ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
Hello dear subscribers,
A mixed bunch this month with some new ideas both good and bad! Alas no Dragons for me at the British Championship but there were others to report on. Without further ado...

Download PGN of August '15 Dragon Sicilian games

>> Previous Update >>

Classical Dragon without ...d6 [B34]

Fellow ChessPublishing colleague and good friend John Emms owed me an annotation and the recent British Championship game Golding - Emms was the perfect opportunity to pay his debt! Strictly classified as 'B34' and the Semi-Accelerated Dragon, though via an accelerated Dragon move order, this offering is really more of a Classical Dragon but without Black playing ...d6. Yes, after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Be2 0-0 8.Nb3, John eschewed a simple transposition back to the Classical main line (8...d6) with 8...b6!?:

His young opponent had performed very well in the event but shows his inexperience a little as it seems clear that he intended to play the aggressive kingside pawn launches in the standard variation but continued in that fashion anyway with 9.g4? allowing Back to get in 9...d5! in one move. A queenside fianchetto is clearly very useful for Black in this scenario and after 10.exd5 Nb4 11.Bd4 Bb7 12.Rg1 Nfxd5 13.Nxd5 Nxd5 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.Qd4+ Kg8 16.0-0-0 e5! things had naturally opened up in his favour.

Modern Classical 6 Bc4 [B70]

Hector - Aabling is the first of two games featuring the Danish FM as Black and based even on this small sample, he is a player who is keen on some Dragon innovation. Against the experienced Swedish GM Hector after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Re1 (note that this game prompted me in the annotations to compare and contrast 8 Re1 with 8 h3), he came out with 8...Bg4!?:

This isn't a novelty as such (and has actually been played by Magnus Carlsen) but is nevertheless very rare. The aim of this swift bishop move is to disrupt White's standard development with 9.f3 not really a move that fits in with this particular White kingside castling system. Following 9...Bd7 although Black may appear to have lost time with his bishop, the fact is that the inclusion for White of f2-f3 may be rather undesirable. Although the g4-square is taken away from Black, it is not as though White will ever be launching a Yugoslav Attack style g2-g4 as his king is after all on the wrong side of the board. Definitely negatives are that holes have been created and White is weakened along the b6-g1 diagonal. Black might have a later ...Nh5-f4 type plan and although f3-f4 could still be played, White would rather have a rook on f1 in that instance.

Following 10.Bg5 Nc6 11.Nxc6 Bxc6 12.Kh1 Rc8 13.Qe2 Qa5 14.Bd2 Qc7 15.Bb3 Nd7 16.Qf2 Nc5 17.Qh4 Rfe8 18.Bh6 Bh8 19.Re3 e6 20.Rd1 Nxb3 21.axb3 d5, Black already had the upper hand and went on to win a nice game.

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

Upon returning from this year's British Championship, I noticed that there were databases available for all of the lower and age group sections. Out of interest I searched them for Dragon encounters as I thought it would be fun to see how popular the opening was at grass roots level. Intriguing was that although it didn't appear to be that common at what might be described as adult club standard, clearly the talented juniors enjoyed deploying our favourite opening. The game Munshi - Verma is a point in case with Aditya Verma becoming the British U-11 champion and also coming joint first in the U-12 section.

What I found impressive was that after 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 Bd7 9.0-0-0 0-0 10.g4 Rc8 11.h4 Ne5 12.Bh6, someone so young had no qualms offloading the exchange through 12...Bxh6 13.Qxh6 Rxc3!:

Standard, maybe, for experienced Dragon exponents or those that follow the opening without actually playing it themselves! Anyway after 14.bxc3 Qa5 15.Kb2 Rc8 16.Qd2, the young talent followed it up with 16...Bxg4 17.Nb3 Qb6 18.fxg4 Nxe4 although in the annotations it can be seen that 16...Nxf3! was the better tactic to deploy.

Yugoslav Attack 9 g4 [B76]

In Smirin - Aabling, following 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.g4 Be6 10.0-0-0, rather than the standard and perfectly reasonable trade of knights and ...Qa5, Black shocked his opponent with 10...d5?:

As could be seen from his other annotated game in this month, the Danish Fide Master clearly has the odd interesting idea in the Dragon. Unfortunately this one feels more than a little suspicious and with that in mind a Super GM of Smirin's experience probably isn't the ideal moment to test such dubiousities!

Unsurprisingly, White responded accurately with 11.g5 Nh5 12.Nxe6 fxe6 13.exd5 exd5 14.Qxd5+! Qxd5 15.Nxd5 and although Black got his pawn back through 15...Rxf3, after 16.Bg2 it was clear that Black's little experiment has failed. He isn't any material down, but White's well centralised pieces will ultimately exploit the weakness that is the isolated e-pawn.

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

The highest average ELO Dragon encounter in this last month was Wei Yi- Lu Shanglei where after 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.0-0-0 d5, the 2724 rated GM opted for the relative side-line 10.Qe1. Black responded with 10...e6 (rather than 10...e5) when 11.Kb1 is I suppose a useful waiting move and in not committing the pawn to h4, White leaves that square free for his queen. Theoretically, it looks as though 11...Qe7!?, vacating d8 for the rook may be Black's best:

Still, it looked as though White might be pressing after 12.Bg5 h6 13.Bh4 Nxd4 14.Rxd4 Qc5 15.Rd1 dxe4 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.Nxe4 Qe5 18.Nxf6+ Qxf6 19.h4 b6 20.h5 g5 21.Qe4 Rb8 22.Bd3 Rd8 23.Qh7+ Kf8, but it transpires that with the rock of a black queen on f6, White's attack was going nowhere and as it happened Black soon turned the tables.

Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4: Chinese Variation [B78]

The game Boros - Kargin was a very sneaky one by White who punished his opponent for not being on the ball. Specifically, 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Rb8 11.Bb3 Na5 12.Bh6 Bxh6 13.Qxh6 e5 14.Nde2 b5 15.Rxd6 b4 16.Na4 Nb7 had all been played before with draws occurring via 17 Rd2 Qe8 18 Ng3 Bxa4 19 Nf5 gxf5 20 Qg5+ and a perpetual check. However, in this game White retreated his rook to a different square in 17.Rd3!?:

This may not have seemed like much of a difference but when Black repeated the plan of trying to win the offside a4-knight with 17...Qe8?!, he was in for a rude awakening. Yes, after 18.Ng3 Bxa4 19.Nf5! gxf5 20.Qg5+ Kh8 21.Qxf6+ Kg8 22.Qg5+ Kh8 23.Qf6+ Kg8, clearly White had both toyed and tricked his opponent when 24.f4! hit the board. A 3rd rank rook slide had entered the equation and 24...exf4 25.Rh3! Qc6 26.Qxf5 Qg6 27.Bxa4 Qxf5 28.exf5 was basically forced, with a winning endgame for White.

Okay guys, hope I'm keeping you entertained. Back real soon! Chris

>> Previous Update >>

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