ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
I’ll tell you what’s new in August 2022... Price rises, hosepipe bans, English prime ministers and 11...Rb8 ! There’s no promises, but let’s hope one or two of those turn out to be good news!

Download PGN of August ’22 Dragon Sicilian games

>> Previous Update >>

Classical 7.0-0 0-0 8.Re1 Nc6 9.Nb3 Be6 10.Bf1 a5 11.a4 Rc8 12.Nd5 Bxd5 13.exd5 Nb4 14.c4 [B72]

The Classical System 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Re1 Nc6 9.Nb3 Be6 10.Bf1 continues to be trotted out from time to time although in the notes to Vignesh, N - Avila Pavas, S we once again revisit whether there is anything wrong with the simple 10...d5. In any instance 10...a5 11.a4 Rc8 is a perfectly reasonable approach and the position after 12.Nd5 Bxd5 13.exd5 Nb4 14.c4 has occurred a fair few times in practical play.

Through 14...Nd7 Black opened up the Dragon bishop and gave the steed options on e5 and c5. Bar the knight on b3, all of White's pieces are on the back rank but given they are long range ones, they could pounce relatively quickly. White has the bishop pair and that typical pressure against e7 so it’s fair to say there are about equal chances and that is reflected in the practical results.

In this particular game all outcomes were possible as a totally messy middlegame occurred after 15.Ra3 Ne5 16.Nd2 Qb6 17.h3 e6 18.dxe6 fxe6 19.Nf3 d5 20.Rae3 Nxf3+ 21.gxf3 A fascinating encounter but overall not something that Black needs to be too worried about.

Modern Classical 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Re1 Nc6 9.Bb3 Bd7 10.Nf3 [B70]

I think I’m still sulking about the game Lane, G - Ward, C and this year’s British Championship in general although after three years away from tournament play (and only a handful of games against weaker opposition) I guess I could be forgiven for a bit (okay a lot!) of rust!

Anyway after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 the English IM chose 6.Bc4 Bg7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Re1 Nc6 9.Bb3 and after 9...Bd7 the slightly fashionable 10.Nf3 idea:

Even though with my response of 10...Bg4 it outwardly looks like Black loses a tempo, it's still the most straightforward reply. Of course, Black could opt for the likes of ...Rc8, ...a6, ...b5 etc. but as the light-squared bishop is the minor piece that most typically gets in the way, it seems easier to trade it off. Also note that whilst b3 is clearly a better resting place than c4 for White's own light-squared bishop, now there is no longer the option to withdraw it to f1 which is trendy these days in many Classical systems.

Following 11.h3 Bxf3 12.Qxf3 a6 13.Be3 Rc8 14.Rad1 b5 15.Qe2 probably Black can improve on 15...Qc7 but the position I had envisaged getting after 16.Nd5 Nxd5 17.exd5 Na5 18.c3 b4 19.c4 Nb7 20.Bd4 Bxd4 21.Rxd4 Nc5 22.Qxe7 amazingly did actually occur. I had assumed that a trade of queens followed by 23...Rfe8 should just be a draw but had decided to mix things up through 22...Rfe8!? 23.Qxe8+ Rxe8 24.Rxe8+ Kg7 instead with 25.Re3 Qd8 26.Rf4 f5 27.Rd4 Qf6 28.Rd2 an interesting imbalance. White has two rooks and a pawn for a queen but with a monster of a knight, I thought that I might be able to probe a bit and possibly ultimately achieve something on the queenside. In truth I felt pretty positive about my position but unfortunately my lack of practical play told as I erred dreadfully in time trouble. Objectively an interesting game but one that I am trying to forget!

Long Castles Classical 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Qd2 0-0 8.Be2 Nc6 9.0-0-0 Ng4 10.Bxg4 Bxg4 11.f3 Be6 12.Nd5 [B72]

After 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Qd2 0-0 8.Be2 Nc6 9.0-0-0 Ng4 10.Bxg4 Bxg4 11.f3 Be6 12.Nd5 there are certainly things to be learnt from the game Vallejo Pons, F - Docx, S.

More usual is 12 Kb1 and Black responded sensibly with 12...Rc8 13.h4 Bxd5 14.exd5 before in my opinion giving White too easy a ride with 14...Nxd4?! 15.Bxd4 Bxd4 16.Qxd4. The problem is that the white queen gets to sit pretty in the middle of the board but in contrast to Black’s queen isn’t far from joining in with any kingside action. Indeed that feature was highlighted well after 16...Qa5 17.Kb1 b5 18.h5! Qc7 19.Qd2 a5 20.Rh4 b4 21.Rdh1 where Black had progressed little on the queenside whilst White was poised for a serious assault on the black king. In fact Black was forced into 21...g5 to prevent that when 22.Qxg5+ Kh8 23.Qd2 Rg8 24.Re4 f6 25.Rhe1 was an extra pawn and more.

