More Left Hook Grand Prix Games

By Michael Goeller

Returning to the Left Hook Grand Prix (1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.a3!?), I decided to look at two variations that I had previously ignored but which may be the critical tests of the line following 5...e6 6.b4!? (White's "left hook," though the center strike 6.d4 is also good): 6....d5 (hitting back immediately in the center) and 6...b6 (refusing to give up the center even to gain a pawn). I also tossed in a few of my own games just for fun to make a nice half dozen.

Game One

Richard Freeman (2011) - Iain Gourlay (2187) [B23]

BCF-chT3 0102 (4NCL)/Birmingham, ENG (4) 2001


1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. a3 e6 6. b4 d5!

 










Some consider this the critical test of the Left Hook Grand Prix, mostly because the few games with the line have favored Black. However, White has several paths to a good game -- though none that have been seen in practice.

 

7. e5

a) 7. exd5!? is White's first opportunity to vary: 7... exd5 (7... cxb4!? 8. dxc6 bxc3 9. Bb5 Kf8 10. Rb1) 8. bxc5 Bxc3 (8... Nf6!?) 9. dxc3 Qa5 10. Qd2 Qxc5 11. c4 Nge7 (11... d4 12. c3) (11... dxc4 12. Qc3 f6 13. Be3) 12. cxd5

b) 7. b5?! Nd4 (7... dxe4!?) 8. e5 f6!

 

7... f6!

The critical move, without which White would be better due to his control of the dark squares. Now Black's dark squared Bishop will be activated.

Not promising is 7... cxb4?! 8. axb4 (8. Nb5!? Bf8 9. axb4) 8... Nge7 9. Ba3 O-O 10. b5 Nb8 11. h4 h5 12. Rg1!

 

8. Bb5

8. bxc5!? is White's second opportunity: 8... fxe5 9. fxe5 Nxe5 10. Nxe5 Bxe5 11. Bb5+ Bd7 12. Bxd7+ Qxd7 (12... Kxd7!? 13. O-O! Qh4 14. g3 Bxg3 (14... Qc4 15. Rb1) 15. Qe2! Bc7 16. Rb1) 13. d4 Bg7 14. O-O Ne7 15. Ne2 Nf5

 

8... Bd7

Alternatives have tended to favor White, though the untested 8...Nge7 should be about equal.

a) 8... Nge7 9. exf6 Bxf6 10. bxc5 Qa5 11. Rb1 O-O 12. O-O a6 13. Bxc6 Nxc6 14. Ne2 Qxc5+ 15. d4=

b) 8... cxb4 9. axb4 (9. Bxc6+ bxc6 10. axb4 Qb6?! 11. Na4!) 9... Nge7 10. Bxc6+ Nxc6 11. b5 Na5 12. d3 fxe5 13. fxe5 O-O 14. O-O a6 15. Qe1 b6 16. Ne2 axb5 17. Bg5 Qd7 18. Qh4 Bulgarini,M (2355)-Cardozo,C (2406)/ICCF 2002

c) 8... Qb6?! 9. Qe2 cxb4? 10. Nxd5! Qd8 (10... exd5 11. exf6+ Kf7 12. fxg7 Kxg7 13. Bb2+) 11. Nxb4 Bd7 12. Nxc6 bxc6 13. Bc4 Ne7 14. O-O Nd5 15. g3 O-O 16. a4 Qa5 17. Ba3 Rfe8 18. Bd6 f5 19. Rfb1 Bf8 20. Bxf8 Rxf8 21. Nd4 Qc5 22. c3 g5 23. fxg5 f4 24. Bd3 Rf7 25. Rf1 Raf8 26. Qh5?! (26. Be4!) 26... Rg7? (26... Nxc3!) 27. Kh1 Qe7 28. Nf3 c5 29. c4 Nb4 30. Be4 fxg3 31. hxg3 Bc6 32. Bxc6 Nxc6 33. Rae1 Rf5 34. Kg2 Qd7 35. Re4 Rgf7 36. Rf4 Ne7 37. Nh4? Rxf4 38. gxf4 Qxd2+ 39. Rf2 Qd3 40. Qf3?! (40. Qg4) 40... Qxc4 41. Qa8+ Kg7 42. Qxa7?? Ng6! 0-1 Gallegos,P-Awate,A/Palo Alto 1991.

