My last game was a confirmation of this Russian proverb.  My opponent was a Russian-speaking man, expert. He had White, here is the game.  I knew that he plays d4, c4, I didn’t want to try Benko against solid 2000+ guy and decided to play Grunfeld again (despite of my mishap with the first try) and use my freshly acquired knowledge.

My Nd7 was a scarce move with a low score, still I was OK. The first crucial moment came when after 18. Nf4 Bb7 I saw his e5, e6 coming, but after calculation I found the way out of it with Qxc8.
He thought a lot on his 22. d5, but I expected it to be fine after Bxd5. I am glad that I decided to think carefully about Bxe5 and saw that it loses.

I think my 27… Nc5 was a turning point, then Qd4 forced him to exchange the queens. He had twice less time than me, but the position became simpler. After exchange on the queenside there was nothing left to fight for, he realized that after some kingside play and acknowledged it.

I was happy after the game. Houdini didn’t spoil my euphoria, it was a clean game, it didn’t find any mistakes from the both sides. Two shootouts between Fritz and Houdini starting from 18. Nf4 both ended in a draw.

I get paired with a guy rated 1475,  nevertheless this guy beat one ~1800 and drew with another one in this tournament. I also remembered that we played in the blitz tournament and drew. Anyway,  he gets White and starts d4. I decide to try Grunfeld for the first time OTB, here is the game.

We go along the regular lines of Exchange Grunfeld, then suddenly he plays 9. Nfd2. I see that it is not worth to take c3 pawn because of Rc1 and decide to play Nc6 to increase pressure on d4. He plays 10. Nb3 and I see that I have to take the pawn ob c3, it looks like my queen can escape through b2. I think after 11. Bd2 he says something and I have to ask him to understand that he offers a draw. I am very surprised and say: “No, it’s only 11 moves”.  After Qb2 he plays Bc1 and now I understand … I think some time, even it’s already clear, then agree to a draw.

He tells me, that he saw it a couple of weeks ago in one new GMs game. Sounds like a nice preparation for 1475 rated, I tell myself with irony. We look at the game, don’t find anything better than 9… cxd4, which also doesn’t look very good for Black. Of course, I am upset, also surprised how mainline Grunfeld can “go down” so easily.

I come home and find out, that the novelty was actually my 9… Nc6. Not a good novelty I have to say. I also find, that this 3-fold repetition happened in 1981, in the game Keene-Adorjan after 9… O-O 10. Nb3 Qxc3, so it’s not new at all. Also I find that 9… cxd4 10. Nc4 is OK unless you want to sacrifice your queen as Sutovski did again Aronian,  crazy game:

The move I like the best in this position is 9… Nd7, defending the c5 pawn, and bishop can be developed later to b7.

This time it’s not about national and royal anthem of Canada, UK, Australia, etc.

It’s about trapping the queen in chess. Recently I had a couple of online  correspondence games where it happened.  The first game is French defense, I am Black.  1. e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4.c3 Qb6 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. a3 Nh6 7. b4 cxd4 8. cxd4 Nf5  9. Be3 Bd7 10. Bd3 Nxe3 11. fxe3 Rc8 12. O-O Be7 13. Nbd2 Nb8 14. Qe2 – it’s all “book”


14. … Rc3 probably not a very good idea 15. Rfc1 Qc7 16. Nb3 b6 17. Qd2


17. … Rxc1+ 18. Rxc1 Qb7 19. Qc2 h6  – I have to give up not only “c” line, but square “c7” too, since I don’t want to give up a pawn ( computer agreed with me here, giving 0.58 estimate).


20. Qc7 Qa8 21. Bb1 Nc6! 


22. b5 Bd8 23. Qd6 Be7


24. Qc7 Bd8 25. Qd6 Be7 26. Qc7   1/2-1/2   My opponent called it “crazy finish”… 🙂

OK, another game with  more complicated trap.  Grunfeld defense, exchange variation, I am Black.  I am trying to learn it,  first serious game and as they say in Russian – “The first pancake is always a blob”. 

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. e4 Nxc3 7. bxc3 c5 8. Be3 O-O 9. Be2 Qa5 10. O-O Qxc3 11. Rc1 Qa3 12. Rxc5 Qxa2 – you can take this pawn, but you should be very careful 


13. Bc4 Qa3 14. Qc2 Nc6 – Crafty evaluates it as 0.00 and suggests 14. … Na6 15. Bc1 Qb4 16. Bxa6 bxa6 17. Bg5 f6 18. Rb1 Qa3 19. Bf4 with -0.41 estimate   15. Rb1 Nb4 16. Qd1 


15. Rb1 Nb4 – mistake, better was 15. e6 with still 0.00, now it’s 1.50  16. Qd1 b5 – makes it worse – estimate 3.60. Two last moves were the  attempts to save the queen …


17. Bc1 Qa5 18. Rxb5 Qc7 19. R1xb4


Black resigned in a few moves.