Brooklyn Castle – A Movie Review

This is a fun documentary to watch! Brooklyn Castle tells the story of the IS 318 Chess team from New York, and their ascent to chess dominance despite overwhelming economic setbacks. Having coached a national championship team, I was able to relate to this movie easily, as this documentary depicts the raw emotions of teenage players while undergoing tremendous pressure to perform. IS 318 symbolizes what chess teams should be at schools nationwide. Their top players are all rated nearly 2000, and in total, the team has over 40 members. If you’ve ever been on a competitive chess team, I’d highly recommend this documentary!

“Watchworthy” Chess Channels on Youtube

For most kids my age, Youtube is a place to relearn chemistry for tomorrow’s test, or kick back and watch stand–up comedy, music videos, or sports highlights. But did you know that there are some pretty good chess channels worth subscribing to on Youtube? Here are a couple of my recommendations.

1. Valeri Lilov

Lilov is an International Master from Bulgaria, and posts a fair number of videos on openings. I like his videos because they are more focused towards teaching thematic ideas rather that showing theory. While his videos are aimed to players rated about 1400, there are a couple gems in his video collection for both higher and lower rated players. You can find his channel at

2. Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

On this channel, the St. Louis Chess Center posts videos of past lectures hosted at their center. Averaging about half an hour each, masters often featured are GM Akobian, GM Finegold, and GM Yasser Seirwan. The St. Louis Chess Center also hosted the US Chess Championships this past year, so highlights and analysis for each round of both the men’s and the women’s section are posted on their channel.

3. ChessNetwork

This channel is aimed more towards entry level players, so its great for kids! There are a couple advanced level videos on their channel, but not nearly as many as the St. Louis Chess Club Channel. The reason I like this channel is that if there is a specific pattern you must know, this is a good first stop. ChessNetwork has good videos on bishop and knight mates, rook against bishop mates, etc.


This channel is a bit more laid back, and focuses more on the ongoing of major tournaments around the world. Popular videos on their channel include “Bullet Brawls” and “Hack Attack” with IM Thomas Rendle. If you are looking for more instructional content from, you should consider getting a Diamond membership (totally worth it) and watch videos on their site.

Hope that’s enough videos to get you started!

Feel like I missed something? Feel free to comment below!

Think Like Kasparov!

Kasparov's Immortal

This position is from the famous game, Kasparov – Topalov during the 1999 Wijk aan Zee. If you love tactics, chances are you know this one, but if not, this is a good puzzle to try and solve. Topalov just played 23… Qd6. How does White win?


24.Rxd4 cxd4 25. Re7 Kb6 26. Qxd4 Kxa5 27. b4 Ka4 28. Qc3 Qxd5

29. Ra7 Bb7 30. Rxb7 Qc4 31. Qxf6 Kxa3 32. Qxa6 Kxb4 33. c3 Kxc3

34. Qa1 Kd2 35. Qb2 Kd1 36. Bf1 Rd2 37. Rd7 Rxd7 38. Bxc4 bxc4 39. Qxh8 Rd3

40. Qa8 c3 41. Qa4 Ke1 42. f4 f5 43. Kc1 Rd2 44. Qa7 1–0

Pretty crazy, right? Kasparov insists he saw the entire variation from his initial calculation on move 24, but a lot of critics doubt he saw the entire 20 moves. What do you think?

Feel like I missed something? Feel free to comment below!

The Fun and Games of Paul Morphy

There aren’t too many well known 19th Century chess players, but despite that, every chess player has heard of Paul Morphy (above left). Morphy was a tactics aficionado and continuously demonstrated his skill set each and every game. By studying Morphy, one can learn the importance of taking advantage of an opponents weaknesses, rather than opting for passive play.

Here is a game Morphy played in 1858 against Duke Carl in Paris. The 17 move game has been dubbed “Night of the Opera” by chess

Morphy v. Duke Carl (Paris, 1858)

1.e4 e5

2.Nf3 Not a exactly brilliant move here, but you should note that from this move on, every move but 9. Bg5 is a forcing move.

d6 3.d4 Bg4 4.dxe5 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 dxe5

6.Bc4 Duke Carl won’t fall for this one, but that’s not the point. Morphy is optimizing his pieces and forcing Black to respond rather passively.

