Grand Prix Attack
Theme Song Background Music: To help absorb the information
Lets begin our understanding of the Grand Prix Attack.To understand the Grand Prix Attack fully, You must first understand what the Grand Prix Attack looks like? In truth the Grand Prix Attack has 2 Ideal positions which it can look like.
So lets show the 2 positions with just the white move's showing. What are white's 2 Ideal picture perfect position's?
The First Ideal Position is with Bc4.
The Second Ideal Position is with Bb5.
You may ask why does white have his bishop on either c4 or b5?? Very good question. The reason why is simple white wants that bishop out of the way.
He wants to play d3 and have the bishop outside of the pawn chain out of his way so that way when he does his king side attack's he can move pieces faster to the kingside
If whites LSB is on e2 instead of c4 or b5 than white can not
bring the knight from c3 to e2 to go the kingside.
I'll Show you an example's below.
In the above picture notice the yellow arrow's and squares. As you can see the knight has a way of traveling on e2 to find himself to the kingside. Once he arrives on one of the yellow highlighted squares the green arrows show his influence in the position. Alot of possible options for him. Which is why you want the bishop outside of the pawn chain.
Now lets show an example if the bishop does not go outside of the pawn chain.
In the above example we can see how the LSB is unhappy lol. Well maybe unhappy is an under statement. He seems more than unhappy. He is blocked in by alot of pieces and his influence is non-existent. We want the bishop outside of the pawn chain so we can have idea's of moving our pieces on the e2 square if needed and by having the bishop outside of the pawn chain it has better influence.
You may ask WHY c4 and b5 though? What is the Difference between the 2 bishop spots?
When the bishop is on c4 it puts pressure on f7 attacking the
kingside. In the Grand Prix Attack you usually have 2 ways of handling the position. In either a very attacking manner or in a positional manner. The way you play will depend on how your opponents plays against you.
The one downside of having the bishop on c4 is that the bishop can be attacked with center pawn pushes that black does. So some white players try to avoid their bishop being hit on c4 and play Bb5 with the idea of trading off their bishop for a knight or bishop. So now we have an idea of what the white position will look like.
Usually in Bc4 lines of the Grand Prix Attack what white will aim to do later on in the game will be to play moves like Qe1 with idea's of Qg3 or Qg4 getting the queen on the king side of the board. They will also try to play the move f5 with the full intention of attacking the black king and checkmating him on the king side.
Usually in Bb5 lines of the Grand Prix Attack what white will aim to do later on in the game will be to damage blacks pawn structure. (by ways of playing Bxc6). In this line white will try to aim his play on the queen side with long term idea of targetting blacks ruined pawn structure. Which allows white to be very versatile because it gives white's options of going for the king and switching idea's of going for the pawn's as well.
So now we know what white will do. How does black stop this? Well the Black sided players use to have trouble with this but than they came up with and idea.
Black sided player's said "Well if white is going to attack me on the side's. I'm going to counter attack in the center because the center is the area of the board that gives the most mobility."
The Black sided player's than agreed "Attacking the center will disrupt white's piece communication/coordination. In doing so it will make it impossible for white to checkmate the black king or target the ruined pawn's becuase white's forces will never be able to travel to the other side. In doing so it will scatter white's forces to the wind ultimately leaving them less cordinated and vunerable."
White can't checkmate the black king if he has no way of getting his pieces on to the kingside lol and he can't attack ruined pawns if he has no pieces on the queenside. That is the logic black is using here.
So now we see the full picture of what white wants to do and what black wants to do. Keep these Key Factor's in your mind as we begin our discussion. I will highlight them below so you can see how these factors become important in this line. Bascially the idea's of the Grand Prix Attack revolve around the 2 below idea's lol and you will see how strong players connect these idea's into the Grand Prix Attack which is really cool lol.
White wants to attack on the side's.
*Either attacking Blacks queenside ruined pawn's or Blacks kingside were blacks king is*
Black wants to counter attack in the middle.
*Making it hard for white to get his pieces to 1 side of the board or other*
The Grand Prix Attack has several move order's.The reason's why is becuase strong players try to be tricky. They want to play the Grand Prix Attack but they don't want their opponent to know right away that they actually are going for a Grand Prix Attack.
They are trying to hide their intentions to not reveal what they are doing right away. We have inside information we already know what they are trying to doing because I just told you.
So lets go over the different move order's of the Grand Prix Attack.
