Grivas on the Four Pawns Attack

by Efstratios Grivas
3/30/2024 – At first sight it looks scary, but Black also gets his portion of chances. Very often a complicated fight arises, where all results can be possible. If you want to study this opening, it would be well to follow the didactic analysis of a world-class trainer, who played successfully against it on his 32nd birthday.

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It is quite common that a chess professional does not care too much for social celebrations, as he is obliged to follow the tournaments’ schedule where he is invited. Well, no hard feelings; this is the everyday work; just another day at the office!

But I feel that it is a little bit hard to be fully concentrate on your birthday and make the best you can. This is mostly based on psychological factors, and of course on the importance of the occasion.

I am a Greek, and I come from a country where birthdays are a social celebration. The house is open to everybody and many people come for personal wishes, bringing presents as well! And of course, you have to be well-stocked, providing food and drinks of every kind!

Today I am celebrating my 58th birthday, as I was born in 1966. I started playing chess in 1979, so already 45 years living in our chess world is a huge number. During all these years, I had the obligation to play on March 30th just six times, scoring +2 =4 -0, so at least I didn’t feel any harsh emotions which come from a nasty defeat!

In 1998, I was already a semi-retired player, working as the Technical Adviser of the Greek Chess Federation. But I was playing still from time to time.

When I received an invitation to play a GM Round Robin tournament in London, England, I could hardly turn it down! This was the Hampstead GM 1998, and I was invited by the legendary London-based organiser Adam Nasim Raoof. I was staying in the house of GM Jonathan Levitt, whom I knew for quite a long time, so some nice discussions took place after the games…

The tournament was a Round-Robin GM event of 10 invited players (average rating of 2404) and it was played from March 25th to 31st, 1998.

I lost the crucial game against GM Neil McDonald and in the end I shared the 3rd-4th position with 6/9 (/+4 =4 -1) and a gain of three rating points. Let’s see the birthday game:

For those who are interested which is my favourite birthday song, I would call them to hear carefully the excellent song by the group Uriah Heep, which is called ‘The Magician’s Birthday.’

Efstratios (30.03.1966) is a highly experienced chess trainer and chess author. He has been awarded by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) the titles of International Chess Grandmaster, FIDE Senior Trainer, International Chess Arbiter and International Chess Organiser.