The Dragon vs. the Grand Prix

The best way to describe the Grand Prix attack is White’s attempt to apply the themes found in a King’s Gambit to the Sicilian. After 1.e4 c5 2.f4, White’s f-pawn temporarily blocks opening the f-file and in particular, access to the f7-square. White naturally tries to trade off this pawn, or sacrifice it, depending how aggressive he may be.

The Sicilian Dragon is common set up in the Sicilian. The thematic moves by Black are …g6, …Bg7, …Nf6, and …O-O, with a reasonably safe king. However, in the Grand Prix Black usually does not have enough time to play all these moves; White’s f-pawn can become a problem very quickly.

Let us look at some games and theory.

DRAGON vs. Grand Prix
1.e4 c5 2.f4 g6

1) 2.f4 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nf6 5.e5
2) 2.f4 g6 3.Nc3
3) 2.f4 g6 3.Nf3 Nc6
4) 2.f4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.Nc3 Nf6


DRAGON vs Grand Prix-1
2.f4 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nf6 5.e5

This variation shares much in common with a main line of Hyper-Accelerated Dragon (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nf6 5.e5.) But White’s pawn on f4 is a liability.

See the last game in this section.

Play this variation as White at your own risk.

IM Julian Hodgson-Lexy Ortega
Petrosian Memorial
Yerevan, 1986
1.e4 c5 2.f4 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nf6 5.e5 Nc6 6.Qd3 Ng8 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Nc3 d6 9.exd6 Nf6 10.O-O-O O-O 11.Nf3 Bf5 12.Qd2 Rc8 13.Bc5 Qa5 14.dxe7 Rfe8 15.Ba3 Nb4 16.Bxb4 Qxb4 17.Nd4 Rxe7 18.a3 Qb6 19.Bb5 Rec7 20.Rhe1 Rxc3 21.bxc3 Ne4 22.Nxf5 gxf5 23.Qd7 Qc5 24.Rd3 Bxc3 25.Ree3 Qxa3+ 26.Kd1 Qa1+ 27.Ke2 Qe1+ 28.Kf3 Qf2mate 0-1

Eduard Gorovykh (2118)-Andrey Dashko (2361)
Maikop Open, Apr. 2004
1.e4 c5 2.f4 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nf6 5.e5 Nc6 6.Qd3 Ng4 7.h3 Nh6 8.g4 Bg7 9.Nf3 O-O 10.Nc3 b5 11.Nxb5 Bb7 12.Be2
(Stronger is 12.Bg2.) 12…Nb4 13.Qb3 a5 14.a3 Na6 15.Be3 Be4 16.O-O Qc8 17.Nc3 Bb7 18.Rad1 d6 19.exd6 exd6 20.Nd5 Re8 21.Nb6 Nc5 22.Qc4 Nxg4 23.Nxc8 Nxe3 24.Nxd6 Nxc4 25.Bxc4 Re7 26.Ng5 Bxb2 27.f5 Kg7 28.Bxf7 Bf6 29.Ne6+ Nxe6 30.fxe6 Bc6 31.Rf4 Rd8 32.Rc4 (White missing 32.Nf5+! The game could have continued with 32…gxf5 33.Rxd8 Rxe6 34.Bxe6 Bxd8 35.Bxf5, and White obviously has the advantage.) 32…Rc7 33.Rd3 Be7 34.Ne8+ 1-0

Yuri Petrovich Guskov-Gerasimos Fournarakos
Nikea Open, 2004

1.e4 g6 2.f4 c5 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nf6 5.e5 Nc6 6.Qd3 (6.Qd1 is considered weaker.) 6…Ng8 (6…Nh5?! 7.Be2) 7.Bd2 Bg7 8.Bc3 f6 9.Nf3 Qc7 10.Nbd2 fxe5 11.Qc4 Qb8 12.O-O-O e6 13.fxe5 Nge7 14.Ne4 O-O 15.Nf6+ Bxf6 16.exf6 d5 17.Qh4 Nf5 18.Qg5 Nd6 19.Qh6 Rf7 20.Bd3 d4 21.Nxd4 Ne5 22.Nf3 Nxf3 23.gxf3 Qc7

