The Grand Prix Attack Explained

by Michael Goeller

The analysis that follows is intended in part as a review and criticism of some (but not all) of the lines offered in Chess Openings for White, Explained by Lev Alburt, Roman Dzindzichashvili, and Eugene Perelshtyn (Chess Information and Research Center 2006) related to the Grand Prix Attack against the Sicilian Defense (1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4). Though Chess Openings for White, Explained is an excellent book, it does have some faults.

I have tried to remedy these problems so that readers of this excellent book will be better prepared to succeed with the Grand Prix Attack.

Game One: Black plays ...g6

Joel Benjamin (2565) - Bry Smith (2384) [B23]

34th World Open/Philadelphia USA (5) 2006


1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 g6

a) 2... Nc6 3. f4 (3. Bb5!? is a suggestion of Motwani's in Chess under the Microscope. The idea is to avoid commiting to either Nf3 or f4. If now 3... Nd4 (3... g6 4. f4) 4. Nf3! Nxb5 5. Nxb5 Nf6 6. e5 Nd5 7. Ng5!? leads to positions discussed by Benjamin as part of his "Anti-Sveshnikov" article.) 3... d6 4. Nf3 g6 5. Bb5 Bd7 6. O-O Bg7 7. Bxc6 Bxc6 8. d3 Nf6 9. Qe1 O-O yields White the standard GPA kingside initiative: 10. Qh4 Qd7 (or 10... b5 11. f5 b4 12. Ne2 gxf5 13. Bh6 fxe4 14. Ng5 is one of their lines) 11. f5 b5 12. Bh6 Rfd8 13. Ng5 Bh8 14. Rf3 a5 15. Raf1 Ra7 16. Rh3 e6 17. Nxh7 Nxh7 18. Bg7 Bxg7 19. Qxh7+ Kf8 20. f6 Bxf6 21. Rxf6 Qe8 22. Qxg6 Ke7 23. Rh7 Kd7 24. Qxf7+ 1-0 Brustkern,J-Szabo,K/Budapest HUN 2002.

 

b) 2... e6 and other ...e6 lines are considered in the next game.

 

c) 2... d6 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bb5+ Bd7 6. Bc4!? is one of the more interesting ideas in the book, to inhibit ...d5, when one game of Perelshtyn's continued 6... Nc6 7. d3 (7. a3 e6 8. O-O Nge7 9. d3 Nd4 10. Nxd4 cxd4 11. Ne2 d5 12. exd5 exd5 13. Bb3 O-O 14. Qe1 Rc8 15. Qf2 Nf5 1/2-1/2 Macieja,B-Bologan,V/Merida ESP 2005 (28)) (7. O-O Na5!? 8. Be2 (8. Bb5!?) 8... Nf6 9. d4! cxd4 10. Nxd4 O-O 11. Kh1 Rc8= 0-1 Macieja,B-Gelfand,B/Bermuda BER 2005 (55)) 7... e6 (7... Na5!?) 8. O-O (8. f5!? exf5 9. O-O Nge7 10. Bf4) 8... Nge7 9. Qe1 h6 (9... O-O 10. Qh4) 10. a3 a6 11. Bd2 b5 12. Ba2 Rb8 13. Nd1 b4 14. Ne3!? O-O ( perhaps White planned 14... bxa3 15. bxa3! Bxa1 16. Qxa1 O-O 17. Ng4) 15. axb4 Nxb4?! 16. Bc3! Nxa2 17. Bxg7 Kxg7 18. Rxa2 f5 19. exf5 Nxf5 20. Nxf5+ exf5 21. Rxa6 Qf6 22. b3 Rb7 23. Qa1 Bb5? 24. Rxd6! 1-0 Perelshteyn,E-Fernandez Rangel,A/Oropesa del Mar ESP 1998.

