Sunday, October 02, 2005

Grand Prix Attack Bibliography

The Grand Prix Attack (with either 1.e4 c5 2.f4 or the improved 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4) had a period of strong GM interest in the 80’s and 90’s and continues to be one of the most popular anti-Sicilian lines at the club level. It took nearly a decade for effective Black plans to be developed and tested against it, and it is far from being “refuted” as some anti-anti-Sicilian books would have it. White’s play is perfectly logical and creates good chances of attack even against the most prepared opponents. White does, however, have to be prepared for transpositions to other lines depending on Black’s choices. For example, against 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 (3.Bb5!?) 3…e6 4.Nf3 Nge7 (4…a6!?), White does best to transpose either to the standard Closed Sicilian with 5.g3 and Bg2 or to go into an Open Sicilian with 5.d4! cxd4 6.Nxd4 Nxd4 7.Qxd4 Nc6 8.Qf2 because the standard plans of 5.Bb5?! a6! or 5.Bc4?! d5! are no longer good against this Black set-up. However, if White is prepared for these and other ideas, he is likely to get an interesting game and to keep the initiative.

The bibliography that follows is not complete and I welcome reader additions. I imagine there are a number of repertoire books on the Sicilian, for example, that offer at least one quick antidote for Black against this line, but these are not included here because I have not seen them generally.

Bangiev, Alexander. White Repertoire 1.e4. Chessbase CD 2003.
Offers a completely logical and coherent (if sometimes off-beat and risky) White repertoire with 1.e4 built around the Grand Prix Attack. Lines include the Vienna with f4, 2.Nc3 versus the Alekhine, the Grand Pix against the Pirc (1.e4 d6 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4!?), and even a line involving an early f4 against the Scandinavian! Highly recommended for anyone who wants to study these lines in depth and add some interesting weapons to the arsenal. The CD contains a large number of annotated games and text files plus databases.

Boersma, Paul and Viswanathan Anand. “Sicilian Defense, Grand Prix Attack.” NIC Yearbook 39 (1996): 42-47.
Focuses on White’s successful use of Bc4 against an early …d6 by Black. Anand annotates his game with Gelfand from Wijk aan Zee 1996 and some other games from the White perspective.

Davies, Nigel. “Beating the Grand Prix Attack.” The Chess Player’s Battle Manual. Batsford 2000. 94-114.
A bit more up-to-date and written for a more general audience than Gallagher’s Beating the Anti-Sicilians (see below) but covering much the same territory as that earlier book. Davies’s presentation is one of the most helpful for Black that I have seen and I highly recommend it, especially if you play the Dragon or Accelerated Dragon since his …g6-focused recommendations fit well with those systems. Davies gives move-by-move commentary with analysis, which is ideal for anyone below 2000 ELO.

Gallagher, Joe. “The Grand Prix Attack.” Beating the Anti-Sicilians. Batsford 1994. 27-42.
Gallagher's books are generally quite solid and this is no exception. He recommends the Tal Gambit (1.e4 c5 2.f4 d5! 3.exd5 Nf6) and then main lines with …g6 against 2.Nc3, including 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bc4 e6 6.f5 Nge7 or 5.Bb5 Nd4, offering games where Black wins. The analysis and games are good but a bit dated, not considering White’s best ideas.

Goeller, Michael. Goeller-Wojcio, Kenilworth Chess Club Championship 2005.

Hodgon,Julia and Lawrence Day. Edited by Eric Schiller. The Grand Prix Attack: f4 against the Sicilian. Collier / Macmillan 1985.
A short book (under 100 pages) that had a big influence on the use of the line by top players during the late 80s and early 90s.

Ilic, Zoran. “Sicilian Defense Grand Prix Attack with f4 and Bb5.” Part One and Part Two. Inside Chess Online (available in the Web Archives)
This has got to be the best analysis anywhere in print of this important positional line in the Grand Prix, where White plays Bb5 with the intention of doubling Black's c-pawns rather than the more provocative Bc4 (which is questionable against most e6 lines for Black). Be sure to see both parts. It's a pleasure to find articles like this one free on the web or buried like treasure, as this one is, in the archives.

Lane, Gary. The Grand Prix Attack: Attacking Lines with f4 Against the Sicilian. Batsford 1997. A useful reference book that lays out all of the lines in clear fashion. But it is really a data-dump of a book with lots of unanalyzed games and variations.

_______. Opening Lanes #60
Offers a number of games with the Grand Prix Attack, focused mainly on the question of when White can play Bc4 and when not.

_______. Opening Lanes #65
Discusses the famous Saidy-Fischer encounter that many take as the inspiration for the Grand Prix Attack.

