Based off of this question: How should I play against the Grunfeld defense as white?

What is the best defense as white against the Grunfeld Defense?

This seems way too open ended IMHO, but I think that it could be improved by changing it slightly. For example:

What are white's options against the Grunfeld Defense, and how has white performed in master games?

I think that takes the subjectivity/opinion out of the question.

Now, I do think that questions like this are very useful, and I can even see follow up questions that are more specific, like the following:

How should white fight for an advantage in the Exchange Grunfeld? What are the merits of Ne2 vs Nf3?

When black plays 10...b6 in the Exchange Grunfeld, what are white's possible replies?

So overall, I think that questions about openings are good, but something like "What is best..." just seems a little bit too open ended, and it's easy to narrow the focus a little bit and then ask follow up questions to get more specific. Thoughts? Am I totally off base here?

  • 1
    This was my question and I think you are right Andrew. The question is too broad, I need to make it more specific.
    – xaisoft
    Jun 6, 2012 at 18:05

2 Answers 2


I agree. This is why I voted to close this question as being way too broad after the request for narrowing it down was ignored (but seemingly I was alone in this). In my opinion there are several ways to make this question useful, like...

  • which system against the Grunfeld is easiest to play for players of approx 1800 USCF rating and what are the ideas behind such a system?
  • which is most most successful system for White against the Grunfeld in the last few years between GMs?
  • which ways are there for avoiding the Grunfeld for a 1.d2-d4 player?

The question (but unfortunately not the now inappropriatly named headline) was later updated to something like

how can I force the BDG when someone wants to play the Grunfeld against me?

which is a much more acceptable question. If a question is way too open, I doubt there will be any meaningful answers, since the space for an answer is restricted to a few paragraphs.

  • I don't think I had vote-to-close privileges before that particular question was edited; so you know you're not alone, if it had been on my radar once I got said privileges, I would've concurred with you. Oh, and if I get 13 more rep I may just go ahead and edit that question and its title a little bit.
    – ETD
    May 30, 2012 at 23:02
  • I would be happy to change it to be more specific? I can see how it is too broad.
    – xaisoft
    Jun 6, 2012 at 18:06
  • I agree with this. As for a general approach to fixing these questions, I would suggest making a comment asking the poster for clarification on whether by 'best' they mean most forcing/safest/easiest/win rate/etc., and recommending that they update the question with what exactly they are looking for in the variation recommendation.
    – DTR
    Nov 18, 2014 at 7:41

I'm new here.

Pretty much all I have to say about playing White against the Grunfeld is "see game 1 of the 1950 final candidates match, because Bronstein had the right idea, I think".

Whether the question is as broad as "Is the Feldercarp Attack good?" or as specific as "In the Hullgully Variation of the Potzgrebie Defense, does GM Hornswoggle's innovation at move 23 make it a good choice for someone rated 250 on lichess?", will I be frowned upon for rubberstamping each with "You can't think about these opening decisions until you're well-learned in the middlegames that arise from this option or that. And you can't play a middlegame worth a fiddle unless you can tell the difference between a favorable or unfavorable ending. If there's an ending on the horizon, how will you know whether to head for it by simplifying the position or complicate things by keeping the pieces on the board unless you can tell if the coming ending is good for bad for you. In other words, sell your openings literature for 50 cents per book (because the quarters are useful for parking meters and washing machines), and learn something useful, like endgames and tactics."

Whenever there's a question about an opening, I want to answer it like that. That's what I tell people in classes, lectures, privately, and so on. I have an equally long spiel about how handtrucking one's entire openings library to the board, and playing with open books won't help one bit. Because so what if you reach the end of your book line with that magical plus-over-equals? There's nothing in plus-over-equal to show if the resultant position is suitable for your style or temperament, and unless you're well-grounded in tactics, you're likely to hang a piece on the next turn, anyway.

I think opening discussions are poison for club-level players, and the many who think they're better than club-level. And since we're trying above all to be helpful here, I think it's most helpful to tell folks that they're barking up the wrong trees by asking about openings. But I reckon the community at large would not like it if, like I said, rubberstamped such responses.

I'm trying to earn good karma, because I have really dumb programming questions to ask in other places, and I genuinely want to help people play better chess (and that starts with as few pieces on the board as possible; first you learn with two pieces on the board, then you learn the positions with three, and four, and in about 50 years, you'll work your way up to 32 pieces, because those are the really hard ones... damn it, there I go again).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .