Grünfeld Defence

The Grünfeld Defence is a much analysed opening which in the history of the royal game has been part of the repertoire of outstanding grandmasters and world champions such as Robert James Fischer and Garri Kasparov. With the move 3...d7-d5 Black attacks the c4-pawn, but in the main variation he concedes to White the centre in order to attack it later with the fianchettoed bishop and the standard move … c7-c5. White has a series of systems which have developed over time in order to combat the Grünfeld Defence.


Main Variation: 1. d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7

In the main variation White exchanges the pawn on d5 and follows up with e2-e4 in order to occupy the centre with several pawns. Black fianchettoes the bishop and combats the white centre with ...c7-c5. In practice White has tried several setups against the black position. A popular one is 7.Ng1-f3 and then 8.Ra1-b1 in order to remove the rook from the diagonal of the bishop on g7. Also popular is 7.Bf1-c4 and then 8.Ng1-e2 intending to support the centre. Black always tries to crack open the white centre with ...c7-c5 and often ...Nb8-c6.

Russian System: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3

Instead of taking on d5 White can also brings his king's knight into play. After that Black fianchettoes his bishop and we have a basic position from which White has tested some moves in practice. The most common continuation is 5. Qd1-b3 and White is aiming another attack at the pawn on d5. Black should take on c4 and castle. White obtains the option of an ideal occupation of the centre with e2-e4, but he is left behind in development.

Fianchetto Variation: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3

In order to play the Fianchetto Variation White should choose g2-g3 or Ng1-f3 on move three and the fianchetto of the bishop. If Black would like to play the Grünfeld Defence he follows up on the next move with ...d7-d5. White typically exchanges on d5 and hopes to obtain after that a superiority in the centre, which Black once again attacks with his pieces.