3. f4 Bg7 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Bb5 Nd4

a) 5... e6?! 6. Bxc6 bxc6 7. e5! d5 8. exd6 Qxd6 9. d3 Nf6 10. O-O Ba6 11. b3 O-O 12. Qe1 Nd5 13. Bd2 Rad8 14. Ne4 Qc7 15. Ne5! (15. Ba5 Nb6 16. Bc3) 15... Bb7 16. Qf2 f6 17. Nc4 e5 18. fxe5 fxe5 19. Qxc5 Qd7 20. Bg5 Rb8 21. Qxa7 Nf4 22. Qc5 Qf5 23. Ne3 Qd7 24. g3 h6 25. gxf4 hxg5 26. fxg5 1-0 Plaskett,J-Polgar,J 1988 remains one of the classic games for illustrating White's strategy of attacking the doubled c-pawns.

 

b) 5... d6 6. O-O (6. Bxc6+!?) 6... Bd7 7. d3 Nf6 8. Qe1 transposes to lines considered above.

6. O-O Nxb5

a) 6... e6 7. e5 a6 8. Bd3

 

b) 6... a6 7. Bc4 e6 8. d3

7. Nxb5 d5

 


Position after 7.Nxb5 d5

 

This is widely considered Black's easiest route to equality, and so it correctly gets the most extended treatment in Chess Openings for White, Explained. The chief alternative is 7... d6 8. d3

( A interesting alternative not mentioned by theory is 8. c4!? Nf6 (8... Bd7 9. Nc3 e5 (9... e6? 10. d4! cxd4 11. Nxd4 Qb6? 12. Be3!! Qxb2 13. Ncb5!) (9... Bc6 10. d3 Nh6 11. Qe1 Qd7 12. Nd5!? e6? 13. f5!) 10. d3 Ne7 11. f5!? (11. Be3) 11... gxf5 12. exf5 Bxf5 13. Nh4 Be6 14. Ne4 Qd7? 15. Bh6! Kf8 16. Nf6 Qd8 17. Qd2 (17. Qh5) 17... Ng8 18. Bxg7+ Kxg7 19. Nh5+ 1-0 Roberts,P-Brod,M/Budapest HUN 2003 (42)) (8... a6 9. Nc3 b5 (9... e6?! 10. d4!) 10. d3 b4 (10... Rb8 11. Qc2!? Nf6 12. Bd2 O-O 13. Rae1 Ne8 14. b3 f5 15. Ne2 Nf6 16. Ng3 fxe4 17. dxe4 bxc4?! 18. Qxc4+ e6 19. Ng5 Re8 20. f5 Qe7 21. fxg6 hxg6 22. e5 dxe5 23. Qh4 Rb7 24. Bc3 e4 25. N3xe4 e5 26. Bxe5 Nh5 27. Bxg7 Qxg7 28. Nd6 1-0 Pavlov,M-Chakov,P/Teteven 1991 (37)) (10... Bxc3!? 11. bxc3 bxc4 12. dxc4 Rb8) 11. Ne2 f5 12. e5 Nh6 13. d4 Nf7 14. dxc5 (14. Be3!?) 14... dxe5 15. Qxd8+?! (15. Qa4+! Bd7 16. Qxb4) 15... Kxd8 1-0 Rausis,I-Marcelin,C/Evry 2002 (47)) 9. d3 O-O 10. Qe1 a6 11. Nc3 b5 12. Qh4 b4 13. Ne2 e6 14. g4!? Nd7 15. Qh3 f5!? (15... Re8! 16. Ng5 Nf8) 16. gxf5 (16. Ng5! Nf6 17. e5!) 16... exf5 17. Ng5 Nf6 18. e5 dxe5 19. fxe5 Nh5! 20. Qg2 Ra7 0-1 Pozarek,S-Kudrin,S/Washington 1990 (32))

8... Nf6 9. Nc3 O-O 10. Qe1 Rb8

(a) 10... d5 11. Qh4 b6 12. f5 dxe4 13. dxe4 Bb7 14. Bg5 gxf5 15. Rad1 Qc7 16. e5 Ng4 17. Bxe7 Bxf3 18. gxf3!? Ne3 19. Bf6 Bxf6 20. Qxf6 h6 21. Rd6 (21. Kh1!) 21... Rae8 22. Kf2 Nxf1 23. Nd5 Qb7 24. Qxh6 f6 25. Nxf6+ Rxf6 26. Rxf6 Qh7 27. Qg5+ 1-0 Berg,K-Zapata,A/Dieren 1987 (27))

 

