Sunday 14 August 2011

Chess Reviews: 182

Killer Grand Prix
With GM Gawain Jones
5 hours and 30 minutes
A production

Grandmaster Jones is undoubtedly one of the World's leading experts on the Grand Prix Attack against the Sicilian Defence. On this DVD, He '...reveals the secrets behind his success' through 26 video lectures.

The Grand Prix Attack enjoyed a spell of great popularity in the mid to late 1980s, when GMs Hebden and Hodgson were particularly successful with it in weekend Open tournaments. It was a great way to avoid the theory of the main lines, but a reversal in the tend eventually came about and players with the white pieces moved back to 2 Nf3 and 3 d4, possibly inspired by John Nunn's 'Beating the Sicilian' books. These days, the Grand Prix Attack is somewhat rarer but Gawain's games over the last few years have shown that it is definitely dangerous and not to be taken lightly.

Gawain starts off part 1 by examining the best move order, concluding that 1 e4 c5 2 f4 d5 is fine for Black (3 exd5 Nf6 is a theoretically sound pawn sacrifice) and that 2 Nc3 is the better way to go, followed by 3 f4.

The introductory game shows 'The Caveman Attack' in action, with Gawain winning quickly in a perfect demonstration of what happens when White's dreams come true ('Qd1-e1, Qe1-h4, f4-f5, Bc1-h6, Nf3-g5 and checkmate!').

The attack has clearly gone very well for White

However, White will not always be able to establish a winning position so easily. Gawain presents two other plans which the first player needs to know.

The positional plan of Bb5xKnight on c6 '...and then gang up on the c6 and c5 pawns'

The typical endgame ideas, using Gawain's victory over GM Rublevsky as an ideal illustrative game.

Parts 2-9 go into much greater detail with the specific theory of all lines relevant to Gawain's recommendations. Essentially, we learn all about:

1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 f4 (3 Bb5 is also covered) 3 ...g6 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 Bb5.

1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 e6 3 f4 with Bb5+ to follow.

1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 e6 3 f4 d5 4 Nf3 dxe4, when White will place his Bishops on g2 and b2.

1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 a6 3 f4 b5 4 g3.

Gawain uses well-explained basic principles rather than lengthy theoretical variations and this works well. He has a confident style of presentation and the DVD enjoys high production values.

There's a trailer for the DVD here:

There are three DVD 'extras'. 'Bunratty or Bust' presents light-hearted footage from the famous Irish chess tournament. At 30 minutes and lacking a structure, this goes on for a little bit too long. It is followed by a 'live' 5-minute chess match between Gawain and Simon Williams, which should hold the viewer's interest more successfully. Finally, there's an interesting interview with Gawain (conducted by Simon) in which he chats about his chess life and career.

As usual with GingerGM DVDs, this product will play on all platforms and requires no special software.

The Grand Prix Attack is a rare sight at Grandmaster level (apart from in Gawain's own games) but there's plenty of motivation here to tempt club and tournament players into extending their anti-Sicilian repertoires.

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