24.Bxg6 1-0

N.N. (2221)-GM Julio Becerra (2610)
3 minute game
ICC, Mar. 24 2010

1.f4 g6 2.e4 c5 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nf6 5.e5 Nc6 6.Qd1 Ng8 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Bc4 Nh6 9.Be3 (White would love to castle here. But if he plays O-O, then that puts an end to his kingside expansion. So, he’s left with trying O-O-O. And that takes one more tempo that he can afford.) 9…O-O 10.Nc3 Ng4 11.Bg1 d6 12.h3 Nh6 13.exd6 exd6 14.Qd2 Re8+ 15.Be2 Nf5 16.O-O-O (16.g4 Bxc3 17.Qxc3 Rxe2+ 18.Kxe2 Ng3+) 16…Ng3 17.Rh2 Bxc3 0-1

DRAGON vs. Grand Prix-2
2.f4 g6 3.Nc3

This is a common line. And this variation has enough tactical play to interest any player.

If White play d2-d3, g2-g3, Bg2, f2-f4, Nf3, and O-O, the opening becomes the Big Clamp.

Hastings 1974/5, 1974
1.e4 g6 2.Nc3 Bg7 3.f4 c5 4.b3 d6 5.Bb2 Nf6 6.Bb5+ Nc6 7.Bxc6+ bxc6 8.Qe2 O-O 9.Nf3 Qa5 10.O-O-O Ba6 11.Qe1 c4 12.Kb1 cxb3 13.axb3 Rab8 14.d3 Nd7 15.Nd5 Qd8 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Qc3+ Kg8 18.Qxc6 Bb7 19.Qc4 Bxd5 20.Qxd5 Qc7 21.f5 Rb4 22.fxg6 hxg6 23.h4 Rc8 24.Rc1 Qc3 25.Ng5 e6 26.Qxd6 Rcb8 0-1

Escalante (1744)-R.C. Rice (1965)
Labate’s Active Chess, Jan. 2 1988
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 d6 4.Bb5 e5 5.Bxc6+ bxc6 6.Nf3 exf4 7.O-O g5 8.d4 d5 9.exd5 cxd5 10.Re1+ Be6

11.Rxe6+! fxe6 12.Ne5 Nf6 13.Qd3 Rc8 14.Qh3 cxd4 15.Qxe6+ Qe7 16.Qxc8+ Qd8 17.Qc6+ Nd7 18.Nxd5 Be7 19.Nc7+ 1-0

St. Petersburg Ch., 1993/4
[Goncharov, CCY 15/81]
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 Bg7 6.O-O e6 (6…Nf6!?) 7.d3 Nge7 8.Qe1 O-O 9.f5 Nd4 (9…exf5) 10.Nxd4 Bxd4+ 11.Kh1 f6 12.fxe6 Kg7 13.Qh4 h5 14.Ne2 d5 (14…Be5) 15.exd5 Nxd5? (15…Be5 16.Nf4 b5 17.Bb3 Bb7 18.c4 Re8 19.Bc2 +/-) 16.Nxd4 +- cxd4 17.Bxd5 Qxd5 18.e7 1-0

Attila Piroth-Rigo Janos
Hungary Team Ch., 1995
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 g6 3.f4 Bg7 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.d3 Rb8 6.g3 b5 7.Bg2 b4 8.Ne2 a5 9.O-O a4 10.d4 cxd4 11.Nexd4 Ba6 12.Re1 Na5 13.f5 Qb6 14.e5 Bb7 15.Kh1 Rc8 16.f6 Bf8 17.Ng5 Rc5 18.e6!