_______. Opening Lanes #06: Grand Prix Crash
Discusses the sharp 1.e4 c5 2.f4 e5!?

Langeweg, Kick with GM notes. “Grand Prix Attack.” NIC Yearbook 25 (1992)

_______. “Grand Prix Attack.” NIC Yearbook 31 (1994)
Focuses on …e6 lines.

_______, notes by Morozevich. “Grand Prix Attack.” NIC Yearbook 60 (2001)
Focuses on ...g6 lines.

Michel , David. Turner-Dowling, Ohio Open 2003
The game transposes from a Grand Prix to a Closed Sicilian in response to Black's ...a6, ...b5, ...Bb7 defense.

Plaskett, James. Sicilian Grand Prix Attack. Everyman 2000.
Plaskett’s complete game format has both strengths and weaknesses. The chief weakness is that it allows the analyst to skip many lines or give them scanty coverage. The advantage in the case of Plaskett is that he looks at some interesting and innovative games that might not typically make it into theory. Overall, this book is less complete than Gary Lane’s but sometimes more helpful in offering explanations.

Regis, David. Playing f4 against the Sicilian: Grand Prix Attack
From the Exeter Chess Club site, this article makes for a good introduction to this system for beginners and club players.

Ree, Hans. "Menashe." Chess Café Archive. January 2005.
Discusses a game by the late Menash Godberg featuring a successful use of Bc4 and a3 in the Grand Prix.

Rogozenko, Dorian. Anti-Sicilians: A Guide for Black. Gambit 2003.
The latest anti-anti-Sicilian entry, which I have not yet seen.

Scherbakov, Ruslan. “Nakamura’s Obscure Sicilian.” NIC Yearbook 74 (2005)

Schiller, Eric. White to Play 1.e4 and Win. Chess Digest 1992.
Recommends the Grand Prix against both the Sicilian and the Pirc (1.e4 d6 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4!?). Schiller’s analysis cannot be trusted, but he constructs a useful repertoire.

Silman, Jeremy. Tal Gambit Declined.
Message: 1.e4 c5 2.f4 d5! 3.e5?!? is not a good idea.

Smith, Ken. Grand Prix Attack: Attacking the Sicilian Defense with 2 f4. 2nd edition. Chess Digest 1995.
Out of print, rare, and completely worthless. Simply contains lots of games with relatively few notes and none worth reading.

Weeramantry, Sunil and Ed Eusebi. Best Lessons of a Chess Coach. David McKay / Random House 1994. 196-215. Offers very in-depth analysis of the game Weeramantry-Goldberg, New York 1991, which features an early …e6 by Black. Probably the most helpful piece for a beginner or class-player who wants to adopt the Grand Prix as White.

Yermolinsky, Alex. “The Once-Feared Grand Prix Attack Rings Hollow.” The Road to Chess Improvement. Gambit 2000. 113-126.
Yermolinsky’s supposed “refutation” amounts to recommending 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 e6 4.Nf3 Nge7 5.Bb5?! a6! (better 5.d4!) or 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bb5 Nd4 to avoid the annoying doubled pawns at c6. Overall, I like this book a lot and recommend it. If you play Scheveningen-like Sicilian systems with ...e6, this is a must-have book because other chapters cover that system.


Anonymous Tim said...


Thanks very much for this bibliography. I hadn't been aware of the Ilic articles, which are excellent. There are a few typos (Hodgson, Julian, Goldberg) that you might want to correct, but they don't affect its utility.

Readers thinking of using Gallagher's book should be aware that his coverage of 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bb5 Nd4 is rather light on alternatives to 6.Nxd4 -- which is clearly not White's best move in the position.

An interesting side-note for players who are struggling to find a good reply to the English Opening for Black; a Grand Prix reversed is quite reasonable, since with his extra tempo White often plays an early d3, permitting the pin and swap on c3. The one thing you should know is that after 1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 f5 4.Bg2 Nf6 5.e3 Black should abandon the plan of ...Bb4 and play 5...d5! 6.cxd5 Nb4! when he has pretty much equalized already thanks to the weakness of White's light squares. The line bears a little study, but with that done Black should not fear fianchetto lines of the English any more.

Mon Nov 28, 12:15:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Harry said...


Thx for the biblio ... I am in the process of (re-)adopting the Grand Prix and your list is a welcome tool before investing. Also, didn't realize that that GREAT Urusov site was yours. Fabulous. I am also trying to play classical 1.e4 gambit lines as part of my repertoire and your site is so cool. Thirdly, kudos for the blog. As you can see from my never-updated and not-complete website, I might have to go back to a simple blog to make anything happen.

Good chess fortune to you.

Mon Feb 06, 04:13:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Dennis Breuker said...

The David Regis links is outdated. The new link is

Fri Feb 17, 09:54:00 AM EST  
Anonymous mrcowsy said...

Romans DVD is a great intro into
the ideas behind Bb5 with some coverage
of alternative black systems.

Tue Apr 25, 05:48:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Michael Goeller said...

There is now an updated version of this bibliography.

Sat Oct 07, 07:59:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous THX said...

Hello, I just wanted to say that... Good job, thank you!

Fri Apr 27, 04:51:00 PM EDT  

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