 

9. Qe2 Nge7 10. bxc5

10. exf6 Bxf6 11. bxc5=

 

10... fxe5 11. fxe5 O-O










12. d4?

12. O-O is White's third and final opportunity: 12... d4! 13. Ne4 Nxe5 14. Nxe5 Rxf1+ 15. Qxf1 Bxe5 16. Ng5 Nf5 17. Bxd7 Qxd7 18. Bb2 Qd5 19. Qf3 Re8 (19... Qxc5?? 20. Qxb7) 20. Qxd5=

 

12... Rxf3! 13. Qxf3 Nxd4 14. Qd3 Nxb5 15. Nxb5










15... Qa5+ 16. Nc3 Bb5!

A surprising move, and effective too!

 

17. Qh3

17. Qxb5? Qxc3+ 18. Ke2 Qxe5+!

 

17... d4 18. Qxe6+ Kh8 19. Bd2 dxc3 20. Bg5 Nf5

20... Qa4! 21. Bxe7? Qe4+

 

21. Bf6 Re8 22. Qf7 Qa4! 23. Kd1 Ne3+ 24. Ke1 Nxc2+ 25. Kf2 Qf4+ 26. Kg1 Qe3# 0-1 [Michael Goeller]


Game Two

Igor Glek (2543) - Daniel Stellwagen (2639) [B23]

Bundesliga 2007-2008, Wattenscheid GER (1) 2007


1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. a3 e6 6. b4 b6

A typical GM decision: Black supports his c-pawn, refusing to give way in the center and weaken his dark squares.

 

7. e5!

7. bxc5?! bxc5 8. e5 d6 9. Bb5 Nge7 10. Bb2 (10. Ne4 dxe5 11. fxe5 O-O 12. Nf6+ Kh8 13. Bb2 Rb8!) 10... O-O 11. Ne4 dxe5 12. Bxc6 Nxc6 13. fxe5 Rb8! 14. Bc3 Qd5 15. Nf6+! Bxf6 16. exf6 e5! 17. d3 Nd4 18. O-O Bg4 19. Qd2? ( 19. Bxd4! Bxf3 20. Rxf3 Qxd4+ 21. Kh1 Rb2! 22. Rc1 (22. Qd2? Rxc2!!) 22... Qc3) 19... Bxf3 20. Bxd4? ( 20. Qh6! Nf5 21. Qc1! c4 (21... Be2? 22. Rxf5!) (21... Bxg2?! 22. Rxf5 Bh1 23. Qg5) (21... Rb6 22. Rxf3 Rxf6 23. Qg5 Qd6 24. Raf1) (21... Nd4 22. Qh6=) 22. Rxf3 cxd3 23. Rxf5! d2!! 24. Bxd2 gxf5 25. Bh6 f4! 26. Bxf8 Rxf8) 20... Qxd4+ 21. Kh1 Bxg2+ (Or 21... e4 22. Qh6 Qxf6 23. dxe4 Bxg2+ 24. Kxg2 Qc3) 22. Kxg2 Rb6 23. Rae1 (23. Qh6 Rxf6!) 23... Qg4+ 24. Kh1 Qh4 25. Re4 Qh5 26. Qf2 Rfb8 27. Qxc5 Rxf6 28. Ree1? ( 28. Rxf6! Rb1+ 29. Kg2 Qg5+ 30. Kh3 Qxf6 31. Qxe5 and White "ha s excelent chances of holding despite the exposure of his king" notes DeFotis.) 28... Rxf1+ 29. Rxf1 Qe2 30. Kg1 Qg4+ 31. Kh1 Qe2 32. Kg1 Qg4+ 33. Kh1 Qd4 34. Qc6 Rd8 35. Rb1 Qd5+! 36. Qxd5 Rxd5 37. Rb4 a5 38. Rc4 Rd4 39. Rc5 e4 40. dxe4 Ra4 41. Kg2 Rxa3 42. c3 a4 43. Kf3 Ra2 44. h4 Rh2 45. Kg3 Rc2 46. h5? gxh5! 47. Kh4 a3 48. e5 Rc1 49. Ra5 Ra1! 50. Kg3 Kf8 51. Ra7 a2 52. Kg2 Ke8 53. c4 Kd8 54. c5 Kc8 55. c6 Kb8 56. c7+ Kc8 57. Kh2 h4! 58. Kg2 h3+! 59. Kh2 h6 60. Ra5 Kxc7 61. Ra6 Kb7 62. Ra3 Kc6 63. Ra5 Kd7 64. Ra6 Ke7 65. Ra5 Ke6 66. Ra6+ Kxe5 67. Ra5+ Kd4 68. Ra8 f5 69. Ra4+ Kc5 70. Ra5+ Kb6 71. Ra3 and resigns 0-1 Martinovsky-Colias, Chicago 1992.

