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Fighting the Sicilian With The Grand Prix Attack
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Fighting the Sicilian With The Grand Prix Attack

RussBell
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The Grand Prix Attack (1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 - or 2.f4) is an aggressive, yet sound, opening for White against the Sicilian Defense.  White intends to play the game on his/her terms, avoiding Black's intentions of playing the myriad, heavily theory-laden, so-called Open Sicilian variations.  The Grand Prix Attack (GPA) typically features an early f4 by White, preparing a King-side attack.  This anti-Sicilian weapon is easier to learn compared to many other White responses to the Sicilian Defense, and is well suited for the fast time control games - bullet, blitz and rapid.

The following two games illustrate typical thematic attacking schemes for White in the GPA.  Note especially the opening-up of attacking lines, typically on the Kingside, when White employs all of his pieces in the attack and demolition of the Black King's defenses, so that the inevitable coup de grace may be delivered by the major pieces, Queen and rooks...

The following game illustrates the original, sharp Bc4 variation of the GPA.  Along with Mark Hebden, Julian Hodgson was a major contributor to the development of the theory of the GPA in the 1970's and 80's when they popularized the opening while successfully playing it on the English Chess Federation Grand Prix chess circuit in the UK during that period...

https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1885372

The following game illustrates the so-called "modern", positional Bb5 variation of the GPA.  In fact, on p.149 of his book "Starting Out: Sicilian GPA" (see * below), Gawain Jones, a foremost authority on the GPA, states "3.Bb5 is the best scoring line for White in the Grand Prix Attack."...

https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1475383

The two games above are also presented in the following ChessBase article....

https://en.chessbase.com/post/lawrence-trent-the-modern-grand-prix-attack

GM Hikaru Nakamura and IM Levy Rozman say Grand Prix Attack is "Legendary" (@32.12 of video)...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCVdrmKHdiI

Naka Demolishes the Sicilian with the Grand Prix - ChessPinoyTV (short)...

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/V1c-l9FB3AQ

How to WIN with the Grand Prix Attack! - GothamChess...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3NPgdOSGck

I Won 90% Games With This Opening [Grand Prix Attack] - Remote Chess Academy...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbA3t1NjEeE

Chess Openings: Learn to Play the Grand Prix Attack! - The Chess Giant...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ntqH1wrKZ4&ab_channel=TheChessGiant

Grand Prix Attack ⎸Sicilian Defense Theory - Hanging Pawns...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqJOyV9_Bms

Tutorial Overviews of the Grand Prix Attack...

https://chesstier.com/grand-prix-attack/

https://chesspathways.com/grand-prix-attack/

The Grand Prix Attack! - IM Lawrence Trent CHESS24...

https://www.ichess.net/blog/aggressive-anti-sicilian-systems-grand-prix-attack/

Playing the Grand Prix Attack Against the Sicilian - Chessable blog...

https://www.chessable.com/blog/grand-prix-attack/

Crush the Sicilian with 2.Nc3 - IM Eric Rosen....lots of good tricky-trappy stuff to know...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnm7yXtx6yw

Destroy the Sicilian With Nc3 and Bb5 - GM Moulthun Ly...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9BleXbPT24

Grand Prix Attack with Bb5 Theory - IM Zoran Ilic...

http://web.archive.org/web/20010124052300/www.insidechess.com/theoreticals/grandprix.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20010127131400/http://www.insidechess.com/theoreticals/grandprix2.html

Hikaru [Nakamura] Reveals His ENTIRE Grand Prix Preparation - GMHikaru...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDPCE2ogQk4

Magnus Carlsen beats former World Champion Topalov with the GPA - kingscrusher...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AokO3uIw95s

Combating the Grand Prix Attack - Black's Perspective.....ChessCoach Andras.....(White must also know this!)...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvozvU8P3GE

How to Deal With an Annoying Line in the Grand Prix Sicilian - IM Eric Rosen...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_LZxYxoT3M

Grand Prix Attack Bibliography - The Kenilworthian...

