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Gioachino Greco vs NN
Miscellaneous Game (1620), ?, rd 34
Sicilian Defense: McDonnell Attack (B21)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
May-22-04  Cerebrate2006: is this game incomplete or did black just fell like 2 passed pawns were not worth the peice?
May-29-04  BaranDuin: This must be the oldest Sicilian ever played!
May-29-04  drukenknight: Actually I think Polerio knew the opening too. He was around about Columbus time.
May-29-04  drukenknight: it is the oldest sicilian according to chesslab. Philidor played it after that, using a Kan/Taimanov set up: e6/Nc6/h6. Still think these old guys would be lost in the modern game?
Jan-31-05  Jaymthegenius: Black wins this, simply put. I've traveled back in time to face Greco, and I have defeated him in this game, I promoted to gain two queens, and mated him.
Feb-09-05  InspiredByMorphy: The final position looks won for black, and in a position where white must do something 21.h3? is played. Wheres the rest of the game, and how did white win?
Mar-01-05  Jaymthegenius: Bh4+?? this waste time and white gains space! And isnt this a modern line of the Grand Prix attack? I say the first mistake is 4.c3? Of course NN in this game is clearly another proffesional player (the games in which Greco easily crushes NN is probably against his 4 year old cousin) who in my opinion could be Alessandro Salvio, because he would be the only player back then to have been a match for him.
Mar-01-05  Jaymthegenius: It amazes me how black knew about the d5 break back then!!! I even know some class A and B players who dont even bother with the d5 break againt the grand prix.
Mar-01-05  Jaymthegenius: This game, however is dangerous for black around move 10, because the possition is bishop unfriendly for black, I would play 11...cxb3 12.axb3= for equalization and an open c-file. And besides, Lucena in the 15th century has analyized the sicilian! Though there are no actual games from back then, exept maybe in middlegame studies taken from actual games.
Mar-05-05  InspiredByMorphy: <Jaym> <11...cxb3 12.axb3= for equalization and an open c-file.> Greco would have welocomed it. 11. ...cxb3 12.axb3 and not only does white now have an open a file for the rook, but more importantly can start a pawn storm attempting to break up blacks center. 11. ...cxb3 12.axb3 Rc8 (based off of your comment about the open c file) 13.c4 Nf5 14.Kf2 Nxe3 15.Kxe3 and white continues to chip away at blacks queenside.
Mar-05-05  InspiredByMorphy: 5. ...d5 was better.
Mar-07-05  Jaymthegenius: 4...d5 was already played, so there can be no 5...d5

I say Steinitz would be proud of this line! I often play the king up this much in the French defense as white against the Classical/Steinitz variation against the french (where when I play pieces are exchanged rediculously late in the game, and my king is safe to defend the kingside pawns after subtle menouvering and a kingside pawnstorm (this strategy is very dangerous unless you know exactly what to do)

Mar-07-05  Jaymthegenius: Also, many of Greco's games were supposedly altered in the 19th century after a revision of his manuscripts, he supposedly originally gave 21.g4?!, when 21.h3 (after revision) is probably stronger.
Aug-26-05  Jaymthetactician: Compare this game with

Popert vs Staunton, 1840

The set-up by black is the one I prefer against the f4 attack sicilian.

Though Popert plays 6.Bd3?! While 6.d4 was better, preparing 6...cxd4 7.cxd4,Bb4+ 8.Nc3

Dec-14-05  Jaymthetactician: 12...b4 and Black wins.
Jan-16-06  sciacca khan: Greco won on time, NN's sands ran out in his hourglass.
Sep-25-07  wolfmaster: NN's two passed pawns could potentially become strong, so I would have played on.
Aug-10-08  just a kid: Blaxk has to play on.
Oct-03-08  Jose G Vallo Jr: In today's grandmaster play is 2.f4 really playable?
Oct-03-08  Shams: <In today's grandmaster play is 2.f4 really playable?> sure; it doesn't lose but neither does it show any ambition at all. after 2...d5 the game is equal. I'm not aware of any GMs that favor it but it's common enough in master play I think.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: Black has no reason to resign, and has has full compensation on the Q-side for the sacrifice. Black's Q-side passed pawns completely cramp and preoccupy White, whose position is not easy to play. For instance:

<21. h3> b4 22. g4 Ne7 23. Nb1 Ba1 24. Nbd2 Qa3 25. Nb1 Qa4 26. Bd1 Ra8

click for larger view

Aug-11-19  phenstyle: I don't think black is better in the end, white is better, remember that white is up a full piece so white can always counter-sac if necessary to equalize or get a positional advantage later...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ziryab: Black is slightly better at the end, according to Komodo 13. I think the position is rich and can go either way. Black's two connected passed pawns for the knight seem quite strong to my eyes.

This game is given as G-34 in David Levy and Kevin O'Connell, <Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess Games> (1981) without result. They even add the symbol for "both sides defaulted", although that makes no sense for made-up games.

Louis Hoffmann (from whom Levy and O'Connell extracted the game scores), <The Games of Greco> cites the opinion of von der Lasa, "White's pieces are somewhat too cramped in position for effective use, but it is an open question whether he has not, notwithstanding, the best of the game" (94).

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