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All this month's games are in the Grünfeld, which is not that surprising. The first four games concern the Neo-Grünfeld, or Fianchetto line, in particular, all four games feature the ...c6-d5 structure.

Download PGN of February ’24 Daring Defences games

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Neo-Grünfeld Defence (Fianchetto Line) with ...c6, 7.a4 [D78]

After the initial moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 c6 4.Bg2 d5 5.Nf3 Bg7 6.0-0 0-0 7.a4:

we have an interesting sideline that is gaining popularity. In the game Kaasen, Tor Fredrik - Kulaots, K Kragero Resort Chess 2024, White missed a strong possibility to secure an early initiative.

Neo-Grünfeld Defence (Fianchetto Line) with ...c6, 7.Qa4 [D78]

Gelfand, B - Ben Ari, Yannay TCh-ISR 2024, was another game from the Fianchetto line, but this time after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 c6 4.Bg2 d5 5.Nf3 Bg7 6.0-0 0-0 7.Qa4, another interesting try:

Black replied with the popular 7...Nfd7 and after 8.cxd5 Nb6 9.Qd1 cxd5 10.Nc3 Nc6 11.e3 we come to a position which is solid and requires an understanding of how to organize the play. White actually managed to get a favorable position right out of the opening.

Neo-Grünfeld Defence (Fianchetto Line) with ...c6, 7.Qb3 Qb6 [D78]

In Navara, D - Cheparinov, I, Bundesliga 2023–24 Solingen, after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 c6 4.Bg2 d5 5.Nf3 Bg7 6.0-0 0-0 7.Qb3 Qb6 8.Nc3 Rd8 White went for 9.Na4:

this almost forces the exchange of queens, and takes play into an interesting endgame.

Neo-Grünfeld Defence (Fianchetto Line) with ...c6, 7.cxd5 cxd5 8.Ne5 Ng4 [D79]

Yoo, Christopher Woojin - Duda, J Titled Tue 6th Feb Early, is yet another interesting game. After the initial moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 c6 4.Bg2 d5 5.Nf3 Bg7 6.0-0 0-0 7.cxd5 cxd5 8.Ne5 Ng4 the move 9.Bf4!? is an interesting idea that has also started to gain popularity:

Black failed to find a decent equalizing method and soon ended up in a bad position.

Exchange Grünfeld 8.Bb5+ Nc6 9.0-0 0-0 10.Bxc6 bxc6 11.Qc2 [D85]

The next four games concern various ideas.

After 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 c5 8.Bb5+Nc6 9.0-0 0-0 10.Bxc6 bxc6 11.Qc2 which has been giving Black nightmares:

This time, in So, W - Vachier Lagrave, M Titled Tue 6th Feb Late, it was Black who managed to strike back in this very unpleasant line. A remarkably interesting and important game.

Exchange Grünfeld 5.Bd2 Nb6 6.e3 Bg7 7.h4 [D85]

Ter Sahakyan, S - Duda, J Titled Tue 13th Feb Early featured the sharp line 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Bd2 Nb6 6.e3 Bg7 7.h4:

Actually, it's even more complicated then it may look.

Grünfeld Defence 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.h4 c5 [D90]

Gallasch, Jonas - Woodward, Andy, Titled Tue 6th Feb Late ,was another interesting game with h2-h4 plans. After 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.h4 Black produced the less played 5...c5:

I am not so sure about this line, other reactions (some of which I analyzed in previous updates) are better, in my opinion.

Grünfeld Defence 5.Bg5 Ne4 6.Bf4 c5 [D91]

After 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bg5 Ne4 6.Bf4 c5 7.cxd5 Nxc3 8.bxc3 Qxd5 9.e3 Nc6 10.Be2 cxd4 11.cxd4 Qa5+ 12.Qd2 Qxd2+ 13.Kxd2 0-0 14.Rhc1 Rd8 15.Rc5 we see a position I analyzed in September, but now, in Keymer, Vincent - Aronian, L, Chessable Masters Div 2 W, Black came up with an interesting novelty worth noting, 15..Bg4!?:

Aronian did not experience any problems, although its important to point out that White didn’t go for the most critical continuations.

Till next month, Best wishes Milos.

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