Nf6 7.Qb3 Qe7

8.Nc3 Even this move forces black to respond. The b7 pawn is weak, and Nc3 stops both the potential check on b4 and the threat on the e4 pawn.

c6 9.Bg5

9…b5?? Opening the king up. Of course in the 19th century, there were no computers, so it was harder to develop a concrete understanding of positional play. Black needs to develop his pieces, that is his only chance.

10.Nxb5 cxb5 11.Bxb5+ Nbd7

12.O-O-O The most simple approach. Keeps the king safe while pressuring the d7 square with the rook. White is clearly better here.

Rd8 13.Rxd7 Rxd7 14.Rd1 Qe6 15.Bxd7+

15…Nxd7 If you like solving tactics, see if you can find the checkmate in 2 here.

16.Qb8+! A classic deflection idea.

Nxb8 17.Rd8# 1–0

A well played game by Morphy, but what can we learn from this game? White won not just because of active play, but because he was able to optimize his pieces. While development seems like a basic idea, in tournament play it is often overlooked in the late opening and middle game. Before you follow your impulse to attack, activate your pieces! On the other side of the board, Black did the exact opposite. With 9… b5??, Duke Carl has neglected development, and Morphy’s active play beat him into submission. Note that even in the final position, Black has failed to develop both the bishop on f8 and the rook on h8.

If you’ve studied Morphy, you know he loves playing piece odds. In this game against Charles Le Carpentier, Morphy played without his a1 rook, and found checkmate on move 13!

Morphy v. Le Carpentier (New Orleans, 1849)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bb4+ 5.c3 dxc3 6.O-O

6…cxb2 So far Black looks pretty good right? Up a rook, strong development, what could go wrong here?


7…Bf8 All the sudden, Black finds himself making this ugly move. While 7… Nf6 is the best move, he was probably scared of a e–pawn push, followed by the threat of Qb3.

8.e5! Morphy pushes the pawn anyways. Taking away f6 from the knight and cramping the position.

d6 9.Re1 dxe5 10.Nxe5

10…Qxd1?? This move is the losing move. Checkmate in 3 if you want to find it.

11.Bxf7+ Why keep the queen? This is Morphy we are talking about!


12.Ng6++! Morphy makes a brilliant move here, as he sets up the mating net. This is the only move that works if White wants to win. Poor Le Carpentier doesn’t even know what’s coming.

Kxf7 13.Nxh8# 1–0

Another well played game by Morphy. While Morphy isn’t exactly the most positional player, he understood that development was just as important as material. This is why he was extremely successful with piece odds. In the final position of the second game, if you include the h8 rook that was captured for checkmate, Le Carpentier failed to develop five pieces. The value of those five pieces is far greater than that of the rook, so Morphy didn’t even need it.

Feel like I missed something? Feel free to comment below!

One Week From the World Open

One week from today, I’ll be leaving for the World Open to play in the 5 day U2000 section. As of right now, I’m the 21st seed in a section of 104 players, so I’m in the top fourth of the section (just barely!). I’m feeling pretty confident about the prospects of a strong finish, as this past weekend I finished 2.5/5 in the U2200 section of the Castle Chess Grand Prix in Atlanta, GA.

With just a week left before the World Open, here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Play one long game every day (G/30 or higher). Don’t obsess over results, just focus on calculation and tweak your openings if necessary.
  • With each day leading up to the World Open, go over one of your openings. Don’t spend more than an hour and avoid memorization. Just look for thematic ideas.
  • If you haven’t been studying, then its too late to stress out over tactics and opening theory. Remember, you’re playing chess because it is fun, not because it is a stressful burden.
  • Start going to bed at a reasonable time. Stay up late this week, and you’ll have a hard time getting sleep during the week of the World Open.
  • Spend at least 30 minutes on tactics everyday. You’re much more likely to win on a tactic than opening preparation.

Good luck if you are playing next week in the World Open!

Feel like I’m missing something? Feel free to comment below!

Quality Endgame Resource

My favorite endgame book has to be Van Perlo’s Endgame Tactics: A Comprehensive Guide to the Sunny Side of Chess Endings. I think I first read this book when I was rated about 1000, and even though I am nearly twice that now, I still love to look through it and review endgames ideas and techniques. The organization of this book is superb, and the way it groups positions helps teach/reinforce pattern recognition. In the first edition (the copy I own), Ger Van Perlo covers over 1000 positions, and if you work with the book correctly, then you will learn something new every time you open the book. There are some subtleties in each position, and as you become a stronger player, you will be able to pick up on these ideas. I’ve owned my copy for at least five years (probably more), and its a worthwhile read. I know that a second edition has been published recently (2013), and while I have never seen this book in person, if it is anything like the first edition, then it is a great buy.

