Sunday, July 3, 2016

Gruenfeld Gambit by Belavitch

Black has the opportunity to gambit a pawn when playing the Gruenfeld Defence. Some people play it on purpose. Others stumble into it because the moves are very natural. The Gruenfeld Gambit begins with 4.Bf4 after the normal moves of the opening. White targets the pawn on c7. Black has the c7 pawn covered for the moment.

Black can avoid the gambit with 4…c6 or 5...c6, but that is rather passive defense. More ambitious is 5...c5!? I usually chose 5…0-0. After the moves 4…Bg7 5.e3 0-0, White pulled the protection away from c7 with exchanges on d5. Thus after 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.Nxd5 Qxd5 8.Bxc7. White accepted the gambit pawn.

I faced it a few times over the years. Black got an attack which usually worked well for me. When I played Bob Belavitch in an APCT postal chess game, the White king remained in the center. That is normal in this gambit. Black has open lines for his two bishops, two rooks and queen. The critical lines lead to equality.

Years ago the recommended theory was 8…Nc6!? While it did score fairly well, experience has shown 8…Na6 to be more reliable. I did not want doubled a-pawns, so I ventured 8…Nc6!? Fortunately I was able to pull off a successful attack.

Belavitch (1500) - Sawyer (2100), corr APCT 1981 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.e3 0-0 6.cxd5 [6.Rc1 c6 7.Nf3 Be6 8.Ng5 Bf5=] 6...Nxd5 7.Nxd5 Qxd5 8.Bxc7 Nc6 [8...Na6! 9.Bxa6 Qxg2 10.Qf3 Qxf3 11.Nxf3 bxa6 12.Rc1 f6=] 9.Ne2 Bg4 10.f3 Rac8 [10...Bf5 11.Nc3+/=] 11.Nc3 Qe6 [11...Qd7 12.Bf4+/=] 12.fxg4? [White needs to do two things immediately. First he must save the Bc7. Second he must protect e3. Thus there is only one good move. 12.Bf4+/-] 12...Qxe3+ 13.Be2 Bxd4?! [13...Nxd4!-+] 14.Bg3 Rfd8 15.Qc2? [15.Qd2! Qxd2+ 16.Kxd2 Bxc3+ 17.Kxc3 Nd4+ 18.Kd3 Nc2+ 19.Ke4 Rd2=/+] 15...Nb4 16.Qa4 Bxc3+ 17.bxc3 Qxc3+ 18.Kf2 Qd4+ 19.Kf3 Rc3+ 20.Bd3 Rxd3+ 21.Ke2 Rd2+ 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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