So, I was playing this line of the exchange variation of the Grunfeld: 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Bc4 c5 8. Ne2 O-O 9. Be3 Nc6.

[Fen "r1bq1rk1/pp2ppbp/2n3p1/2p5/2BPP3/2P1B3/P3NPPP/R2QK2R w KQ - 0 10"]

In my computer's opening book, the only recommended move for White is 10. O-O.

However, I want to know whether 10. dxc5 is playable?

2 Answers 2


The problem with this line is that this is exactly what Black is hoping for.

You give the center to "win a pawn", but Black has several compensation : first of all the black bishop on ...Bg7 is now very strong. Also with ...Qc7 follow by ...Rd8 black will win the d-file. If Black want then they can easily win back the pawn by the following plan : ...e5, ...Bf8 and ...Bxc5.

  • I tried this line out against a 1900 elo rated opponent. His next few moves were exactly ...Qc7 and ...Rd8. He didn't win the pawn back but got good piece activity, and the game ended in a draw.
    – user1108
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 10:24
  • 1
    The idea "...e5, ...Bf8 and ...Bxc5." seems extremely dubious to me. Not only Black is not garanteed to get their pawn back, moreover they lose time and weaken both the center (d5 in particular) and the kingside (all the dark squares). You rather focus on activity than on the meaningless Pc5. As often has not, the pawn sacrifice is made "definitive" by offering the pawn exchange ...b6 cb6 ab6 to open the queenside.
    – Evargalo
    Commented Oct 21, 2021 at 12:21

According to http://chessok.com/?page_id=352 this has been played five times (by weaker players) and gives black a very slight advantage (-0.11) after 10…Qc7.

So, depending on you level this is certainly playable. If you analyse it a bit you might even have practical chances to achieve an opening advantage. But probably black will just win back the pawn and you'll have to be careful not to just be left with your worse structure.

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