|Title: Challenging the Grünfeld
||Author: Edward Dearing
|Publisher: Quality Chess
|Price: £ 15.99
|Reviewed by: Steffen
||Date: 12/11 2005
Challenging the Grünfeld
I have had several years where I have been thinking of switching from 1.d4 to 1.e4. One of the reasons is the Grünfeld. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have something really good against the Grünfeld? I just haven't found it...
In Challenging the Grünfeld, Eddie Dearing presents his suggestive solution in the Exchange Variation with 8.Rb1 (D) – a line I also used to play but gave up for probably no really good reason other than that I couldn't really convince myself that White had more than some practical compensation when Black goes for the pawn on a2.
Dearing presents his material in 9 main chapters and altogether as a set of 50 annotated games, all between strong grandmasters. Each game has lots of detailed analysis balanced against excellent verbal guidance and at the end Dearing gives his overall impressions and conclusions on certain moves.
- 1. The Presumptious 12….a5!?
- 2. The Logical 12…b6!?
- 3. The Chameleon 12…Nd7!?
- 4. The Reliable Recipe 12…Bg4!
- 5. Rare 12th Move alternatives and 11.Qd2!?
- 6. The Provocative 9…Nc6!?
- 7. The Insidious 10…Ne5!?
- 8. The Indubitable 9…b6!?
- 9. Early Alternatives and Miscellany
- Index of variations
- Index of games
The introductory text explains enough background-detail to understand the division of the material and there Dearing also reveals that he thinks Black's 12…Bg4!? is the strongest continuation against the 8.Rb1-variation.
Not having followed the theoretical developments closely of late, I decided to check the book's recommendations against recent games of current Grünfeld experts like Svidler and Sutovsky.
True to his style, Sutovsky, always employs 'the provocative
9…Nc6'. This is a messy line well suited for his aggressive skills. Continuing
8…0-0 9.Be2 Nc6 10.d5 Ne5 11.Nxe5 Bxe5 12.Qd2 e6 13.f4, Sutovsky lately chose 13…Bc7!? (he has also played 13…Bg7). Then Johannessen-Sutovsky, Saint Vincent ECC 2005 went 14.0-0 exd5 15.exd5 Ba5 16.f5!? Bxf5 17.Rxb7 Qd6 18.Bc4 Qe5 with complicated play.
I was surprised that the line beginning with 16.f5!? is only given as an 'Editor's note', although with some analysis added. The move is far from unusual. I recall having
the position many years ago. And Dearing even employed it himself shortly after the book was released, which is interesting since 16.d6! b6 17.Bf3 Bf5! 18.Bxa8 Bxb1 19.Bc6! is his recommended way for White.
On several occasions Svidler has chosen 8…0-0 9.Be2 b6!?, a system that Dearing calls
'dynamic and flexible on the one hand, and yet solid and reliable on the
other'. Indeed finding an advantage for White isn't easy. The game Gelfand-Svidler, Monaco Amber rapid 2005 went
10.0-0 Bb7 11.Qd3 Ba6 12.Qe3 Qd7 13.d5!? Bxe2 14.Qxe2 Bxc3 15.Bh6 Bg7 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Rfd1 Qa4 18.e5 Nd7 19.Rbc1 Rad8 20.e6 Nf6 21.exf7 Qe4 22.Qxe4 Nxe4 23.Re1 Nf6 24.Ng5 Rxd5 25.h4 Rxf7 26.Nxf7 Kxf7 and Black went on to win.
Dearing also addresses this way of playing for White as critical, and, indeed, White's position looks attractive out of the opening. For example, 20.Rc4 might be an improvement, as later played by Mikhalevski. All this might have persuaded Svidler to look for something else, when the same two met again just a few days ago at the World Chess Team Championship in Israel. There, Svidler chose
8…0-0 9.Be2 cxd4 10.cxd4 Qa5+ 11.Bd2 Qxa2 12.0-0 Bg4
This line is the subject of chapter 4 and probably the most popular defence against the 8.Rb1 variation. This is a line I thought I had once refuted but I am sure this does not hold the truth anymore!
The Gelfand-Svidler game continued 13.Be3 Nc6 14.d5 Na5 15.Bg5 Qa3 16.Re1 – a position from which Avrukh won a game against Ruck lately, and one that Dearing also thinks is promising for White. Svidler made the novelty 16…Rfd8 and went on to win, but only further analysis may give us a clue to some sort of assessment of the position. It is clear that the last word hasn't been said yet.
The book offers in-depth analysis of a popular line against the Grünfeld, is packed with helpful advice, and Dearing presents his own conclusions in on honest way. It is a line that is difficult to learn and understand, but for the experienced player defending with the Grünfeld this is a must-buy.