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This month there a couple of games featuring the Dutch Stonewall, one of them partially analyzed by experienced campaigner Bogdan Lalic.
I have otherwise concentrated my efforts on the Grünfeld.
Several high level encounters have been testing some critical lines and these I just had to do! One thing to look out for are exchange sacrifices. How many can you find in this month's update!?

Download PGN of June '09 Daring Defences games

Leningrad Dutch

First and foremost, the new playable Leningrad Dutch eBook is ready to download!

Dutch Stonewall

In Game one, White plays logically but achieves nothing out of the opening despite exchanging off the dark-squared bishops. I am not convinced this plan is generally that worrying for Black:

After Black's last move, 14...c5, he has comfortable equality.

In the game White, the stronger player, gradually outplayed his opponent, but from a theoretical point of view Black has nothing to complain about.

In Game 2 Moskalenko is tested in his beloved Stonewall by Iturrizaga and comes under pressure. Perhaps Black should prefer 10...Nxf4 11 Nxf4 Bd6, because White's plan with f3 and g4 turned out to be quite tricky for him. The opening of the kingside favoured White as with the bishop dormant on c8 Black wasn't using all his forces!

Grünfeld Defence

First of all there is an e-mail letter from Franck Steenbekkers commenting on some work I did last month on the so-called Kruppa variation. He has been analyzing some of the lines rather deeply so I have gone over his analysis and added some further comments, see Game 3. The line looks quite tricky unless, of course, you subscribe to ChessPublishing when you can find out a reasonable way for Black to defend! My conclusion is still that I think that 8...Qa5 is the best way to seek equality, but I have to admit that I'm not really a great fan of Black's winning chances! Has anyone else got any better ideas?

Don't forget to compare this with last month's analysis for a more complete picture of this topical line.

4 Qb3

Games 4 and 5 both feature 4 Qb3 where White seeks to obtain the advantages of the Russian variation whilst, at the same time, keeping the flexibility of not committing himself to an early N-f3:

There is nothing wrong with the knight on f3, but the tempo saved may enable White to create problems for Black, as well as avoiding certain possibilities such as an early ...Bg4.

The normal Russian Variation is 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 Qb3 where White aims to maintain his central pawns on d4 and e4 and support them with pieces. It has a reputation of being 'solid and positional'.

In Game 4 White only plays his knight to f3 as late as move 11 in a line already played by Kramnik. White kept a pull in these games so Black players may prefer to concentrate on 10...f4 in future.

In Game Five Black reacted with a Hungarian System approach with 7...a6:

Now White could play 8 Nf3, and then 8...b5 9 Qb3 returns us to a position known from the 'normal' Russian Variation. Instead White has 8 Bf4 (quite promising, see the notes!) seeking to snatch the c7-pawn, or settle for 8 Be3. Shabalov chose the latter and later supported the centre with f2-f3 but Black was able to equalize.

4 Bf4

Wang Yue has been taking on the World this year with 4 Bf4!

In Game 6 he tried a dangerous exchange sacrifice with 10 Rxc3:

I really don't know what to suggest for Black here, Carlsen snatched the exchange, but White's minor pieces dominated Black's rooks all game.

In the notes you'll notice that 10...0-0 has been played by Svidler amongst others. This is probably better but still not easy for the second player.

Wang Yue was White again in Game 7 where another theoretically critical line occurred. Black tried 7...dxc4 rather than 7...Ne4 and then on move 10 faced another dichotomy:

In the same tournament Carlsen was able to seek and obtain quieter waters with 10...Qa5. Dominguez and Topalov played the sharper 10...Nc6 11 Nb5 Qh5.

In notes you'll see that Topalov innovated with an unusual queen retreat and the game led to a perpetual check.

Both of these fared better than Dominguez who didn't equalize and should have lost. Did Wang Yue virtually run out of time, because he missed a clear win right at the death?

Exchange Variation

In Game 8 Ni Hua basically went wrong in the opening. However the way his opponent exploited his advantage is very instructive and I've summarized the latest developments in the variation involving 12 Rb3, which should be met by 12...c4 or 12...Qc7, but certainly not 12...Qd6.

The final two games have an unusual feature in common. Both are won by the same player playing Black, Zhou Jianchao, and in both cases these are lines which he has played with White!

I like Game 9 as it is a model for how to obtain counterplay despite the early exchange of queens. Essentially Black invades with a knight and the other pieces offer support from a distance. A curious strategy but an effective one:

In my opinion White is the one who should be seeking equality.

Game 10 is yet another example of Black's 12...e5 gambit in the traditional exchange variation with B-c4. Here Zhou knew his stuff and demonstrated that things can go wrong for White who has been struggling to demonstrate anything against ...e5 both here (with Rc1) and in the sister variation with Qd2.


Till next month, Glenn Flear

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