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Three e-mails asking about particular lines this time, two in the Grünfeld and one in the Leningrad Dutch. The seven featured games that I chose this month are also from the Grünfeld and Leningrad Dutch.

Download PGN of July '05 Daring Defences games

Leningrad Dutch Defence

The Leningrad variation favoured by Kindermann involving 7...Qe8, followed by 8 Nd5 Nxd5 9 cxd5 Nd7! was played in Brynell - Lindberg from this year's Swedish Championship:

The game was error-strewn, probably because the opening was sufficiently complex to get both players into time trouble!

As for the opening, Black yet again obtained a fine game after 9...Nd7 suggesting that it is indeed a good way of handling 8 Nd5.

In Game 2 Harikrishna starts with a quiet development with b3, Bb2 and c2-c4 reserving the development of his queen's knight for later. Black has a choice of plans where Kindermann's 8...Na6 is certainly reasonable. Those who like provoking an early crisis may agree with Zhang Zhong that 8...e5 is the way to play:

, but I'm fairly sure that the positions resulting from ...dxe5 will be more to the taste of 'Dynamic Defencers' than the somewhat passive ...Nxe5-system. The notes suggest that Black should definitely aim for ...dxe5, (e.g. Rausis-Santo Roman and Forestani-Rodriguez) when Black has at least as much fun as White.

In the game White's knight on d5 was a thorn in Black's side and Black wasn't able to equalize. The final phase of the game is instructive and definitely worth playing through despite it's length. Basically the way the Indian won the queen ending is very impressive.

Mikhael Gurevich turned Game 3 round by creating a mating net around White's king. Earlier on he was suffering as White's opening/early middlegame strategy worked quite well which suggests that 11...c6 might not be an easy way of handling the position after 11 h3. I suspect that Grigoriants became very short of time as apart from missing a chance on move 27 he went down rather tamely afterwards.

Grünfeld Defence

The second e-mail query concerns the Grünfeld and in particular the 8 Rb1 Exchange Variation, where the subscriber is particularly interested in an early R-b3 which eventually led to a delightful mating attack in the featured game (Ivanov - Mikhalevski from 1999):

See the notes for my suggested antidote.

I used some analysis of Eddie Dearing's from his new book Challenging the Grünfeld (which the postman just delivered) where he examines the fashionable Rb1-line from White's point of view. It therefore seems appropriate that Games 5 and 6 feature further variations from the 8 Rb1 variation, the first is well covered by Dearing, in the aforementioned book, the second less so as Votava uses an unusual move-order.

Game five examines Black's risky defence based on ...Nc6 and grabbing the c-pawn when offered. White's kingside attack used to be considered very dangerous but experience has shown how Black can successfully defend, so White players are on the look-out for a nuance or two to give something. Zhou Jianchao's 22 Rg1 is unusual and in a short but entertaining game both sides missed chances to be better, but after the strongest reply 22...Rad8 I don't think that Black is worse.

In Game Six, in the more solid 9...b6 line, the timing of ...Bxe2 is often key in Black's choice of defence and here Votava played it immediately (12...Bxe2!?) followed by ...e6, making d4-d5 basically ineffective.

Here is the position where Votava played 12...Bxe2!? 13 Qxe2 e6 and went on to win.

It's rare to see 8 Rb1 expert Boris Avrukh so badly outplayed in his pet line, but Votava's sensible follow-up manoeuvre ...Nd7-f6-e4-d6 offered White nothing at all. The only thing I can see wrong with this straightforward approach is if White tries 15 e5, as Jean Hebert did when faced with the same position a decade ago. Black's knight is then restricted and he may not have such a comfortable time.

Although the idea of playing 10...Bd7 has recently been popular:

, the plan employed in Game 7 by the young Hungarian GM Berkes involving Qd1-c1-a3 makes one wonder why! Sutovsky allows White to capture on c5, when, as recent experience has shown, these doubled pawns are not that weak. Here the queens are exchanged at the same time and the Israeli GM is totally outplayed, which really puts one off the whole variation. I'm not sure how Black should improve, but the move order will need looking at. It begs a serious question: Is this the beginning of the end for 10...Bd7?

Svidler revives a lesser-known variation in Game Eight which involves putting the bishop on b7 rather than g4 or d7. The Dutchman played for the normal restricting d4-d5 and kept control of the centre in the early stages despite Svidler's control of the c-file.

White's advantage increased after 25 Nc6! and Svidler really had to dig deep to save the game. I've not found any wins for White but I wouldn't be surprised if Van Wely missed something.

I don't think Svidler's revived line will convert many as he didn't equalize until the final position.

In Game Nine it's Van Wely's turn to revive an old line. This time in the Exchange Sacrifice Variation with 16 Qd4 and with success:

Theoretically after 16 Qd4!? it seems that 16...Bf7 may not be so easy for Black due to the key move 20 f4! when Van Wely must have found an improvement on Sakaev's analysis, so I suggest that 16...Bd7 should be investigated. From a practical point of view, the game is a fine illustration of playing an exchange-less endgame but having excellent compensation due to Black's lack of dark-squared control.

Is this better for White? See the game for my impressions and Luc Van Wely's excellent handling of the white pieces.

In the final e-mail game after 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 Bf4:

Here Kriventsov tries the risky 5...c5.

Although it's no doubt fun to try and exploit White's centralized king in sharp complications, in most games Black just seems to find himself material down. I'm not sure if 5...c5 is totally dubious (as Kamsky's 13...Nd7 might just be playable), but 13...Rd8 seems to be just plain bad. There is certainly a strong case for playing something else in the diagram position as Black! For instance 5...0-0 6 Rc1 dxc4.

Note that the game is repeated: Game 10 concerns David Vigorito's own analyses and Game 11 my extra comments.


Till next time,

Glenn Flear

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