(b) 10... e6 11. Qh4 Nd7 12. Qxd8 Rxd8 13. Be3 b6 14. Rad1 Nb8 15. Nb5 Nc6 16. c3 a6 17. Na3 b5 18. d4 cxd4 19. Nxd4 Bb7 20. Rfe1 Nxd4 21. Bxd4 Bxd4+ 22. Rxd4 e5 23. fxe5 dxe5 24. Rxd8+ Rxd8 25. Re2 f6 26. Kf2 Kf7 27. Nb1 Rd1 28. Nd2 Bc8 29. h3 Be6 30. a3 Bc4 31. Nxc4 bxc4 32. Ke3 Rd3+ 33. Kf2 Ke6 34. Ke1 f5 35. Kf2 f4 36. Rc2 Kd6 37. Ke1 Kc5 38. Re2 Kb5 39. Kf2 Ka4 0-1 Piscitelli,A-Kavalek,L/Havana 1966 (39))

 

(c) 10... Nd7 11. f5 Ne5 12. Qh4 e6 13. Ng5 h6 14. f6 Bxf6 (14... hxg5 15. Bxg5 Bh8 16. Rae1) 15. Qxh6 Bxg5 16. Bxg5 f6 17. Bf4 Qe8 18. Bxe5 dxe5 19. Rf3 Qf7 20. Rg3 g5 21. Rf1 Qg7 22. Qh5 Qh7 23. Rxg5+ 1-0 Kiefhaber,H-Schulze,U/Germany 1991 (23))

11. Qh4 b5 12. f5 b4 13. Ne2 gxf5 14. Bh6 fxe4 15. Ng5 exd3 16. cxd3?! ( Even stronger. according to Fritz, is 16. Bxg7! Kxg7 (16... dxe2 17. Rxf6!!) 17. Rxf6 Kxf6 18. Nf4!) 16... e5 17. Ng3 d5 18. Bxg7 Kxg7 19. Rxf6 Kxf6 20. Rf1+ Chess Openings for White, Explained.

 

8. exd5

8. e5 receives the endorsement of most writers, including Lane, Ilic and Bangiev, but it leads to a more closed and positionally complex type of struggle that gets messy at best. Black's best might be 8... d4!

(8... a6 9. Nc3 Nh6 (9... Bg4 10. d4 cxd4 11. Qxd4 1-0 Hodgson,J-Rowson,J/ Rotherham m 1997(30)) 10. d4 c4 11. Qe1 (11. b3 cxb3 12. axb3 O-O 13. Ba3 Bg4 14. Qd2 Rc8 15. Na4 Nf5 16. Nc5 Rc7 17. Ne1 Bh5 0-1 Milnes,A-O'Bee,C/corr BFCC 1999 (52)) 11... Bf5 12. Rf2 Ng4 13. Re2 h5 14. h3 Nh6 15. Be3 b5 16. Bf2 Qd7 17. Nd1 a5 18. Bh4 b4 19. Bf6 Kf8 20. e6!? (20. Bxg7+ Kxg7 21. Ne3) 20... Bxe6 21. Ne5 Qa7 22. Nxg6+ fxg6 23. Bxg7+ Kxg7 24. Rxe6 Qxd4+ 25. Ne3 Kf7 26. Rd1 Qa7 27. Re5 e6 led to a messy game 1/2-1/2 Minasian,A-Froehlich,P/Linares 2001 (58))

9. c3!? a6 10. Na3 b5

(10... d3!? 11. Nc4 b5 12. Ne3 Nh6 13. b3 Nf5 14. Qe1 O-O 15. Ba3 b4? (15... Qc7 16. Qf2 Nxe3 17. Qxe3 c4) 16. cxb4 cxb4 17. Bxb4 1-0, Hebden-Thorsson, Kopavogur 1994)

11. cxd4 cxd4 12. Nc2!? d3 13. Ne3 Nh6 14. b3 O-O 15. Bb2 f6 (15... Bb7 16. Qe1 Rc8 17. g4!? Qd7 18. Qh4) 16. Qc1!? Ng4!? 17. Qc6 Nxe3 18. dxe3 Ra7 19. Rac1 Bg4!? 20. e6!? d2 21. Rcd1 Rc7 22. Qxa6 Minasian,A-Pelletier,Y/WchT 4th 1997/1/2-1/2 (52)