 

7... Nge7

7... d6 8. Bb5 Nge7 9. Ne4! dxe5 10. fxe5 O-O 11. Nf6+! Kh8 (11... Bxf6?? 12. exf6 wins a piece.) 12. Bb2 Bb7 13. O-O (13. bxc5!? bxc5 14. O-O Nd5 15. Ne4!) 13... Nd5 14. Bxc6 Bxc6 15. Ng5?! ( 15. Qe1! Nxf6 (what else?) 16. exf6 Bh6 (16... Bxf6? 17. Bxf6+ Qxf6 18. Ne5) 17. Qh4! Bxd2 18. Ne5 Be3+ 19. Kh1 and White appears to have a tremendous attack: 19... Bb7 ( Black's only chance is to give up a piece to expose White's king with 19... Bxg2+ 20. Kxg2 Qd2+ 21. Kh1 Qxc2 22. Rae1! Bd2 23. Bc1! though White still wins.) 20. Rad1 Qe8 21. Nxg6+ fxg6 22. f7+ Bd4 23. Qf6+!! Bxf6 24. Bxf6#) 15... Nxf6 16. exf6 Bh6 17. Qg4 Qxd2 18. Bc1 Qc3 19. Nxf7+ Rxf7 20. Bxh6 Rxf6 21. Rxf6 Qxf6 (21... Qxa1+ 22. Rf1 Qd4+ 23. Qxd4+ cxd4 24. Rf7=) 22. Rf1 1/2-1/2 Fischer,M-Danschczyk,C/Bayern 1998, but White clearly missed an opportunity at move 15.

 

8. Ne4 O-O










8... cxb4 9. Nd6+ Kf8 10. axb4 (10. Ng5 f6 11. Ngf7 Qc7 12. Nxh8 fxe5 13. Nhf7 exf4) 10... Nf5 11. Ba3 Nxd6 12. b5 Ne7 13. Bxd6

 

9. c3!

In previous analysis, I had completely discounted this innovative idea from the fertile mind of GM Igor Glek, but closer analysis made me appreciate it. White plans d4 with a position resembling the Advance French, with a powerful dark square bind for White.

9. bxc5?! bxc5 10. Nxc5?! d6! 11. Nd3 Ba6

 

9... d5

9... f6! 10. b5 (10. d4 cxd4) 10... Na5 11. d4 Bb7 12. Bd3

 

10. Nf6+!

10. exd6?! Nd5 (10... Nf5) 11. Bb5 Nb8 12. O-O f5

 

10... Bxf6 11. exf6 Nf5 12. b5!?

