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Accelerated Dragons, Classical Variations, Yugoslav Attacks of the 9 0-0-0 and 9 Bc4 variety and what more could you ask for? Please don’t say the Fianchetto variation! Anyway plenty of new moves for the site, so I’ll leave you to it!

Download PGN of April ’21 Dragon Sicilian games

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Maroczy Bind 6.Nc3 Nxd4 7.Qxd4 d6 8.Be2 Bg7 9.Be3 0-0 10.Qd2 Be6 11.0-0 Qa5 [B36]

There was an obvious blip in the game Adams, M - Straka, V but that aside outwardly the game saw the long-time top English GM smoothly handle the white pieces in a typical Maroczy Bind scenario.

After 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Nxd4 7.Qxd4 d6 8.Be2 Bg7 9.Be3 0-0 10.Qd2 Be6 11.0-0 Qa5 rather than 12 Rac1 White decided that he wanted both rooks on queenside duty but following 12.Rfc1 Rfc8 13.b3 a6, most have tended to prefer 14 Rab1 (a position that can also be reached via by other means) as 14...b5? is then well met by 15 b4!

However White shut that door anyway through 14.a4 when after 14...Nd7 15.Rab1 Black should probably do something with the b4-square. Instead 15...f5?! was too weakening as 16 b4! rather than the bemusingly played 16.Bf3?! Ne5 17.Be2 Nd7? and only then 18.b4! showed us i.e. 18...Qd8 19.exf5 Bxf5 20.Rb3 Kh8 21.a5 Nf6 22.Na4 Rc6 23.Nb6 Rb8 24.h3 Qg8 25.Bf3 Be4 26.Bd4 e5 27.Bb2 First up it was holes and now it was a weak d-pawn that was to be Black’s downfall.

Accelerated Dragon, Maroczy Bind 6.Be3 Qb6 7.Nf5 [B38]

After 1.Nf3 g6 2.e4 c5 3.c4 Bg7 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nc6 6.Be3 Qb6 hitting d4, we have seen quite a bit of 7 Nb3 and 7 Nb5 but the game Parvanyan, A - Mamedov, R allows us to investigate 7.Nf5 for the first time:

Rather rare in practice, this discovered attack basically secures the Dragon bishop for a knight for the price of a pawn with 7...Qxb2 8.Nxg7+ Qxg7 9.Nd2 the natural follow up. Whereas I now ponder 9...d6 and 9...Nf6 in the notes, what isn’t natural is the played 9...Nb4?! which saw the Azerbaijan GM neglecting development in favour of tricks. The bottom line is that 10.Nb3 d6 11.Qd2 Nc6 12.Be2 h5 13.0-0 Nf6 14.f3 h4?! 15.c5! was starting to look promising for White in the compensation department. There were plenty of twists and turns in this game though with 15...dxc5 16.Nxc5 h3 17.g3 Nd7 18.Rac1?! Nxc5 19.Rxc5 Be6 20.Bb5 0-0? 21.Bxc6 bxc6 22.Bh6 Rad8 23.Qxd8 Qxh6 24.Qd4! Rc8 25.a4 Kh7 26.Rfc1 Rd8! 27.Qxd8? Qe3+ 28.Kf1 Qxf3+ 29.Ke1 Qe3+ 30.Kf1 Qf3+ only half of the story (and less than a third of the game!)

Classical Dragon 6.Be2 Nc6 7.0-0 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Bg7 [B70]

Regular subscribers know that I love it when I can bring something new to the site and after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be2 Nc6 that was on the verge of happening in Obregon Rivero, J - Figueredo Losada, L.

This precise position is frequently reached via a Classical Sicilian move order with Dragon players more likely to prioritise the Dragon bishop fianchetto completion. However one advantage of developing the knight first here came after 7.0-0 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Bg7:

There have been quite a lot of games in practice from this position but none before on this site and interestingly none at all after 9 e5!? which could see White offloading a pawn for compensation. That’s in the notes as are remarks on 9 Bg5 but in fact 9.Be3 hit the board here with 9...0-0 10.Qd2 Be6 11.h3 Qc7 12.Rfd1 Rfc8 13.Rac1 a6 14.Bd4 b5 15.Bf3 Rab8 16.Nd5 Bxd5 17.exd5 Nd7 leaving about equal chances in an imbalanced minor piece scenario that we have encountered on numerous times in the past.

