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Hi everyone! Okay here is what we have for you this month...

Download PGN of January '12 Dragon Sicilian games

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Accelerated Dragon transposing to 6 Bc4 'Modern Classical' [B35/B72]

Okay the London league (and hence not on any database) encounter Emms - Wright starts off as an Accelerated Dragon but in White's reluctance to play the Maroczy Bind transposes to a 6 Bc4 Dragon of the ...Qa5 variety that we haven't seen for a while:

John does seem to like this line but he would be the first to admit that this wasn't the most convincing victory ever! His heavily outgraded opponent does put up a good fight and theoretically appears to stand okay for the majority of this game. Not very thrilling stuff I'm afraid but it does give me the opportunity to update this line.

Classical Dragon 9 Re1 Be6 10 Bg5 [B70]

Next up, Tomczak - Jones is in the seemingly trendy Re1 Classical but with Bg5 instead of Bf1:

Gawain observes that he has faced this quite a lot recently, although in my opinion, certainly backed up by his annotations, Black still doesn't face any serious problems. Not overly thrilling as far as Dragon games go but it doesn't make for toxic viewing either!

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

Well we all recognise this position as the main line 9 0-0-0 d5 before Magnus came along to popularise the early ...Bxd4. It's probably fair to say that, theoretically, White was getting the better of both 14...Rb8 and 14...Re8, but suddenly being thrust into the limelight is 14...Qb8(!? or ?!, only time will tell). Yes, this appears in Mista - Weichhold but isn't a novelty. It has only been played a few times before but actually the Black results have been rather good, and all are referred to in this annotation. Black's idea is that he wants to get in ...Rd8 in one turn, and the debate is whether he can handle what might be a tempo lost if White accepts the offered exchange. White didn't fancy that in this game but Black appeared to deal with 15 h4 quite well and had other interesting options besides. It looks to me as though there could be some mileage in this.

Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4 with ...Ne5 and 11...b5 [B78]

Quite a while back both Simon Williams and Richard Pert amongst others were fond of this relatively offbeat 11...b5 line:

Critical, of course, is White accepting the offered pawn and in this game White later deviates from previously trodden paths with 15 g4. Actually Gawain observes that that is Rybka's preference, but note that no aspersions are being cast! In Massoni - Pert Richard plays very dynamically, with some nice (though standard for Dragoneers!) sacrificial dalliances. Alas, he goes wrong at a critical moment which allows White to turn the tables. All entertaining stuff, wrapped up nicely in a game with notes updating the theoretical status of this line.

Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4 Soltis Variation [B78]

The Danish GM Peter Heine-Nielsen seems to be having a field day with the Dragon and can win games with his eyes closed. Yes, I mean that quite literally here as Karjakin - Nielsen is a rapidplay blindfold encounter! Still, top players always seem to play to a high level under such conditions and this is no exception. In this Soltis variation, rather than 13 Bg5 White employs the quiet 13 Kb1 and after 13...Nc4 14 Bxc4 Rxc4 White turns to the solid 15 Nb3:

but is hit by the ultra rare 15...Qb8! Not strictly speaking a novelty but it looks very impressive for reasons detailed in another fantastic Gawain annotation.

Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4, ...Qa5 variation with Kb1 and h4 [B79]

I myself have had plenty of success with the above position as Black but my heart sank when I saw Gharamian - Hoffman. The last thing Black needs in the ...Qa5 line is another problem but here 19 Be3!? gives him just that! Yes rather than trying to halt Black's queenside pawn advances with a4, he vacates the d4-square for his knight whilst simultaneously putting Bh6 on the menu in the quest to mate Black down the h-file. It seems that Black has to play very accurately here to avoid losing very quickly and although it facilitated ...Qf8, alas 19...Qb8?! just didn't cut it. White's play is very logical and simple and when Nf5 appears it is crushing.

Thanks and best wishes to you all and of course Happy New Year! Chris and Gawain

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