 

8... a6 9. Nc3 Nf6 10. d4 Nxd5

a) 10... cxd4 may be the real test of this line, when 11. Qxd4 O-O 12. Be3 (12. Ne5 receives their endorsement, with the statement that "Black doesn't have sufficient compensation fo the pawn," but that view has hardly been sufficiently demonstrated in practice and Black appears to have enough counter-pressure to win the pawn back after 12... Bf5 13. b3 Rc8 14. Bb2 b5= 1-0 Lach,B-Bauer,M/Wuerttemberg 1995 (64)) 12... Ng4 (12... Bf5!? 13. Qd2 b5!) 13. Qd2 Nxe3 14. Qxe3 Bxc3!? 15. Qxc3 Qxd5= and White managed to lose a drawn ending that came out of this position... 0-1 Perelshteyn, E-Kudrin,S/New York 1997 (55)

 

b) 10... c4 11. Qe2!
Their recommendation , trying to keep the pawn advantage, which seems like the right idea since the alternatives are quite drawish.

(a) 11. Ne5 Nxd5 (11... b5!? 12. Re1 Qd6!? 13. a4 b4 14. Nxc4 Qc7 15. Qe2 O-O 16. Nd1 Nxd5 17. Ne5 Bf5 18. Qf3 Rfd8 19. c4 bxc3 20. bxc3= 1/2-1/2 Bisguier,A-Fernandez,J/Connecticut USA 2004 (34)) 12. Qf3 (12. Qe2 Nb6 13. Be3 Be6 14. Rad1 Rc8 15. Ne4 Bd5 16. Bd2 Bxe4 17. Qxe4 Qd5 1/2-1/2 Trent,L-Perez,F/Oropesa del Mar 2000 (17)) (12. Ne4 Nc7 13. c3 b5 14. Nc5 Qd5 15. Qe2 O-O 16. Be3 Ne6 17. Nxe6 Bxe6 18. Rae1 1/2-1/2 Rutherford,E-Buervenich,S/Istanbul 2000 (49)) 12... Be6 (12... e6 13. f5!? gxf5 14. Qg3! (14. Nxd5 Qxd5 15. Qxd5 exd5 16. Nf3 Hodgson,J-Rowson,J/Rotherham 1997 (29)) 14... Kf8?! 15. Nxc4 Bxd4+ 16. Kh1 Rg8 17. Bh6+! Bg7 18. Nxd5! exd5 (18... Bxh6 19. Qa3+!) 19. Qa3+ Qe7 20. Bxg7+ Rxg7 21. Qxe7+ Kxe7 22. Nb6 1-0 Weiler,W-Druon,R/ICCF Email 2001 (39)) 13. Ne4 (13. f5?! gxf5 14. Nxd5 Qxd5 15. Qxd5 Bxd5 16. Rxf5 Rd8 17. c3 Rg8 1/2-1/2 Wippermann,T-Al Sayed,M/Catalan Bay ENG 2004 (116)) 13... Nf6 14. Nf2 Bd5 15. Qe2 Rc8 16. c3 O-O= 1/2-1/2 Yang,R-Gerzhoy,L/Oropesa del Mar 2001 (64))

 

(b) 11. a4!? Nxd5 12. Ne5 Be6 13. Ne4 Nf6 14. Ng5 (14. Nc5!? Qd5 15. a5) 14... Bd5 15. f5 h6 16. Nh3 g5 17. Nf2 Qd6 18. Qe2 Rc8 19. Ra3 Qb6 20. Rd1 Rc7 21. Rg3 Ne4 22. Re3 Nxf2 23. Qxf2 Kd8 24. Rd2 Kc8 1/2-1/2 Wippermann,T/Biel SUI 2004 (24))

11... Nxd5! and Black has compensation in the two Bishops and play on light squares.

( They give instead the interesting but weaker line 11... b5?! trying to hold the pawn directly, as most amateurs might try to do, when 12. Re1 Bb7 13. f5! Nxd5 14. Bg5 O-O 15. Nxd5 Qxd5 16. Bxe7 Rfe8 17. fxg6 hxg6 18. Qf2 "and White maintains his extra pawn.")