12. g4! Nd6 13. g5 looks positionally more sound.

 

12... Na5 13. g4 Nd6 14. g5

I am intrigued by Glek's treatment of the position, which shows you the type of strange and enterprising ideas that White can try.

 

14... d4!? 15. cxd4 c4 16. a4

16. d3

 

16... Bb7 17. Bb2 Nf5 18. Bg2 Qc7 19. O-O

19. d5!?

 

19... Qxf4 20. Ne5? Qxg5 21. Qg4 Qxg4

21... Qxf6 22. Nd7

 

22. Nxg4 Rfd8 23. Rxf5!! gxf5

23... exf5? 24. Nh6+ Kf8 (24... Kh8 25. Nxf7+ Kg8 26. Nh6+!) 25. Ba3+ Ke8 26. Re1+ Be4 27. Bxe4 fxe4 28. Rxe4+ Kd7 29. Re7+ Kc8 30. Nxf7

 

24. Nh6+ Kf8 25. Kf2 Bxg2?!










26. Rg1! Ke8 27. Rxg2 e5

27... Nb3 28. Ke3!

 

28. Rg7! exd4

28... Kd7 29. Nxf7 Ke6 30. Nxd8+ Rxd8 31. dxe5

 

29. Ba3

29. Nxf7! Rd7 30. Ne5 Rxg7 31. fxg7 Ke7 32. Ba3+ Kf6 33. Bf8

 

29... Kd7 30. Nxf7 Rg8 31. Nh6+

31. Nd8+! Rxg7 32. fxg7 Rxd8 33. Bf8 c3 34. dxc3 dxc3 35. g8=Q c2 (35... Kc8 36. Qe6+ Kb8 37. Qxf5) 36. Qxh7+ Kc8 37. Bh6

 

31... Rxg7 32. fxg7 c3 33. dxc3

33. Bf8! c2 34. g8=Q c1=Q 35. Qd5+! Kc8 36. Qxa8+

 

33... dxc3 34. Ke2

34. Bf8! c2 35. g8=Q c1=Q 36. Qxh7+

 

34... c2










35. Kd2?

35. Kd3!!

 

35... Nc4+ 36. Kxc2 Nxa3+ 37. Kb3 Nb1 38. Kc2 Na3+ 39. Kb3 Nb1

and it appears that White lost on time before the draw by repetition. Such a hard break for Glek after his highly original and brilliantly conceived attack!

0-1

Game Three

urusov (2061) - anon (2050) [B23]

Club Owl21/Owl21.com 2009


1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6

In another game of mine with this line, Black's Queen also got into trouble after 2... g6 3. f4 Bg7 4. Nf3 e6 5. a3!? Ne7 6. b4 cxb4 7. axb4 d5 8. e5 O-O 9. d4 Qb6?! 10. Na4! Qxb4+?? 11. Bd2 and the Queen was lost.

 

3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. a3 e6 6. b4 cxb4?! 7. axb4 Nxb4? 8. Ba3 Nc6 9. Nb5 Qf6!?










9... Bf8 10. Bd6 Bxd6 11. Nxd6+ and though the position is quite complicated, White has a very strong initiative for the pawn.

 

10. e5

Fritz prefers 10. Nd6+! Kd8 (10... Kf8 11. e5 Qxf4 12. Nxc8+) 11. Ne5! Nh6 (11... Nxe5 12. fxe5 e.g. 12... Qf4 13. g3!) 12. Bb2

 

10... Qxf4 11. Nd6+

Easier is 11. Nc7+ Kd8 12. Nxa8 Nxe5 13. c3 b6 14. Be2 Bb7 15. O-O

 

11... Kd8 12. g3! Qg4

12... Qa4 13. Bc5 Qg4 14. Be2! and Black's Queen is in serious danger.

 

13. Nxf7+ Ke8 14. Nxh8

14. Nd6+! Kd8 15. Be2!

 

14... Nxe5 15. Nxe5?!

