[February 11, 2018] Updated Opening Article by GM Dragan Paunović:
March 2015 Revisited: Neo-Gruenfeld Defense (14… Qd6!?)
This update is a small tribute to our late colleague GM Dragan Paunović. In memory of our dear friend, our Editorial Board will continue updating his lines and articles.
This article was originally inspired by Wei Yi’s success in this sideline of the highly fashionable Neo-Gruenfeld Defense, especially given the fact that the young Chinese phenom mostly sticks to his guns – despite his tender age, he has become one the world’s leading specialists on the Gruenfeld.
However, upon closer examination, it turned out that he was mostly outplaying his opponents in the middlegame, and that his opening choices were not always the best ones. Enter Igor-Alexandre Nataf, a strong French over-the-board grandmaster with quite an experience in correspondence chess. Computer engines are completely oblivious to his stunning idea that saves Black’s hide in a rather precarious position, though we believe that this remarkable fruit of his dedicated labor in the home lab is most likely better suited for correspondence chess. Over-the-board players are typically incapable of finding all those finesse moves and deep plans that often feel counterintuitive, even to our silicon friends.
[Diagram: Black to Move] White’s bishop pair and their queenside pressure are too much to handle for Black, while his pieces seem poorly coordinated. Can Black create sufficient counterplay to secure the equality?
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