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h3 or not h3, that is the question; well on move 10 anyway in the Gurgenidze system!
Yep, our investigation continues there as well as move order discussions, a familiar debate and an immortalised Giant slaying!

Download PGN of February ’20 Dragon Sicilian games

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Accelerated Dragon, Maroczy Bind 5.c4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 d6 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Bd7 10.h3 Nxd4 11 Bxd4 Bc6 [B38]

So, as per the request we continue our investigation into the challenging 10 h3!? and what better way to begin Black’s fightback than with a player of great Accelerated Dragon experience. After 1.Nf3 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.e4 c5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nc6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 0-0 8.Be2 d6 9.0-0 Bd7 10.h3 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Bc6 12.Qc2 a5 13.Rad1 we reach the same position as last month but in Mekhitarian, K - Guseinov, G Black is evidently unconcerned with either e4-e5 or c4-c5 and plumps for 13...a4 (rather than the preventative 13...Nd7).

Black’s typical idea is to spring her majesty out to a5 and my thoughts are that the played 14.c5 should be the most critical response with not surprisingly my initial feeling being that 14...Qa5 15.cxd6 exd6 should tender White with an edge on structural grounds. The more one looks at the position though, the more Black appears to have reasonable compensation through piece activity. As it transpired, 16.a3 Rfe8 17.Bf3 Re6 18.Nd5 Bxd5 19.exd5 Ree8 20.Bc3 Qc5 was certainly fine for Black and after 21.Rfe1 Rxe1+ 22.Rxe1 Nxd5 23.Bxd5 Qxd5 24.Bxg7 Kxg7 25.Qc3+ Kg8 26.Re7 Qc6 27.Qf6 Rf8 28.h4 h5 29.g3 Qd5 30.Qf4? Rc8 31.Kh2 Kg7 32.Re4?! Rc1 with the application of some nice technique in the ensuing queen ending, Black was on his way to victory.

Accelerated Dragon, Maroczy Bind 5.c4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 d6 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Bd7 10.h3 a6 [B38]

After 5.c4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 0-0 8.Be2 d6 9.0-0 Bd7 10.h3, having looked at 10...Nxd4 and 10...Rc8, the game Baron, T - Gschnitzer, A introduces us to 10...a6:

In the notes I observe how here 11 Qd2 is the most popular move here but I can’t understand why then only 3 of the 172 encounters feature 11...b5!?.

Nevertheless our main game witnesses 11.Nb3 a5 12.a4 Nb4 13.f4 Bc6 14.Bf3 which feels fine to me for Black. In my opinion the game hits a bit of a blip then though as 14...Nd7 seems natural but 14...b6 15.Nd4 Bb7?! allowed the not played 16 e5!. Instead 16.Nd5 Nd7 17.Re1 Nc5 18.Nxb4 axb4 19.Bf2 occurred with preference for Black.

Yugoslav Attack 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Bh6 Be6 [B76]

Regular subscribers will know that 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 9.0-0-0 d5, the variation 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Bh6 is all the rage right now. Rather than the standard trading on h6, we’ve also recently spent a bit of time on 11...Be6 but after 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 13.exd5 cxd5 14.g4 it is 14...Qa5 that we’ve spent most time on. However the game Muzychuk, A - Fernandez, M features 14...Qc7:

As you’ll discover in the annotation, my feeling is that Black has adequate compensation for the pawn after 15 g5 Nh5 16 Nxd5 but I’m less sure about the game continuation of 15.h4 h5 16.g5 Nd7 17.Nxd5 Bxd5 18.Qxd5 Rfd8 19.Be2 I’m leaning towards ‘yes’ in the case of the immediate 19...Nc5 but instead regards the game continuation of 19...Rac8 20.c3 Qf4+?! 21.Qd2 Qb8 22.Qe3 I think not. However this was a topsy turvy game with White clear favourite before allowing Black back in and then seemingly making a timely draw offer when suddenly clearly worse. All good fun!

