Attack of the Grand Prix Attacks

There were some different and exciting games at the HICC this week with the club championship in its 3rd week.  Juniors William Rumley and Oliver Pridmore played a very instructional 111 move epic in the faster division, while half the games played in the slower division were Grand Prix Attack Sicilians.


RUMLEY, William (668) - PRIDMORE, Oliver (251) [C02]

HICC Club Championships 2015 (Faster Division 60+3) HICC Clubrooms, 29.06.2015

1.e4 e6 2.d4 Nc6 3.Nf3 d5 4.e5 f6 5.Bb5 Bd7 6.Nc3 Bb4 7.Bd2 Nge7 8.exf6 gxf6 9.0–0 Bxc3 10.Bxc3 e5 11.Re1 e4 12.Nd2 a6 13.Be2 Rg8 14.g3 Nf5 15.Nb3 Qe7 16.Bf3 Nh4 17.Bh5+ Ng6 18.Bf3 0–0–0 19.Nc5 Qd6 20.Bg2 f5 21.Qe2 Rde8 (diagram below)

Position after 21. ... Rde8

After 21 moves the game has reached an equal position.  The players may not have played the most typical or theoretical moves, but they've both played principled solid chess and shown some tactical abilities.  I think even for a seasoned player at the club it would be difficult to find a plan here.  After a mistake by white, black gets some opportunities for an advantage.

22.Bd2? Nxd4 23.Qd1 Nf3+

23...Qxc5! 24.Be3 Nf3+ 25.Bxf3 Qd6 26.Bg2 on the surface it looks like this variation isn't much better than the game continuation; black is up a pawn, but the central pawn storm and kingside attack is very difficult for white to deal with. 26. ... f4 27.Bc1

Position after sideline 29. ... Ref8

  • 27.gxf4?? Nh4–+
  • 27.Bxf4 Nxf4 28.gxf4 Qg6–+

27. ... Nh4!

  • 27. ... f3 28.Bf1 d4


  • 28.gxh4?? Qg6

28. ... Nxg2 29.Kxg2 Ref8 (diagram right) materially white is only a pawn down, but he has to survive the pressure, and then hold the end game just to save half a point!

24.Bxf3 exf3 25.Nxd7 Rxe1+ 26.Bxe1 Qxd7 27.Qxf3

with the recent exchanges, the game has once again taken a turn for the equal.  White regained the lost pawn, and can argue for a symbolic edge as having the bishop in a dynamic structure and one less pawn island to control.

27...Nh4 28.Qf4 Ng6 29.Qb4 Qd6 

29...f4! liquidates one of blacks weak pawns while creating 1 or 2 of whites own.

Position after 33. fxg3

30.Qxd6 cxd6 31.Rd1 f4

a good plan, but less effective now.  31. ... Ne7 holds the weak pawn, but blacks structural difficulties will be the end of him.

32.Rxd5 fxg3 33.fxg3 (diagram left)

White is now a clear pawn ahead with the bishop, but is it as simple as that?

33. ... Kc7 34.Bb4 Rd8 35.Rh5 Nf8 36.Rf5 b6 37.Rf3 a5 38.Bc3 Ne6 39.Rf6 Ng5 40.Bd4 Re8 41.Bc3 Re2 42.Rf5 Ne6 43.Rf7+ Kc6 44.Rxh7 Rxc2 (diagram below)

Position after 44. ... Rxc2


After some shuffling, white is still up a clear pawn but more importantly has 2 connected passed pawns.  A clear plan from here would be to exchange rooks and roll the pawns through.

45.Rh6 Rc1+ 46.Kg2 Nc5 47.Be5 Rc2+ 48.Kh3 Ne4 49.Bf4 Rxb2 50.Be3 Rxa2

Things have gone seriously amiss for white.  In trying to win the isolated d pawn he's lost both his a and b pawns and now blacks passed pawn count has gone from 1 to 3!

51.Rh8 a4 52.Rb8 Nf2+ 53.Kh4 Rb2 54.Ra8 b5 55.Ra6+ Kd5 56.Rb6 a3 57.Ra6 b4 58.Ra5+ Kc4 59.h3 a2 60.g4 Kb3 61.g5 Rb1 62.Bd4 Ne4 63.g6 Nc3 64.Bxc3 bxc3 65.g7 Rg1 66.Rg5

Position after 66. Rg5

this could almost be the beginning of and endgame study! (diagram right)

66. ... a1Q

the best move in this position is 66...Rxg5 forcing 67.Kxg5 a1Q

  • equally as good is 67. ... Kb2 getting out of the queening with check 68.g8Q a1Q 69.Qb8+ Kc2 70.Qxd6

68.g8Q+ Kb2 69.Qb8+ Kc2 70.Qxd6

67.g8Q+ Kb2 68.Qb8+?

68.Rxg1 wins for white.  66. ... Rxg5 avoids this tactic and keeps the initiative in blacks favour.

Position after 70. Qxd6

68. ... Kc2 69.Rxg1 Qxg1 70.Qxd6 (diagram left)

this is potentially the starting point of another endgame study.  What's happening in this position, is it drawn or a win for one side? 