18…Bxg2+ (18…dxe6!? leads to another set of complex lines. The reader may want to spend time here to discover some of the beautiful lines.) 19.Kxg2 Qb7+ 20.Kg1 Rxg5 21.exd7+ Qxd7 22.Bxg5 h6 23.fxe7 Bg7 24.Nb5! [A fantastic move to end such an engaging game. But 24.Ng5! is a better (and more beautiful) move.] 1-0

Mark Van Schaardenburg-Walter Tonoli
Belgium Team Ch., 1997

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 g6 3.f4 Bg7 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bc4 e6 6.f5 Nge7 7.fxe6 dxe6 8.d3 O-O 9.Bf4 Na5 10.O-O Nxc4 11.dxc4 Qxd1 12.Raxd1 Bxc3 13.bxc3 b6 14.Ne5 f6 15.Bh6 Rf7 16.Rd8+ 1-0

Sam Turner-Megan Owens
South Wales Ch.
Caerleon, July 12 2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 g6 3.f4 Bg7 4.Bc4 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.O-O Nf6 7.d3 O-O 8.Qe1 e6 9.Qh4 Nh5 10.Qh3 d5 11.Bb3 dxe4 12.dxe4 Nd4 13.Nxd4 Bxd4+ 14.Kh1 a6 15.g4 Nf6 16.e5 b5 17.Qf3 Nxg4 18.Qxg4 Bb7+ 19.Rf3 Qh4 20.h3 Qxg4 21.hxg4 Bxf3+ 22.Kh2 c4 23.Nxb5 axb5 24.c3 cxb3 25.cxd4 Rxa2! 0-1

DRAGON vs. Grand Prix-3
2.f4 g6 3.Nf3 Nc6

This is the main line. White still has option of Bc4, but 4.Bb5 is more popular 4.Bb5 does a better job in disrupting Black’s development.

GM Bisguier-Casillas
Hartford, 1977
1.e4 c5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Nf3 g6 4.Bb5 Bg7 5.Bxc6 bxc6 6.d3 Nf6 7.Nc3 d6 8.O-O O-O 9.Qe1 Rb8 10.b3 Nh5!?
(10…Bg4!?) 11.f5 gxf5 12.Qh4 Nf6 (12…Bxc3? 13.Qxh5 Bxa1 14.Ng5 +-) 13.Bh6 Bxh6 14.Qxh6 e5 15.Ng5 Qe7 16.exf5 d5 17.Rae1 Bd7 18.Re3 Rb4 19.Rg3 1-0

Guillermo Malbran (2350)-Gerardo Cativelli (2235)
Najdorf Open
Buenos Aires, 1993
1.e4 c5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Nf3 g6 4.Bb5 Nf6 5.Bxc6 bxc6 6.d3 Bg7 7.O-O d6 8.Qe1 O-O 9.Qh4 Re8 10.f5 gxf5 11.Bh6 Bxh6 12.Qxh6 e5 13.Ng5 Qe7 14.exf5 Kh8 15.Nd2 1-0
(Black can’t stop 16.Ne4 with the idea of 17.Nxf6+.)

Andreas Gikas (2177)-Helmut Schmuck (2101)
Berlin Team Tournament, Oct. 5 2006
1.f4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.e4 g6 4.Bb5 Bg7 5.Bxc6 bxc6 6.d3 Nf6 7.c4 O-O 8.O-O d6 9.Nc3 Rb8 10.Qe1 Ne8 11.f5 gxf5 12.Qh4 fxe4 13.Ng5 h6 14.Ngxe4 f5 15.Bxh6 fxe4 16.Rxf8+ Bxf8 17.Bxf8 Nf6 18.Bxe7 Qxe7 19.Nxe4 Rxb2 20.Nxf6+ Kf7 21.Qh7+ Kf8 22.Qg8mate 1-0

DRAGON vs. Grand Prix-4
2.f4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.Nc3 Nf6

Here, with Black’s bishop already on g7, White can reasonably play .Bc4 as Black is more likely to castle kingside. These lines resemble more of the Dragon than the Grand Prix.

