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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gruenfeld Defence.

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M. Taimanov   :   W. Uhlmann
Belgrade  -  1970

1  d4   Nf6   2  c4   g6   3   Nc3   d5   4  Bg5
It is a long-discarded line.

4 ... Ne4   5  Bh4
A relatively recent idea that seems to give Black difficulty. More usual is 5 cxd5  Nxg5  6  h4  Ne4  7  Nxe4  Qxd5  8  Nc3  Qh5 with even chances.

5 ... c5

Also playable 5 ...Nxc3  6  bxc3  c6

6 cxd5   Nxc3   7  bxc3  Qxd5  8  e3  cxd4

In view of what happens in this game, 8 ...Bg7  or  8 ... Nc6!?  ought to be considered.

9 Qxd4

By attacking Black's queen and rook, White forces the exchange of queens. The alternative 9 cxd4 ( 9 exd4?  Qe4+  and 10 ...Qxa4)  allows Black the possibility of capitalizing on the absence of White's QB from the queenside. Now White can use the open queenside files and has pressure against Black's e-pawn, whereas Black's most active piece, his queen, is back in the box.

9 ...Qxd4  10 cxd4
Opening the c-file for action by his rooks. Black now has problems castling because of the pressure against his e-pawn.

10 ... Nc6   11 Bb5  Bd7  12  Nf3   Bg7  13  0-0  e6
A weaking move but necessary in order to be able to castle. If 13...0-0 Black loses his e-pawn

14  Rab1  0-0  15  Nd2!

White's threat is Ne4, aiming at c5, d6, and especially f6 with a strategically won game. To prevent this Black weakens himself further.

15 ... f5

No doubt played reluctantly, for his e-pawn is now very weak and his position precarious. A better try is 15 ... h6  16  Be2  Na5  but after 17 Ne4  White's advantage is clear. The text move prevents Ne4  forever, but it is a major concession.

16  Nb3  b6  17  Rfc1  Rac8  18  Ba6  Rce8  19  Bb7  Nd8

The diagram clearly displays that the c-file is open and White has clear control over it. White can also form a battery on the c-file to exploit the 7th rank benefit. Also, the White Bishop on h4 square has a clear control over the Dark Diagonal.

20  Rc7  Rf7  21  Ba6  Ba4  22  Rbc1  Bf8  23  R1c4! 

Not so useful  23 Bc8  Bd6  24  Rxf7  ( Bxd8?  Bxc7  25  Bxc7  Rxc8)  24 ... Kxf7

23  ...Rxc7  24  Rxc7  Nc6  25  Bc4

Black's e-pawn cannot be saved. The crushing threats are 26 Rc8  wining the e-pawn and 26 Bf6, with d5 in the air.

25  ...Bg7 
26 Rc8

Winning a pawn by force. Black was aware of this possibility but could do nothing to prevent it.

26 ...Rxc8  27  Bxe6+  Kf8  28  Bxc8 

The resulting endgame presents some technical difficulties for White, whose extra pawn is counterbalanced somewhat by Black's potential passed pawn on the queenside and more active king.

28 ...Nb4  29  Nc1  Kf7  30  Bg3  Bf8  31  Bb7  Ke6  32  Bb8  Kd7  33  Bf3 

Not 33 Bxa7  Kc7  34  Bf3  trapping the queen Bishop.

33  ...Bb5  34  Bd1  a5  35  a4  Bc4  36  g4 ;

Attempting to weaken Black's kingside pawn structure and to develop two passed pawns in the cneter. Black therefore avoids 36 ...fxg4  but his kingside pawns become weaker.

36 ...b5  37  gxf5  gxf5  38 Be5  Nc6  39  Bh8  Ba3  axb5