Sicilian Grand Prix Attack Chess Opening

Chess Openings / By Andrew Hercules

The Sicilian Grand Prix Attack chess opening begins with the moves: 1.e4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3.f4

White prepares to play in a similar manner to the f4 lines of the Closed Sicilian, the major difference being that White will be looking to develop his fl-bishop more actively on c4 or b5. The Grand Prix isvmore popular (and perhaps more powerful) when Black has already committed himself with 2…d6

White can also play an immediate 2.f4, but then Black has the extra option of 2…d5.

Mainline Grand Prix Attack

1.e4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 g6

Black has various ways to play but the kingside fianchetto is the most common.

4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bb5

Black plays …Nd4 Putting pressure on the c6-knight and preparing to castle. White may intend to capture on c6 to give Black doubled c-pawns. The main alternative is 5.Bc4, bearing down on the f7-square. However, Black can blunt this attack with 5…e6 preparing to kick the bishop away with …d7-d5.

The main line is very complex: 6.f5!? Nge7 (Black ignores the pawn offer as he doesn’t want to ruin his structure) 7.fxe6 fxe6 (7…dxe6 is safe and solid if Black is looking for an easy life) 8.d3 d5 9.Bb3 b5 10.exd5 exd5 11.0-0 (11.Nxb5 Qa5+ 12.Nc3 c4! is good for Black) 11…c4 12.dxc4 dxc4 13.Qxd8+ Nxd8 14.Nxb5 cxb3 15.Nc7+ Kd7 16.Nxa8 bxc2 with massive complications.

5…Nd4!

The main response. Black hops his knight into the central outpost and prevents an exchange on c6.

Strategies In The Grand Prix Attack

White has several possibilities in this position. He can move his bishop, support it with a2-a4, exchange on d4 or simply castle. Black needs to complete development on the kingside and would like to play …d7-d6 and …Nf6, but this can only be done after the bishop is removed from b5.

Theory: The Grand Prix Attack is quite popular at club level but less so at international level, so there’s not a vast amount of theory which has been established and there is certainly scope for introducing new ideas.

Statistics: In over 7,000 games in Mega Database, White scored poorly with 49%, but on this occasion black players were significantly higher rated on average.

Andrew Hercules

Hercules Chess, launched in 2020, is a website that teaches you about chess. We started as a chess blog and became a chess training platform in early 2022.

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