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My attention was recently drawn to an article mentioning some ideas that are included in the new Rybka4 Book. Amongst them was the line 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Qa4+ c6 6.Qd4 f6 7.e4 e5 8.Nxe5 Nxc3 9.Qxc3 Qe7 10.Nf3 Qxe4+ and now the suggested improvement of 11.Kd1!?. This got me researching this variation, which is what a lot of White players play if they wish to sidestep the pet lines of a Grünfeld aficionado.

Download PGN of July '10 Flank Openings games

Anti-Grünfeld (1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5) [A16]

Frankly I don't see 11.Kd1 as being that great for White after 11...Nd7 12.Bc4 Kd8, and he does seem to keep a slight edge with the more natural 11.Be2 anyway:

A good model is the game Grivas - Liakos in which Black made the mistake of playing 11...Bg7?.

This line hasn't been too popular of late, perhaps because White has been getting a slight edge with the alternative 6.Nxd5 Qxd5 7.e4:

But whether this is really anything for White really isn't too clear, Vachier Lagrave seems very happy to play Black's position and against Miton (Miton - Vachier Lagrave) he produced a slight twist with 8...Nd7. I'm not convinced this is hugely different to the lines which occur after 8...Bg7, though it maybe a quick ...e7-e5 is possible in some lines. And maybe he just played it that way to get his opponent thinking.

The variation 5...Bd7 6.Qh4 Bc6 7.Qd4 can be met by either 7...f6 (Gonda - Rajlich) or 7...Rg8 (Ni Hua - Li Chao2), though on the evidence of the latter game I would prefer to play 7...f6 myself. Rajlich's 13...Bxb5 appears to be a 'novelty', though I suspect it was made up at the board. It may well be quite playable if Black then takes better care of his king.

Ibrayev - Gupta is a reminder that 6.Qh4 is not White's only move and the quiet 6.Qc2 is worth considering:

But Ibrayev's 12.d4 is just a mistake, he should have played like Karpov once did with 12.Be2.

Black's other 5th move alternative is 5...Nc6, though this should really only appeal to players with masochistic tendencies. The endgames that arise after 6.Ne5 Qd6 7.Nxc6 Qxc6 8.Qxc6+ bxc6 may not be lost for Black, but he must suffer much torture on the way to his hoped for half point:

Buhmann - Nedilko should serve as a warning.

There's not much happening with 5.e4 Nxc3 6.dxc3, White plays this way if he loves tedium, or wants a draw. The game Laxman - Safarli looks like a case of the latter, but White gradually drifted into an inferior position and lost.

Safarli seems to have this whole line pretty well worked out as against Kiril Georgiev's 4.Qa4+ in our final game he equalised very efficiently with the novelty 7...Be6. White avoids the Grünfeld but doesn't get any advantage.

That's all for this month, see you next time! Nigel Davies


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