15. Be2! Nxf3+ 16. Bxf3 Qd4 17. c3

 

15... Qe4+ 16. Qe2 Qxe5

16... Qxh1 17. Nhf7 followed by Nd6+

 

17. Qxe5 Bxe5 18. O-O-O Bxh8 19. Bg2 d5 20. Rhe1 Bd7?

20... Kf7 forces White to play very well to get a winning edge, e.g.: 21. c4 dxc4 22. Re4 Bd7 23. Rxc4 Rc8 24. Rxc8 Bxc8 25. Bb2

 

21. Bxd5 Kf7 22. Rf1+ Nf6 23. Bxb7 Rb8 24. Bg2 Rb6 25. Bb2 Ke7 26. Bd4 Rd6? 27. Bc5 Ba4 28. Bxd6+ Kxd6 29. Rde1 Nd5 30. Rf8 1-0 [Michael Goeller]


Game Four

urusov - anon [B23]

Club Owl21/Owl21.com 2008


1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. a3 d6 6. Bc4 Nf6 7. O-O O-O 8. d3 Bd7 9. Qe1 a6 10. Qh4 b5 11. Ba2 b4 12. axb4 Nxb4 13. Bb3 Rb8 14. e5! dxe5 15. fxe5 Ng4 16. e6! Bxe6 17. Bxe6 fxe6 18. Qxg4 Nxc2 19. Rxa6 Bd4+ 20. Kh1 e5 21. Bh6 Rf7 22. Rxg6+!

The Rook enters the attack from a surprising angle!

 

22... hxg6 23. Qxg6+ Kh8 24. Qxf7 e4 25. Ng5

and mate is unavoidable.

1-0

Game Five

goeller - anon [B23]

ICC 3 0 u/Internet Chess Club 2006


1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. a3 d6 6. Bc4 e6 7. d3 Nge7 8. Ba2 Rb8 9. O-O b5 10. f5!? gxf5 11. Ng5 O-O

11... h6 12. Nxf7! Kxf7 13. Qh5+ Kg8 14. exf5

 

12. Qh5 h6 13. exf5 Nxf5 14. Rxf5! exf5 15. Nxf7 Rxf7 16. Bxf7+ Kf8 17. Ba2

17. Bd5! Ne5 18. Bxh6

 

17... Qe8! 18. Qh4 Qg6 19. Bf4 Bd7 20. Re1 Nd4?? 21. Kh1?

21. Qe7# would have been easier, of course!

 

21... Re8 22. Rxe8+ Bxe8 23. Qd8 Be5 24. Bxe5 dxe5 25. Nd5?! Qg5?

25... Nc6!

 