Thoughts of GM Greg Serper

This past week, I spent my time studying at Castle Chess Camp in Atlanta, GA, working with many different grandmasters (Akobian, Panchanathan, Fedorowicz, etc). Of all the grandmasters I had a chance to to work with, I spent the most time with columnist Greg Serper. If you’ve ever met him, you know he loves analogies to compare chess to real life. Here are a couple things he said this week:

“If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for life.”

In order to become a strong chess player, you have to learn how to study. Playing blitz all the time and memorizing theory will not improve your game.

“You snooze, you lose”

There are two types of advantages in chess: dynamic and material. Dynamic advantages, or initiative, is derived from finding forcing moves throughout the game. If you fail to find enough forcing moves, it is hard to expect to win.

“There are only two goals to become a master: Calculation and common sense.”

Chess is 99% tactics, so calculation is never-ending. While opening theory and endgame knowledge is ideal, common sense is encompassing, and is important for decision making.

“There are only 4 reasons to take a draw.”

Only take a draw if you are losing, not feeling well, in time trouble, or guarantees a prize.

“If it looks too good to be true, then it probably isn’t”

If you think you’re opponent missed something, don’t assume he blundered, you could be missing something too.

“Don’t invent the wheel”

Use thematic ideas with each opening you play. A way to test your knowledge on your openings is to do an evaluator test. An evaluator test works like this: Imagine that you are in an elevator with another person. You have 30 seconds before the elevator reaches the top floor, and the guy asks you “What is that opening?”. If you can not explain that opening in 30 seconds, you don’t have the right to play that opening.

“If you attack your opponent 10 times, he will make a mistake on move 11.”

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you need proof, look at any game of Morphy.

While I learned a lot from GM Serper, one of my favorite teachers this week was LM Richard Francisco. His thoughts on chess were a little different than most players:

“You only learn from winning. People tell you learn from losing to make you feel better.”

Its kind of true. Studying is how you learn from losing, not losing itself. A lot of players make the mistake of only going over the game once or twice, and then never looking at the game again.

“There are 4 types of positions”

1. One side is a little better and has to convert.

2. Positional themes of board control are present. This is where doing your homework can come in.

3. Chaos. Double–edged, high stakes positions.

4. Taking the initiative. If you want to win, you have to win now.

Chess involves taking these 4 positions and constantly deciding which approach to take to the game.

LM Francisco recommends 3 books for everyone 1800+ from the Aargard series Grandmaster Preparation. There are three books: Positional Play, Calculation, and Strategic Play. These books will address your understandings of each of the four positions in chess.

Steincamp Attack – Part 3

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 f5 3. d4

In Parts 1 and 2, we looked at both 3… e4 and 3… exd4, and saw that with best play, white stands at least slightly better. Today, I want to look at the sub–lines 3… d6 and 3… Nf6.

THE 3… d6 LINE

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 f5 3. d4 d6 4. dxe5 dxe5 5. Qxd8+ Kxd8 The disadvantage in this line is that black gives up his right to castle. Furthermore, white gets a lot of play with Bg5+. 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Bg5+ Nf6 8. 0-0-0+! The best move, not Nd5, as castling is most forcing. 8… Bd7 9. g3 Planning Bh3, to attack f5,  White is not in a crazy rush since Black cannot castle. 9… Bc5 10. Bh3 Kc8 11. Bxf6 gxf6 12. Nd5 This gives an interesting position where Black gambits the f2 pawn for play on the d–file. Note that Black can always take on f6.

The 3… d6 line is not a natural choice for black, but if Black plays naturally, all white needs to do is Bg5, 0-0-0 with check, and plant a knight on d5.

THE 3… Nf6? LINE

 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 f5 3. d4 Nf6? This is a desperate try for Black. While awful, I did get one game like this in a blitz match where black chose this outlet of play… I’m guessing someone who likes the Alekhine defense might try this, but anyone with common sense should avoid it. 4. dxe5 Ne4 5. Nxe4 fxe4 6. Qd5 Bb4+ 7. Bd2 Bxd2+ 8. Kxe2! Nc6 9. Qxe4 Qe7 10. Nf3 d6 11. e3 dxe5 12. Bd3 Black can’t castle kingside because of a weak h7 pawn. White will move the king to e2 and play for the d–file.

