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Accelerated Dragon 7 Bc4 0-0 8 0-0?! Nxe4 [B35]
Well, given I had a couple of Dragon-related games at the British Championship I thought I’d best share with you my findings although I should warn you that Toma, K - Ward, C isn’t exactly a thriller!
After 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 0-0 Black is all set for the simple tactic ...Nxe4 and so White should side-step it with 8 Bb3. Only my opponent didn’t, and after 8.0-0 there is the dilemma...
Well in the notes I investigate the options available to Black if he is trying to win and although I was, the objectively best 8...Nxe4 9.Nxe4 d5 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Bd3 dxe4 12.Bxe4 requires a lot of grinding and the odd opponent inaccuracy if the full point is to be achieved. I was helped on my way through 12...Ba6 13.Qxd8 Rfxd8 14.Rfd1?! Bxb2 15.Rxd8+ Rxd8 16.Rb1 Bc4 17.Bd3 Bxd3 18.Rxb2 Bb5 but despite coming very close, was unable to convert the opposite-coloured bishop ending.
Accelerated Dragon 7...Ng4 8 Qxg4 Nxd4 9 Qd1 e5 [B39]
I have to confess that it was my intention that at the British Championship I was going to play the Standard Dragon, but through the Réti/English move order I soon found myself in an accelerated variant. After 1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Bg7 5.e4 Nc6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 basically on the spur of the moment I opted for the Breyer system of 7...Ng4 when after 8.Qxg4 Nxd4 9.Qd1 e5 my unorthodox style opponent came up with 10.h4!?:
Not a great shock seeing as Charlie usually manages to get that move in as White but in contrast after the game I was surprised to discover it had scored 92% in recorded games before I became the first official player in history (okay I’m going a little over the top!) to defeat it!
Naturally compared to 10 Bd3, 10 Nb5 and 10 Be2 there is little theory on the move which it seems is very reasonable. The big decision here for Black is whether or not to halt this pawn with 10...h5 and after a long think I decided instead to allow it to do its worst, plumping for 10...d6 instead. Following 11.h5 Be6 12.Qd2 Rc8 upon reflection I feel that 13.Nd5?! is premature as 13...Bxd5 14.exd5 and then the not played 14...Nf5!? Probably leaves Black a little better. Instead 14...0-0 15.Bd3 Re8 16.hxg6 fxg6 17.Rc1 e4 18.Be2 Nf5 19.Bg4! left things in the balance in Storey, C - Ward, C.
Yugoslav Attack 9 g4 e5?! [B76]
Regarding 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.g4 e5?!:
we have looked at this in the past although here on ChessPublishing we are more used to 9...Be6. 9...Nxd4 and 9...Bd7 with 9...Bxg4 also on the radar.
Up till now I have always awarded this move a '?!' on positional grounds as this e-pawn advance has the obvious downsides of:
- Blocking in the Dragon bishop.
- Leaving d6 as a backward pawn.
- Conceding an outpost on d5.
However, I guess Black is hopeful of getting in ...d5 himself one day which would cure two of the above problems and go a little way towards solving the other.
I have to say though that there is a certain appeal to the 10.Nb3 a5 11.Bb5 a4!? 12.Nxa4 Nd4! of Schnider, G - Ovsejevitsch, S which was pretty dynamic after 13.Nxd4 exd4 14.Bxd4 Bxg4 15.Bxf6?! Qxf6 16.fxg4 Qf3! with Black ultimately putting sufficient pressure on his opponent to get the full point.
Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 d5 10 Nxc6 bxc6 11 Bh6 Be6 [B76]
After 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Bh6 Black has a few reasonable options although the game Dvoirys, S - Koykka, P certainly prompts one to question 11...Be6:
Indeed, after 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 13.exd5 cxd5 14.g4! Black was a bit casual with 14...Kg8?! and following 15.h4 Rb8 16.h5 Qb6 17.b3 Rfd8 18.hxg6 fxg6 19.Re1! things were already looking a bit tricky! Actually this was a pretty horrible game from Black’s point of view with White going on to dominate on the kingside, queenside and in the middle!
Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 d5 10 Qe1 e5 11 Nxc6 bxc6 12 exd5 Nxd5 [B76]
Although the game Silva, D- Cawdery, D doesn't offer us anything new theoretically, it has a cute finish and serves up the warning that I have given a few times in the past.
Following 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Qe1 e5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.exd5 Nxd5 White may be planning a set-up involving Bc5, Bc4 and Ne4 but the move order is rather important!
I always advise ‘looking out for checks’ in case there is a good one for yourself or your opponent but clearly that wasn’t adhered to with 13.Bc5? allowing 13...Bh6+! (a move that remarkably 22 out of 41 players have failed to spot!) 14.Kb1 Nxc3+ 15.bxc3 already leaving White with a horrible position. Play continued 15...Rb8+ 16.Ka1 Qa5 17.Bb4 Qa4 18.Bxf8 Be6 19.c4 Rxf8 with just about as much compensation for the exchange as one could hope for!
Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4 Bd7 10 0-0-0 Rc8 11 Bb3 Ne5 12 Kb1 Nc4 13 Bxc4 Rxc4 14 g4 b5 15 h4 [B78]
The game Sheng, J- Ludwig, JG could certainly become theoretically important as we get the critical variation 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Rc8 11.Bb3 Ne5 12.Kb1 Nc4 13.Bxc4 Rxc4 14.g4 b5.
Here, instead of the ‘Burnett variation’ of 15 b3 b4, White continued on the kingside with 15.h4 only to have Black challenge with 15...h5:
Two candidates here are 16 g5 and 16 Nd5 but it’s hard to criticise 16.gxh5 Nxh5 17.b3. It looks as though Black’s best here is 16...Rc8 but instead he continued in autopilot mode with 16...b4?!. Unfortunately, rather than accept the exchange, 18.Nd5! was strong with 18...Rc5 19.Bh6 Bxh6 20.Qxh6 e6 21.Nxb4 not giving Black anything for the pawn.
Okay guys, back real soon. Chris
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To get in touch with me subscribers can email me at Chris Ward@ChessPublishing.com.