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Classical Dragon without Nb3 [B73]

As I do remark, it does perhaps seem rather unfair for me to be annotating the game Markovski-Jianu as Black outrates his opponent by nearly 500 rating points. Theoretically this game is unlikely to be of much use either but as there are some important concepts and themes, I thought that it might prove instructive.

First up is the error of White's early decision to trade knights. With it White donates to Black important control over d5 as well as a half-open b-file:











The fact that the black a-pawn is now isolated is of relatively little consequence and I would normally offer the advice that the sequence Nxc6 bxc6 is only a good idea for White if he can follow up with an immediate e4-e5. Possibly White got confused with the idea of being able to get in Bh6 (possible if we could now trade 0-0 for Qd2) but the later comparison of the Dragon bishop vs white rook is thought provoking.



Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4 with ...Qc7 [B77]

The high profile encounter Svidler-Ivanchuk certainly starts off in irregular fashion with 9...Qc7!?:











but ultimately transposes to a standard ...Qc7 line but with White having effectively favoured the early g4. Gawain has investigated this line quite a bit recently and continues to answer some more questions here. Ivanchuk undoubtedly has some interesting ideas in the Dragon but he has to grovel somewhat in this game in order to get his half point.


Yugoslav Attack 9 g4 [B76]

Well I have to say that the game Efimenko-Forster definitely offers some food for thought. Obviously I have known about the possibility of 9...Bxg4 since I was first learning the Dragon but always considered it to be a bit optimistic:











Although I wouldn't say that this encounter will completely alter my opinion, there is no doubt that some good home preparation contributes to taking a big scalp here and with 9 g4 rather trendy at present, even if only as a weapon, this might be something that Black players might want to investigate. Some excellent notes but keep an eye out for the beautiful queen sacrifice.


Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 d5 10 Qe1 [B76]

In truth probably the most exciting thing about the game Zufic-Cvitan are the side notes! White opts for 10 Qe1:











first up is a mention of the very rare 10...Re8. Yes Willy Watson sacrificed a piece against Jansa with this back in 1992 and although home study with a computer these days might put paid to it, over the board it looks plausible.

After the main game's 10...e5 11 Nxc6 bxc6 12 exd5 cxd5 13 Bg5 Be6 14 Bc4 we take a brief look at the queen sacrifice that occurs after the also rare 14...Rc8 before revisiting the more mundane 14...Qc7. In the past we have assessed the resulting positions as a slight edge to White and certainly Black's 17...Rfd8 doesn't alter that assessment.

Despite the above discussion on 10...Re8 after 10 Qe1, the main alternative to 10...e5 is 10...e6 and Gawain revisits this in the game De la Riva Aguado-Smirin:











An interesting game involving two strong players, but in truth theoretically its main use is to remind people of what should happen. Black fails to punish the previously condemned 11 g4 with 11...e5! but whilst 11...Bd7 doesn't work out too badly there are mistakes in this game by both players before an amusing end.


Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4 Chinese Variation [B78]











Most Dragon enthusiasts, particularly of the Chinese Variation, will certainly recognise the above position as one of the early ones that featured on our site. Indeed, over 9 years ago I annotated a game of mine where against Felgaer I played the 18...Be6 that was net by 19 h5. I had been intrigued as to why strong Black players were repeating this recently when I had thought that we'd generally decided that 18...Rb6! was best. Well in Haldane-Ward I did opt for 18...Rb6 but in this game (which was without preparation and where I had forgotten some previous key analysis!) I do try to get to grips with this 18...Be6/18...Rb6 mystery when delving deeper into previous conclusions on this site.



More new Dragon encounters from around the world soon.

Best wishes, Chris and Gawain

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To get in touch with me subscribers can email me at Chris Ward@ChessPublishing.com.