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Hi everybody! I'm going to open this month's update with an e-mail question concerning the Accelerated Dragon, and then look at a few Dragons of the Accelerated variety, in particular with the Maroczy Bind, before getting on to the Yugoslav Attack. Note that I've also updated the Accelerated Dragon playable eBook.

Download PGN of April '13 Dragon Sicilian games

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Accelerated Dragon: 7 Bc4 [B35]

First, subscriber Florian notes that "after 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 cd 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Bc4 Qa5 8. 0-0 0-0, the move 9. Bb3 is not covered. This is the main move in that position, played in more than 600 games according to my database."

Thanks for your e-mail and kind words although I'm sure you realise that as ChessPublishing is concerned with the newest theory there is a strong bias on my site towards the normal Dragon and in particular the Yugoslav Attack (not this month though!) as this is where the cutting-edge theory occurs. That's also where the large majority of subscriber interest lies, of course. I do however try to keep an eye on any Accelerated Dragon developments, and indeed the Hyper-Accelerated and Semi-Accelerated variants, and am always happy to answer any questions or feature any specifically requested lines.

Regards the line that you refer to, in fact the game Charbonneau-Perelshteyn in the archives is the exact move order that you talk about, but the reason that 9 Nb3 and indeed 9 h3 received equal billing (despite as you correctly observe, reaching a far less common position according to databases) is because they offer independent significance to the pure Accelerated Dragon move order. Essentially the answer is all to do with transposition. From that aforementioned 9 Bb3 game you will then see that of past games on this site that we have 9...d6 after which 10 h3 brings into play an Emms-Longson game. Then following 10...Bd7 11 Re1, up pops the Emms-Wright annotated encounter etc.

Although strictly speaking that position then is an Accelerated Dragon 'B35' classification, it could just as easily be reached via 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 g6 6 Bc4 although admittedly in the 'Modern Classical' variation, White often tries to park his dark-squared bishop on g5 (not generally prioritising its development). In the Accelerated variation of course, where White has eschewed the Maroczy Bind, White is compelled to place his bishop on e3 fairly early on in order to support his d4-knight.

Similarly your variation of interest could also be reached via a Semi-Accelerated Dragon move order and indeed that was the case in the first game of this month's update.

Actually not a lot was happening in the sharper lines this month and so half of this month's update relates to the Accelerated Dragon. Thanks again and I hope you enjoy...

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 g6 is of course strictly speaking the 'Semi-Accelerated Dragon' in which White has the opportunity to trade knights on c6 and then advance his e-pawn. In Grischuk - Ivanchuk, White stays away from that and following 6 Be3 Bg7 7 Bc4 Qa5 8 0-0 0-0 9 Bb3, we reach the position below which is of interest to at least one subscriber (see above):

The overwhelming choice for Black there is 9...d6 when we here at ChessPublishing have been used to investigating things after 10 h3 (controlling the g4-square). New to the site and certainly a relative sideline is 10 Nd5 which you would have to say didn't cause Black many problems other than prompting him to get into what was ultimately disastrous time trouble!

Maroczy Bind 6...Nxd4 [B36]

In the first of two Maroczy Bind games this month Black swiftly trades knights in the centre and after offering a (declined) queen trade, perseveres with an equally fast a-pawn advance:

Yes, in Hou Yifan-Ma Qun, Black prioritises this in order to be able to tackle a future b2-b3. The ultimate aim was to pressurise the binding c4-pawn and in the end White was forced to take a threefold repetition in order to avoid losing it.

Maroczy Bind: The fairly early Nc2 [B37]

The game Gergacz - Matthiesen started 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.c4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 0-0 8.Be2 d6 9.Nc2 which strictly speaking isn't a 'B37' classification because the white knight retreated to c2 a little too late! Actually as I observe in the annotations, the position below isn't, relatively speaking, that common, although down the line transpositions are always possible:

We didn't get the fireworks that we often see when Black concedes his Dragon bishop for a knight in order to compromise White's pawn structure although as you will see, it certainly didn't peter out to a bore draw!

Yugoslav Attack 9 g4 Be6 10 Nxe6 [B76]

It's definitely fair to say that the Yugoslav Attack variation with 9 g4 has become trendy in recent times and one reason for that is that White players may feel that they have relatively little to prepare for. Indeed 9...Be6 has been assumed to be best for a while with only the assessment of 10 Nxe6 fxe6 changing. It used to be considered nice for Black because of his control of the d5-square and half-open f-file but that view has come into question with the weak e6-pawn becoming the focus. Following 11 0-0-0 Ne5 12 Be2, Black generally chooses between 12...Rc8, 12...Qc8 and 12...Qa5 and it is the latter which makes a reappearance in Szabo - Arngrimsson. Previously Gawain thoroughly investigated the attacked black knight options after 13 g5, but in this encounter White remains in pure attack mode with 13 h4. Yep, with h4-h5 up next to challenge Black's frail looking kingside shell, the onus is on Black to demonstrate some equivalent queenside action. Well, 13...b5 as illustrated below gets the ball rolling nicely and the game (along with associated notes) is a most enjoyable one:

Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 Bd7 10 g4 Ne5 11 h4 b5?! [B76]

Although the game Kovalev - Zhou reached the position below via a different move order, certainly 11...b5?! has just been played and makes an appearance on our site for the very first time:

Of course, all our subscribers will be familiar with the position after 11...Rc8 instead and I would rather be awarding 11...b5 with a '!?'. Unfortunately I can't, as the natural response 12 h5 seems to cause insurmountable problems. Yes, 12...b4 13 Nd5 Nxd5 14 exd5 Qa5 certainly sets about winning a pawn, but the Black kingside defences struggle without that f6-knight. Definitely cause to feel a little sorry for Black; he tries something new but basically gets a clinical response and is comprehensibly thrashed. That's life I'm afraid!

Yugoslav Attack 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 with 12.Bd4 Bxd4 [B76]

Yes, as far as I could see, there wasn't much by way of thrills at the top level in the Yugoslav Attack this month and hence my decision to give the Accelerated Dragon a bigger outing. However, in this ultra trendy 13 Qxd4 Qb6 14 Na4 Qc7 15 Bc4 variation, in Corrales Jimenez-Smith, White brought something new to our site in the form of the illustrated below 16 g3!?:

There have been many issues in this line revolving around the g3 and f4-squares and this move certainly looks to patch those up. Although the way White appears to play is fairly unassuming, it is obviously not to be under-estimated as the way that Black's position goes downhill so quickly is incredible. Currently a move with a 100% record, we could well be seeing more of it in the future!

Thanks for listening people!

Best wishes, Chris

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