An egregious gambit in the Grivas

Sep 1, 2012, 9:27 AM |

Recently, I took part in a thematic tournament here at where everygame started with the Grivas Sicilian. For the uninitiated, the Grivas Sicilian starts with the moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Qb6, leading to the following position.

 The main points behind the Grivas Sicilian move 4...Qb6 is to pressure the Knight on d4 and force it back to a more passive square. Obstensibly, it pressures b2 and prevents White from maintaining the Knight with a move like Be3.


(See Diagramm) The Grivas Sicilian, named after (and by) the Greek GM Grivas, who christened this variation with a self-titled book ( Black Queen attacks the Nd4 and the pawn on b2.




Before the tournament started, I started to look at this line on my comp (Stockfish app on my iPhone), exploring some lines wondering wheter Be3 could indeed be played. In this post I'll present an introduction to some lines that makes Be3 look like it is playable, at least at fast time controls. Grivas devotes only a paragraph to this move in his book (which I don't own but got to take a peek at during a recent chess tourney), and I think he underestimates this line.

The Rook Sac and Black's Queen tour (the 6..Qxa1 7.Bd4 line)

The above shows the type of trouble and time loss Black can experience if he gets greedy. However, there above continuation is not all forced and there are acouple of Critical junctures.

The 7.Bc4 Line (Another try to trap the Queen)

Discretion is the better part of valor (6...Qb4)


This post was just an introduction to this line. In subsequent posts, I'll cover other options, as well as post some example games. Surprisingly, I could not find many master games that played both 5.Be3 and 6.Nxc6

Since Grivas named this opening variation after himself, and considering that I am also of Greek descent, I'd like to claim this as the Camenares Gambit (Doesn't every amatuer opening analyst dream of getting their name attached to a move, following in the footsteps of Captain Evans of gambit fame?). The anti-Grivas gambit works as well though, although I'm much less enthuastic about that name.