26. Qd6+ Kg7 27. Qe7+

Black forfeits on time

1-0

Game Six

E. Urquhart (2202) - D. Yeager (2335) [B23]

World Open/Philadelphia USA (9) 2008


1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. a3 a6

Canadian IM Lawrence Day developed the system that Urquhart uses, playing his Bishop to e2 even if Black did not play a6. For example: 5... d6 6. Be2 e6 7. O-O Nge7 8. Qe1 O-O (8... Nd4 9. Bd1!?) 9. d3 Rb8 (9... b6 10. Bd1 Qd7 11. Rb1 a5 12. Bd2 Ba6 13. Ne2 f5 14. e5!? dxe5 15. fxe5 Nxe5 16. Nf4 1-0 Day,L (2278)-Wells,P (2480)/London 2006 (41)) 10. Kh1 b5 11. Rb1 d5 12. Bd2 Bd7 13. b4! Preventing Black's b-pawn from pushing forward. 13... c4?! (13... cxb4 14. axb4 d4 15. Nd1 f5) 14. dxc4 dxc4 15. e5! White's dark-sq uare dominance is the hallmark of this line and one of the main reasons for the b4 advance. 15... Nf5 16. Ne4 Ncd4 17. Nxd4 Nxd4 18. Bc3 Bc6 19. Nd6 Nxe2 20. Qxe2 Qc7 21. Rbd1 Rfd8 22. Bd4 Bd5 23. Qe3 Qc6 24. Rf2 a6 25. Bc5 Bf8 26. Kg1 f5 27. h3 Rd7 28. Kh2 h5 29. Rfd2 Rg7 30. h4 Rc7 31. Qd4 Rd7 32. c3 Be7 33. Qf2 Bxd6 34. exd6 Rc8 35. Qd4 a5 36. Qe5 a4 37. Rxd5! The fastest way to make progress. 37... exd5 38. Rxd5 Kh7 39. Bd4 Rb7 40. Rc5 Qd7 41. Qf6 Re8 42. Re5! Qd8 (42... Rxe5? 43. fxe5!) 43. Rxb5! Rd7 44. Qxd8 Rexd8 45. Be5 Kg8 (45... Rc8 46. Rc5!) 46. Rc5 Kf7 47. Rxc4 Ke6 48. Rd4 Rc8 49. c4 Rb7 50. Kg1 Kd7 51. Kf2 Rb6 52. Ke3 Rbc6 53. Kd3 Rb6 54. Kc3 Rb7 55. Rd5 1-0 Day,L-Yoos,J/09 1996.

 

6. Be2!?

6. Bc4 Nh6!? 7. d3 O-O 8. O-O e6

 

6... d6 7. O-O e6 8. b4!? cxb4

Surrendering the center in this way seems to be always a mistake, even if it gains a pawn.

a) 8... Nxb4! 9. axb4 cxb4 10. d4 (10. e5 bxc3 11. dxc3 Ne7!?) 10... bxc3 11. Qe1 Ne7 12. Qxc3

b) 8... b6!? 9. Bb2 Bb7 (9... cxb4 10. axb4 Nxb4 11. Qb1) 10. e5!?

 

9. axb4 Nxb4 10. Ba3

10. e5!? d5 (10... Ne7 11. Ba3) 11. Nb5 Bf8 12. Nbd4

 

10... Ne7?!

10... Nc6 11. e5 (11. d4 b5 12. Bb2) 11... dxe5 12. Ne4 Bf8 13. fxe5 Nxe5 14. Nxe5 Qd4+ 15. Nf2 Qxe5 16. d4 Qc7 17. c4 Bxa3 18. Rxa3 and it is not clear if White has sufficient compesnation for two pawns.

 

11. Bxb4 Qb6+ 12. d4 Qxb4 13. Nb5! axb5

13... O-O?! 14. c3 Qb2 15. Rb1 Qa2 16. Nxd6

 

14. Rxa8 O-O 15. Qd3 Bd7 16. c3! Qc4 17. Rxf8+ Kxf8 18. Qxc4 bxc4 19. Bxc4

Black has absolutely no compensation for the Exchange and eventually must lose.

 

19... Bc6 20. Bd3 d5 21. e5 Ke8 22. Ra1 h6 23. Nd2 Kd7 24. Kf2 Kc7 25. Nb3 Bf8 26. g4 Bd7 27. Ke3 Nc6 28. h4 Be7 29. Rh1 b6 30. Rh2 Kd8 31. Nd2 Ke8 32. f5 exf5 33. gxf5 gxf5 34. Kf4 Nd8 35. Bxf5 Ne6+ 36. Ke3 Ng7 37. Bxd7+ Kxd7 38. Nf3 b5 39. Kf4 Ne6+ 40. Kg4 b4 41. cxb4 Bxb4 42. Rb2 Bc3 43. Rb7+ Ke8 44. Rb6 Kf8 45. Kf5 Ng7+ 46. Kf4 Ne6+ 47. Ke3! Ke7 48. Rb5 Ba1 49. Rxd5 f6 50. Ra5 Bc3 51. Ra7+ Kf8 52. exf6 Bb4 53. Ne5

1-0

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