Master the Grunfeld Structures - Restrained Center



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Restrained Center

This pawn structure is very characteristic not only for the Gruenfeld Defence but also it can arise in different variations of the Slav Defence. When featuring the restrained center, we usually have in mind the following structure:

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Here is what the author has to say about this structure:

While strengthening White's center, the typical knight exchange on c3 also solves most of Black's problems of coordination caused by his relative lack of space. This explains why there are many systems in which White aims building up a comparatively modest center (with pawns on d4 and e3 or e2, but without a pawn on c3) avoiding any early minor piece exchange.Not being under immediate pressure, Black has a wide range of plans at his disposal, but this freedom must be handled carefully for if he delays concrete action, he may well be left in a passive position without counterplay. Mainly, Black can choose between setting up piece pressure without early pawn breaks, or else prepare the typical ...e7-e5 break and, slightly less usual, ...c7-c5.

Later on, the author illustrates the ideas of both sides in ten annotated games. Here is one of them:

 

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