The Grand Prix with Pawn to a3
Is an early pawn to a3 merely a waste of time in the Grand Prix Attack against the Sicilian or can it have a larger purpose? You be the judge.
Lawrence A Day - Anatoly Lein [B23]
Saint John op-1/Saint John 1988
This Wing Gambit Delayed is very effective here and forces Black to play very carefully.
Exchanging the c-pawn for the b-pawn already looks like a mistake, but (in my experience) anyone who has not seen this before will be unable to resist this capture and likely unable to resist the pawn.
a) 6... b6!? asks "Why give him what he wants?" though White looks good after 7. e5 d5 8. h4!? Nge7 9. h5! with great long-tem attacking prospects. I have had great success with this idea in blitz games, even after accidentally sacrificing my Rook at a1 on occasion!
c) 6... Nxb4!? might surprise you, but it should be good for White long-term after 7. axb4 cxb4 8. e5 (8. Bb2!? bxc3 9. Bxc3 Bxc3 10. dxc3 leaves both players with severe structural weaknesses -- one of those positions where "both sides are lost.") 8... bxc3 9. d4 Ne7 10. Ba3 Nd5 11. Bc4 Nxf4 (11... Ne3 12. Qe2) 12.
d) 6... Nge7! may actually be best, when grabbing the pawn is unclear after 7. bxc5 (7. e5) 7... Bxc3! 8. dxc3 Qa5 9. e5!? (9. Be3 Qxc3+ 10. Kf2 f5 11. Bd3) 9... Nd5 10. Bd3 Nxc3 11. Qd2 Qxc5 12. a4 h6 13. Ba3 Nb4 14. a5 Ncd5 15. Be4 (15. Kf1!) 15... Qc4 16. Qd4 Nxc2+ 17. Bxc2 Qxc2 18.
O-OQc3 19. Qa4 b5 20. Qxb5 Nc7 21. Qa4 Ba6 22. Rfb1 Nd5 23. Nd4 Qe3+ 24. Kh1 Qxf4 25. Qb3 f5 26. Nb5 Kf7 27. Nc3 Nxc3 28. Qxc3 Rhc8 29. Qe1 Rc2 30. Rb4 Qf2 31. Qxf2 Rxf2 32. Rd1 Ke8 33. Rc1 g5 34. h4 f4 35. Kg1 Re2 36. hxg5 hxg5 37. g3? Rc8 38. Rbb1 f3 39. Bc5? Rg2+ 0-1 Ermenkov,E-Cosma,I/Subotica 2002 (56)
Accepting the gambit pawn just leads to trouble for Black due to his dark-square weaknesses. For example: 7... Nxb4? 8. Ba3 Bf8 (8... Nc6 9. Nb5!) 9. Qb1! Nc6 (9... a5 10. Nb5) 10. Nb5 d6 11. e5! This is exactly the sort of thing you are looking for with the b4-gambit.
The extra pawn gives White the edge, but Black does have active squares for his pieces.
Lein puts up a good enough fight to draw the ending.
20... Qd6 21. Qxd6 Nxd6 22. Ne2 Bd7 23. Nd4 Kf6 24. c3 Ra8 25. Ke2 g5 26. h4 gxf4 27. gxf4 Rg8 28. Kf3 Nf7 29. Be2 e5 30. fxe5+ Nxe5+ 31. Kf2 Ng4+ 32. Bxg4 Rxg4 33. b6 Ke7 34. Nf3 Rf4 35. Ke3 Re4+ 36. Kf2 Rf4 37. Re1+ Kd6 38. Kg3 Rg4+ 39. Kf2 Bf5 40. Re8 Be4 41. Ne5 Rxh4 42. Kg3 Rh1 43. d4 Rb1 44. c4 dxc4 45. Nxc4+ Kd5 46. Nd2 Rg1+ 47. Kh4 Bh1 48. Rd8+ 1/2-1/2
Bernard Hanen - Bruno Belin [B23]
FRA AJEC/1162 corr/France 1986
6. Bb5 is also playable but hardly consistent with 5.a3. And the b4-sac does not make as much sense against ...d6.
The Bishop at c4 provokes Black into wasting time with queenside action before completing his development. But the White Bishop will find a nice home at a2 and meanwhile Black has failed to capitalize on White's own tempo loss.
Better 7... Nge7 which appears
to at least equalize after 8. Qe1
The pressure on e7 is going to be unbearable for Black. Note that he cannot break the pin since ...f6 is impossible due to the Bishop at a2.
White continues straightforwardly with the attack on e7. More decisive, if complicated, was a kingside attack by:
with the powerful forking threat of Ne6 or Rxf8+ and Ne6+
Black did not like the looks of 26...Qxf7 27.Rf1 etc.1-0
Can White play the a3 and b4 idea when Black chooses a French set-up instead of a Fianchetto? The answer appears to be a firm "No."
Philip Roach (2205) - Jordi Magem Badals (2470) [B23]
Novi Sad ol (Men)/Novi Sad (14) 1990
12. Nh4 Qc7 13. Re3 Nb4 14.
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