Introduction to the Grünfeld Defense

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The Grünfeld is a very aggressive hypermodern defense, and it leads to extremely sharp and interesting games.

The Grünfeld Defense is a hypermodern opening. It does not challenge center in a “classical” manner. The idea is to allow white to develop classically, only to disrupt his central control with the pieces later on.
It’s a very aggressive defense in many respects, and it leads to extremely sharp and interesting games. That is mainly due to the imbalances which almost inevitably occur in the center and on the queenside.

Ernst Grünfeld introduced the opening in 1922. in his game against Alekhine. Apparently Alekhine resigned by throwing his king across the room. Later on, Alekhine employed the Grünfeld defense himself successfully.

As opposed to the KID, where black fights for the center later on and castles first, in the Grünfeld black strikes at the center right away, not giving white the option of a further expansion. After d5, white has numerous responses.

The two most common ones are the Exchange variation which occurs after …d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5
5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3, and is one of the most challenging ways for white to continue (and the most common one), and the lines after 4. Nf3 Bg7.

The most significant feature of the Grünfeld is white’s broad center, best visible in the exchange variation. Black’s idea is to strike at it with his pieces later on, especially his “Grünfeld” bishop on g7. It is therefore true that results of Grünfeld games often depend on whether white has managed to keep his strong center intact or not. If white utilizes it he will win. If black breaks it open and activates his pieces (mainly on the long diagonal towards white’s queenside), he will win. There are exceptions, of course.

Jon Speelman: “If you are afraid of a passed d-pawn, you shouldn’t play the Grünfeld.” This sums up how a lot of games tend to go. White’s strong center often produces a passed d pawn. Black, on the other hand, will often be left with a potential passer on the queenside. This fact promises for very interesting endgames, often including pawn races.

This hypermodern defense has been employed by some of the greatest players of all time: Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, Bobby Fischer, Alexey Shirov, Magnus Carlsen, Peter Svidler, Vishwanatan Anand, Maxime-Vachier Lagrave, Boris Gelfand and many more. Study their games if you want to understand it well.

#chess

90 Comments

  1. nice response against d4 but can we have an intro of "the dutch defence"?

  2. Are you going to cover some anti grunfeld lines

  3. Thank you! I was expecting this

  4. I trye play this defense,thank you very much.

  5. I live in the country
    Didn't notice the crickets until you mentioned them 8:00 mark 😀

  6. " Don't play the Grünfeld if you are afraid of the d pawn " – Kasparov

  7. How do I purchase your Videos? Where is the link?

  8. I try to avoid classical openings as much as I can just to mess with my opponent 😋

  9. Stefan i really relish your Chess Sessions. Love Watching it. One request Can u make a video on opening in which white first plays G3 Covering all possible Variations in Depth ??For Example G3 D5 , G3 NF6 G3 C5 G3 E5 G3 G6 G3 B6 G3 H5. It will really help .Its by the way called the Hungarian Opening. Moreover I mean what can be its Transpositions ? Pls reply to this Stefan . Waiting really long

  10. Stefan i really relish your Chess Sessions. Love Watching it. One request Can u make a video on opening in which white first plays G3 Covering all possible Variations in Depth ??For Example G3 D5 , G3 NF6 G3 C5 G3 E5 G3 G6 G3 B6 G3 H5. It will really help .Its by the way called the Hungarian Opening. Moreover I mean what can be its Transpositions ? Pls reply to this Stefan . Waiting really long

  11. Or make a video on Reti and English in depth.

  12. Really great content and presentation. Thank you.

  13. Sweet video man, I am glad I stumbled across your channel. Good luck in your journey!

  14. I enjoy your videos alot.

    If you stay quiet and record the crickets, you can use the sound profile and remove the cricket noise (almost) in audacity.

  15. 8:19… almost died when that bishop moved 8 squares and captured……. I was in full-screen mode……

  16. Thank you! You are the reason that my chess is improving! Cheers!

  17. Are usually reach the Grünfeld Defense via the Queen’s gambit declined.

  18. thank you for this very few videos actually explain ideas instead of just throwing out variations

  19. 8:04 Sorry about that (reminds me of the other great content creator)

    I only follow 2 chess channels on YT. Yours and Agadmator's
    You guys make the World Happier Place 🙂

  20. Ti si najbolji. Hvala puno za sve snimke. Bez tebe bi bilo puno teže naučiti openings

  21. What is your suggestions for wite against grunfrld personaly?

  22. Is the grunfeld a intermediate friendly opening (I am about 1000-1200 depending if it's rapid or blitz)? I mainly play the slav against d4 but I was considering on adding this to my repertoire due to the complexity/imbalances and nice ideas. Any advice?

  23. Hey. OBS (for recording) has a function which reduces the noise. Nice video btw 🙂

  24. it must be roasting according to those crickets

  25. No offense, but I don't think anyone under master level is qualified to teach this opening, and most masters aren't either

  26. Has anyone told u u look like Robert Lewandowski?

  27. Curious why you didn't include 'Burille Variation', "1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. e3 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. cxd5 Nxd5 7. Bc4 Nxc3 8. bxc3 e5 9. Ba3" Do you believe its unsound, or similar to another variation you covered. Love the videos, thanks!

  28. The Location Form the recording is a pure flex^^

  29. 8:02 Those are not crickets: crickets are nocturnal. Those are cicadas.

  30. I'm still pretty unsure about my opening vs 1.d4.
    Is the Grünfeld something for beginners?
    I watched several Introduction Videos now and from the structures and plans I like this one the most.
    Advantage of Slav would be that I play Caro-Kann vs 1. e4 and you mentioned in the introduction Video of the Slav that similar structures can appear.
    I don't like QGD positions with the locked in bishop

  31. Gruenfeld is probably my favorite opening in chess. Its so razor sharp, double-edged and tactical. Had a couple of my favorite wins in the Gruenfeld as well as my most crushing defeats.

  32. Really nice background music, very relaxing, I love how you patiently explain everything 😉

  33. Stockholm variation is not covered.
    1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Bg5

  34. WHAT IS THIS DUDE DOING OUTSIDE!?!?!?!

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