A computer engine will tell you it's 100% winning for black, and intuitively we can see that black is better.  Why? Well the position of the kings, and position of the remaining pawns.  White's king is cut off, blacks king isn't, white's pawn is 5 moves away from queening, blacks is only 2.  So in any scenario where a queen exchange occurs black will queen first and win easily. 

But how does black put away the point?

Position after sideline 70. ... Qe1+

70. ... Kb2?

This is not a good start.  Blacks king was sheltered behind the c pawn away from checks, nowt it is exposed, and 71. Qb4+ should lead to a draw.

70. ... Qe1+!! This is the move, and something all the juniors can learn from. We've already talked about what happens if the queens are exchanged, well this check exchanges queens by force.  There are 4 ways to get out of check, all of them lead to a queen exchange.

  • 71.Qg3 Qxg3+ 72.Kxg3
  • 71.Kg5 Qd2+ 72.Qxd2+ Kxd2
  • 71.Kh5 Qd1+ 72.Qxd1+ Kxd1
  • 71.Kg4 Qd1+ 72.Qxd1+ Kxd1


black cannot do much in the face of whites checks, and in some certain circumstances stalemate tricks!  If white can deliver check on g6 the resulting queen capture will stalemate the white king.

Position after 87.Qxc3

71. ... Kc2 72.Qe4+ Kc1 73.Qf4+ Kb1 74.Qe4+ Kb2 75.Qb4+ Kc2 76.Qa4+ Kd3 77.Qa6+ Kd2 78.Qd6+ Kc1 79.Qf4+ Kb1 80.Qb4+ Kc2 81.Qe4+ Kb3 82.Qe6+ Kb4 83.Qe4+ Kb5 84.Qe8+ Kc4 85.Qf7+ Kb5 86.Qb3+ Ka6 87.Qxc3 (diagram left)

after a lengthy barrage of checks white has claimed the last black pawn.  This is now a very theoretical position which should end in a draw, but if the queens come off and blacks king is not close enough to the queening square, then it will be whites turn to win.

87. ... Qf2+ 88.Qg3 Qf6+ 89.Qg5 Qh8+ 90.Qh5 Qxh5+??

The fatal blunder.  Whites pawn queens and white wins.  Black would have done better to keep checking on the dark squares and obtained a draw by repitition.

Position after 91. Kxh5

90. ... Qf6+ 91.Qg5 Qf2+ 92.Qg3 Qf6+ 93.Qg5 3 fold repitition.

if whites king ever steps off the side of the board it only serves to give black more checking options. 91.Kg4 Qg7+ 92.Qg5 Qd4+ 93.Qf4 Qg1+ 94.Kf5 Qb1+ and so on.

91.Kxh5 (diagram right) Kb6 92.Kg6 Kc7 93.h4 Kd7 94.h5 Ke8 95.Kg7 Ke7 96.h6 Ke6 97.h7 Kf5 98.h8Q Kg5 99.Qh3 Kf4 100.Qh5 Ke4 101.Kf6 Kd4 102.Qf5 Ke3 103.Ke5 Kd2 104.Qf3 Kc2 105.Qe3 Kb2 106.Qd3 Kc1 107.Qe2 Kb1 108.Qd2 Ka1 109.Kd4 Kb1 110.Kc3 Ka1 111.Qb2#  1–0




LITTLE, Ian (1462) - ROLPH, David (1678) [B23]

HICC Club Championship 2015 HICC Clubrooms, 29.06.2015

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.f4? e6

4...Nxe4! This seems to lead to a standard "fork" variation as seen in certain variaions of the Italian game, but with the f pawn moved, the resulting centralised queen is decisive for black. 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Bxd5 Qxd5 7.d3 f5 (diagram left)

5.Nf3 d6 6.0–0 Be7 7.Bb5?!

If white was going to make this move it should have been made on move 3, but in such a closed position white can get away with the wasted tempi.  However there is no doubt black has now equalised.

7. ... 0–0 8.Bxc6 bxc6 9.d3 d5 10.e5 Nd7 11.Qe1 Rb8 12.Rb1 Ba6 13.Ne2 Qc7

Position after 14. ... f5

13. ... c4 14.d4 c3 15.b3 Qa5 16.Rf2 Bxe2

  • 16. ... Qxa2 17.Nxc3 Qa5 18.Bb2 and white stands better.

17.Rxe2 Qxa2 18.Be3 Qa5 19.Ra1 Qb4 20.Rxa7 and white holds an advantage.

14.Qg3 f5 (diagram right)

14. ... c4 works much better now 15.Rd1

  • 15.d4? c3

15. ... cxd3 16.cxd3 and black has the advantage.

15.Ng5 Bxg5 16.fxg5!?

While objectively the position is equal, if white wants to play for a win this keeps some dynamism in the position.  The more solid Qxg5 doesn't offer much.

16...Qxe5 17.Bf4

Position after sideline 20. ... Rxb8

17.Qxe5 Nxe5 18.Bf4 Nf7 19.g6 hxg6 20.Bxb8 Rxb8 (diagram left) black has 2 pawns for the exchange, and it shouldn't be hard for him to hold a draw from this position; despite the poor structure.  This is because the open files are not easily dominated by whites rooks, and it will take time for white to manufacture a decent pawn break.