Y. Balashov-M. Tseitlin
USSR, 1969
1.e4 d6 2.Nc3 g6 3.f4 Bg7 4.Nf3 c5 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.d3 Nc6 7.O-O O-O 8.Qe1 Nd4 9.Bb3 Nxb3 10.axb3 Bd7 11.f5 gxf5 12.Qh4 Ne8 13.Ng5 h6 14.Nh3 fxe4 15.Bxh6 Bxh3 16.Nxe4 Qd7 17.Bxg7 Nxg7 18.gxh3 f6 19.Rae1 Rf7 20.Re2 Raf8 21.Rg2 d5

22.Rg6! dxe4 23.Rh6 Nh5 24.Qxh5 1-0

Bo Adler-M. Melander
Sweden Open
Hallsberg, 1975
1.e4 d6 2.f4 c5 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 g6 5.Bc4 Bg7 6.O-O O-O 7.d3 e6 8.Qe1 Nc6 9.f5 d5 10.Bb3 dxe4 11.dxe4 c4 12.Bxc4 exf5 13.e5 Re8 14.Kh1 Ng4 15.Bg5 Qa5 16.Nb5 Ngxe5 17.Bxf7+ Kxf7 18.Nd6+ Kf8 19.Nxe8 Qxe1 20.Raxe1 Nxf3 21.Rxf3 Ne5 22.Rfe3 Kxe8 23.Bf4 Kf7 24.Bxe5 Bh6 25.Rh3 Bd2 26.Rxh7+ 1-0

H.J. Plaskett-M.P. Varnham
SCCU Jr. Squad Ch., Apr.23 1977
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bc4 Nc6 6.O-O Nf6 7.d3 O-O 8.Qe1 a6 9.a4 Nd7 10.f5 Kh8 11.Qh4 Nde5 12.Ng5 h6 13.Nxf7+! Nxf7 14.fxg6 Nfe5 15.Bxh6 Nxg6 16.Qh5 Nce5 17.Bc1+ 1-0

N. Mitkov (2532)-J. Alvarez (2317)
Istanbul Ol.
Turkey, 2000
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.f4 Nc6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 Bg7 6.O-O Nf6 7.d3 O-O 8.Qe1 a6 9.f5 Na5 10.fxg6 hxg6 11.Bb3 Nxb3 12.axb3 Nh7 13.Qh4 e6 14.Bg5 f6 15.Bd2 f5 16.Qg3 e5 17.Nd5 f4 18.Qxg6 b6 19.Be1 Rf7 20.Bh4 Qf8 21.Nxb6 Raa7 22.Nxc8 1-0

E. Urquhart (2214)-Kim Nguyen
Montreal, July 20 2002
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.O-O O-O 7.d3 Nc6 8.Qe1 Bg4 9.Qh4 Nd4 10.Nxd4 cxd4 11.Nd5 Be6 12.f5 Bxd5 13.exd5 Rc8 14.Bg5 b5 15.Bb3 Qb6 16.Rae1 Rc7 17.fxg6 hxg6 18.Rf3 a5 19.Rh3 Rfc8 20.Bh6 Bh8 21.a4 bxa4 22.Bxa4 Qxb2

23.Bc1! 1-0

Stoma (2294)-Olszewski (2458)
DMP Ekstraliga
Karpacz, Poland, Sept. 9 2008
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.f4 Nc6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 Bg7 6.O-O Nf6 7.Qe1 O-O 8.e5?! dxe5 9.fxe5 Ng4 10.e6 fxe6 11.Bxe6+ Kh8 12.h3 Bxe6 13.Qxe6 Nge5 14.Ne2 c4 15.d3 Rf6 0-1

