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The World Championship Match between Anand and Topalov has just finished and included two Grünfelds, so these I just had to look at!
Otherwise this month is a Dutch special with eight games involving various systems.

Download PGN of May '10 Daring Defences games

Grünfeld Defence: World Championship lessons

Anand's first round loss was a shock to the chess world, but Topalov's superior preparation and his natural attacking instinct made the difference in Game 1.

The '12...e5 gambit' has become a major system over the last few years, and even if this loss dents its reputation somewhat, there are possible improvements for Black that indicate that it can still be employed.

This position after 15...exd4 seems to be key: White has given a pawn for attacking chances based on pushing his f-pawn. It is still far from clear if White can obtain anything concrete for his efforts, but Black seems destined to go on the defensive. Anand prudently decided not to wave a red rag in Topalov's face and chose a more solid set-up in their tenth match game.

In Game 2 Anand chose a hitherto unfashionable (forgotten!) set-up. Can White capture on c5 and obtain an edge? If so, Anand had clearly decided that the resulting positions were acceptable. In the game Black managed to equalize, but there were several alternatives that could do with investigating.

My feeling is that 10...b6 could be worth a try (from time to time) even if the resulting positions are not particularly exciting.

Dutch Defence: Early White deviations versus the Leningrad

In Game 3 White played b2-b3 before c4 and Black reacted with ...c5. Melkumyan won a nice endgame against stronger opposition, but Volokitin missed the chance to obtain a good opening for Black, for example by advancing his d-pawn rather than his e-pawn. In my opinion 6...c5 is a good way to meet 6 b3 in this precise position:

although it may not be in analogous cases, thus suggesting that Black needs to be aware of the various move order possibilities and not simply switch on the auto-pilot.

White can also go one step further and opt for b2-b4 at various moments in the opening, and often does so. Here Sakaev's attempt to gain space on the queenside is met in instructive fashion by Athanasios Mastrovasilis in Game 4. The Greek GM going on to dominate his more renowned opponent.

Those first players who like to play b2-b4 should probably include an earlier c2-c4, which is a different story altogether, although Malaniuk's dynamic response in the notes may appeal to some.

In Game 5 Gleizerov opted for a Nh3-based system, but was unable to obtain any advantage in the face of Black's sensible manner of playing the opening. I'm convinced that the chosen move 9...e5 is more to the point and indeed stronger than 9...a5. White's idea in the latter stages (b3-b4-b5 and R-a3) led to him obtaining something out of nothing, so Leningraders should be wary of this theme which can result from defending too routinely.

Classical Variation

In Game 6 Black played with ...b6 and placed his pieces quite aggressively. Things started to go wrong however when he captured the pawn on d5 and then came under pressure. Those players who have an interest in the English defence may like to note certain similarities in the way Black deployed his pieces, and they may reach the same conclusion as me that simply 10...Na6 would offer a good game.

The result was heavily influenced (I presume) by a big time scramble in which White missed a couple of wins before getting outplayed.

In Game 7 Lahno beats the experienced Vaisser, even though the opening didn't really offer her very much. As the type of positions arising are so different from the Stonewall, Black is faced with many early decisions to make over the board. So some work is required in one's preparation as the Classical is a reasonable option for White to avoid the Stonewall.

In the game Vaisser missed a chance to obtain good play and then went downhill quite quickly. A smooth performance by Lahno even if her opening wasn't worth anything for White.


One of the most theoretical variations in the whole of the Leningrad complex was tested in Game 8. White has many options in the following position:

Having had a good look at White's tries, I haven't been able to find anything that leads to anything significant for White. In particular, even the sharp 13 b5 (which is given in some sources as leading to a White advantage) doesn't impress me, so I would in fact be very happy taking Black in this tabiya.

Nevertheless, in the game White did manage to obtain the better chances, but Antal should probably have grabbed the c-pawn when it was on offer.


In our ninth game this month Sonewall-specialist Ulibin gets into hot water in the opening after 10 Bf4:

He tries a new idea but Alvarez Pedraza opens the position to great effect suggesting that Ulibin's novelty 10...Ng4 is dubious. A few years ago Nikolic played the more natural 10...Bb7 and after 11 Qc2 calmly defended the f-pawn with 11...Qe6, this looks like a more trustworthy continuation for the second player.

In Game 10 the opening isn't really where the game was decided, or is it? Black's move order left him with a slightly passive position and Sakaev (playing White) turned the screw in the latter stages.

In my opinion 8...Qe7 followed by 9...b6 doesn't gel, so in this particular line Black should do without one of these two moves as you will see in the notes where the alternatives on moves 8 and 9 give a better impression.


Till next month, Glenn Flear

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