After the moves 1.e4 c5
The Different second move's white has tryed over the years to get into the Grand Prix Attack are:
The move 2.Bc4
I have actually already covered why that is a terrible move in other articles so what I will do is post the links to them on this article so you can read them later on why that move doesn't work.
2.Bc4 Fail Part 1 click Here.
2.Bc4 Fail Part 2 click Here.
The only thing I will add about why it doesn't work in getting into the Grand Prix Attack is becuase Black accomplishes his Key Factor. LOL You see I told you the Key Factor's of both white and black idea's will relate. Oh it gets better lets keep going.
After suffering some trouble with 2.Bc4.
Grand Prix Attack players created another move.
The move 2.f4
This move was a some what popular move many year's ago. However, I believe as the years have gone by this move has started to fall out of popularity. It has dropped out of popularity becuase of a novelty idea by black. Don't get me wrong some players still play it. However, Compared to how many players use to play it. It has suffered a huge decline.
You many wonder WHY? What is the novelty idea?
Well we know WHY becuase black sided players are like " WE SEE YOU WHITE" they get what white is doing. They are not fooled by this second attempt to do the same Grand Prix Attack plan.
So what the black sided player does is play the move 2...d5 or 2...e6 than d5 hitting the center right away them sick basters. I tell you its like you can't fool them black sided player's. Why can't they just be nice and play a passive move lol.
Remember the Key Factor?
Black wants to counter attack in the middle.
That is their Novelty Idea lol.
At move 2 black accomplishes that idea.
Now is this the end of the world! Should white break into cold wet's and resign here lol. NO! This position is still playable from both side's. I believe this position is probably equal. Chess databases and computer engines seem to agree.
In truth black can equalize in alot of lines in chess. If your opponent plays good chess they can usually get a equal position. I believe many players when they play this continuation with 2.f4. They have come to accept that black can get equality some what early. White player's bank on the fact that their knowledge over all about the line is better than their opponent's.
Now I'm trying to help you understand/show the Grand Prix Attack. When you look at the above diagram. Does it look like one of the 2 Ideal picture perfect position's of the Grand Prix Attack? No! In fact, It doesn't seem like its possible to even get into one of the Ideal position any more.
Which means you would have to abandon the Grand Prix Attack in this postion and play another line.
Grand Prix Attack players in this position are like "Oh no this is terrible how can I attack the black king with the Grand Prix if my opponent is attacking me in the center already gosh."
An the 2...d5 move by black has put white into a position where he has to make a decision. Does white play e5? Does white play a developing move? Does white take the d5 pawn? As you can see the move d5 by black ask's white a couple of questions.
Going back now:
The move 2.Bc4 by white simply isn't even playable. Terrible Move!
The move 2.f4 by white is playable but it has some issue's.
- Gives black equality early.
- You will have to deal with opponent's who play an early center strike.
- You will have to find another line to play to handle those early center striking line's.
Now these are some issues related to 2.f4 but again they are not the end of the world. The line is still playable and some player's love playing this line. So it comes down to a matter of preference and taste.
After realizing the move 2.Bc4 is not playable and the move 2.f4 has some issues.
Grand Prix Attack players created another move.
The move 2.Nc3
This move was created by very sneaky white player's lol. OH those's sneaky white player's. Their like HA HA black I'm playing a Closed Siclian. Do you see that? So now they are trying to trick the black sided player's. OH those tricky white players those swindlers, those con-artist, those sly foxes.
Those charlatans their not playing a Closed Sicilian they are trying to play the Grand Prix Attack. We know what they are doing, but the poor clueless black sided player doesn't. Oh my Gosh this is outrageous the nerve of these white player's. How can they get away with this?
Do you see by doing this black doesn't know what white is playing. Is white planning to play a fianchetteo line? Is white planning to play a delayed rossolimo kind of a line? Is white planning to play a transposition back into Open Sicilian?
Black has no idea at this point. Most black sided players might not be aware of what white is planning to do. So what they will do will be to play a move/line they feel comfortable with.
Those sneaky white sided players are waiting for a specific move to be played in order for them to pounce like a wild lion.
Depending on the move black plays will determine whether or not lol he get eating lol or survive's.
Lets look at the possible moves black can play here to figure out which one's white wants to see and which moves white doesn't want to see.
In the position below we can see blacks option's
As you can see black has 5 move's
White is basically waiting to see what black will do so they can pounce. We have the knowledge of what white will do but sadly those black sided players do not. So lets figure this out. Which moves do you think white wants to see and which moves do you think are better for black.
