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Grunfeld, Russian Variation (D81)
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 Qb3

Number of games in database: 222
Years covered: 1935 to 2018
Overall record:
   White wins 39.6%
   Black wins 19.4%
   Draws 41.0%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Yuri Yakovich  9 games
Samuel Reshevsky  7 games
V Makogonov  7 games
Salomon Flohr  5 games
V Mikenas  4 games
Peter Svidler  4 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Euwe vs Alekhine, 1935
Petrosian vs Botvinnik, 1963
Carlsen vs L Dominguez, 2009
Euwe vs Alekhine, 1935
Feigin vs Flohr, 1937
W So vs M Vachier-Lagrave, 2012
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 page 1 of 9; games 1-25 of 222  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. I Rabinovich vs Ragozin 0-1341935LeningradD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
2. Levenfish vs Flohr  ½-½331935MoscowD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
3. Levenfish vs Spielmann  ½-½421935MoscowD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
4. Flohr vs Alatortsev  ½-½231935MoscowD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
5. Euwe vs Alekhine 1-0451935Alekhine - Euwe World Championship MatchD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
6. Euwe vs Alekhine 0-1441935Alekhine - Euwe World Championship MatchD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
7. E Zagorjansky vs S Belavenets 0-1231936VTsSPS ChD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
8. S Landau vs R P Michell  1-0361936Major OpenD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
9. Spielmann vs J van den Bosch  1-0281936MatchD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
10. Simon Rubinstein vs Lokvenc  1-0581936Trebitsch Memorial 19thD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
11. Sokor vs Volck 0-1161937LeningradD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
12. Fine vs Lilienthal 1-0381937MoscowD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
13. M Yudovich Sr. vs S Belavenets ½-½361937URS-ch10D81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
14. Feigin vs V Mikenas 0-1291937KemeriD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
15. Feigin vs Rellstab 1-0401937KemeriD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
16. Reshevsky vs V Mikenas  1-0291937KemeriD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
17. Feigin vs Flohr 0-1391937KemeriD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
18. Fine vs V Mikenas  ½-½291937KemeriD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
19. Fine vs Flohr  ½-½251937Semmering/BadenD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
20. Reshevsky vs V Mikenas  1-0451937Hastings 1937/38D81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
21. Roma vs R Flores Alvarez  0-1321938Săo PauloD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
22. B Borkum vs Ginzburg  1-0391938North Eastern Borderlands championshipD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
23. Reshevsky vs Flohr 1-0441938AVROD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
24. Lilienthal vs Reshevsky ½-½481939Leningrad/Moscow trainingD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
25. Reshevsky vs Flohr  ½-½401939Leningrad/Moscow trainingD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
 page 1 of 9; games 1-25 of 222  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-20-04  themindset: well, this opening has declined in popularity. i'm generally an e4 player, but i like to play d4 c4 once in a while, but i always hated playing agaist the gruenfeld - i usually play the exchange variation which seems to be more popular these days.

i guess i just need to book up, is there anyone who believes this line is still playable?

Jan-07-05  Flo: 4.Qb3 looks a bit strange to me. I wouldn't play this.

themindset: I like the exchange variation more than other variations, too! But I play the Grunfeld with the black pieces because I very often play 1.e4.

Jan-07-05  themindset: yeah, i'm a 1.e4 player by nature, but i think it's good to play a bit of everything. anyways, since i wrote that, i've booked up on the exchange variation and have had few problems with the gruenfeld since then.
Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: the 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 Russian Variation is much stronger than this and is just as good as the exchange against the Grünfeld
Premium Chessgames Member
  aw1988: Yes, I have always thought of 4. Qb3 as a rather "unsuccessful attempt" and 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Qb3 to be of less questionable value.
Jun-30-06  blingice: This looks similar to a variation of the Caro-Kann, Panov-Botvinnik attack I've been playing recently in a few of my correspondence games. Notice that the d4 pawn (and square) is unprotected, and is awfully vulnerable, as I'm learning from the corr games still going...
Apr-23-08  niemzo: Am I missing something here? Because tome, it seems very simple to transpose in the variaton <refutor> mentioned above. from this one. So how is this weaker?
Mar-02-09  FiveofSwords: In my experience the russian system is a moderate headache for black but usually its not so bad. I usually played the najdorf system against it, with Na6 planning c5. I do think 4 Nf3 is more accurate, because once white commits to this system black doesnt need to hurry so much on Bg7 necessarily and can instead quickly begin on his queenside counterplay-the sooner black does this the less options white would have.
Premium Chessgames Member
  samikd: Did anybody see today's game between Anand and Domoiguez-Perez ? Beautiful game in Russian Grunfeld. Does anybody know if 12..Ng4 is a novelty ? this whole line is kinda new to me , but looks interesting
Mar-02-09  Kaspykov: <samikd: Did anybody see today's game between Anand and Domoiguez-Perez ? Beautiful game in Russian Grunfeld. Does anybody know if 12..Ng4 is a novelty ? this whole line is kinda new to me , but looks interesting>

11... Nbd7 look playable but i never read anything about this move. the usual continuation of the hungarian variation is:

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 g6
3. Nc3 d5
4. Nf3 Bg7
5. Qb3 dxc4
6. Qxc4 O-O
7. e4 a6
8. Be2 b5
9. Qb3 c5
10. dxc5 Bb7
11. O-O Nxe4


click for larger view

In my database, Ng4 seems to be a novelty, but Anand as black played a similar games vs Dlugy Maxim in 93'

Instead of 12..Ng4 he played Nxc4 which look like the best move.

Apr-17-09  notyetagm: Anyone know what Dembo recommends against the Russian System in her book <PLAY THE GRUNFELD>?


Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Opening of the Day:
Grunfeld, Russian Variation (D81)
1.d4 ♘f6 2.c4 g6 3.♘c3 d5 4.♕b3
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Wow. Today is the same Opening of the Day as last time I posted here!
Premium Chessgames Member
  knighterrant999: <Penguincw> you have the best avatar ever!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: < knighterrant999: <Penguincw> you have the best avatar ever! >

Thanks. I heard that User: WannaBe had a contest last year. And one of the nominations last year was Best Avatar.

Feb-18-13  FiveofSwords: @mindset this line is certainly fine for white...but if you already have been studying the exchange variation...well thats better fact its why i stopped playing the grunfeld
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