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Hi everyone,
This month rather than two games with Yu Shanglei as Black, we have two games with the even higher rated Chinese GM Yu Yangyi as White. That's all Yugoslav Attack territory, but we kick off this month in the quieter waters of the Accelerated, and first up Hyper-Accelerated, variants:

Download PGN of February ’16 Dragon Sicilian games

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Hyper-Accelerated Dragon 3 c3 [B27]

Following 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6, the most logical choice available to White is 3.c3, especially if he is more pre-disposed towards Anti-Sicilians. Unless he wants to recapture with the queen on d4, we know that 3 d4 would allow Black the choice of Dragon variations whilst 3.c4 should lead to a Maroczy Bind. In the Grandmaster encounter Delgado Ramirez-Rodriguez, after 3.c3 Bg7 4.d4 cxd4 5.cxd4 d5 6.e5 Bg4 7.Bb5+ for the first time on the site we see 7...Nd7:

Typically we have witnessed 7...Nc6 when invariably both light-squared bishops are ultimately conceded for knights with Black's b-pawn being pulled to c6 in the process. The question then becomes whether it is a weakness there or a strength offering up a future ...c6-c5 as well as supporting an ...f7-f6 break.

With 8.Nc3 e6 9.h3 Bxf3 10.Qxf3 Ne7 11.Bg5 0-0 though, we get something a little different. White is hoping to exploit the holes in Black's position but with 12.Bxd7 Qxd7 13.0-0 Nf5 14.Rad1 h6 15.Bf4 Rac8 16.Rd3 b5 17.Qd1 Rc4 he doesn't really do that. Indeed, as the game transpires, it is Black that makes most of the running and is the player on the ball when tactics appear.

Accelerated Dragon Maroczy Bind [B38]

I hope the Accelerated Dragon aficionados amongst you will be pleased that I continue to monitor this area of the Dragons, although of course nothing too drastic ever really goes down.

In the recent GM encounter Nakar - Iturrizaga after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.c4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 0-0 8.Be2 d6 9.0-0 Bd7 White played 10.Rc1 and after 10...Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Bc6 he followed up with 12.Qd3:

The idea was to refrain from f2-f3 so as to leave his light-squared bishop with more scope, possibly allow a 3rd rank rook swinger and aim to be more ambitious with his f-pawn. Though I discuss alternatives, Black continued with a standard plan of 12...a5 13.Rfd1 Nd7 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 when 15.Qd4+ f6 16.Bg4 Nc5 17.f4 b6 18.Qe3 e5 19.Rd2 Qe7 20.Rcd1 Rad8 21.f5 maybe threatened to provide us with some excitement, but never really delivered!

Classical Dragon 6 h3 [B70]

There is no way that I could have resisted the temptation to include the game Kononenko - Vykouk in this month's update. Strictly speaking, 6.h3 Bg7 7.g4 Nc6 is a Classical system...

but after 8.Be3 0-0 9.Bg2 Nd7 10.Qd2 Rb8 11.0-0-0, it clearly has more of a Yugoslav Attack feel to it. Through 11...Qa5 12.Nb3 Qd8 13.Bh6 b5 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.Nd5 Bb7 16.h4 h6 17.f4, White's pawns had continued to roll and I won't spoil it for you by giving any more moves. My annotations suggest that I still can't see this line taking off (or at least Dragon players shouldn't be too unhappy if it does!) but entertaining this game most certainly is!

Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4 Nxd4 [B77]

Our first Yu Yangi offering sets the trend for him seemingly playing in a similar fashion by angling for a favourable endgame and it's fair to say that in that regard in Yu Yangyi-Edouard,R, he is more successful than his other encounter.

Regular subscribers may recall that for a while after 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.Bc4 for a little while 9...Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 became fashionable but it disappeared for a while. Well, the talented young Frenchman brings it back to the public eye and after 11.Bxe6 fxe6 12.0-0-0 Qa5 13.h4 came up with the novelty 13...Nh5:

Previously we had seen this idea of enabling an attack hindering ...Nf4 after the insertion of Kb1 and ...Rac8 but played here it seemed that 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.e5!? was the only way to put Black under any pressure. Black opted to dig in through 15...Qxe5 16.Rde1 Qf6 17.Ne4 Qf4 18.Ng5 Qxd2+ 19.Kxd2 Nf4 20.g3 h6 21.Nxe6+ Nxe6 22.Rxe6 Kf7 but although he should have held the draw, sadly erred at a key point.

Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4 with 11...Nxd4 [B78]

We are talking the variation 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.Bb3 Rc8 11.0-0-0 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5 when after 13.e5 dxe5 14.Bxe5 Bc6, regards Yu Yangyi-Jones, I think the truth of the matter is that if this game wasn't between one of the highest rated players in the World and our very own Dragon playing star Gawain Jones, it probably wouldn't have featured in this update at all!

The 15.Qxd8 Rfxd8 and now 16.Ne2 is a somewhat tedious approach by White and surely knowing what opening his opponent would play, I am amazed by the poor preparation that such a top player seemingly does for this game.

It continued 16...Bh6+ 17.Kb1 Nd7 18.Bd4 a5 19.a3 b4 20.axb4 axb4 21.Rhe1 e5 22.Bf2 Nf6 when 23.Bg3? effectively allows Black to win a pawn through 23...Bd2 24.Rg1 e4 25.Be5 exf3 26.gxf3 Bxf3.

A well-documented game mainly because of the inability of the generally talented Chinaman to hold a well-known drawn endgame; this one needs to go down as a bad day at the office!

Saric - Cvitan is the same Topalov variation as above but after 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Rc8 11.Bb3 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5, rather than the endgame seeking 13 e5, we see the more hotly debated 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.exd5 a5 16.a3 variation. Here there is loads in the archive on the pawn sacrifice 16...b4 but we have also previously touched on the prophylactic 16...Kg8:

White has the option of utilising the half-open file here with 17 Rhe1 but instead went for the black king with 17.h4. However, after 17...b4 18.axb4 axb4, White neither persevered with his attack nor accepted Black's offering and 19.Qe3 Rc5 20.h5 Qc7 21.g4 Qa7 22.Kd2 Rfc8 left Black with the initiative.

Not a bad month, but hopefully the year will continue to get better!

Bye for now! Chris

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