Grünfeld Checkmates


Table of Contents

It is Checkmate Monday again today and we continue our series with a selection of Grünfeld Checkmates.

Last week we looked at the basics of the Grünfeld Defense, to tie in with the release of our new Chessable course, Lifetime Repertoires: Peter Svidler’s Grünfeld − Part 1. We stay with the Grünfeld Defense for today, with a number of checkmates from games featuring this highly combative opening.

Three Checkmates for White

White has all of the fun in the first three examples.

Boris Spassky  – Alexander Geller
Leningrad, 1956

White to Play

How quickly can you spot a checkmate in one move? Count the seconds in your head and then highlight the space after this sentence to reveal the answer. 40.Bh4 checkmate.

Samuel Reshevsky – Isaac Kashdan
USA, 1942

White to Play

Reshevsky found a crisp finish in this complicated position with 38.Qf7+ and Black resigned, due to 38…Kh6 39.Qg6 checkmate and 38…Kh8 39.Bf6 checkmate.

The next example sees the great Botvinnik in action.

Mikhail Botvinnik – Victor Goglidze
Moscow, 1931

White to Play

Botvinnik finds something special in this messy position.

47. Rh8+!

A rook sacrifice, removing the guard of the f8-square.


48. Qf8+ and Black resigned; 1-0. If 48…Kc7 then 49.Qxc8 is checkmate. 48…Kd7 49.Qxc8+ Ke7 50.Qe8 checkmate takes just one move longer to finish off the king.

Analysis Diagram

Three Checkmates for Black

Now it is Black’s turn to checkmate White.

Lajos Portisch – Viktor Korchnoi
Game 4, Candidates Match, 1983
Black to Play

Portisch resigned here, in anticipation of the forced checkmate with 56…Rh1+! 57.Qxh1 Qxf2 checkmate.

Analysis Diagram

After nearly 60 moves, f2 is still the weakest square in White’s camp – just as it was on the very first move.

Svetozar Gligoric – Vasily Smyslov
Kiev, 1959

Black to Play

Smyslov made significant contributions to the development of the Grünfeld Defense. His attack is strong here, but it still needs another ingredient.

39…h5! and White resigned. 40…h4 checkmate is coming and White cannot save the game. For example, 40.h4 Qxh4 and 40.Qh2 Qf3 are both checkmating patterns.

Analysis Diagram

Back to Korchnoi for another wonderful finish as Black.

Nikola Padevsky – Viktor Korchnoi
Uppsala, 1956

Black to Play

White is offering a trade of queens but Korchnoi is not interested in any peaceful demonstrations.


A discovered check and also a double check. White resigned; 0-1. If he had played on we would have seen this excellent finish. 20.Ke2 Qd3+ 21.Ke1 Nxg2 checkmate.

Analysis Diagram

We would all like to checkmate a king in such a fashion!

Chessable Courses

If you enjoyed our Grünfeld Checkmates, you may like to know that there are many more beautiful checkmating patterns in our course, The Checkmate Patterns Manual, by International Master John Bartholomew and CraftyRaf. This course won third place in our Chessable Awards for 2020.

The Checkmate Patterns Manual

There is a shortened, free version of the course here.

Anyone wanting to investigate this fascinating opening in greater details may like to know about our new Chessable course: Lifetime Repertoires: Peter Svidler’s Grünfeld − Part 1.

Lifetime Repertoires: Peter Svidler's Grünfeld − Part 1

A Short and Sweet version of the course is also available.

Short and Sweet: Grünfeld


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Check them on individual course pages