So that sums up the Steincamp Attack. The reason why this line isn’t common at the Grandmaster level is mainly because Black avoids this line by post–pining f7–f5. Generally, the player who pushes f7–f5 on move 2, isn’t familiar with English theory. The Steincamp Attack is a good way to catch them off guard while taking no risks.

The Steincamp Attack – Part 2

So we continue to analyze how to take advantage of the erroneous move order in the Reversed Grand Prix.

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 f5 3. d4!

The critical difference, most logical developing moves transpose to the main line Reversed Grand Prix, but the Steincamp Attack refutes the possibility of a future f5–f4 push. In Part 1, we analyzed why 3…e4 was not a sharp move, and how white continued to find pressure on weak diagonals.

There is the possibility though of 3…exd4, which is a much sharper line, but with best play, the capture is not justified.

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 f5 3. d4 exd4 4. Qxd4 Black can choose between Nf6 and Nc6. Nc6 is the better choice but in case of 4… Nf6 5. Bg5


1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 f5 3. d4 exd4 4. Qxd4 Nf6 5. Bg5

  • 5… Be7 Black opts for passive play. 6. Nf3 0-0 7. e3 Black has an odd opening set–up. It is as if he is playing a Dutch without an e–pawn, meaning a shaky center. 7… Nc6 8. Qf4 h6 9. Bxf6 Bxf6 10. Nd5 Bxb2 Black has nothing better to do. 11. Rb1 Ba3 12. Qxc7 Qxc7 13. Nxc7 Rb8 This line has interesting play for both sides, but White must not lose the c–pawn.
  • 5… Nc6 The more natural move. 6. Qe3+ Qe7 7. Qd2 Thanks to the analysis of Fritz, this quick provocation makes development difficult for Black. 7… d6 8. Nf3 Be6 9. e3 A main idea of this opening is putting pressure on f5 while black attacks c4, losing the pawn for either side can mean game over. 9… 0-0-0 10. Nd4 h6 11. Nxe6 Qxe6 12. Bxf6 Qxf6 This is a good trade since the c4 pawn and the f5 pawn are both on light squares. Elimination of the e6 bishop can mean less pressure from Black. 13. Be2 Qf7 14. 0-0-0 g6 15. Nd5  White gets reasonable play in this line. The bishop on e2 can go to f3 and use the diagonal to his advantage. Meanwhile, Black is going to be busy getting the knight to move from d5.

For what its worth, the 4…Nf6 doesn’t make sense.


1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 f5 3. d4 exd4 4. Qxd4 Nc6 5. Qe3+ The best location for the queen right now. 5… Be7 6. Nd5 Nf6 (If 6… d6? 7. Nf3 Bd7 8. Bd2 Kf7 Black’s lack of space in this line make castling impossible 9. 0-0-0 Nf6 10. Ng5+ Kg8 11. Ne6 += White will soon get the pair of bishops and a space advantage) 7. Nxf6+ gxf6 8. Nf3 d5 9. Bd2 Kf7 10. 0-0-0 If White controls the d–file, he should win.

The 3…exd4 doesn’t have too much theory. The only key is 5. Qe3+. If you retreat to d1, the extra tempo allows Black to have strong play after Bb4, and it is White who is gasping for air. Seeing as this is not an official opening, I imagine most players on the Black side are playing 3… exd4 anticipating …Nc6 and Qd1. By playing Qe3+, White limits the overall play of black in an open position.

In Part 3, I will cover the passive 3… d6, and the gambit–like 3. Nf6.

Feel like I missed something, feel free to comment below!

The Steincamp Attack! – Part 1

Before I started really delving into the English Opening Theory, I think I was most scared of the Reversed Grand Prix set–up after

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 f5

If unprepared, White can actually get in a lot of trouble and lose rather quickly. I was actually so scared of this line that I switched to 1. d4 for a short period of time. The honest truth is that 2… f5 is a positional mistake, and at the grandmaster level white scores really well.

While I don’t play this line anymore, I used a Fritz engine to help me come up with this line. Its ECO code is A21, but that covers a vast amount of Reversed Sicilians, so I call it the Steincamp Attack instead.

