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Daring Defences for January 2004

I'm concentrating my efforts on two openings this time: The Budapest and the Grünfeld.

GM Glenn Flear

Budapest Defence

Grünfeld Defence

The former because of a query on the forum, which has provoked me to produce a mini-review of one of the critical lines, and the latter as there have been some interesting developments.

To download the January '04 games in PGN form click here: Download Games

Budapest Defence

On the Forum, an interesting question pertained to a critical line against the Budapest. So I've decided to spend some time on the following position:

Here White has tried four moves: 12 Nd5 is dubious and 12 Na4 allows easy equality and these two can thus be quickly dismissed. That leaves us with 12 Ne4 and 12 Qd5. The first leads to complications in which Black seems to be holding his own and the latter is the crunch move for the variation.

NCO gives 12 Qd5! as leading to a clear advantage based on the 1988 game Bogdan Lalic against Mukic, whereas ECO is more restrained only conceding a slight edge to White due to an alternative for Black on move 13 which I also believe to be Black's best chance.

I've scrutinised Lalic's excellent win and found a couple of ways for Black to put up a stiffer resistance but nothing leading to easy equality. It's a fight where White keeps the better of the complications.

So I'm concluding that 12 Qd5 is White's best which Black should meet with 12...Ba7 13 c5 Rae6! when it's not easy to pass judgement on such limited material. The out-of-play bishop on c8 is probably why ECO thinks White is for preference. What do you think?

Check my thoughts on this and other lines in the notes to Game One. If you don't agree with something then don't hesitate to get back to me! Has anybody had any games in this line that they'd like to share with other Daring Defence subscribers?

Budapest Defence

Grünfeld Defence

Grünfeld Defence

As for the relatively solid Neo-Grünfeld (Game 3), this is classified under D71-79 and can be found in the e-book covering "Bf4, Bg5 and other Grünfelds".

One of our subscribers had difficulty finding it there, because the e-book stated that it dealt with D80-84 and D90-94, where in fact it also covers D70-D79. Sorry about any confusion caused. This slip will be rectified, "We have the technology...".

Game Two features 3 f3, a dangerous system that deserves respect:

Although Akesson (playing Black) won the game there are a number of questions about the opening that remain unanswered. Neither 8...e5 nor 8...Nc6 look that easy to play, so read the notes carefully! If 3...d5 doesn't please then the "non-Grünfeld" alternatives 3...e5 and 3...Nc6 might be fun to try.

In the Fianchetto Variation White doesn't have to develop his knight early to f3. The line with 5 cxd5 Nxd5 6 e4 has been popular over the years as it's a positive step to immediately grab the centre. In Game 3 Rowson defends well against a strong theoretical opponent showing that 6...Nb4 is fully playable.

Malakhatko wins comfortably by using 8 Rb1 in Game 4, which remains one of the critical lines. The way Black defended in this game doesn't adequately cope with the White centre, so I suggest that Black sticks to 12...e6 and 13...Bc7 which has a better reputation. However slightly confusing is Sutovsky's recent willingness to play with ...Bg7, and Kiriakov not playing the critical 17 Rb3 (see the notes). One could argue that Kiriakov-Sutovsky was a Blitz game and their memories are fallible, but I suspect that we don't yet know the whole truth about this variation.

Another game that features a line covered in the previous update is that one featuring Sakaev playing his pet line against McShane, see Game 5. One could argue that White kept a small pull due to Sakaev's introduction of a nuance on move 18, however even after a couple of inaccuracies one gets the impression that only the poor 31...Qxe4 led to serious trouble.

I'm not really keen to recommend Black playing this way, as White can threaten a repetition which is not easy to avoid as 11...Qh5 is suspicious because of 12 d5 (see e-book).

In Game Six, the notes and the featured Ravi-Harika, illustrate that Black is starting to cope with the "Exchange Sacrifice" Variation. It's unlikely to be the end of the story but I get the impression that the line is likely to lose it's White adherents as soon as there seems to be more than one way to get equal chances. The novelty on move 33 (!) (in the notes to Game 6) may have arisen from ignorance of Kudrin's remarkable improvement in his game against Yermolinsky (see the November 2003 update for further details), but nevertheless further illustrates that White's attack has been shorn of it's terror.

Game Seven involves the young Swiss GM Yannick Pelletier again trying his anti-Grünfeld system involving Q-b3 before d2-d4. Yet again it goes wrong for him, this time as Sutovsky's positional approach shows up his loose structure. Unlike the humiliating defeat he suffered in December's update, Pelletier manages to fight back with a late rally to save his skin.

Game Eight features a rare encounter from Central America. Leyva produces a novelty but Mikhalevski doesn't show it much respect! In the following position Mikhalevski doesn't beat about the bush, he just blasts open the centre:

Black played 10...c5! and grasped the initiative.

In Game Nine we see play unfold in a hybrid system with characteristics of the Slav as well as the Grünfeld. Black was no doubt happy with both the opening and the result. However the middlegame adventures could have led to a different outcome if White had brought his queen's knight back into play earlier.

Budapest Defence

Grünfeld Defence


Next month, I'll have a look at developments in the openings that I've ignored this time.

Glenn Flear

If you have any questions, either leave a message on the Daring Defences Forum, or subscribers can email me at