Correspondence 5: Don’t Rely on the Books

I don’t play against the Grunfeld too often and I usually don’t enjoy it when I do. Black’s goal of a swift Queen side attack in conjunction with the g7 bishop is completely different than the standard QGD or QGA which I feel more comfortable in. I’m not quite sure of my opponents rating since they were the default 1500 rating but they seem to be in the 1700s classical and 1500s blitz which seems low, however it’s a new account.

They played well, only 5 inaccuracies and 2 mistakes. I think they used the opening book and chose the highest win percentage lines, something common in correspondence games, it’s noticeable when 7…Nc6 is played instead of c5 which is the thematic break in the Grunfeld. Nc6 scored 41% winning for Black but is seen as an inaccuracy and the game changes completely without the c5 break as Black’s main plan. I follow up Blacks move with f4 which takes us out of book and they immediately make a mistake.

The typical Grunfeld opening, Black is looking to play c5 and pressure the Queen side while opening up the g7 bishop.

I mentioned in the intro that Black immediately started to make mistakes when taken out of the opening book. After f4 they played e6 allowing Ba3 and preventing the King from being able to castle. This one mistake plagues Black til move 15, wastes time having to move the bishop back to swap it off and removes their castling ability anyway as the King recaptures.

The Queen side structure is something you’d see from a Grunfeld opening where Black has more pawns on the Queen side but in this position Black is about to lose the a and b pawns after axb5 axb5 Bxb5 Rxb5 and left with only the c pawn which becomes a target.

The c pawn is eventually lost and we end up in this position where Black appears to have a tactical shot. Black plays Ne6 with a discovery on my Queen and an attack on the d4 rook. Play follows as 1…Ne6 2. Qxc8+ Kg7 3. Qb7 Nxd4, if you’re following along mentally there is a attack on the f7 pawn 4. Rxf7+ Kh6 5. Nxd4 Qd1+ 6. Kg2 Qxd4.

The below position picks up from the above with 7. Qe7 and Black is simply lost here. There is no perpetual since my King can hide on h3, mate is coming after Qh4.

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