Perenyi attack in the Sicilian

The Perenyi variation of the Sicilian Defense is for the brave of heart. I have played it twice in correspondence chess. The first game helped to propel me into the final round of the 10th US Correspondence Chess final round. The other game helped me to win the title.

My database contains about 120 games in this amazing line, a quick piece sacrifice by white with fairly clear positional compensation.

In addition to that collection, I offer today a summary of the line, as well as three games played by Alexei Shirov. It's chess at its best!

sample game [B81]
Perenyi Attack

1.e4 c5 The Sicilian Defense 2.Nf3 "Knights before Bishops"... because we usually know exactly where the knights are going. 2...d6 Perhaps the most flexible continuation, though I prefer 2...e6 3.d4 The natural follow to Nf3 3...cxd4 exchanging a flank pawn for a central pawn 4.Nxd4 Qxd4 is playable, but the queen is exposed to attack in the center 4...Nf6 Attacking the e4-pawn 5.Nc3 Developing the N to its natural square, defending the e-pawn and eyeing the key d5-square. 5...a6 The Najdorf, played with often the idea of ...e5 because the Nd4 cannot now go to b5 6.Be3 Perhaps the most popular move today. Bg5 was all the rage (thanks to Fischer) in the 1960s and 1970s. 6...e6 7.g4 The Perenyi Attack. At the recent Wijk aan Zee tournament, f3 and Qd2 (the English Attack) was a familiar guest. 7...e5 White appears to be in trouble. The e5-pawn attacks the Nd4 and Black has two attacks (NF6 and Bc8) upon the white g4-pawn. 8.Nf5 Defending the g-pawn by blocking the attack of the Bc8, but of course, black has... 8...g6 and now, if the Nf5 moves, Black will win the white g-pawn. But Perenyi discovered that white gets much compensation by leaving the N on f5! 9.Bg2 [ 9.g5 also playable, and more often played 9...gxf5 10.exf5 And white has obvious compensation since Ng8 f6 leaves three Black pieces "in-the-box."] 9...gxf5 10.exf5 d5 11.Qe2 d4 12.0-0-0 Diagram

Would your rather have white or black here? *

Shirov,A (2718) - Topalov,V (2718) [B81]
Corus Wijk aan Zee (1), 13.01.2001

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.g4 e5 8.Nf5 g6 9.g5 gxf5 10.exf5 d5 11.Qf3 d4 Forking the Nc3 and Be3. White can delay the loss of a second piece with... 12.0-0-0 Nbd7 re-initializing the threat and developing a piece 13.Bd2 Qc7 [ 13...dxc3 14.Bxc3 Ng8 leaves black dangerously undeveloped.] 14.gxf6 dxc3 15.Bxc3 Qc6 [ 15...Rg8; 15...Bh6+] 16.Qg3 Down a piece, white seeks continued activity 16...Bh6+ 17.Kb1 Bf4 [ 17...Qxh1 18.Bxe5 Qe4 19.Bc7 Bd2 20.Bg2 Qd4 21.Ba5 Qxf6 22.Bxd2 Qxf5 23.Re1++-] 18.Qd3 Rg8 Diagram

[ 18...Qxh1 19.Qd6+-] 19.Bh3 Kd8 20.Bb4 Qxf6 21.Qc4 Rg5 22.Rd6 A powerful entry square for the rook 22...Qg7 23.f6 [ 23.Ba5+ Ke8 24.f6 Rg1+ ( 24...Nxf6 25.Rd8+ Ke7 26.Qb4#) 25.Bf1+-] 23...Rg1+ 24.Bf1 [ 24.Bf1 Qg2 25.Ba5+ Ke8 26.Re6+ Kf8 ( 26...fxe6 27.Qxe6+ Kf8 28.Bb4+ Nc5 29.Bxc5#) 27.Bb4+ Kg8 28.Re8+] 1-0

Shirov,A (2746) - Van Wely,L (2643) [B81]
Istanbul ol (Men) Istanbul (5), 01.11.2000

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.g4 e5 8.Nf5 g6 9.g5 gxf5 10.exf5 d5 11.Qf3 d4 12.0-0-0 Nbd7 13.Bd2 Qc7 14.gxf6 dxc3 15.Bxc3 Qc6 16.Qg3 Qxh1 Diagram

Black grabs the rook, but pays a heavier price17.Bg2 Bh6+ 18.Bd2 [ 18.Kb1?? Qxd1#] 18...Bxd2+ 19.Kxd2 Qxg2 20.Qxg2 Material is roughly equal, but white has a huge lead in space and time. 20...a5 21.f4 The tripled pawns provide a fun picture. F4 pries open the e-file. 21...exf4 22.Qg7 guarding the f6 pawn and preparing Re1-e7. 22...Rf8 23.Re1+ Kd8 24.Re7 Kc7 A mistake, but white was already winning. [ 24...Ra6 25.Rxd7+ Kxd7 26.Qxf8+-] 25.Qxf8 1-0

Shirov,A (2746) - Van Wely,L (2643) [B81]
Rubinstein mem Polanica Zdroj (8), 25.08.2000

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.g4 e5 8.Nf5 g6 9.g5 gxf5 10.exf5 d5 11.Qf3 d4 12.0-0-0 Nbd7 13.Bd2 Qc7 14.gxf6 dxc3 15.Bxc3 Qc6 16.Qg3 Bh6+ 17.Kb1 Bf4 18.Qd3 0-0 Diagram

Castling to safety? Or castling into the storm?19.Rg1+ Kh8 First law in operation. The Black king cannot move. All white needs is check. 20.Bb4 Rg8 21.Rxg8+ Kxg8 22.Be7 h6 Creating some breathing room for the king 23.Be2 Nxf6 24.Qd8+ Kh7 [ 24...Qe8 25.Bxf6; 24...Ne8 25.Bf3 Qb5 26.b3 Kh7 27.a4 Qxb3+ 28.cxb3 Bxf5+ 29.Ka2 Rxd8 30.Rxd8 e4 31.Rxe8 exf3 32.h4+/-] 25.Qf8 Be6 [ 25...Qe8 26.Qxe8 Nxe8 27.Rd8 Ng7 28.f6+/-] 26.Qxa8 Bxf5 27.Ka1 Nd5 28.Qf8+- Qe6 29.Bc5 [ 29.Bh4+-] 29...Bxc2 30.Rg1 Bg6 31.h4 Bh2 32.Rd1 Nf4? [ 32...Bf4 33.h5 Bf5 34.Qd8+-] 33.Rd8 with mate on h8 1-0