http://www.kenilworthchessclub.org/kenilworthian/2006/08/grand-prix-attack-bibliography-updated.html

http://kenilworthian.blogspot.com/2014/04/grand-prix-attack-b23-bibliography-2006.html

Grand Prix Attack Games...

https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chesscollection?cid=1004382

https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chesscollection?cid=1027165

The Killer Grand Prix Attack with GM Gawain Jones (game vs Artur Zarkaj, Kallithea GRE, 2008 @3:24 of video)...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzO6zmboft4

https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1511825

Miscellaneous Grand Prix Attack Content - The Bishop's Bounty...

https://bishopsbounty.blogspot.com/p/grand-prix-attack-mcdonnell-attack-b21.html

Some games from the book (see * below) "Starting Out: Sicilian Grand Prix Attack" by Gawain Jones...

https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chesscollection?cid=1031445

Books on Sicilian Grand Prix Attack

For those just starting out learning the Grand Prix Attack the first two books below, by Vincent Moret and Gawain Jones, stand out...

My First Chess Opening Repertoire for White by Vincent Moret...

Moret's book is a complete introductory opening repertoire for White based on 1.e4, covering Black's major replies.  In particular, for our purposes, his choice against the Sicilian Defense is the Grand Prix Attack.  The presentation and instruction on the GPA are outstanding.  Moret goes to lengths to explain, teach, the themes and plans for White, including not only WHAT to play, but also the detailed procedures for HOW to play against Black's typical responses.  I highly recommend this as a first book for learning the GPA - the instruction on the GPA alone is easily worth the price of the book.  See my review of the book (as 'RLBell") here.  The book is also available as a course on Chessable.

*Starting Out: Sicilian Grand Prix Attack by Gawain Jones...

Thorough, very instructive coverage of the Grand Prix Attack, written by a foremost authority on the GPA.  IMO it is the best introductory, stand-alone book on this opening.  This book is essential if you intend to play the GPA seriously, even if you also own Moret's book.  Also available in eBook format and in pdf format.

Some games from the book...

https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chesscollection?cid=1031445

Sicilian Grand Prix Attack by James Plaskett...

A good collection of instructive annotated GPA games.  Available in pdf format.

The Grand Prix Attack: Attacking Lines with f4 Against the Sicilian by Gary Lane...

Another good collection of annotated GPA games.  Available in pdf format.

The Grand Prix Attack by Evgeny Sveshnikov...

An interesting and relatively advanced book of deeply annotated GPA games.  Sveshnikov (after whom a well-known variation of the Sicilian Defense is named) is a recognized expert and long-time practitioner of the GPA, and a staunch proponent of the move 2.f4 (as opposed to 2.Nc3), the case for which he attempts to make via the majority of games featuring this move order in the book.

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As White against 1.e4 e5 - The Vienna Game & Gambit !

If you enjoy playing the Grand Prix Attack as White against the Sicilian Defense (1.e4 c5),  there is a good chance you might like playing the Vienna Game & Gambit as White against 1.e4 e5.

For an aggressive yet sound White response to 1.e4 e5 I suggest to check out my blog article...

Introduction To The Vienna Game & Gambit...

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell/introduction-to-the-vienna-game-gambit

In particular you will notice that White's first several moves in the Vienna Game & Gambit are the same as for the Grand Prix Attack (1.e4 / 2.Nc3, followed soon thereafter by f4).

While these openings are different by virtue of Black's first move, since White's first few moves are typically the same in both openings there is some commonality not only in the setup but also in the fact that for both openings White's intention is to launch a kingside attack, which is the point of the aggressive placement of the f4 pawn in both openings.

These similarities suggest that what one learns in terms of strategies and tactics from one opening may, in many situations, prove useful when playing the other opening as well.  The commonalities also imply that in terms of a 1.e4 opening repertoire for White it should be more productive and efficient to study these two openings than two totally dissimilar openings, with completely different pawn structures, strategies and tactics.  It is for all these reasons that I chose to create the articles on these two openings. 

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For more articles, resources on other chess topics, including recommended chess books, be sure to check out my Chess.com blog.

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