12. Qxc4 Be6 13. Nxd5

(13. Qd3 Rc8 14. Nxd5 Bxd5 15. Rd1 Bxf3 16. gxf3 Qd5 17. c3 O-O 18. Qe4 Rfd8 19. Re1 Rc7 20. Qxd5 Rxd5 Rutherford,E-Gourlay,I/Aberdeen 2001 (91))

13... Bxd5 14. Qe2 Rc8 15. Rd1 Bxf3 16. Qxf3 Bxd4+ 17. Kf1 Qb6 18. Qb3 O-O 19. c3 Bc5 20. Qxb6 Bxb6 21. Ke2 Rfd8 22. Be3 Bxe3 23. Kxe3 Kg7 24. Rxd8 Rxd8 25. c4 Kf6 26. Rc1 e5 27. fxe5+ Kxe5 28. c5 f5 29. c6 b5 30. c7 Rc8 31. h4 Kd6 32. Kf4 Rxc7 33. Rxc7 Kxc7 34. Kg5 Kd6 35. Kh6 Ke5 36. Kxh7 Kf6

 

 

37. g3??

Agreed drawn 1/2-1/2 Perelshteyn,E-Lawson, E/Montreal 2005/ [Mueller,Karsten] (37) But White likely missed a win according to Karsten Mueller with 37. Kg8! f4 38. b4 Kf5 39. Kf7 g5 40. h5 g4 41. h6 f3 42. gxf3 gxf3 43. h7 f2 44. h8=Q f1=Q 45. Qf6+ and now Black actually had a win himself with 37... g5 38. hxg5+ Kxg5 39. Kg7 f4 40. gxf4+ Kxf4 41. Kf6 Ke4 42. Ke6 Kd3 43. Kd5 Kc2 44. b4 Kb2 45. Kc5 Kxa2 46. Kb6 Kb3 47. Ka5 Ka3

 

11. dxc5

Hodgson's idea, playing for initiative.

11. Nxd5 Qxd5 12. dxc5 Qxc5+ 13. Kh1 O-O 14. c3 Be6 15. Qe1 Bd5 16. Be3 Qc6 17. Rf2 Bxf3 18. Rxf3 e6 19. Rf2?! Rfd8 20. Rd2 Rxd2 21. Qxd2 Bf6 22. Qc2 Rd8 0-1 Bennett,A-Dzindzichashvili,R/New York 1993 (40)

 

11... Nxc3 12. Qxd8+ Kxd8 13. bxc3 Bxc3 14. Rb1 Kc7 15. Rb3

15. Bb2?! Bxb2 16. Rxb2 Be6 (16... Bg4!? 17. Ne5 Be6= 0-1 Akhavan Rad,A-Mallahi,A/Iran 2000 (31)) (16... f6 17. c3 Re8 18. Rb6 Bd7 19. Re1 Rad8 20. h3 Bc8 21. Re3 e6 22. Nd4 e5!= 0-1 Shkuro,I-Efimenko,Z/Kramatorsk 2002 (43)) 17. Re1 Rhe8 18. Ne5 Rad8 19. c4 Rd4 20. Reb1 Bc8 21. c6 bxc6 22. Rb6 Rd1+ 23. Rxd1 Kxb6 24. Nd7+ Kc7 0-1 Milnes,A-Morgan,R/England 1986 (41)

 

15... Bf6

15... Bg7 16. Bd2 Be6 17. Ba5+ Kc6 18. Rb6+ Kxc5 19. Nd2 Rhc8 (19... Bxa2 must be most critical, when White is two pawns down: 20. Rd1 Bd5? (20... Kd5 21. Nf3+=) (20... f5 21. Rxb7=) 21. c4 Bc6 22. Nb3+ Kxc4 23. Rb4+ Kc3 24. Na1!!) 20. Rd1 Kd5?! 21. c4+ Kd4 22. Rb3 Rc6? (22... Rxc4 23. Nxc4+ Kxc4 24. Rxb7) 23. Bc3+ Ke3 24. Bxg7+ Ke2 25. Rf1 1-0 Perelshteyn,E-Shahade,G/New York 1998 (25)

 

16. Bd2 Be6 17. Ba5+ Kc6 18. Rb6+ Kxc5 19. Nd2 Bd5 20. c4 Bc6

 


White has a powerful attack.

