Aggressive Anti-Sicilian Systems: The Grand Prix Attack
The Sicilian Defense is notoriously theoretical and 1…c5 players are normally ready to face the main lines after 2.Nf3 and 3.d4. It makes sense, therefore, to take these players out of their comfort-zone with one of the anti-Sicilian systems.
In this video – a free preview of Sneaky Anti-Sicilians – IM Lawrence Trent shows how to play the most aggressive of the anti-Sicilian systems, the Grand Prix Attack.
This opening got its name from the considerable success it brought GMs Hebden, Hodgson and FM Rumens in the English Grand Prix tournaments in the 70s and 80s.
The Grand Prix Attack is characterized by the moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4. White refuses to open the position early with the usual d4 and, instead, moves the f-pawn. This allows Black the use of the d4 square and he often seeks to strengthen his control of it by fianchettoing his Bishop on g7.
Now White has a choice to make: whether to develop his light-squared Bishop to c4 or b5. The one square makes a difference. If White plays Bc4, he’s eyeing f7, the well-known weak spot in Black’s position. By castling Kingside and opening the f-file, this pressure can be increased. Already, Black has to be careful. A normal …Nf6 is exposed by e5, pushing the Knight back to its original square.
It’s natural for Black to block the c4-f7 diagonal with …e6. This allows Black to move his Knight to e7 instead of f6 later on. However, it also introduces an aggressive possibility for White, f4-f5!?, a dangerous pawn sacrifice, opening lines.
One of the plus points of the Grand Prix Attack is Black often has to castle Kingside as it takes too long to move all the pieces between King and the a8 Rook. Then White can follow a simple attack plan: Qd1-e1-h4, f4-f5, Bc1-h6, exchange Bishops, Nf3-g5. It’s simple, yet dangerous.
Of course, Black can survive, but he needs to know what he’s doing and tread very carefully. That’s what makes this the best of the anti-Sicilian systems if you want to take your opponent out of book while keeping serious winning chances.
Enjoy this video and remember to check out the complete course here.