3. d4! There are not too many games in this line according to the Mega Database, probably because 2… f5 hyperextends too quickly. Black’s main cookie–cutter attack is to play into a Closed Sicilian/Grand Prix structure and attack with …f5–f4. This can be a very annoying threat, and can sometimes be decisive. By playing 3. d4! White takes away this idea and makes the game more dynamic for white.

Black has a few options here: 3… e4, 3… exd4, and 3… d6. Since each line has a fair amount of theory, I will start with 3… e4 for Part 1.

3… e4?! This is the natural move, but according to the computer, White is already slightly better (+0.50), which is pretty good considering its only move 3. White wants to exploit the dark squares on the c1–h6 diagonal, and get a knight onto f4 or g5.

4. Nh3! Surprised? This is the most natural square for the knight, and its clear that the hole on f4 is good for white. GM Ivanchuk has played this line in a tournament before with a good result.

4. Nf6 5. Bg5 Taking advantage of the pin. Nd5 is a very strong threat, making f6 and potentially c7 weak squares in Black’s camp.

Black has a few lines here that White should be prepared for (5… Be7, 5… Bb4, 5… h6, and 5… Nc6)

THE 5… h6 LINE

  • 5… h6?! the immediate test for white. Fritz does not see this move as a legitimate defense. 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. Nd5
  • Black’s queen has two moves: the natural but losing 7… Qd8, and the computer move 7… Qd6. 7… Qd8? 8. e3 g6 (8… c6?? 9. Qh5+ g6 10. Qxg6#) 9. Be2 c6 10. Nc3 Na6 11. Nf4 Kf7 A necessary concession. 12. h4 h5 13. Qd2 Be7 14. g3 Nc7 15. d5 cxd5 16. Ncxd5 Nxd5 17. Nxd5 Bf6 18. Nxf6 Qxf6 19. 0-0-0 Black has no clear plan, and his development is very poor, White should be able to hold on to his positional advantage here.
  • The other line to consider, 7… Qd6 isn’t easy to play either. 8. e3 c6 9. Nc3 Na6 10. Nf4 g5 (Note that if 10… g6, 11. c5 give white good play after 11…Qf6 12. Bc4) 11. Qh5+ Kd8 12. Ng6 Rg8 13. Nxf8 Qxf8 14. c5 Black is at a loss to find any space. His light squares are disturbingly vulnerable. 14… b6 15. Bc4 Rh8 16. h4 g4 17. 0-0-0 Black’s position offers limited play, and his early attempts to gain space have been proven fruitless.


5… Bb4 Since attacking the bishop is not good for Black, I think this is Black’s most aggressive option. I only got to play this opening once in a tournament, so I’ll show the opening of that game.

Steincamp – Kannan (Scholastic State Championships 2014)

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 f5 3. d4 e4 4. Nh3 Bb4 5. Bg5 Nf6 6. Qb3 Bxc3+

7. bxc3 If white is playing this Nc3 line in the English, he should already be comfortable with this doubled pawn structure. White’s goals are to use his queen on b3 to have future threats on f7.

7… h6 8. Bxf6 Qxf6 9. Nf4 Qf7 10. e3 Nc6

11. Be2 The one thing you’ll love about this Be2 idea is that Bh5 is really strong, and the g6 square is extremely weak if you can play Bh5+. Also c7 is very weak, so Nd5 is always a possibility to use in conjunction with a bishop on h5.

11… Kd8

My opponent had used 35 minutes of the G/60 time control, so I opted for 12. c5 trading queens and going into a slightly better endgame. Let’s taker a deeper look at some of the other possibilities for Black:

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 f5 3. d4 e4 4. Nh3 Nf6 5. Bg5 Bb4

6. e3 This line is actually better than the line I played in the game. Note how by playing e3 now, I don’t have to wait for Bf1-e2 to threaten a check on h5.