 

21. Rd1

An improvement may be 21. Nb3+ Kd6 22. Rd1+ Ke6? (22... Kc7 23. Rxa6+ Kb8 24. Rxa8+ Kxa8 25. Bb6) 23. g4! 1-0 Wippermann, T-Hoffmann,M/Boeblinger GER 2003 (23) and Black cannot stop 24.Nc5+.

 

This tactical ending is analyzed in some detail in Chess Openings for White, Explained. I only mention some things I've found.

 

21... Kd6

21... Bd4+ 22. Kf1 Be3 23. Nb3+ Kxc4 24. Rb4+ Kc3 25. Re4+

 

22. Ne4+ Ke6 23. g4! Bh4 24. Nc5+ Kf6 25. Bc3+ e5 26. Rxc6+!?

26. Nxb7!

 

26... bxc6 27. Bxe5+ Ke7 28. Rd7+ Ke8 29. g5!?

White constructs a mating net.

Also strong, of course, is 29. Bxh8

 

29... Be1 30. Rb7 Bd2 31. Ne4 1-0


Game Two: Black plays ...e6

S. Iuldachev (2513) - A. El Arousy (2315) [B23]

ADCF Masters/Abu Dhabi UAE (4) 2003


1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6

2... e6 3. f4 d5 4. Nf3 Nf6

(4... dxe4 5. Nxe4 (or 5. Bb5+ Bd7 6. Bxd7+ Nxd7 7. Nxe4) 5... Nf6 6. Bb5+ Bd7 7. Bxd7+ Nbxd7 8. d3 Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. a4 Qc7 11. Qe2 Nd5 12. g3 h6 13. Bd2 Rac8 14. b3 Qc6 15. Rae1 Rfe8 16. Ne5 Qc7 17. Nxf7 Kxf7 18. Ng5+ hxg5 19. Qxe6+ Kf8 20. fxg5+ N5f6 21. g6 Ne5 22. Rxe5 Bd6 23. Rxf6+ gxf6 24. Bh6+ 1-0 Milliet,S-Nagel,Y/Istanbul TUR 2003)

5. e5

(If White wants to avoid theory, he might try 5. Bb5+!? Bd7 6. Bxd7+ Nbxd7 7. d3=)

5... Nfd7 6. d4

(6. g3?! resembles a variation of the Closed Sicilian that they recommend--see below...)

6... Nc6 7. Be3 transposes to the popular Steinitz French, which they do not cover in their book. Gary Lane suggests that this would make for a good psychological tactic, since most Sicilian players do not know the theory well here.

 

3. f4

3. Bb5!? is discussed by Paul Motwani as a way of testing Black before commiting to f4. 3... Nd4 4. Nf3! is Motwani's suggestion (or 4. Bc4 has been played by Benjamin).

 

3... e6

White gets a nice GPA initiative after 3... d6 4. Nf3 e6 5. Bb5 Nf6 (5... Bd7 6. d3 Be7 7. O-O Nf6 8. Bxc6 Bxc6 9. Qe1 Qc7 10. a3 (10. e5 Nd5 11. Ne4 Nb4 12. exd6 Bxd6 13. Qf2 O-O-O 14. a3 Bxe4 15. dxe4 Nc6 16. e5 Be7 17. Be3 Nd4 18. Kh1 Nf5 19. b4 Nxe3 20. Qxe3 b6 21. b5 h6 22. a4 g5 23. a5 Qb7 24. axb6 gxf4 25. Qxf4 axb6 26. Qxf7 Rhg8 27. Qxe6+ Kb8 28. Ra6 1-0 Schuyler,J-Ascolese,P/New York State ch 1991) 10... O-O 11. Qg3 Rfe8 12. Bd2 b5 13. f5 exf5 14. Nh4 Bd7 15. Nxf5 Bxf5 16. Rxf5 Qd8 17. Raf1 b4 18. Ne2 a5 19. Bg5 Kh8 20. Qh4 Ra6 21. Rxf6 gxf6 22. Rxf6 d5 23. Rxf7 1-0 Weeramantry,S-Grigsby,F/Alexandria,VA US Open 1996) 6. Bxc6+ bxc6 7. d3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. e5 Ne8 10. Na4!? f6 11. b3 fxe5 12. fxe5 dxe5 13. Bb2 e4 14. dxe4 Qxd1 15. Raxd1 c4 16. Ne5 cxb3 17. Nxc6 Rxf1+ 18. Rxf1 Bf8 19. axb3 Bb7 20. Nd4 Bxe4 21. Nxe6 Bd6 22. c4 Nf6 23. Nxg7 Ng4 24. h3 Ne5 25. Nh5 Bc2 26. Nf6+ Kg7 27. Ng4 1-0 Olesen,M-Molvig,H/Copenhagen 1995

