This book is in every way a definitive guide: Efstratios Grivas provides the inside story on a variation of the Sicilian Defence that he has worked for more than 20 years to perfect, and which rightly bears his name.
The Grivas Sicilian (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Qb6) has proved itself sound and reliable in practice, but is also far less well investigated than most Sicilian systems. This gives it an extra sting in practice, which readers will be able to use to their advantage over the board - it is most unlikely that their opponents will have a well-worked-out response ready.
The Grivas Sicilian generally leads to positions akin to the Scheveningen, but with some subtle differences. Grivas explains these subtleties at length, helping readers to exploit all their chances to seize the initiative. He also provides a wealth of vital strategic explanation, based on his many years of over-the-board experience against players of all standards.
Grandmaster Efstratios Grivas lives in Athens and is also an International arbiter and organizer. He has represented his country on a great many occasions, winning an individual gold medal at the 1989 European Team Championship and an individual silver medal at the 1998 Olympiad. He is a federal trainer and an experienced writer, though this is his first book in the English language.
List of Content
012 1 White's 5th Move Deviations: The Medusa Variation
025 2 White's 6th Move Deviations: The Eros Variation
032 3 The Fianchetto 7 g3 Line: The Cyclops Variation
037 4 The 7 Bg5 Line: The Poseidon Variation
045 5 The 7 a3 Line: The Hestia Variation
056 6 The 7 Qe2 Line: The Hera Variation
063 7 The 7 Be2 Line: The Fates Variation
066 8 Black's 7th Move Deviations: The Teiresias Variation
074 9 The 9 a4 Line: The Hermes Variation
083 10 The 11 Bd2 Line: The Apollo Variation
088 11 The 8 f4 Line: The Dionysus Variation
095 12 The 10 Qe2 Line: The Athena Variation
102 13 The 10 Qf3 Line: The Zeus Variation
130 14 Illustrative Games: Warrior's Guns - Mars
143 Index of Variations
A Complete Guide to the Grivas Sicilian
by GM Efstratios Grivas
by GM Suat Atalik
A Passion for a Defence
There is a long time that I had stopped buying opening books. I was more for biographies and tournament books. I was always thinking like why do I need the ones on openings. After all I have my computer thus databases which allows me to get access to this part of the game in the way I wanted to. When you buy an opening book by a person first of all I was always disgusted by the fact that bare information was piled up in a clumsy form, never ending brackets etc… nothing contributed by the author himself in the sake of not opening his secrets in this phase of the game. However Efstratios’ book changed my opinion on the subject. First of all he designed the book in a user friendly fashion. When you read this book you do not have to lose your way in bracket c2221)ii type of ways. Everything is clearly organized so even you can lie down in your bed with this book in your hands and follow all his analysis and annotations in form of blindfold chess. I believe this is extremely important for the reader. This book is easily readable for the reader and the information in it is represented in a fashion of a nice resume. You really do not have to blow your brains out to follow or to understand what is written in it. Second and the most important of all Efstratios is sharing his believes and analysis with the reader. Many of these positions are personally analysed by him thus you can not find these anywhere else.
Before touching the importance or the content of this book I need to mention couple of words on Efstratios as a chessplayer in other words a colleague of mine. In the beginning of 80s he was absolutely the best Greek Junior. Very talented and sharp as a player, also having a training system of his own. Basically chesswise he was always a step ahead of me and it is really a pity that he does not play professionally or in deed he never played as a full time pro. Since he was methodical on his approach for openings and since he was not a gambler as a player he was in search for a system on 1.e4 for a long time. His flirt with 1.e4 e5 lasted rather long but after some time he really got fascinated with the System which in deed should be called Grivas Sicilian. He himself provided a list of strong players who used this defence from time to time in the book and he was obviously not the first one who employed this kind of Sicilian, however he stayed loyal to this system after mid 90s and so far he almost never played anything else against king’s pawn opening. His unique and huge experience gives him full credit to name this system himself.
Why this system or the book is so important? In principal there always is an interrelation among opening systems. If the reader would really grasps the nuances which will guide him to deal with the problems of certain setups about which the book is written he may apply those also in other Sicilian lines like:1)Sozin …Qb6 2)Najdorf English attack …Qb6 3)Sheveningen f4 where White goes Qf3 and later Nb3 by himself 4)Paulsen 5.Bd3 Bc5 or 5…Qb6. Besides all these significantly correlated lines the defensive techniques combined with counter attacking chances especially when White’s pawns moves on with f4, g4-g5 is very beneficial in Scheveningen Classical line and also Keres attack. Another important aspect of this book, since Efstratios almost created the whole system by himself he made a lot of mistakes which look pretty natural from the practical side. He always mentioned those mistakes in the book which made at least me to have a full comprehension over what not to play. Thus the reader will also easily understand how the best lines were evolved around some certain special problematic situations.
Coming to the technical part for me the book really starts after the 8th chapter. Of course Efstratios really wanted to cover all the patches in White’s choice after White’s 6.Nc3 e6. Albeit when we looked at them one by one for instance we can easily notice that fianchetto is not an appropriate system against this one. Also I personally have a choice against 7.Bg5 Bb4 rather than 7…Be7 which seems to be converting the game into the lines of Richter Rauzer with 7…Be7 and castling short for Black.7.a3 is a cheapo trick after which Black has only one good move 7…Qc7!, which makes himself immune against this one. The most important point in this line pawn a3 becomes a hook on which Black constructs a definite schema of counterplay with …b5-b4 followed with either …Rb8-b4 or …Nb4. Also I absolutely believe that White needs to post his bishop up on d3. After this one maybe White can keep a slightly better game by making his pawn walk up to a5 to use b6 square for a further Bb6 or Na4-b6. However this kind of slight nuisance appears in almost every line in Sicilian. Also Efstratios in this case has shown us how to react connected around …Nb4 and quick …e5 most likely the best plan for Black. After the main tabiya position reached with Bd3 and f4 I personally do not find Bd2 to be dangerous for Black. In this case basically when …b5-b4 and …a5 provides Black with serious hand. I personally believe that Efstratios kept a low profile to appreciate some of this positions equal. Chapters 12 and 13 are the most important for us: the readers. When White castles long Black has …Nd7-b6 or …Bb7, …Nd7, …Nb4 in his disposal. Black should be ready to meet White’s attack with patience and with the help of serious amount of calculation. However the positions coming from this type of play are not only very interesting but also double sided. Efstratios tried to give us a clear map of play once again. However, the final positions in the lines he has thrown in are so far depending on one single tempo. The line which was for all these times considered to be the best for White with castles short shows the strength of Efstratios’ analytical abilities. There you will find a fantastic piece of analyses on page 118 to 120 on which we spent some real time even together. Basically he has invented the guidelines I was sitting over the board and trying to refute it, which alas I did not even come close. This type of altruistic share of opening secret is absolutely avant-garde for a grandmaster of his caliber. Also I should not forget to mention in case of the most primitive attack with g4-g5 and Qh5-h4 combined with Rf3-h3 his suggestion of a defence based on …Qd8 back and …h5 shows some real sang froid and understanding.
As a resume I recommend this book to all chess enthusiasts and even to my grandmaster colleagues. Efstratios is really very kind to share almost all the conceptions and guidelines in brainchild and now what we have to do is to read this piece of art carefully and pay him back by picking it up in tournament play it at least from time to time.