ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
Hello dear followers!
Really sorry that this is a little late, but I went on holiday and didn't quite get everything finished in time. Prior to that, I enjoyed playing at the British Championship even though it didn't take me long to remember just how much hard work such serious events are. I think I played okay but was pretty hopeless when it came to time management. No change there then! Just the two Anti-Sicilians (I even played the French to avoid a 3rd!) and zero Dragons. Contrast that to my friend and fellow chesspublishing site host John Emms who appeared to achieve a Dragon set-up in nearly all of his Black games, despite not actually playing the opening himself!
Okay, on with August's update, but I'll be back with you soon with September:

Download PGN of August '13 Dragon Sicilian games

>> Previous Update >>

Classical Dragon with 0-0-0 [B72]

The recent game Hovhannisyan, R - Bulski, K gave me an opportunity to revisit the interesting Classical/Yugoslav hybrid variation that was very popular for a short while. With 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Be2 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.0-0-0, the white king has 'gone long' but Be2 has been favoured instead of f2-f3. Both moves offer a degree of control over the g4-square, but as we see, only the pawn option prevents a black piece invading that square. This offbeat system originally hit the headlines because of the pawn sacrifice 11 g4 that follows the natural looking 9...Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6. Notes to this game suggest that Black is probably wise to decline that offering but prior to that, 9...Ng4 looks critical:

Of course this isn't the first time that we've seen this challenging response on this site, but this latest game doesn't alter my view of its soundness.

Yugoslav Attack Delayed ...0-0 [B75]

It was nice to see an old face in Neil Carr at the British Championship this year. Back when I was a junior, he was considered to be one of England's star youngsters but rather than pursue a career in chess, he had got a 'real' job, sacrificing potential titles for money and happiness! Just kidding (as we're all happy!) but anyway, in a game I now annotate for our site he deployed the Dragon against one of England's current young stars, who of course plays the Dragon himself.

Also, though, in Zhou - Carr there was a novelty in the form of the 10...b5 illustrated below and it's all rather interesting:

The concept of Black delaying ...0-0 is far from new and of course instead 10...Rc8 11 0-0-0 and now 11...0-0 would transpose to a system that we have previously invested plenty of time on (and is up next!). Prepared at home, the concept of offering the b-pawn before playing ...Rc8, is 'why do it after moving the rook when it is not unlikely to go to b8 anyway'? Fair point; with the subtleties of doing all this before castling certainly worth investigating. With some further sacrifices offered, an intriguing game all round!

Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 Bd7 [B76]

By 9 0-0-0 Bd7, this also translates to 9 g4 Bd7 as which of the two (0-0-0 and g4) that hasn't been played tends to follow next anyway. Indeed 9.g4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Rc8 11.h4 Ne5 is the move order that occurred in Gledura, B - Nemeth, De when after 12.Kb1 h5 13.gxh5 Nxh5 14.Rg1 we saw another instance of an early b-pawn advance with 14...b5 as illustrated below:

Black will no doubt be very pleased to have won this game against a significantly higher rated opponent but you will be able to tell from my notes that I'm a little worried by Black's opening play and still prefer 14...Rxc3!?.

Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4 Soltis Variation [B78]

It is nice to include a game from the recent World Cup event but seriously, I can't remember seeing such a super strong player looking as clueless as he did in Nepomniachtchi,I-Wei Yi. Playing White against the 'Soltis' variation White chose 13.Bh6 over 13 Bg5 but after 13...Nc4 14.Bxc4 Rxc4 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.Kb1 Qa5 (illustrated below) 17.Rhe1 Rfc8 18.Qe3 a6 19.Re2 Qc5 20.Qd2 Qa5 21.Qd3 Qe5 22.Qe3 Qc5 23.Rdd2, it really seemed as though the over 2700 player didn't really know what to do.

Following 23...b5, he opted to retreat with 24.Nd1?! (24 Nd5 must be critical) after which Black responded with 24...e5! and slowly proceeded to get on top. On the other hand, it was an excellent example of a beautifully controlled game by Black and is well worth playing over.

Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4; not quite Chinese system! [B78]

I have to confess that when I first saw the game Boros, De-Arngrimsson, D I almost dismissed it out of hand. I mean take a look at the position below that occurred after 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Ne5 11.Bb3 Rb8 12.Bh6 Bxh6 13.Qxh6 Kh8:

However, the more I started to look at it, the more intrigued I became, in particular of course with this idea of ...Kh8 and ...Rg8. Given the amount of Black moves that the computer seems to like, there has no doubt been some home preparation done on this idea, and given the deviations available to Black from the main game, I wouldn't be surprised if we see more of its like in the future.

Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4 Chinese Variation [B78]

After all the innovative play of some of the other games this month, the game Ledger, D - Jones, G may come across as a little flat although the most deflated by the whole episode was Gawain who, following the encounter, uttered something to me along the lines of "The problem with the Dragon is it's just a draw"!

Okay so after 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Rb8 11.Bb3 Na5 12.g4 b5 13.Bh6 Bxh6 14.Qxh6 b4 15.Nd5 Nxb3+ 16.Nxb3 Nxd5 17.exd5, we reach a position that we have studied on numerous occasions:

It was Magnus Carlsen who first came up with 17...Rb6 here in order to prepare the advance ...e5 so as to able to recapture (if taken) with the f-pawn rather than the bishop. He originally won a nice game that was annotated on the site, but in more recent times 18 h4 e5 and now eschewing the en passant with 19 Nd2 has been causing Black problems. Consequently 7 years on from my original annotation with it, in this recent British Championship encounter, Gawain returns to 17...e5, but after 18.dxe6 Bxe6 is less than impressed when his lower rated opponent heads down what appears to be a forced drawing sequence. This annotation then questions whether it is just a draw, and indeed whether White can (i.e. if the desire is there!) play for a win.

That's it from me for now, but I will be back real soon.

Best wishes, Chris

>> Previous Update >>

To get in touch with me subscribers can email me at Chris