 

4. Nf3 d5

4... a6 5. g3 (transposing to the Closed Variation is their recommendation, which I don't find so inspiring. Perhaps instead 5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4, with an open variation.) 5... d5 6. e5!? (the text has an amusing typo, giving this "?!" instead, which seems more accurate.) 6... Nge7 7. Bg2 Nf5 8. Ne2 h5 9. c3 d4 10. d3 h4 11. Nfg1 c4 12. cxd4 cxd3 13. Qxd3 Nb4 14. Qb3 Nxd4 15. Nxd4 Qxd4 16. Be3 Nc2+ 17. Qxc2 Qxe3+ 18. Qe2 Bb4+ 19. Kf1 Qb6 20. Bf3 Bd7 21. Kg2 Rc8 22. Nh3 Bb5 23. Qe4 Bc6 24. Qe2 Bxf3+ 25. Kxf3 Rd8 26. Rad1 Qc6+ 27. Qe4 Qxe4+ 28. Kxe4 Rxd1 29. Rxd1 hxg3 0-1 Fegebank,F-Rahls,P/Germany 1991

 

5. Bb5 Nge7

a) 5... c4?! is something I've seen: 6. d3! cxd3 7. exd5! dxc2 8. Qe2! a6 9. Ba4! (9. Bxc6+!? bxc6 10. dxe6 fxe6 11. Be3! Nf6 12. Qxc2) 9... b5 10. Bb3!? (maybe stronger 10. Bxc2! Nb4 11. Bb3!?) 10... Na5! (10... Nce7 11. Ng5!) 11. dxe6 fxe6 12. Bxc2 Nf6 13. O-O Bc5+ Goeller-Kernighan, Kenilworth (skittles) 2005

 

b) 5... Nf6 and they give 6. e5! Nd7 7. Bxc6! bxc6 8. d3 (8. b3!?) 8... Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. Re1 Ba6 11. Ne2 c4 12. d4 c5 13. Be3

 


Black plays a French set-up.

 

6. exd5!

6. Qe2!? d4 7. Nd1 creates a more closed game where White's plan is Nd1-f2, g4, O-O, d3 etc.

 

6... exd5

6... Nxd5! receives no coverage, but it is tricky and very likely Black's best. Perhaps then 7. Ne5

(a) 7. Bxc6+?! would be the "logical move" of many readers, but 7... bxc6 8. Ne5 Bd6!= Minasian-Becerra Rivero, Lucerne 1997(8... Nxf4? 9. Qf3) (8... Qh4+!? 9. g3 Qh3) (8... Ba6!? 9. Ne4 Qh4+ 10. g3 Qh3) 9. Nxc6 Nxc3! 10. dxc3 Qc7 11. Ne5 Bxe5 12. fxe5 Qxe5+)

 

(b) 7. O-O!? Nxf4!? may be worth a look for the adventurous.)

7... Bd7 8. Bxc6 Bxc6 9. Nxc6 bxc6 10. O-O

 

7. Qe2!

As Gary Lane points out, this pin on the e7 Knight is "an inconvenience" for Black. Likely it will force him to allow the doubling of the c-pawns or, if he tries too hard to avoid that, hand White a strong initiative.