Yugoslav Attack 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 Nxc3 13.Qxc3 Bh6+ 14.Be3 Bxe3+ 15.Qxe3 Qb6 16.Qxb6 [B76]

Yes that’s right, after 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 Nxc3 13.Qxc3 Bh6+ 14.Be3 Bxe3+ 15.Qxe3 Qb6 in Pichot, A - Jones, G not only did White not enter the acid test of taking on e7 but he unleashed the might of 16.Qxb6:

Okay, I apologise for the sarcasm but seriously through 16...axb6 17.a3 Be6 18.Bd3 should White really be playing this to try for a win against someone of Gawain’s ability. Surely the answer is ‘No’ but unfortunately that is exactly what he achieved when 18...Ra4 19.Rhe1 b5 20.Re5 Rb8?! 21.Rc5 Bd5? 22.Bxb5! basically saw our ex site host blunder a pawn and then enter a lost endgame after 22...Ra5 23.Bxc6 Rxc5 24.Bxd5.

I have a bit to say on all that but I really don’t anticipate adding any more!

Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4 Bd7 10 Bb3 Nxd4 11 Bxd4 b5 12 h4 a5 13 Nd5 [B77]

We have praised Mr Guseinov a lot this month but unfortunately for him he has found himself immortalised on youtube for something that he’d rather forget! Yes, I was teaching at a school chess club the other day and whizzing through a few chess videos we somehow came across one entitled (something along the lines of) ‘kid beats Grandmaster with brilliant queen sac’. It soon became clear that it was somewhat sensationalised but nevertheless given the game was:

  1. In a topical line with a specific variation not previously covered on ChessPub.
  2. Featuring a top player making a mistake or two that we can learn from.
  3. Relatively recent...

With my apologies to Azerbaijan Grandmaster Accelerated Dragon expert, I’ve decided to include it in this month’s update!

Okay, so the first point to note about Aizenberg, B- Guseinov, G is that although 10 Bb3 is a Yugoslav Attack line, the move order 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Be3 Nf6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 0-0 8.Bb3 d6 9.f3 Bd7 10.Qd2 i.e. via an Accelerated Dragon, is a common way of reaching it. Nothing new there but after 10... Nxd4 11.Bxd4 b5 12.h4 a5, certainly 13.Nd5 is (to the site at least)

Of course ‘the boy done well’, but once you see past the whole queen sac (that wasn’t really!) part, the meat of this game is really in the annotation in a game of 13...Nxd5 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.Bxd5 Rc8 16.h5 Rh8?! 17.0-0-0 Qb6 18.g4?! e6 19.h6+ Kf8 20.Bb7 Qxb7 21.Qxd6+ Ke8 22.Qd4 Rg8 23.Rd2 Rc7?? 24.Qg7!! that like it or not, will be with us forever!

Yugoslav Attack 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.g4 Ne5 11.Be2 Rc8 12.0-0-0 Qa5 [B77]

The start to the game of Sethuraman, S - Le Tuan Minh of 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.Bc4 Bd7 10.g4 prompted more discussions on move orders and then after 10...Ne5 11.Be2 (previously we’ve decided better in this position than an automatic 11 Bb3) 11...Rc8 12.0-0-0 Qa5 13.Kb1, a familiar theme and debate returned in the form of 13...Rxc3:

Yes, after 14.Qxc3 Qxc3 15.bxc3 Rc8 16.Nb3 Nexg4 17.fxg4 Nxe4 is Black really going to get enough for the sacrificing of material. Well, a big focus is on 18 Bd2! and how Black would be better off reaching that position with the White pawn on h4 (note 13...Rfe8!?), but in the game White opted for 18.Bd4? when 18...Bxd4 19.cxd4 Nc3+ 20.Kb2 Nxe2 21.Rhe1 Nc3 22.Rd3 Na4+ 23.Kc1 Kf8 24.h3 Nb6 25.Rf3 Bc6 26.Rf2 Bd5 left Black very comfortable with two pawns for the exchange. Easier for him to play and more fun, even against top notch opposition, Black was able to grind out the full point.

Look after yourself everyone. Chris

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