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David Bronstein vs Isaac Boleslavsky
"Wrecking Bole" (game of the day Aug-21-2015)
Bronstein - Boleslavsky Candidates Playoff (1950), Moscow URS, rd 1, Jul-31
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange. Spassky Variation (D87)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jun-02-08  Cibator: One to rank with the best efforts of Petrosian and Carlsen in the field of long-term exchange sacs.
Jul-23-10  vonKrolock: <21.♖c1>

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If 21...♕d7, then 22.♘d4! ♗xd5 ( or 22...♗f7 23.♗b5 ♕b7 24.♘c6! etc ) 23.♗b5! (better than 23.exd5 ♕xd5 etc) 23...♕b7 ▢ 24.♗xa5! (better than 24.ed ♕xd5 <Δ ♕xd4> and now (a) 25.♗c3 ♖ac8 ∞, or (b) 25.♗xa5 ♕xd4 26.♗c3 ♕d6 with compensation) 24...bxa5 25.exd5 etc

analysis diagram

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the ♙d5 is taboo

Jun-10-13  zydeco: In their game at the Candidates tournament, Bronstein played 17.Nd4. 17.Kh1 is much more natural: white doesn't bother recovering the exchange. I get the feeling that Bronstein might have worked out the entire win (through 22.Qb1!) in home preparation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: <zydeco> indeed, Bronstein was as capable as the very best in opening prep, yet his writings indicate that he felt it was a necessary evil of top competition, and generally expressed ambivalence to this approach to the game. When he describes his match clinching victory against Boleslavsky's French Defense, he describes his homework in a matter-of-fact manner, no pride or fanfare attached.

It seems he didnt even bother to prepare much in the WC, clearly a case of "knowing your opponent," but also of "knowing thyself." Bronstein was able to get Botvinnik out of prep by not having any prep, which is not so dissimilar an approach as Carlsen has nowadays.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: Whoops, Bronstein had the Black pieces in the clincher. Boleslavsky vs Bronstein, 1950
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  Penguincw: Uh, interesting pun here. Reminds me of a song, by some artist.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: 31...Rf6 is a loser. After 31...Qa3 32. Qxe5 Qc1+ 33. Kh2 Qf4 34. Qxf4 Rxf4 35. Kh3, it's an interesting game.
Aug-21-15  mruknowwho: It appears that the ingredient that led to Black's demise was his unwillingness to accept the fact that White controls the light squares. I thought the decisive moment was 21...Qb7? 22. Qb1!. Black can still hang around if he plays 21...Qd7.
Aug-21-15  shivasuri4: <al wazir>, 31...Qa3 shouldn't be replied with 32.Qxe5. Instead, 32.Nf5 is far better. After 32...Rf6 (only way to defend e7) 33.Be8 and 33.Qxf6 both win.
Aug-21-15  Ratt Boy: There are some names that, when I see them in the Game of The Day, make me excited. Tal, Bronstein, Fischer, and Morphy are among them, not necessarily in that order.

Bronstein was among the most creative players of all time, in IMHO.

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  thegoodanarchist: I have never really liked the Gruenfeld Defense for Black. I think Black voluntarily gives up too much. GM Bronstein gives a clinic here on how to defeat the Gruenfeld. Great game!
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  kevin86: Really good game. Amazed how long range pieces can range in a long way when handled by a champion-caliber player!.
Aug-21-15  morfishine: <tga> ditto
Aug-21-15  DPLeo: Maybe it depends on who is playing the Black side of the Grunfeld?

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <DPLeo> Sure, but what does your list really prove? Like ypu said, if you select games with Kasparov playing Black, pretty much any opening will likely show similar results. :-)
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  thegoodanarchist: <DPLeo: Maybe it depends on who is playing the Black side of the Grunfeld?>

Of course yes and no. For example, I should not be able to put away Kasparov from the White side of the Gruenfeld, or even manage a draw.

However, this does not change the fact that Black voluntarily gives White a strong central pawn duo supported by a pawn on c3 and, if desired, a pawn of f3 as well.

The strong DSB and queen side opportunity for Black are less tangible advantages, especially with White controlling the center.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <DPLeo: Maybe it depends on who is playing the Black side of the Grunfeld?>

As a follow up to my previous post, here is a game from a time when it counted the most:

Kramnik vs Kasparov, 2000

Aug-21-15  FairyPromotion: <thegoodanarchist: I have never really liked the Gruenfeld Defense for Black. I think Black voluntarily gives up too much. Black gives White a strong central pawn duo supported by a pawn on c3 and, if desired, a pawn of f3 as well.>

The central duo that white has in the Grunfeld is actually not as strong as in appears on the surface. Unless black allows it (and there are plausible reasons for him to do so,) it is never a duo supported by both flanks, as white cannot push his d pawn before castling (because of ...Bxc3), thus can't prevent black from playing cxd5 (which most of the time is played immediately after white castles.) The c pawn disappears in the Russian variation as well (4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Qb3.)

