunfeld Defense moves

Play continues with 5...Ne4 6.cxd5 Nxg5 7.Nxg5 e6.

Grunfeld Defense moves

Model Games

Related Chess Courses

Grunfeld Defense for Black with IM Marcin Sieciechowicz

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D80 Sub-variants:

Overview

Games on Database: 44655
Last Played: Jul 2024
Overall score:
34.7% 38.2% 27.1%

Played frequently by:

White  
Ivan Farago 154 games
Aleksey Dreev 116 games
Ivan Sokolov 94 games
Black  
Peter Svidler 232 games
Lubomir Ftacnik 218 games
Vlastimil Jansa 172 games

Possible continuations:

4. cxd5  21099
35 % 38.6 % 26.5 %
4. Nf3  13967
34.9 % 38.6 % 26.5 %
4. Bf4  3981
33.8 % 41.1 % 25.1 %
4. Bg5  2869
34.9 % 35.8 % 29.4 %
4. e3  1649
28.9 % 31 % 40.1 %
4. Qb3  504
39.1 % 34.7 % 26.2 %
4. h4  146
37.7 % 32.2 % 30.1 %
4. g3  145
35.2 % 33.8 % 31 %
4. f3  107
37.4 % 24.3 % 38.3 %
4. Qa4+  52
32.7 % 46.2 % 21.2 %
4. g4  32
37.5 % 28.1 % 34.4 %
4. c5  31
19.4 % 67.7 %
4. Bd2  25
56 % 24 % 20 %
4. h3  16
25 % 31.3 % 43.8 %
4. b3  13
15.4 % 15.4 % 69.2 %
4. e4  9
33.3 % 55.6 %
4. b4  3
100 %
4. f4  2
100 %
4. Nxd5  2
100 %