Grivas provides a full and detailed repertoire for White against five important openings: the Grünfeld, King's Indian, Benoni, Benko and Modern. In each case, he has recommended a line in which he has a wealth of experience, and has played a significant personal role in developing over many years:
The recommendations are geared towards posing Black unconventional problems: your opponents will not be able to churn out lengthy memorized variations, but will need to solve problems at the board in positions that are somewhat different in character from those normally reached in these openings. Grivas has also chosen the repertoire so that it forms a seamless whole, and will fit alongside an English or Réti move-order, in addition to a standard 1 d4 repertoire.
- King's Indian: 4 e4 d6 5 Nf3 0-0 6 h3
- Grünfeld: 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 Bg5
- Benko: 4 Nf3
- Benoni: 6 e4 g6 7 Nf3 Bg7 8 h3
- Modern: 1 d4 g6 2 c4 Bg7 3 Nf3
This is an unusually deeply researched and creative repertoire book. Grivas reveals many 'secret' ideas and gives abundant strategic guidance on how to handle the middlegame positions that result.
This book was written with the purpose of offering a complete and detailed repertoire for White against five important openings involving the fianchetto of Black's dark-squared bishop on g7. These openings are the King's Indian Defence, the Grünfeld Defence, the Modern Benoni, the Benko/Volga Gambit and the Modern Defence. Sidelines of these openings and possible transpositions to other opening set-ups were also taken into account.
In each case I have recommended a system in which I have a wealth of experience and have played a significant personal role in its development throughout the years, either as a player or as a trainer - or both! The recommendations are geared towards posing Black unconventional problems. Your opponents will not be able to churn out lengthy memorized variations but will need to solve problems at the board, in positions that are somewhat different in character from those normally reached in the openings under discussion. I have also selected the Systems within the repertoire in such a way that they form a seamless whole and are also reachable by an English (1 c4) or Reti (1 Nf3) move-order in addition to the Standard 1 d4.
The book in front of you is the fruit of several years of both practical experience and theoretical research. I have tried to describe the suggested systems in detail, giving my assessments as clearly and responsibly as possible, and have generally aimed to provide useful guidelines.
As I wrote in my last theory book, A Complete Guide to the Grivas Sicilian, "many things in chess theory, as in life, are relative and a matter of taste. Actually there are no 'good' or 'bad' openings. There are openings that you know and understand, and openings that you do not know and do not understand." Thus, I believe that my recommended systems offer a lot of possibilities, new ideas and practical benefits, aspects that should not be underestimated in modern chess. Among other things, I have tried to make them 'understandable' to you.
The book's main purpose is to 'train' and educate the reader in territory that is 'unknown' to him. We must not forget that this is a theory book, where concrete reaction to the opponent's moves is of primary importance. General principles and plans do merit a place in this project but, in my opinion, move-by-move consideration is most significant.
It is not necessary to memorize all the variations and moves mentioned in the book. That is practically impossible! But then, you may ask, what is the reason for someone to deal with a theory book, one that he does not need to memorize in full? The theory of 'subconscious education' will help us answer this question. By playing through the moves and variations in the book, our subconscious processes and stores similar motifs, repeated moves and plans, and also 'learns' to avoid traps and unwelcome positions. Such proper 'subconscious memorization' will, at the critical moment, enforce the correct choice upon us.
Many of the opening books I have read mainly focus on the general characteristics of the opening or the variation in question and much less so on move-by-move theory. This can lead to unresolved questions in the reader's mind, and the danger that he will mix things up at moments when it is necessary to find one specific concrete move or sequence. The recommended repertoire is that of a grandmaster, without any omissions or hidden secrets. On the contrary, it contains a great number of new, deeply analysed suggestions.
Let us not forget that the basic characteristics of the openings do not frequently undergo radical changes. On the other hand, the development of move-by-move theory is explosive. Every chess-player stands on the shoulders of the chess-player who came before him. Every generation of good chess-players learns from and builds upon the experience and creativity of the previous generations. The chess-player of the year 2005 has encountered more types of positions than the chess-player of 1975 and knows the proper ways to deal with these positions. Therefore, a chess-player today would have a great advantage over a chess-player (even one of equal or greater talent) of 30 years ago, simply because he could play the opening with deeper understanding; this understanding is offered to him by the multitude of deeply analysed variations.
In no occasion do I underestimate the necessity and value of learning the general characteristics and plans of each opening or variation. However, I do strongly believe that move-by-move theory and its (at least) subconscious absorption are necessary in order to survive in the labyrinth of the chess openings.
One question often posed by my students is whether we must simultaneously prepare two or more different systems against an opening. My personal opinion is that only professional grandmasters can afford this luxury. All other chess-players should focus on one specific system every time, so as to specialize in it and reap maximum benefit. Only if this choice eventually proves undesirable should one change his systems. As Ernest Hemingway once wrote: "I guess really good soldiers are really good at very little else."
The massive development of theory in all openings has clarified that White cannot hope for anything more than a slight advantage, but in some cases even this is unattainable! My recommendations are based on a healthy approach to the five openings covered in the book. A common thread running across all these systems is the desire to obtain a spatial advantage and then to make use of it. Although this book is not devoid of sharp, tactical lines, good positional handling is the main requirement of the resulting positions.
I must clarify that I took the liberty of changing the original move-order of many games. In this way it was possible to provide clearer coverage and guidance. Of course, the way you reach a certain position is important, but equally important is to examine how you want to proceed upon reaching it. True value comes from knowing what to keep and what to throw away.
Significant help in the preparation of this book was provided by Sotiris Logothetis. I would like to thank him for his trust and his valuable help.
Athens, June 2006
010 1 Beating the Grünfeld Defence
010 1.1 Starting Out
011 1.2 Typical Endgames
016 1.3 Early Deviations
028 1.4 The 5.. .Ne4 Continuation
038 1.5 Black's 12th-Move Deviations
047 1.6 The 12...e5 Central Break
051 1.7 Illustrative Games
056 2 Beating the Benko/Volga Gambit
056 2.1 StartingOut
056 2.2 Typical Endgames
058 2.3 The 4.. .b4 Variation
061 2.4 The 4...Bb7 Variation
065 2.5 The 4...bxc4 Variation
070 2.6 The 4...g6 Variation
073 2.7 The Blumenfeld Gambit
082 2.8 Illustrative Games
086 3 Beating the Modern Defence
086 3.1 StartingOut
086 3.2 Typical Endgames
088 3.3 Black's 3rd-Move Deviations
093 3.4 The 3...d6 Variation
102 3.5 Illustrative Games
105 4 Beating the Modern Benoni
105 4.1 StartingOut
105 4.2 Typical Endgames
107 4.3 Black Avoids ...exd5
109 4.4 The Snake Benoni
113 4.5 The 8...Bg4 Variation
115 4.6 The Main Line without 9...b5
128 4.7 The Main Line with 9...b5
136 4.8 Illustrative Games
139 5 Beating the King's Indian Defence
139 5.1 Starting Out
139 5.2 Typical Endgames
142 5.3 The Early .. .Nbd7 Variation
146 5.4 Black's 5th-Move Deviations
152 5.5 The 5... Bg4 Variation
156 5.6 The Exchange Variation
165 5.7 7 d5: Introduction and 7... Nh5
167 5.8 7 d5 Ne8
169 5.9 7 d5 Na6
176 5.10 The Main Line 7 d5 a5 with ...Nc5
185 5.11 Illustrative Games
189 Index of Variations