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Hi guys!
First up an apology. Due to a technical hitch I hadn't received any of your mail in the last few months and I thought that you had abandoned me! It has appeared now and I will do my best over the next few updates to address those topics as well as the current state of play in our favourite opening.

To download the September '08 Dragon Sicilian games directly in PGN form click here: Download Games


On the other hand I do feel the need to defend myself a little bit regards the forum suggestion that I possibly deliberately (?) avoid annotating the games involving the world's leading players. I think that is a little harsh especially given that when I have a new month's worth of games to pick from, I always look at them in average rating order downwards when deciding which ones to annotate. As regular subscribers will know I have been incredibly excited about young Magnus championing the Dragon and his are the first games that I scrutinise. However my selection criteria has certainly not been based on the strength of the competitors alone. Indeed I usually only consider including them if they offer good entertainment value or are theoretically important. It could of course be argued that all games involving 2700 standard players are of vital theoretical value but I don't always see it that way. For example a few updates ago I annotated for the site a game between Radjabov and Carlsen in the (sort of; and we're still going to have to come up with a name for it!) Soltis variation. It's great to have the young Norwegian on board and I thought that that was an important game. A little later I annotated Nisipipeanu (nearly 2700!)-Carlsen but in contrast I found that of little theoretical interest. I chose that game far more because it demonstrated Magnus' fantastic technique but even had White won, would all Yugoslav Attack exponents be rushing to play the Classical variation? I think not!

Last month I did contemplate including the Anand-Carlsen encounter but although on paper it featured a great cast, the game itself offered relatively little certainly regards entertainment. I assumed that there would be future games in this line that would offer more and I have been proven right.

Over time most of the questions that I have had have been regarding the Dragadorf but I do think it was a slight exaggeration to suggest that half of my coverage has been to that. Indeed one game last month, one the time before that and zero the month before that!

Anyway I take the point that has been made and this month I have tried to please what I am assuming are our higher level subscribers. By the way by the same token I would like to commend the likes of Tomas Bragesjo and 'Swiss_Dragon' (and others) for their truly excellent contributions to the forum. However I would just like to remind everyone that the playing strength of our membership is rather varied and although I doubt Magnus will ever have to face 6 f4, the Levenfish variation for example will probably always remain in the tournament circuit. Similarly even if our readers adopt Carlsen's (well not exactly his) 12...a6, I would be surprised if many of them ever had to face 13 Rhe1. Still...

Ivanchuk-Carlsen is where we kick off the proceedings and in case anyone is lost we are looking at the 9 Bc4 Yugoslav Attack, and we are talking about the popular prophylactic 12 Kb1 and here we introduce 12...a6 (instead of the trendy 12...Re8) to the updates:











The quiet 13 Rhe1 is White's response but the conclusion in this annotation is that Black is not in serious danger.

Instead Anand-Carlsen leaves the white king's rook where it is and brings 13 h4 to the table. In truth though the 13...h5 14 Bh6 that follows ultimately leads to a rather tepid encounter, whereas the 14 g4 of Topalov-Carlsen looks more testing and is most likely what the crowd want to see!











For temporary completion and I'm sure this topic is going to continue to grow, Farooqui-Falcon (before you ask, very unlikely to have made the cut under any other circumstances!) is 13 h4 h5 14 Bg5, clearly a hot topic on the forum:











Subscribers will know that I have a special interest in the Chinese variation and Carlsen-Radjabov (yes they've switched colours!) was never going to escape my attention. It's simply that when I did my last update, it hadn't yet been played! Anyway, being very entertaining and of theoretical relevance, this game definitely ticks all of the boxes!

Away from the Yugoslav Attack is Alekseev-Svidler. As you will discover Peter has had Classical and Fianchetto Dragon games before (scoring rather well as Black) but this looks to be his debut with 5...g6. Albeit high profile, of course this was only a blitz game and so we shouldn't get too carried away just yet. Anyway both players are over 2700 but I certainly wouldn't suggest that this 6 g3 encounter is of any particular theoretical importance:











By all means keep the mail coming (I think I should get it from now on) and I promise to get on the case of the ...Qa5 debate in the next update.


Best wishes, Chris

To get in touch with me, either leave a message for me on the Dragons Forum, or email me at Chris Ward@ChessPublishing.com (for subscribers only!)