Henrique Nemeth Jr. (1896)-Juliana Luiza (1888)
Campeonato Paranaense Absoluto 2010
Campo Mourão, Brazil, Jan. 28 2011
1.e4 d6 2.f4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bc4 O-O 6.d3?!
(Not a good move if White intends to castle queenside as Black’s bishop has a more open diagonal.) 6…c5 7.h3 Nc6 8.Be3 Na5 9.Bb3 Nxb3 10.axb3 a6 11.Qd2 b5 12.g4 Bb7 13.g5 Nh5 14.Rg1 Qc8 15.O-O-O?! Bc6 16.Ne2 a5 17.Ng3 Nxg3 18.Rxg3 a4 19.bxa4 Rxa4 20.Qe1 Ra2 21.b3 Qa6 22.Kd2

22…Rxc2+! 0-1

V. Fedoseev (2506)-S. Solovjov (2394)
St. Petersburg, May 31 2011
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 g6 3.f4 Bg7 4.Nf3 d6 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.e5 dxe5 7.fxe5 Ng4 8.e6 fxe6 9.Ne4 O-O 10.Qe2 Nc6 11.Nxc5 Nb4 12.d4 Qd6 13.c3 Nd5 14.Ng5 e5 15.h3 Nf2 16.O-O exd4 17.Nge6 d3 18.Qe1 b6 19.Nxf8 Nxh3+ 20.gxh3 bxc5 21.Bg5 Kh8 22.Qh4 1-0

Patrick Borges De Paula (1836)-Sergio Santana Otano
Camp.Mineiro Classico 2016
São Sebastião do Paraíso, Brazil, Oct. 21 2016
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.f4 Nf6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 Bg7 6.O-O O-O 7.d3 Bg4 8.Qe1 Bxf3 9.Rxf3 Nc6 10.Rh3!? e5 11.f5 Nd4 12.Bg5 Qa5 13.Qh4 Nh5 14.fxg6 hxg6 15.g4 Ne6 16.gxh5 Nxg5 17.Qxg5 Qd8

18.Qxg6! Qf6 19.Rf1 Qxg6+ 20.hxg6 Bh8 21.Bxf7+ Rxf7 22.gxf7+ Kg7 [And now White wins with either 23.f8=Q+ Rxf8 24.Rg3+ Kh7 25.Rxf8 b6 26.Rh3+ or 23.Rg3+ Kf8! (only move to prolong the game.) 24.Rg8+ Ke7 25.Nd5+ +-.] 1-0

Henrique Nemeth Jr. (2014)-Dimitri Vinicius Da Si Ferraz (1800)
Regional Sul Brasileiro de Xadrez
Clube de Xadrez de Curitiba, Brazil, Apr. 14 2017
1.e4 c5 2.f4 d6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 g6 5.Bc4 Bg7 6.O-O O-O 7.d3 a6 8.a4 Nh5 9.Ng5 Bd7 10.f5 Nc6 11.fxg6 hxg6 12.Bxf7+ Kh8 13.Bxg6 Nf6 14.Nd5 Bg4 15.Qe1 Nd4 16.Qh4+ Bh5 17.Nxf6 exf6 18.Qxh5+ Kg8 19.Qh7mate 1-0

Juan Carlos Gonzalez Moreno (1555)-Jimena Perez Garcia (1624)
Tenerife Team Ch.
Canary Islands, Spain, Jan. 19 2019
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.f4 Nf6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 Bg7 6.O-O O-O 7.d3 Bg4 8.Qe1 Bxf3 9.Rxf3 Nc6 10.Rh3 Nd4 11.Qd1 Qd7 12.Ne2 Ng4 13.c3 Nxe2+ 14.Qxe2 b5 15.Bxb5 Qxb5 16.Qxg4 Bf6 17.f5 Rab8 18.Qf4 h5 19.fxg6 fxg6 20.Qh6 Kf7 21.Qh7+ Bg7??
(Black can, and should, play 21…Ke8. And while he still has some defending to do, he has not yet lost.) 22.Rf3+ Ke8 23.Qxg7 1-0

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