The solution? Well as given in the annotation, 14...Ne5 15 b3 Rc5 for starters and giving White something to think about!

Yugoslav Attack 9.g4 Be6 10.Nxe6 fxe6 11.0-0-0 Rb8 [B76]

Time for a novelty and in the game Vokhidov, S - Antonio, V after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.g4 Be6 10.Nxe6 fxe6 11.0-0-0 we get exactly that in the form of 11...Rb8:

Regular subscribers will be very aware that 11...Ne5 12 Be2 and then 12...Qc8 (or 12...Qc8) or indeed 11...Rc8 are normal but the text is totally new to the World! Though I’m sure you had a good inkling, Black’s idea was highlighted in the game continuation of 12.h4 Ne5 13.Be2 b5 with that pawn thrust not being a sacrifice because of the hanging f3-pawn and a future ...Nc4 likely to result in b-file rook action. Indeed that is exactly what happened after 14.h5 Qa5 15.hxg6 hxg6 16.g5 Nh5 17.f4 Nc4 18.Bxc4 bxc4 when after 19.Bd4 Qb4 20.b3 cxb3 21.axb3 overlooked was 21...Qa3+! 22 Kb1 Bxd4 23 Qxd4 Rb4 followed by ...Rfb8 with a crushing attack. Instead 21...Bxd4 22.Qxd4 Qxd4 23.Rxd4 Nxf4 saw Black bag a pawn and generally everything looked good right up til things went horribly pear-shaped at the end. Very sad if though I do believe White has a significant improvement in 13 h5!

Yugoslav Attack 9.0-0-0 h5 10.Kb1 d5 11.Bh6 Bxh6 12.Qxh6 Nxd4 13.Rxd4 Qb6 [B76]

Oh how times have changed as I can hardly believe I’m accepting 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 h5 10.Kb1 d5 as a main variation. What’s worse is that I’m having to get my head around the fact the same position could be reached if Black had played an earlier ...h5 (as in the legendary Super-Computer annotated game ScorpioNN3.0.13-KomodoDragon2747.00) or if after 9 0-0-0 d5 10 Kb1, Black eschewed the likes of 10...Nxd4, 10...Rb8 or 10...e6 in favour of 10...h5. That’s three different roadmaps!

Anyway so yes the game Panesar,V- Pijpers, A followed the non-human encounter with 11.Bh6 Bxh6 12.Qxh6 Nxd4 13.Rxd4 Qb6 14.Nxd5 Nxd5 15.Rxd5 Be6 until the deviation 16.Rd1:

Yes, previously one engine chased the other engine’s queen into the heart of his own position with 16 Rb5 Qf2 but whilst it caused a nuisance there, this game certainly shows why expelling the black queen from the b-file has its upside. Yes 16...Rfc8 17.Bd3 Rc3 threatened ...Ra3 but 18.Kc1 didn’t prove to be a good solution with 18...Rc6 19.a3? Rac8 20.Rd2 Qb3! showing why. Suddenly the black queen was infiltrating elsewhere and after 21.Re1 Qa2 22.Kd1 Qxb2 23.Qg5 Qxa3 it was already pretty grim.

Yugoslav Attack 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Bh6 Qb6 12.e5 Nd7 [B76]

So 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Bh6 continues to be all the rage and already on the site we have examined a whole plethora of permutations with transpositions obviously possible. Here in Swiercz, D - Matinian, N it is a specific concept that needs to be nailed specifically after 11...Qb6 12.e5 Nd7 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.h4 Nxe5 15.h5 Rb8 16.b3:

White has (sort of) sacrificed a pawn and is on the verge of a breakthrough to the black king via the h-file. Aside from offloading a pawn to keep the h-file closed with ...g5 (simply not an option here) the two ideas to remember are ...f6 (allowing the king an escape route via f7) and ...Bf5. Regards the latter the point is that after a trade on g6, Black can recapture with the bishop but a key feature of that is that a g2-g4 can be met by ...f7-f6 preparing to trap a queen on h6 through ...g6-g5. However here of course there is no queen on h6 and so 16...Bf5?! (yep, it should have been 16...f6!) 17.g4! was just a problem. Forced was 17...Nxf3 when after 18.Qf4 the mating issues were still there and so Black bailed out through 18...Qb4 19.h6+ Kh8 20.Qxb4 Rxb4 21.gxf5 gxf5. Some three pawn for a piece endgames can be fun but with doubled f-pawns and a thorn on h6, not so much this one!

Take care everyone, Chris

>> Previous Update >>

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