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Hi everyone,
I have had a bit of a hectic time recently but I will never forget my Dragon duties and neglect you guys. Plenty of fireworks around at this time of year, but not as many as I would have liked to have seen on the chessboard! Indeed I must confess that whilst I generally don't expect too much excitement in the Accelerated Dragon department, I am starting to get a little bored by some of these 9 0-0-0 Yugoslav Attack lines. You'll see what I mean in this month's selection but the good news is that Lu Shanglei remains, battling for the good guys (oops did I lose my objectivity!) and still on sparking form!

Download PGN of December '15 Dragon Sicilian games

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Accelerated Dragon Maroczy Bind 7.Be2 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 [B36]

We kick off this month's update with Matt - Brod which after 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Be2 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Bg7 9.Be3 0-0 10.Qd2 Be6 11.0-0 Qa5 12.Rac1 Rfc8 13.b3 a6 saw Black seeking to challenge White's bind with ...b5 and White looking to thwart that with 14.a4:

Actually this is a little unusual as typically White has tended to favour bolstering the potentially vulnerable e4-pawn through 14 f3.

With that in mind Black was tempted by 14...b5 but following 15.axb5 axb5 16.cxb5 Bxb3 17.b6, the passed b-pawn proved a bit troublesome.

Accelerated Dragon Maroczy Bind [B38]

Rather than placing the light-squared bishop on e6, it can of course manoeuvre to c6 as was the case in Hracek - Roganovic which saw 5.c4 Nc6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 d6 8.Be2 Nxd4 9.Bxd4 0-0 10.0-0 Bd7 11.Qd3!? a5 12.b3 Bc6:

Already this is away from the main line of White parking his queen on d2 and blunting Black's bishop through f2-f3 and although her majesty looks vulnerable to a black knight attack here, it seems like a promising idea. Here in the notes I investigate the possibility to trying to dislodge the bishop through 13 a3 (obviously intending b3-b4) but one can't argue that White definitely obtained a comfortable advantage after 13.Rad1 Nd7 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.Qd4+ Kg8 16.Bg4 Nc5 17.e5. Instead 15...f6 might be an improvement but still White is for preference.

Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 d5 with 12...Bxd4 13 Qxd4 Qb6 [B76]

Kryvoruchko - Edouard is the first of two annotated games involving the talented young Frenchman and they are both in what I'm calling the new main line of 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 Bxd4 13.Qxd4 Qb6 14.Na4. Following 14...Qc7 15.Nc5, Black offered a repetition with 15...Qb6 but White eschewed 16 Na4 and instead 16.Bc4 e5 17.Qf2 Rb8 18.Bb3 occurred:

Previously when this position has been reached in practical play, Black has opted for 18...a5 with the aim of ...a4 in order to budge the white bishop and get at b2. Instead here Edouard produced the novelty 18...Nb4 but 19.a3 Na6 20.Nd3 Qxf2 21.Nxf2 Nc5 22.Bc4 Na4 23.Nd3 Bf5 24.Bb3 Bxd3 25.Bxa4 Bb5 26.Bb3 Rfd8 27.Rhe1 Rxd1+ 28.Rxd1 Rb7 saw him having to grovel a bit in order to get a draw. Not much fun, but perhaps the correct result.

Alas, Movsesian - Edouard felt like more of the same. This time after 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 Bxd4 13.Qxd4 Qb6 14.Na4 Qc7 White tried 15.Bc4 Rd8 16.g3, which we have previously investigated here on ChessPublishing. Following 16...Bf5 17.Bb3 Nb6 18.Qc5 Rd6 19.Nc3 White has won and drawn against 19...Rad8 but instead the young French GM deployed 19...Nd7 which has a 100% draw record!

I have to say that 20.Qe3 Nf8 21.Rhe1 Rxd1+ 22.Rxd1 Be6 23.Ba4 Nd7 24.Bb3 Nf8 25.Na4 Bxb3 26.Qxb3 Ne6 27.Qc4 Rb8 28.f4 Rb5 29.Nc3 Rb8 30.b3 Rd8 31.Rxd8+ Nxd8 isn't the type of line that first attracted me to the Dragon but in this day and age where getting to the truth of an opening seems all important, Edouard appears to have made an art form out of proving such variations to be slightly worse for Black, but basically drawn!

Yugoslav Attack 9.0-0-0 d5 with 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 e5 [B76]

Back to the 'old' main line and I was pleased that in Egglestone - Snape, Black remained loyal to the line I first recommended in WWTD1 and then in some further old analysis here (to be fair no doubt there has been some homework done too!) in the line 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 e5 13.Bc5 Be6 14.Ne4 Rb8 15.Bc4 f5 16.Ng5 e4:

After 17.Bb3 Qf6 18.c3 Bh6 19.h4 Rfe8 20.fxe4 fxe4, Black has the worse structure but active piece play and we had the fun and games of 21.Rde1 e3 22.Bxe3 Nxe3 23.Bxe6+ Rxe6 24.Rxe3 Rd6 25.Qe2 Bxg5 26.hxg5 Qxg5 27.Kb1 Qf5+ 28.Ka1 Qd7 29.Re7 Rd2 30.Rxd7 Rxe2 to reach an interesting ending. Many may not acknowledge the rich possibilities of these rook and pawn endgames and one gets the impression that Black had the aim of trying to draw a slightly inferior position. The truth though is that with inaccuracies, either side could lose, and in that respect, Black didn't take advantage of his opponent's generosity!

9 Bc4 Yugoslav Attack Soltis Variation [B78]

1.Nf3 g6 2.e4 c5 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Bc4 0-0 9.Qd2 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Ne5 11.Bb3 Rc8 12.h4 h5 had seen Belous - Lu Shanglei move from a 'Reti' to a Yugoslav Attack Soltis variation (as you do!) when White tried to catch his opponent off guard with the sharp 13.g4?!:

Unfortunately Lu Shanglei is already an experienced Dragon player and trying to mix things up with this dubious attempt (that scores less than 50% in practice) was somewhat misguided. Following 13...hxg4 14.h5 Nxh5 15.Bh6, Black sensibly let his queen in on the defensive act with 15...e6 and in truth after 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.f4 Nc4 18.Bxc4 Rxc4 19.f5 Qf6 20.Nde2 Bc6 21.Kb1 Rh8 22.fxg6 Qxg6 23.Qxd6 Bxe4 24.Qe5+ Nf6 25.Rxh8 Kxh8 26.Rd2 Bf3, the truth is that White never really got a sniff. Not exactly ending our 2015 with a bang, but nevertheless, a lovely controlled game by an up-and-coming talent!

Happy New Year and see you in 2016! Chris

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