On the kingside white has a choice to make, but both of his options have their drawbacks. If he develops his knight classically (Nf3) the pawns become quite weak and he is forced to use his pieces to protect his pawns, limiting his own mobility. If he plays pawn to f3 there are serious issues about the king safety. Without the knight on f3 and with the a6-f1 diagonal opened most of the time W will use an extra tempo to play Kh1. He also will soon need to re-position his knight as it is relatively useless on e2 once he pushes the d pawn.

White is obviously still better, however black is off to a good start. It's no wonder that this defense was used in recent World championships by Magnus, Vishy (2010) and Gelfand. The defense is also the main weapon of many super GMs such as Caruana, Svidler, MVL, Wei Yi, etc.

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  Everett: The Grunfeld is certainly sound, yet it seems not for everyone. One can still be an excellent chess-player without playing it as Black.
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  thegoodanarchist: < FairyPromotion:>

That is a very nice exposition on the Gruenfeld. But I think the opening really is not best for non-titled players.

The benefits you espouse for Black can be realized by top-flight GMs, but I have faced opponents with several hundreds of rating points more than me and have taken down their Gruenfeld Defences for the full point.

By playing my King's Knight to e2 I easily neutralize Black's LSB foray to g4 with the simple e3. This was my plan in my first win against a USCF Expert, rated >2000, when my rating was in the 1700s.

I brought my knight to f4 and then shortly after exploited a tactical inaccuracy by Black to get my rook on the 7th rank. My king's knight played a crucial role in my subsequent mating attack against his king, castled short.

His DSB was nearly useless the entire time, and all of his pieces had very little counterplay.

As <Everett:> states, <The Grunfeld is certainly sound> in that it doesn't lose outright, but Black needs some subtle knowledge to avoid passivity.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Why I don't like the Gruenfeld Defense for Black.

Event: Albany [NY] Winter Open 2004
Round: 4
Date: 1/25/2004
White: Me, USCF 1732
Black: Lee Battes, long time upstate NY expert, USCF 2013 Time Control: 30/90, SD/1

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 g6

(believe it or not, at this point in my life I had never played against the Gruenfeld in a rated tournament. I was expecting a KID.)

3. Nc3 d5

(a complete surprise for me - what happened to ...Bg7?)

4. cxd5 Nxd5
5. e4 (not expecting the reply)
5... Nxc3 (what is this? I have a great center now)
6. bxc3 Bg7 (finally)
7. Bc4

(saw it in a book. Korchnoi's Bb5!? is worthy of consideration. At least, I think it was Korchnoi's move. A chess buddy of mine said it was, after the game during analysis.)

7... c5
8. Ne2 Nc6
9. Be3 O-O
10. O-O Qc7
11. Nf4 was a novelty at the time.

Now assess this position for Black. Is this really how you want to play someone two classes below you in rating?

A simple QGD and Black has really no problems.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Everett> The Gruenfeld is a defence which I used at the very end of my playing days, but I am not sure I would take up the cudgels anew if I returned to active play: it requires a lot of theoretical knowledge to play even halfway well.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: a <perfidious> post that I like. I must give credit where credit is due, despite our past disputes.

Well said.

Aug-23-15  wharfrat: <goodanarchist> I see that you won the game from 2004, but I think Black is better, if not winning, after 11.Nf4, cd. If 12.Nd5, Qd8, e6, I don't see how White avoids the loss of a pawn. If instead,, then 12...Nd4 leads to complications that favor Black. How did your opponent respond?

I played the Grunfeld many times over 40 years of tournament chess and had great results with it. I lost some games as Black of course, but I found the positions to be more interesting to play than those that await Black in the QGD.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: <premium
memberAug-22-15 perfidious: <Everett> The Gruenfeld is a defence which I used at the very end of my playing days, but I am not sure I would take up the cudgels anew if I returned to active play: it requires a lot of theoretical knowledge to play even halfway well.>

I hear you. I have never played it as Black, and its White brother, the Catalan, I keep at a healthy distance. Both seem rather loose to me, c4/c5 in particular. Perhaps I'm more of a classical player than I give myself credit for.

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