There are 2 main lines to consider here for black: 6… c5 and 6… 0-0

  • 6… c5 Black wants to complicate things here with this pawn push, but its a prepared white side that does the complicating. 7. dxc5! A move against principle, but the open position favors white more than a closed one. 7… Bxc3 8. bxc3 0-0 9. Be2 Na6 10. Bf4! A hard move to find, toggling the bishop to d6. 10… Nxc5 11. Bd6 Qa5 12. 0-0 (12. Bxf8 is also strong here, but the bishop on d6 puts so much pressure on Black’s position) 12… Re8 13. Nf4 Ne6 14. Nd5 Nxd5 15. cxd5 Nc5 16. Qd4 += Black’s c5 knight is very uncomfortable, and the c8 bishop isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The 6…c5 Benoni-style play is met with unorthodox tripled pawns to gain a significant central advantage.
  • 6… 0-0 The more likely response from Black, if this is the case, he will not have many counterattacking possibilities. 7. Nf4 Bxc3 8. bxc3 d6 9. Qb3 Nc6 10. c5+ The easiest way to get rid of white’s only weakness. 10… Kh8 11. cxd6 Qxd6 12. Be2 Na5 13. Qb4 Offering the queen trade, should Black recapture, White will play for a minority attack on the queenside and control of the c–file. 13… Nc6 14. Qxd6 cxd6 15. Rb1

Black has sharp play in this line, but quick development makes counter play fairly difficult in the 5… Bb4 line. White is relatively better than black in all variations.


Now that we’ve looked at some of the thematic ideas for white, its time to break down the most common response for black, according to the Mega Database.

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 f5 3. d4 e4 4. Nh3 Nf6 5. Bg5 Be7 6. Nf4

Here White should be prepared for 6… 0-0 and 6… d6.

  • 6… 0-0 7. e3 d6 8. Be2 c5 9. dxc5 dxc5 10. h4 Nc6 11. Ncd5 Qa5+ 12. Qd2 Qxd2+ 13. Kxd2 h6 14. Bxf6 Bxf6 15. Nxf6+ Rxf6 16. Kc3 Ne5 17. Rad1 += This is one of black’s best variations in the 3… e4 lines of the Steincamp Attack. White needs to control the light squares and with simple, solid play, white will have the initiative going into the endgame
  • 6… d6 7. Qb3 Rather than transposing into a complicated line, this deviation can mix things up and make life difficult for Black. 7… 0-0 8. e3 c5 9. dxc5 dxc5 10. Rd1 Qb6 11. Qb5 If found, this move can really freeze Black’s position. His bishop on e7 is unprotected and his light squares on d5 and e6 are under siege. 11… Nc6 12. h4 Qxb5 13. cxb5 Ne5 14. Ncd5 A better game for white, 14… Nxd5 fails tactically to 15. Rxd5 Bf6 16. Bxf6 gxf6 protecting the knight 17. Rxc5

The main line is the most solid for black, but white still has ways to gain the initiative.


1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 f5 3. d4 e4 4. Nh3 Nf6 5. Bg5 Nc6 6. e3 Be7 7. Nf4 0-0 8. Be2 h6 9. Bxf6 Bxf6 10. Ncd5 Bg5 11. 0-0 d6 12. Rc1 Bxf4 13. Nxf4 g5 14. Nd5 Be6 15. Qb3 Rb8 16. f4 exf3EP 17. Bxf3 +=

White is slightly better in this line. The text above has Black’s best responses above, and there isn’t too much room for creativity for Black.


  • When black plays 3… e4, it is very easy for white to seize control.
  • White needs to develop rapidly, with very few pawn moves. After White sets up c4, d4, and e3, Black can’t really find play in the center.
  • White’s g1 knight hops to h3 to find the f4 square after the Bishop is placed on g5. The f1 Bishop makes a quick move to e2 to later find Bh5, and the queen can sometimes go to b3. In a dream scenario, White’s c3 knight also goes to d5.
  • To have an attack on the kingside, white usually sets up h2–h4. This also eliminates black’s kingside possibilities.
  • If Black tries to be aggressive with Benoni like c7–c5 ideas, it can be advantageous to capture with dxc5 if White can control the d–file with ease.

How can Black avoid all this trouble? Not playing 2… f5. A lot of players rated 1400–2000 have the misconception that this is the correct move order since the Grand Prix Sicilian starts 1. e4 c5 2. f4 and is perfectly fine for white. However, since White has the extra tempo after 2… e5, 3. d4 is possible since White’s knight is already on c3. If Black wants to play the Reversed Grand Prix, 2… Nc6 will avoid complications.

However, I have seen this line played enough for black at the amateur level that I think that it might be a good idea to have the Steincamp Attack in your back pocket.

In Part 2, I’ll look at 3…exd4, the most challenging line for white.

Feel like I missed something? Feel free to comment below!