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Merry Xmas everybody!
I hope the following comes as a nice early present for Dragon fans:

Download PGN of December '11 Dragon Sicilian games

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Classical Dragon 9 f4 [B73/B74]

In case you are wondering why in the above position Black's bishop isn't on e6, it is because after 9 f4, instead of the critically challenging 9...Qb6! Black plumped for 9...Bd7 after which then White retreated his knight to b3. Actually I can't see Felgaer - Tristan being theoretically important. Sure there are comparisons with the ...Qc8 system (when the bishop is on e6) but this game is especially interesting for Gawain's notes on 9...Qb6! and in particular how strong players have chosen to handle the 'nibble' 14 Bd1(!).

Classical Dragon Re1 and Bf1 [B70]

One has to do a double take when looking at the position 12 moves into the game Nepomniachtchi - Nakamura:

Okay, re-racking knights on d5 in theory is a good plan but this looks ridiculous! Still with both players well over 2700, you have to take this 10 Bf1 Classical system seriously. As usual Gawain supplies us with another fine annotation in which Black gets way the better side of a draw.

Yugoslav Attack 9 g4 Nxd4 [B76]

The position illustrated above after 13 a3 could become a critical one and what must now be clear is that 13...b5?! is just not looking like anything like enough, In Van Kampen-Socko, not for the first time on this site, we see 14 h6 followed by 15 Nxb5. Okay in this game Black selects 14...Bf8 but the outcome isn't much different. White rightly resists the temptation to flick in Bxf6 and concentrates on consolidating his queenside majority. Presumably now we can look forward to focusing more on 13...Rab8 and after 14 hxg6 investigating further both h- and f-pawn recaptures.

Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 d5 10 exd5 [B76]

Not unusual after 9 0-0-0 d5 10 exd5 is seeing White accept the offered pawn and seek a queen trade. However after 14 Qc5 Qb7, relatively rare is the 15 c3 seen in Popilski - Djurhuus:

Basically it was a choice of this or 15 b3. Well Gawain makes a full investigation of blunting the Dragon bishop in an interesting game where it has to be said that both sides make mistakes. Black ends up on top but clearly 15 c3 is not to be ignored.

Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 d5 10 Nxc6 [B76]

In Shanava - Perez Mitjans Black ignores d5 and gets his h-file aspirations under way with 11 Bh6:

This is actually quite an old line where texts recommend 11...Bxh6 12 Qxh6 Qb6. Possibly Black forgets his theory and plays 12...Qc7 but they are both strong players and quite possibly have some ideas of their own! One person that definitely has ideas is Gawain and in this annotation he puts his own spin on things by adding some critical lines to what was previously set in stone. White wins this game but as we you will see there is plenty to this story including a fun endgame which Black really should have won.

Yugoslav Attack anti-Chinese Variation 9 Bc4 Bd7 10 h4 [B77]

Everybody knows that it is 10 h4 (after 9 Bc4 Bd7) that rather annoyingly prevents the Chinese Variation ... or do they? Well apparently not Black in Celis - Kantans who went for it anyway! Previously I have observed that with ...Rab8 typically of course Black seeks to create a half-open b-file in order to attack the castled (long) white king and it couldn't be as effective if White saves the tempo usually allocated to tucking his king away to instead press forward with his own kingside attack:

Well this game takes a slightly different route as Black basically grabs White's offered h-pawn and then throws a spanner in White's h-file aspiration works by parking his knight on the precarious g3-square. Fascinating stuff, but although Black is victorious in this game you will see that I still have my doubts!

Have just finished commentating on the brilliant London Chess Classic, but alas, there were no Dragon games to report on. Still, who knows what we can expect in 2012. On that matter...

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Chris and Gawain

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