 

7... Qd6

The most logical if Black wishes to prevent the doubling of the c-pawns.

a) 7... g6? 8. Qe5! Lane

 

b) 7... a6?! 8. Bxc6+ bxc6 9. b3 gave White a tempo with which to dominate the weak dark squares and c-pawns via Ba3, Na4, and Qf2 etc. in Mossong-Nainapalert,Dubai OL 1986

 

c) 7... Bg4 8. Bxc6+ bxc6 9. O-O Qd6 10. b3 c4 (10... Qxf4?! 11. Ba3) 11. bxc4 Qc5+ 12. Kh1 Qxc4 13. Qe1! and the Black King had trouble finding safety in Zinn-Doda, Lugano 1968

 

d) 7... Be6 8. Bxc6+ bxc6 (8... Nxc6? 9. f5) 9. O-O

 

e) 7... d4? 8. Ne4

8. d4!?

They suggest instead "8.Ne5!" (see below) -- which may be the least interesting of White's alternatives.

 

White has three main alternatives to my recommendation of 8.d4:

a) 8. Bxc6+ bxc6 (8... Qxc6?! 9. Ne5 Qd6 10. O-O a6 11. d3 f6 12. Qh5+ g6 13. Nxg6! Nxg6 14. f5 Qe5 15. Bd2 Qd4+ 16. Rf2! Qh4 17. Re1+ Kf7?! 18. fxg6+ hxg6 19. Qxd5+ Kg7 20. g3 Qh3 21. Ne4 Rh5? 22. Qd8 Kosten-Rovid, Budapest 1984) 9. d3 g6 10. O-O Bg7 11. Re1 Be6 12. Na4!? and White has the traditional play against the weak c-pawns, which he must first fix in place by either c4 or b3 and then build up an attack with Ba3, Rac1, Qf2 etc.

 

b) 8. O-O!? Bg4 (8... Qxf4? 9. Ne5) 9. Bxc6+ Qxc6 10. h3 Bxf3 11. Qxf3 O-O-O 12. f5!? Lazic-Molnar, Szekszard 1994

 

c) 8. Ne5 f6 9. Nxc6 bxc6 10. Ba4 is a line they offer, claiming White is better, with a rare game reference. That game they reference continued: 10... Qe6?! (10... Kf7!?) 11. O-O Qxe2 12. Nxe2 Ba6 13. Re1 Kd7 14. d3 Nf5 15. Ng3 1/2-1/2 Paschall,W-Farago,S/ Budapest HUN 1997, when, in the final position, Black is probably better following 15...Nxg3.

8... cxd4?!

The critical question in this game is whether White still has an edge after 8... c4! 9. b3!? (9. O-O) (9. Ne5!? a6 10. Bxc6+ bxc6) 9... cxb3 (9... Bg4! 10. bxc4 O-O-O) 10. axb3 Bg4 (10... Qe6 11. Ne5 Bd7 12. Bxc6!) 11. h3 (11. Ba3) 11... Bxf3 12. Qxf3 O-O-O 13. O-O!? (13. Ra4! a6 14. Bd3 Nb4 15. O-O Nxd3 16. Qxd3) 13... Nxd4 14. Qf2 Qc5 15. Bd2 Nec6 Adamski-Schinzel, Polish Ch. 1980

 

9. Nxd4 Bd7 10. Bxc6

10. Be3!?

 

10... bxc6 11. O-O g6 12. Nb3 Bg7 13. Be3 Be6 14. Bc5 Qd7 15. Bd4! Bg4 16. Qf2 Bxd4 17. Qxd4

The elimination of the dark-squared Bishops gives White a clear advantage since Black will not be able to keep White's Knights out of the critical dark squares c5, e5, f6, or h6.

 

17... O-O 18. Nc5 Qc7

18... Qd6 19. h3! (19. N3e4?! Nf5 20. Qc3 dxe4 21. Nxe4 Nd4! 22. Nxd6 Ne2+ 23. Kf2 Nxc3 24. bxc3 Rfd8) 19... Bc8 20. g4

 

19. h3 Bf5?! 20. g4! Bd7 21. Rae1

White's positional advantage, built on the domination of the dark squares, is simply overwhelming.

 

21... Rae8 22. Nxd7 Qxd7 23. Ne4 f6?

23... f5 24. Nf6+ Rxf6 25. Qxf6 fxg4 26. Qg5!

 

24. Nxf6+ Rxf6 25. Qxf6 Nc8 26. f5! 1-0

 

[Michael Goeller]

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