Yugoslav 9.0-0-0 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Kb1 Qc7 12.g4 Rfc8 13.h4 Qa5 14.a3 Rab8 15.h5 b5 16.h6 [B76]

Viewing the recent Krysa, L - Martin Carmona, G was like a trip down memory lane for me that entailed fun in revisiting very old complicated tactical lines under the scrutiny of new engines. After 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.0-0-0 because all of the work we’d done on it previously, I wasn’t intending to spend too much more time on the 9...Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Kb1 Qc7 variation. However, I noticed this month that two lower rated Dragon players got big titled scalps with it this month including in my suggested 12 h4 Rfc8 13 h5 Qa5 14 hxg6 fxg6 with ...Bf7 soon up line. That is covered in the notes to the main game that instead travelled down the path of 12.g4 Rfc8 13.h4 Qa5 14.a3 Rab8 15.h5 b5 16.h6 b4:

Here I had the opportunity to revisit assessments on 17 Nb5! despite 17.axb4 occurring. A long while back we saw here why 17...Rxb4 is basically a forced draw but the main game’s 17...Qxb4 certainly had more mileage in it from a Black perspective after 18.Nd5 Nxd5 19.Qxb4?? Nxb4 20.Bxg7 Nxc2.

Yugoslav 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 Bxd4 13.Qxd4 Qb6 14 Bc4 [B76]

Naturally our main focus after 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 Bxd4 13.Qxd4 Qb6 has been on 14 Na4 seeing as it is by far the most common move. Still well behind in 14.Bc4 has now moved up into 3rd position as far as popularity goes and although still lagging way behind in that department, the fact that it has the best results suggests that the move needs to be taken seriously. Consequently when the game popped up this month I decided to investigate further a second Ivanchuk game with it with Ivanchuk, V - Mamedov, R quickly reaching an endgame but not what you’d call a boring one!

So after 14...Ne3 White deviated from the previously discussed 15 Rd2 with 15.Na4 which encouraged 15...Qxd4 16.Rxd4 Nxg2 17.Re4 when Black had to decide how to arrange an extraction for his offside knight. Options are considered but 17...e5 18.Rxe5 Nh4 19.Rf1 Bh3 20.Rf2 Rfe8 21.Ra5 Re1+ 22.Kd2 Rh1 23.Kc3!? then saw Black fall for the sneaky 23...Bg2? 24.Nb6! Rb8 25.Rxa7! Rxb6 26.Rxf7 with no satisfactory way to deal with both a material winning discovered check and mating nets.

Yugoslav Attack 9.Bc4 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Bxe6 fxe6 12.0-0-0 Qa5 13.Kb1 Rac8 14.h4 [B77]

As he is somewhat of a Dragon expert, I do like investigating the games of Mikhail Golubev as he often has good ideas whatever the time limit. The entertaining game Visakh, N - Golubev, M was no exception with following 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Bc4 0-0 9.Qd2 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Bxe6 fxe6 12.0-0-0 Qa5 13.Kb1 Rac8 14.h4 the flexible move 14...Rc6 being almost a novelty!

There are some amazing variations after the direct approach of 15.h5 Nxh5 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.g4 Nf4 18.Qh2 h5 19.gxh5 with some amusing notes. Unfortunately what Black won’t find amusing is that after 19...g5 20.Rdg1 Kh6 21.Nd5? Nxd5 22.exd5 Qxd5 23.Qe2 Qf5 24.f4 Qxf4 25.Rf1 Qe5 26.Qxe5 Rxf1+ 27.Rxf1 dxe5 28.Rf7 g4 he not only didn’t convert his decisive endgame advantage but he actually somehow managed to lose. There’s just no justice!

See you soon! Chris

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