We know the Key Factor's for both side's.
We know what white's plan is.
So lets figure this out. I'll give you a *Hint*.
- e6 & a6 have been shown to give higher winning percentage's for the black sided player's.
- d6 has been shown to give higher winning percentage's for the white sided player's
- g6 & Nc6 have been shown to be some what equal-ish between both side's.
Lets go through the moves step by step 1 by 1
The move 2...e6
Why is this move favored percentage wise for the black side? Have you guessed it already? It helps support a d5 pawn push TA DA. Rememeber the Key Factor's. This e6 move helps accomplish blacks plan against the Grand Prix.
They want to counter attack the center and they can do so with this e6 move because it supports a d5 pawn push.
The move 2...a6
Well what does this a6 move do? It doesn't help a pawn push in the center? Why is this move so good?
Well do you rememeber the 2 Ideal picture perfect position's white is trying to achieve? White wants his bishop outside of the pawn chain to get it out of the way. If white plays Bc4 here to get it out of the way. Guess what happen's? Black will try to hit the bishop to push it back in the way making it hard for white to achieve this picture perfect set up.
Let me show you some example's of how this can happen.
In the above picture you can see how black wants to hit the bishop but black has to be very clearful on how he does so. He has to defend the f7 and d5 squares first with the move e6 before hitting the bishop. If he does not than a few tactical shot's can arise. I will show you how they look in the below picture.
One line white can play is Bd5 exploiting the fact black did not play e6 defending the d5 square.
Another line white can play is Bxf7 exploiting the fact black did not play e6 defending the f7 pawn.
These are some lines white can play if black doesn't play e6. However, if black is prepared and knows what he is doing he will play e6 and than white will suffer some issue's.
If you have looked at my other articles (2.Bc4 Fails articles). You will notice bascially this is very similar line. The only difference is in the articles I was showing from black side in this situation. I'm showing from the white side. Which I will say again this is not good lol for white. Its good for black so as white you do not want to play the Grand Prix Attack like this.
If your opponent plays 1 of the below move's my suggestion would be to avoid playing the Grand Prix Attack.
The move 2...e6
The move 2...a6
I believe you might do better if you transpose into another line against those 2 move's. I wouldn't play a Grand Prix Attack allowing yourself to get into a stressful position which might cause you a bunch of headache's lol. Stress kills lady's and gentlemen lol and if you end up dieing well you can't play chess if your a goner lol. I will show you a few alternative moves you can play against these 2 lines.
Check out the picture below. Possible alternative's.
Notice the green arrow's - You can try to get into a Closed Sicilian/Kings Indian Attack(KIA) type of position which is not that bad. I will admit I do love playing that position as white lol.
Notice the yellow arrow's - Bascially the idea with the yellow arrows is to try and tranpose into a Open Sicilian with Nf3 than d4 and its the Open Sicilian.
Some people don't like playing the Open Sicilian because they believe it is to theoretical. I will admit the Open Sicilian can be theoretical. However, most of the really really long theoretical lines involve the move 2...d6 being played(Sicilian Najdorf & Sicilian Dragon). In this case we are playing the Open Sicilian against 2...e6 only. So when you think about it. We are not on like a theory overload here.
Example against 2...e6 you can play Open Sicilian and against 2...d6 play the Grand Prix its in your favor to play the Grand Prix than.
I like playing the KIA against a6 and e6 than I would play probably Grand Prix against d6. So you see how you can try and reduce how much theory. You actually have to know. Last thing I will point out is about the above diagram is:
Notice the red arrow's - Nge2 bascially keeps white flexible. It gives you the option of g3 or d4. Its just another way of turning into the same lines lol. I actually like this little move in another line. I might show you. It has a wicked cool name.
I will give you a *Hint* on what the name of the line is called.
Do you know the name of this line now? I'll reveal the answer later on if you still can't get it.
(Hopefully the above picture helped you figure it out)
Ok moving on, I will show you this line later on. Let's make a stick note: Lady's and Gentlemen. We will have to go over this line when we talk about 2...Nc6.
The move 2...d6
Why is this move bad for black? The reason why is becuase black needs to counter attack in the center. If black plays d6 than he has wasted a move. Which means when he try's to play d5 later on like he will be forced to do. It would of come at the loss of a wasted tempo. Instead of moving the D pawn from d7 to d5 in 1 move he would of did d7 to d6 to d5 which comes in 2 move's.