17. ... Qxe2 18.Bxb8

18.Rf2!? puts the question to the queen straight away.  Exchanging queens just loses an exchange for black.

18. ... Nxb8

Position after 20. Qd6

18...Rxb8 is no good for black 19.Qd6 Bc8 20.Rbe1 Qh5 21.Rxe6 Nf8 22.Re7 and white is clearly better.

19.Rf2 Qh5 20.Qd6 (diagram right)

With 2 pieces and a pawn for the rook Black is doing fine here materially.  However the knight and bishop are awkwardly placed and white has plans of regaining his material.

20. ... Qxg5

after a deep think black came to the conclusion he can't hold the d pawn satisfactorily; objectively black is doing very well, but is horribly behind on time.  After 20 moves each white has 61 minutes to black's 15.

21.Qxe6+ Kh8 22.Rbf1 g6

While the rooks are somewhat displaced on the f file the movement of the g pawn opens blacks king further.

22. ... Bc8 23.Rxf5 Bxe6 24.Rxg5 Rxf1+ 25.Kxf1 Nd7 is an interesting endgame which should have black come out on top, eventually.

Position after 27. Rb1

23.Qd6 Qf6 24.Qxc5 Re8

24. ... Rf7 Protects the pawn but gives up the e file.

25.Qxa7 Qxb2 26.Qc5 Qe5 27.Rb1 (diagram right)

attempting to make sure blacks minor pieces can't easily untangle.

27. ... Qe6

black has less than 1 minute on the clock to whites 58 and missed a better continuation in 27. ... Bb5! 28.a4

  • 28.c4 Na6 29.Qa7 dxc4 30.a4
    • 30.dxc4 Bxc4 31.Rc1 Qd5

30. ... Nc5 31.axb5 Nxd3 

28. ... Bxa4 29.Rb7 Na6 30.Qa7 Qe1+ 31.Rf1 Qe3+ 32.Qxe3 Rxe3 33.Ra7 Nc5

28.Qa7 Qd6??

Final position after 30. Rxb8+

a pure time blunder, on the surface this seems to hold the knight, but it gives white crushing counterplay.  28...Qd7 29.Qb6 and the game continues.


the trap is set with 20 seconds on the black clock.

29. ... Rxe2 30.Rxb8+

With one second on the clock black resigned; there is no defence to 30. ... Qxb8, 31. Qxb8+, and then the loss of the bishop through either 31. ... Bc8, 32. Qxc8+ or 31. ... Kg7, 32. Qa7+ forking the king and bishop.  While black will pick up the c pawn, there is no coming back.



NAGY, Alex (1379) - SHEPHERD, Chris (1070) [B21]

HICC Club Championships 2015 HICC Clubrooms, 29.06.2015

1.e4 c5 2.f4 g6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.c3

some variations more in keeping with the ideas behind f4 and the Grand Prix Attack are

  • 4.Bb5 a6
  • 4.Nc3 Bg7
  • 4.Bc4 d6

Position after 5. ... Bg7

4. ... Nf6 5.d3 Bg7 (diagram right)

with whites last 2 pawn moves he's blocked in his pieces and denied himself of the normal attacking chances provided by the Grand Prix Attack move f4.  The game now takes a more positional turn and white must uncoil somehow.  Black is at least equal if not better with his development advantage.

6.Be2 0–0 7.0–0 e6 8.h3 Qb6 9.Nbd2 d5 10.e5 Nh5 11.Ne1

11.Nb3 is another viable option as 11. ... c4+ is nothing to fear 12.Nbd4 cxd3

  • 12...Nxd4 13.Nxd4


Position after 14. ... Bh4

11. ... Ng3 12.Rf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf6 14.Kh2 Bh4

14. ... Nf5 with tactical threats like Bh4 and if Rf1 then Ne3 winning.


slightly more accurate was 15.Nef3 Nxe2

  • as in the game 15...Qd8 16.Nxh4 Nxe2 17.Rxe2 Qxh4 18.Nf3

16.Rxe2 Qc7 protecting the bishop in directly.

15. ... Qd8 16.Nxh4 Qxh4?

the complications produce a blunder, black now loses a piece.

Position after 16. ... Qxh4

Position after 16. ... Qxh4

16. ... Nxe2 17.Nxg6 White will come out with an advantage after either hxg6 or Nxc1, but black is still in the game.

The rest, they say, is a matter of technique.

17.Nf3 Qe7 18.Kxg3 e5 19.Kh2 exf4 20.d4 c4 21.b3 b5 22.a4 Rb8 23.axb5 cxb3 24.Ba3 Qe3 25.Qe1 Re8 26.bxc6 a5 27.Bb2 Ra8 28.c4 Ba6 29.Bc1 Qe4 30.Qd2 dxc4 31.Ng5 Qxc6 32.Qxf4 Rf8 33.Qg3 Rxf2 34.Qxf2 Qc7+ 35.Bf4 Qb6 36.Bf3 Rc8 37.Bd5+ 1-0