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What's new at the end of this decade? Well, quite a few Accelerated Dragons for starters but don’t worry gang, we go out with a bang! Yep, scroll down for Yugoslav Attacks and see you in the next decade!

Download PGN of December ’19 Dragon Sicilian games

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Accelerated Dragon Maroczy Bind 6.Nc3 d6 7.Be2 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Bg7 9.Be3 0-0 10.Qd3 [B36]

Typically after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Be2 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Bg7 9.Be3 0-0 with dangerous discovered attacks finally threatened we are used to the retreat 10 Qd2 (as is up next!). However, in Pichot, A - Felgaer, R White brings something new to our party in the form of 10.Qd3!?:

The implication is that White may want to keep his e4-pawn over-protected in possible anticipation of an aggressive f2-f4 thrust rather than the usual solid f2-f3. Although Bh6 is now off of the menu, the Dragon bishop challenging Bd4 would still be available.

Anyhow although other options are discussed in the notes, in the game Black set about looking to exploit the white queen position with 10...Nd7 11.0-0 Nc5 when after 12.Qc2 there is something bemusing about the possibility of 12...Bxc3 or after the game continuation 12...b6 the equally not played 13 b4!?. Instead what occurred was a little more mundane but after 13.f3 a5 14.b3 Be5 15.Rad1 Bb7 16.Nd5 e6! 17.f4 Bg7 18.Nc3 Qe7 19.Bf3 Rac8 20.Rfe1 Rfd8 21.Nb5 Bc6 22.Nd4 Bb7 23.Nb5 Bc6 24.Nd4 it was admirable how Black avoided the repetition through 24...Ba8 and in 25.Qb1 e5! 26.Nb5 exf4 27.Bxf4 Be5 28.Qc1 Bc6 29.Nc3 Ne6 30.Bxe5 dxe5 31.Nd5 Bxd5 32.exd5 Nd4 went on to grind his opponent down.

Accelerated Dragon Maroczy Bind 6.Nc3 d6 7.Be2 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Bg7 9.Be3 0-0 10.Qd2 a5 11.Rd1 [B36]

The second Accelerated Dragon offering of the month once again features the Argentinian GM Ruben Felgaer only this time in the fashionable 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Nc6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Be2 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Bg7 9.Be3 0-0 10.Qd2 a5 system. The next up game in this same line sees White playing in a more standard manner through 11 f3 but here White sets about trying to punish his opponent in the middle through 11.Rd1:

Black seems unperturbed though and is proven right as 11...a4 12.c5 Be6 13.cxd6 Qxd6 14.Qxd6 exd6 reaches a position that according to the online database, White is yet to win. A close inspection tells us why, with Black’s pressure against White’s queenside comprising very adequate compensation for his weak d-pawn. The plan isn’t to sit and defend and 15.a3 Rfd8 16.f3 Bb3 17.Rd2 d5! 18.e5 Nh5 19.g4 Bxe5 20.gxh5 d4 21.Bg5 f6 22.Nxa4 fxg5!? as in Mareco, S - Felgaer, R has to go down as an opening success.

Accelerated Dragon Maroczy Bind 6.Nc3 d6 7.Be2 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Bg7 9.Be3 0-0 10.Qd2 a5 11.f3 [B36]

Regards 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Be2 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Bg7 9.Be3 0-0 10.Qd2 a5, the game Chibukhchyan, E - Mamedov, R is a fantastic advert for this Black system after White (rather than 11 Rd1) opts for the solid 11.f3.

In 11...a4 12.Rc1 Be6 13.Nb5 Nd7 14.0-0 Qa5 15.Rfd1 Rfc8 Black was simply playing standard moves but suddenly after 16.Qxa5 Rxa5 17.Bd2?! Raa8 18.Rc2 Ne5 19.Na3 f5!? White was under pressure which with 20.Rdc1 fxe4 21.fxe4 Nc6 22.Bc3?! Nd4 23.Bxd4 Bxd4+ had materialised into a clear Black advantage that was competently converted by the talented Azerbaijan GM.

Accelerated Dragon 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 0-0 7.Be2 Nc6 8.Be3 d6 9.0-0 Bd7 10.Qd2 Ng4 [B78]

As hot off the press as it gets is Korneev, O - Terentiev, S as I was commentating on it live today at the current Hastings Masters event. I wasn’t necessarily going to include it but I noticed that after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Bg7 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 0-0 7.Be2 Nc6 8.Be3 d6 9.0-0 Bd7 10.Qd2 in fact we’ve only really focused on 10...Nxd4 here and had never previously looked at 10...Ng4 before despite the fact that it has occurred quite a lot in practice.

Black is obviously after White’s dark-squared bishop and in 11.Bxg4 Bxg4 I was able to make the direct comparison with the analogous Classical Dragon line which reaches the same position but with the white pawn on c2 rather than c4. I check out some of White’s available approaches in the annotation but White’s seemingly innocuous selection of 12.h3 Bd7 13.Rfd1 worked a treat after 13...f5 14.exf5 gxf5 15.Nde2 Kh8?! 16.c5! Indeed, Black’s tactical efforts of 16...Ne5 17.cxd6 Rg8 18.Bg5 Bf6 19.Bxf6+ exf6 were ultimately to no avail as the experienced Russian GM dealt with all threats and dismissed his opponent positionally.

Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4 Chinese Variation 11.Kb1 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5 [B78]

Yes, finally on to the ‘real’ Dragon and after 5...g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Rb8 and the Chinese Variation the recent Akash, G - Aravindh, C VR gave us the opportunity to look at 11.Kb1 Nxd4 (previously we’ve had fun with the immediate 11...b5) 12.Bxd4 b5 for the first time in a main game:

Well it’s decision time for White’s light-squared bishop and I use the annotation to change our previous assessment on 13 Bb3 a5 14 e5. In the main game though the bishop stayed out of potential hot water through 13.Be2 when 13...e6 in depriving the white knight access to the d5-square was an interesting attempt to strive for more than 13...b4 might offer. Unfortunately after 14.e5 dxe5 15.Bxa7 b4! 16.Ne4 Ra8 17.Nxf6+ Bxf6 18.Qxd7 Qa5 19.Bc4 Rxa7 20.Qc6 Black was premature with 20... e4?! 21.Qxe4 and equally so with 21...b3? which after 22.Bxb3 Rb8 23.Qe3 Ra6 24.c3 allowed White to consolidate.

Yugoslav Attack 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.h4 Qa5 11.Bb3 Ne5 12.0-0-0 Rfc8 13.g4 b5 14.h5 b4 [B78]

So in Bodnaruk, A - Gaponenko, I we finish the year with a bang and the revelation that after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Bc4 0-0 9.Qd2 Bd7 10.h4 my old favourite variation 10...Qa5 11.Bb3 Ne5 12.0-0-0 Rfc8 may be on its way back. Okay well let’s not get too carried away as subscribers will know for a while now why there are a few issues with it but I’ve now reached the conclusion that in 13.g4 b5 14.h5 b4! there is one less!

Previously on the site we’ve reached the conclusion that White’s best here is 15 Nce2 but the annotation contains a review of that which suggests there’s not too much for Black to worry about. Certainly the experienced WGM (and IM) Ukrainian has faith in it, in this game putting the natural 15.Nd5 to the sword after 15...Nxd5 16.Bxd5 Nc4 17.Bxc4 Rxc4 18.Kb1 Qe5 19.hxg6 hxg6 20.Qd3 Rac8 21.Rd2 d5! if with one hiccup in an otherwise smooth performance.

Happy New Year! Chris

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