Given white that extra move to capitalize and when your under serious attack that extra move can be the difference between survival or checkmate. Usually in very tactical attacking position's 1 move can be the difference. White usually does checkmate which is why this is got a higher winning percentage for white.
Now here is were the Magic happens Lady's and Gentlemen. Oh yeah every Grand Prix Attack player love's this position. Now is the time to unleash the Grand Prix Attack.
I would like to show you an example of one of my games. I played in this line. Was a very nice one for sure.
Isn't that Bloody amazing how we see that happening in front of our eye's. I will admit we both made some mistakes. However, It is a great example on how fast things can go bad for the Black sided player if they do not know what to do.
The move's 2...g6 & 2...Nc6
The reason I believe these 2 lines are equal-ish in ranking percentage wise is becuase you honestly don't know what black will play. Will black transpose into 1 of the a6 or e6 lines? Will black transpose into the d6 line? In a sense the moves g6 and Nc6 both leave some mystery in the black position. Do they know to counter attack in the center? Obviously I have given you information of what black should be doing but some players might not necessary know what they should be doing. Which means alot of players lose after these 2 moves. However, if they do know what they are doing they have the chance to win after these 2 moves and alot of players have won as well. The balance of win's vs lose's in these 2 position's have been equal in nature.
If white plays a Grand Prix Attack after these 2 possible's move's will black know the best responses? Obviously if you look at the diagram's I posted above the moves labeled in red will not help in their chances of winning as black. However, the moves in green or yellow offer black chances of winning.
During this Intermission lets go back to our Sticky Note:
Did you figure out the name of the line? If you did than.
If you didn't figure out the name of the line thats ok I'll tell you. The name of the line is called The Chameleon.
If you wish to learn more about Chameleon's click on the colored text below.
The Chameleon's ability to change color and rotate their eyes in real life make these creates very flexible. These unique lizard's panoramic sight allow them the ability to catch prey as well as avoid predator's. It truly is remarkable how different animal's in nature have influenced how we play chess.
Just like the Chameleon in real life this line is very flexible. It allow's white alot of option's. White can play moves like d4, g3, f4, and Ng3. I would go over these lines. However, this is the Grand Prix Attack show so we will have to cut the Chameleon short I'm afraid. The good news is at least you have an idea about the Chameleon. You can do some individual research on the line if you wish to dig deeper into the Chameleon.Very flexible line Indeed.
The move's 2...g6 & 2...Nc6
I call these 2 moves a Gamble because what black has done is put the ball back in whites court so to speak. White was banking on the hopes that black would show his hand and play a move so they can pounce like a lion or retreat into another line like a gazelle.
However, with these 2 moves black ultimately avoids showing their hand and ask white what he plans to do.
I showed an example of the a6 / e6 line's. Way above which shows how black can have a slight edge if white goes in for a Grand Prix Attack. Usually it is recommended for white to retreat or abandon his hope's of playing a Grand Prix and go into another line/system.
I showed an example of the d6 line. Way above which shows white having a slight edge which white will than pounce and go in for the kill with the Grand Prix attack.
However, in the case of Nc6 or g6 white has to make a choice. Bascially a Gamble is what he is doing. Should he risk going in for this Grand Prix Attack line or not. It's a gamble. He is Gambling with the hopes that black doesn't know what to do and will not play in the center and be more passive. Which when you
Gamble just like all Gambles sometimes they pay off big other times they pay off bad making the wins and loses rather even-ish in natural. So the question white is left with is. Should white go in for this line or not after these 2 moves.
I would like to demonstrate some examples on how white's Gamble can pay off and on how white's gamble doesn't pay off.
If Whites gamble pays off
It pays off usually becuase black played d6 wasting a move as explained before.
If Whites gamble doesn't pay off
It doesn't pay off for white becuase d5 comes in 1 go not 2 helping black counter attack faster. You can also notice the Difference in the queen position. White is 1 move later than in other variation.
After White has made this gamble of going into the Grand Prix Attack line. Black has a choice to make on which way he will continue.
No one can show you the hardships of the line as black you have to see them for yourself.
This is your last chance after this their is no turning back.
If you take the blue pill diagram the story ends you end up with an inferior position down a tempo checkmated.
If you take the red pill diagram you stay in wonderland with powerful center pawn pushes.
Rememeber All I'm offering is the truth nothing more.
Thank you very much for reading and stopping by. I hope you take the pill which is best suited for you.