Grefe-Mednis, US Championship 1973, and a ‘deep idea’

tnwr-16The latest issue of The New Winawer Report has been posted on the Winawer page. This one covers the positional lines, in which Black tries the setup … Ba4 and … c4, recommended in several recent books: Vitiugov, Moskalenko, and Berg.

It is hard to find examples of Black’s setup from the early years, perhaps because White usually played a4 at an early opportunity. One of the first significant examples is Grefe-Mednis, US Championship, El Paso 1973, covered here. In a major surprise, the late John Grefe (1947-2014) recorded eight wins and finished equal first, sharing the title: even at the time it was a surprise that this could be done by an untitled player. He didn’t even have a FIDE rating!

The setup did not gain significant popularity until the mid-’80’s, when Hertneck introduced the ‘deep idea’ (Berg) … Qg8-h7. Most games in this issue start from the diagrammed position, which was reached in the stem game. That game resulted in a defeat for Black, and indeed White has a significant plus record from this position. Black needs to exercise care …

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