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The QGD, Semi-Grunfeld

We know from chess openings like the Grunfeld Defense (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5) that Black may control the center with pieces instead of pawns. But what about the Grunfeld's poor cousin, 1.d4 d5 2.c4 g6, clearly a member of this hypermodern family? The first issue of Kamikaze Times (November, 2002) called this line the "Alekhine Defense" against the Queen's Gambit. Alekhine did play this opening, but the editor correctly notes that Blackburne takes precedence. Unusual and seldom seen, there is not much theory to learn nor many games to consult; those who enjoy offbeat chess openings may investigate further. First we have Blackburne at work:


[Event "USA-06.Congress"] [Site "New York"] [Date "1889.??.??"] [Round "15"] [White "Bird, Henry Edward"] [Black "Blackburne, Joseph Henry"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A40"] [PlyCount "106"] [EventDate "1889.??.??"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "38"] [EventCountry "USA"] [Source "ChessBase"] 1. c4 g6 2. d4 d5 3. cxd5 Nf6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. e3 O-O 6. Be2 Nxd5 7. Nc3 Nxc3 8. bxc3 Nd7 9. a4 c5 10. Qb3 cxd4 11. cxd4 Nc5 12. Qc2 b6 13. Ra3 Bf5 14. Qd1 Ne4 15. O-O Rc8 16. Bb2 Nd6 17. Nd2 Rc7 18. a5 b5 19. Rc3 a6 20. Qa1 Rxc3 21. Bxc3 Qb8 22. Nb3 Rc8 23. Bf3 Be4 24. Nc5 Bxf3 25. gxf3 Nf5 26. Bb4 Nh4 27. Qd1 Bf8 28. f4 h5 29. f3 Qa7 30. Kh1 Nf5 31. Qd3 Bg7 32. Rd1 Qa8 33. d5 Qa7 34. e4 Nd4 35. e5 Nf5 36. Rc1 h4 37. Kg2 Qa8 38. Kh3 Rd8 39. Rd1 Qc8 40. e6 Bd4 41. Rc1 Rxd5 42. Qe4 Ne3 43. f5 Rxf5 44. Re1 Bxc5 45. Bxc5 Qxc5 46. Rxe3 f6 47. f4 Kg7 48. Rd3 Qc1 49. Rf3 Qc4 50. Qe3 g5 51. Qb6 Rxf4 52. Rxf4 Qxf4 53. Qc6 Qf1+ 0-1

Apparently a blend of the Scandinavian Defense and the Grunfeld Defense. As pointed out by the Kamikaze Times, "Black's idea is the standard hypermodern one: rather than occupying the center with his pawns, he'll control the center from a distance using his minor pieces. This is the point of playing ...g6; the dark-squared Bishop will go to g6 and put pressure on the d4-pawn, as well as exert control over the e5 square." Now let's see Alekhine's interpretation:


[Event "Kemeri"] [Site "Kemeri"] [Date "1937.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Stahlberg, Gideon"] [Black "Alekhine, Alexander"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D06"] [PlyCount "135"] [EventDate "1937.06.??"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "17"] [EventCountry "LAT"] [Source "ChessBase"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 g6 3. cxd5 Qxd5 4. Nc3 Qa5 5. Nf3 Bg7 6. Bd2 c6 7. e4 Qb6 8. Bc4 Bxd4 9. Nxd4 Qxd4 10. Qb3 Qg7 11. O-O Nd7 12. Rfe1 Ne5 13. f4 Nxc4 14. Qxc4 Nh6 15. Qc5 Bd7 16. Rad1 b6 17. Qa3 Bg4 18. Ne2 O-O 19. Bc3 f6 20. h3 Bxe2 21. Rxe2 Qf7 22. Rd7 c5 23. Rxa7 Rxa7 24. Qxa7 Qe6 25. a4 Rd8 26. a5 Rd1+ 27. Kh2 bxa5 28. Qxc5 a4 29. Qb5 Qd7 30. Qb8+ Qd8 31. Qxd8+ Rxd8 32. e5 Kf7 33. Re4 fxe5 34. fxe5 Ra8 35. e6+ Kg8 36. g4 a3 37. b4 Rc8 38. Be5 Rc6 39. Rd4 Rxe6 40. Rd8+ Kf7 41. Bf4 Ng8 42. Ra8 Re4 43. Kg3 Nf6 44. Rxa3 Rxb4 45. Kf3 h5 46. gxh5 Nxh5 47. Bg5 Ng7 48. Re3 Ne6 49. h4 Nd4+ 50. Kf4 Nf5+ 51. Re4 Rb1 52. Ke5 Rh1 53. Ra4 Rh2 54. Rb4 Nd6 55. Ra4 Re2+ 56. Kf4 e5+ 57. Kf3 Rb2 58. Ra7+ Ke6 59. Ra6 Rb3+ 60. Ke2 Rb4 61. Bd8 Kd5 62. Bc7 Re4+ 63. Kf3 Rf4+ 64. Kg3 Rf6 65. Kh3 Re6 66. Kg4 Nf7 67. Rxe6 Kxe6 68. h5 1/2-1/2

If you want a surprise weapon versus the Queen's Gambit, then the Semi-Grunfeld Defense may be worth a look!

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