ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
Hi everyone!
Told you I'd be back soon and there is an interesting response to that last July 2014 update. Okay, clearly the focus this month is on the 9 0-0-0 Yugoslav Attack but that does seem to a fair reflection of where practical Dragons are right now.

Download PGN of August '14 Dragon Sicilian games

>> Previous Update >>

Levenfish 6 f4 Bg7 7 e5 [B71]

I couldn't resist kicking off with this first game though:

Following the moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4, textbooks generally consider 6...Nc6 to be the most challenging Black response with 6...Nbd7 being a safe option. In my early Dragon days I considered 6...Bg7 to be a mistake due to 7 e5 but later discovered that it's not so bad provided he doesn't trade pawns and instead responds with 7...Nh5 (with the idea of meeting 8 g4? with 8...Nxf4!). I was somewhat surprised when very recently I came across the game Zaibi - De Mey in which Black seemingly deliberately aims for the position illustrated below via 7...dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4 9.Bb5+ Nc6:

At a glance it looks as though Black is set to lose material to a simple fork but upon close inspection that isn't the case at all. Indeed I was then shocked to discover many people have been prepared to take this position on as Black and hence I felt compelled to take a deeper look. As played in the game, Black's idea is 10.Nxc6 Qxd1+ 11.Nxd1 a6 12.Ba4 Bd7 ensuring that there is no disastrous material loss. Don't worry though, the very fabric of time and space hasn't been altered as it transpires that 13.h3 Nh6 14.Nxe7! is good for White anyhow. So phew(!), there is no panic to change the assessment of a long standing variation.

Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 Nxd4 [B76]

Next up that response to the last July 2014 update:

«Hello Chris,
As a new subscriber to chesspublishing, I had a deja vu when reading your July 2014 update on the Dragon, concerning the game Suarez - Alonso Alvarez. White won in exactly the same way as I did in an internet blitz game in 1998!
The only difference is that instead of the standard 16.Bd3 I played 16.Rh2!?, which was my own pet move at the time. One of its points is (obviously) that if Black replies 16...Bc4, considered the strongest against 16.Bd3, White can play Bf1xc4 in one go, thus gaining a tempo for his king-side attack including doubling rooks on the h-file.
However, if Black plays 16...b5 17.Qg5 Nh7, it is doubtful whether white has anything better than repeating moves with 18.Qh4 Nf6 19.Qg5. So the line is probably quite innocent anyway.
Still, I'm curious whether you have ever seen/analyzed/discarded the move 16.Rh2 yourself...
Keep up the good work on chesspublishing!
Kind regards, Peter Reedijk, The Netherlands»

Thanks very much for your kind words Peter and it's always nice to have a bit of feedback. If I can, I will always try to answer any questions and in this case, that I have in the second offering this month; a main game that you may recognise!

No doubt the game Sacapiece - marvin will also be a case of deja vu for our regulars as well as our new Dutch subscriber and anyone forgetting the queen sac theme in the future should be ashamed of themselves. Following 9.0-0-0 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Kb1 Qc7 12.h4 Rfc8 13.h5 Qa5 14.hxg6 hxg6 15.a3 Rab8, the specific question related the played 16.Rh2 which doesn't for example have any instances in Megabase 2014:

In this annotation I try to answer Peter's question but also take the opportunity to make a summary of the more critical 16 Bd3! Taking a long look at our investigations into that in the past, I have added some extra variations and thoughts.

Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 d5 Main line [B76]

Kicking off our 3 game section on 9 0-0-0 d5 we have Stany - Afek in which after the now standard 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 Bxd4 13.Qxd4, rather than 13...Qb6 (or indeed 13...Qc7) Black got solid in the centre with the illustrated below 13...Be6:

A sensible looking move that makes its debut on ChessPublishing, I don't believe that in 14.Na4 Qa5 15.b3 White dealt with it too well. Sure, it may have seemed logical to evade the knight trade (certainly on d5) but effectively we have reached a common position but with ...Be6 for free and all in all I can't believe that is detrimental to Black's position. Certainly this game was a reasonable one from the perspective of Black although arguably he could have been more ambitious. In the notes I offer up some possible spots for both sides to improve and end by wondering whether this line will take off.

Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 d5 Pawn Grab [B76]

It's easy to forget when meeting 9.0-0-0 with 9...d5 that it is actually a pawn sacrifice, but the 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Nxd5 cxd5 13.Qxd5 of Manik - Jurcik reminds us that it is. In fact this game is fairly accurate and probably brings us the truth of 13...Qc7 14.Qc5 Qb7 15.b3 Bf5 16.Bd3 with the correct 16...Rac8! appearing for the first time here in a main game:

The feature of the oscillating black queen between b8 and c8 is an amusing one as her majesty seeks to align with the Dragon bishop to punish White on the dark squares, but it seems that a draw is a fair result-solved!

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

It's always nice to follow Gawain's games and the recent Ochsner - Jones is no exception. Following 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Qe1 e5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.exd5 Nxd5, White uncorked 13.h4 just when we would have been expecting 13 Ne4. White was probably hoping to save on those standard central consolidating piece moves, instead getting on with some kingside action.

Gawain though followed suit by dispensing with the likes of 13...Be6, instead coming up with the novelty 13...Qe7!? White's attack was never to be seen as he accepted Black's offering with 14.Nxd5 cxd5 15.Rxd5 but after 15...Rb8 it was clear that Black was going to have very reasonable compensation.

Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4 with 11...Nxd4 and 12...b5 [B78]

And we finish with a Yugoslav Attack of the 9 Bc4 variety, specifically the popular variation 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Rc8 11.Bb3 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5 and in Tzouganakis - Swapnil White decided to bag a pawn and a potentially menacing one at that with 13.Bxa7. It seems to me that being rich in possibilities, Black has reasonable compensation for the pawn in the position below:

Of course alongside the other 13th move alternatives, we have seen this move before on ChessPublishing and noted that has the disadvantage of being a little time consuming and gifting Black another half-open file against his king. The deviation is that after 13... b4 14.Ne2 Qa5 15.Bd4 Ba4 16.Bxa4 Qxa4 17.Kb1, in this game Black opted for 17...Ra8, rather than the also very reasonable 17...e5. Then following 18.Nc1 Rfc8 19.c4 bxc3 20.Bxc3 Rab8, it was clear that Black was starting to get into gear and move through those gears he did!

Okay that's it for now. Amongst other things in the next update I will be scrutinising any Dragon encounters from the recent Olympiad. Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of Summer!

Best Wishes, Chris

>> Previous Update >>

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