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Black or White, Kingside or Queenside, Soltis or Chinese? Decisions, decisions, but why take sides when you can choose a Hybrid!
Yep, a topsy turvy update but a fun one with some interesting new ideas. Time to get reading!

Download PGN of August ’19 Dragon Sicilian games

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Classical Dragon 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Be2 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.0-0-0 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Kb1 [B72]

The aggressive Classical system of 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 continues to make appearances at quite high levels with the 9...Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Kb1 option bringing natural comparisons with the analogous 9 0-0-0 Yugoslav Attack variation. The only difference is that White has played Be2 instead of f2-f3 and although developing the bishop could be seen as more useful, in fact that lack of support for the e4-pawn means that Black can play 11...Qa5 without having to worry about the Nd5 trick. From here Karthikeyan, M - Tahbaz, A continued 12.a3 (preventing ...Nxe4) 12...Rfc8 13.h4 and now 13...h5:

As regular subscribers will know, halting White’s h-pawn advance in this manner is far from forced but of course Black now has a firm grip on the g4-square. Perhaps White should now turn his attention to an f4-f5 thrust and I really didn’t like the greedy 14.Qg5 b5 15.Qxb5?! One playing over the game quickly might think that White had everything under control and after 15...Qc7 16.Qa4 Rab8 17.Bb5 Qb7? 18.Qxa7 Qxa7 19.Bxa7 Rb7 20.Bd4 Rxc3 21.Bxc3 Rxb5 22.f3 simply managed to reach an endgame that he was fortunate to convert. A closer inspection though reveals the truth!

Yugoslav 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 Bxd4 13.Qxd4 Qb6 14.Na4 Qc7 [B76]

After 9.0-0-0 d5 it’s like 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 Bxd4 13.Qxd4 Qb6 of Perunovic, M- Djukic, N has become the main line but after 14.Na4 Qc7 15.Bc4 Rd8, certainly 16.h4?! isn’t!

Yes, rarely played and for a reason! Although there are clearly things happening in the centre, White may not have forgotten his kingside ambitions but in looking to open the h-file in this manner, the g3-square has been irrevocably weakened.

Through 16...Bf5 Black connects his rooks thus threatening dangerous discovered attacks against the black queen whilst 17.Bb3 Qg3! highlights the downside of 16 h4?! With the black queen has finding a nice new home! On here her majesty directly attacks g2 whilst ...Nf4 is an attractive prospect too.

Unfortunately, after the defensive 18.Rhg1 Black was premature in 18...e5?! and after 19.Qc4 Be6 20.Nc5 Nb6 21.Qe2 Bxb3 22.axb3 Nd5 23.Kb1 Qxh4 24.Qxe5 Re8 25.Qd4 we were on our way to a draw.

Yugoslav Attack 9.g4 Nd7 [B76]

After 5...g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.g4 previously on ChessPublishing we have considered no less than 8 different Black options as featured in main games. However in Tutisani, N - Bayram, Y a 9th possibility comes to our attention in the form of 9...Nd7:

Yes, definitely a first on the site for this ambitious looking re-route but regular subscribers will know that whilst I always keep tabs on the top rated player Dragon encounters, I am also keen to feature new ideas.

Amazingly, though, when I checked the online database, there had been 134 documented outings featuring this including a victory of the great Viktor Korchnoi.

This game was certainly not straightforward and after 10.0-0-0 Nde5 11.Be2 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5 White decided not to accept Black’s offering. Probably a good practical decision, 13.h4 b4 14.Nd5 e6 15.Ne3 Qa5 16.Kb1 Nxf3 17.Bxf3 e5 was all a bit suspicious and in fact following 18.Nd5 exd4, White missed the strength of 19 Qg5!! Instead 19.h5 Qd8?! 20.g5 Be6 21.Qh2 Bxd5 22.hxg6 h6 23.gxh6 Be5 24.Qg2 occurred with fun and games!

Yugoslav Attack 9.g4 Be6 10.Nxe6 fxe6 11.0-0-0 Ne5 12.Be2 Qc8 13.h4 Nfd7 14.h5 [B76]

Regards 9.g4 then the sequence 9...Be6 10.Nxe6 fxe6 11.0-0-0 Ne5 12.Be2 Qc8 remains fashionable with this move still most common then as the black queen offers protection to the weak point e6 whilst facilitating a future ...Nc4. After 13.h4 Nfd7 White generally chooses between 14 f4 and 14.h5 with the latter bring selected in Xu, Y - Huang, R, a game which scrutinises whether or not 14...Nxf3 15.Nd5! is really that powerful for White:

Definitely he was better after 15...exd5 16.Qxd5+ Rf7 17.hxg6 hxg6 18.Bxf3 Nb6 19.Bxb6 axb6 20.Qb3 Qc6 but Black was able to hold and I believe he has better options mentioned in side-lines too.

Yugoslav Attack Chinese/Soltis Hybrid 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.h4 h5 11.0-0-0 Ne5 12.Bb3 Rb8 [B78]

The game Rubes, J - Gazik, I seemingly brings something new to the table which through 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.Bc4 Bd7 10.h4 h5 11.0-0-0 Ne5 12.Bb3 Rb8 left me with a bit of a dilemma:

We effectively have a hybrid of currently the two most popular systems for Black in the 9 Bc4 Yugoslav Attack. The question was whether I should include this game in the Chinese roadmap, the Soltis roadmap or have it as 9 Bc4 irregular!

Eventually I opted for the former on the grounds that we have already featured this position in it before but with the black knight on a5 rather than e5.

Logically, White ploughed on with 13.g4 which isn’t rated so highly in the analogous Soltis position with the rook on c8. However, with no exchange sac on c3 resource to hand, the direct approach seems very reasonable. I would have expected White to want to keep things more open but through 13...b5 14.g5 Ne8 15.f4 Nc4 16.Bxc4 bxc4 17.f5 the h- and g-files remained closed. Some fascinating variations are contained within the annotation but whilst 17...Qb6 18 b3 Qa6!? looks critical, nice for White was 17...Qa5 18.Nd5 Qxa2 19.Nxe7+ Kh7 20.Qc3 Be5 21.Rhf1 Nc7 22.Kd2 Nb5 and in particular the beautiful queen sac 23.Nxb5!! Bxc3+ 24.Nxc3.

Some serious food for thought as another door opens!

Yugoslav Attack Soltis 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.h4 h5 11.0-0-0 Rc8 12.Bb3 Ne5 13.Bg5 Nc4 [B78]

Not for the first time in this update we see an up and down game in Vykouk, J- Berdnyk, M, which after 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.h4 h5 11.0-0-0 Rc8 12.Bb3 Ne5 13.Bg5 for the first time on the site features 13...Nc4:

Previously the flexible 13...Rc5 had pretty much just been assumed and the first question that comes up is whether given the black knight doesn’t actually fork the white queen and dark-squared bishop (the latter of course just having moved), white should just move her majesty (e.g. 14 Qe2!?). In this encounter though White preferred 14.Bxc4 and after 14...Rxc4 prevented the ...Nxe4 tactic with 15.Nb3. An obvious plan for White in these positions is the break through the centre but in fact 15...Be6 16.e5?! Nh7! 17.Bh6 Bxe5 just looks good for Black. The rest isn’t the most accurate game you are ever likely to see but it does call into question why 13...Nc4 hasn’t received more air time.

Best wishes, Chris

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