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Don’t make me angry; you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry! Jeepers, just how applicable is that to Magnus ‘The Incredible Hulk’ Carlsen as our very own Gawain Jones dares to make the World Champion look silly before erring and consequently suffering relentless pressure.
Well that slightly out of synch time wise (but how could I delay bringing it to you?) Yugoslav Attack encounter is up after a bit of an Accelerated Dragon fest and two of England’s brightest young talents steering our favourite opening to victory.
I’ll leave you to crack on with that for now and then I’ll be back shortly with more highlights of what has been happening (Dragon wise) recently...

Download PGN of January ’18 Dragon Sicilian games

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Accelerated Dragon 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 0-0 8.Bb3 d5 [B35]

It would seem now that after 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 0-0 8.Bb3, strong players are definitely taking 8...d5 seriously:

Not that long ago on the site we reached the conclusion that after 9.exd5 Na5 10.0-0 Nxb3 11.Nxb3 b6, arguably critical is 12.d6 looking to return the pawn under favourable circumstances. However, 12...e6 13.Qf3 Rb8 14.Rad1 Bb7 15.Qh3 Nd5 16.Nxd5 Bxd5 17.Bd4 Bxd4 18.Rxd4 Rc8 19.Qh6 Qf6 20.Rc1 where Black had equalised in Adhiban,B-Gelfand,B Douglas ENG 2017 prompted enquires into the opposing views of the position of Gelfand and Negi.

What certainly doesn’t look remotely critical is this game continuation of 9.Nxc6?! bxc6 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxd5 cxd5 12.Qxd5 Bxb2 13.Rd1 Ba6 14.Qxd8 Rfxd8 15.Rxd8+ Rxd8 16.f3 Bd4 17.Kf2 Kf8 18.Re1 Bxe3+ 19.Kxe3 e5 20.g4 Rd4 where, with the more active rook and White being unable to mobilise his passed c-pawn, Black was for preference in Dervishi, E - Guseinov, G where eventually the full point was ground out.

Accelerated Dragon Maroczy Bind 7.Be2 Nc6 8.Be3 d6 9.0-0 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11 Re1 [B38]

Still in the Accelerated Dragon, but moving on to the Maroczy bind is Fier, A - Das, A where after 7.Be2 Nc6 8.Be3 d6 9.0-0 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6, after a Symmetrical English move order, rather than the more common 11 Qd2, 11 Rc1 or 11 f4, White deployed the rare 11.Re1:

The point behind this innocuous looking rook move is to drop the bishop back to f1 and then park the knight on d5 so as to annoy Black in the fashion that that move always does! Not seen that much in practice, actually White’s results have been rather good.

Now, after 11...Rc8 12.b3 Qa5 13.Bf1 a6, rather than continue with his main plan of 14 Nd5, the talented young Brazilian GM decided to keep Black’s ...b5 break in check with 14.a4 but then was possibly surprised when Black dabbled in the tactic 14...Bxc4 15.bxc4 e5 Then upon 16.Ba7 Qxc3 17.Rb1 White was maybe only marginally better. He has the bishop pair but they're not so great right now and although Black has a backward pawn on d6, Black (who is currently a pawn up) could equally target one or two of the white pawns. As it happens Black got on top before the end of a game where a draw seemed like a fair result!

Accelerated Dragon Maroczy Bind 9.0-0 Bd7 10.Qd2 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Bc6 12.f3 a5 13.b3 Nd7 14.Be3 Nc5 15.Rab1 Be5 [B38]

Several times here on ChessPublishing we have investigated the variation 5.c4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 d6 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Bd7 10.Qd2 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Bc6 12.f3 a5 13.b3 Nd7 14.Be3 Nc5 15.Rab1 and now 15...Qb6, but Istratescu, A - Horvath, J sees a debut for 15...Be5:

So 16.Rfd1 e6 then highlights a main idea behind Black's last move. The bishop guards the d6-pawn with f3-f4 not easily achievable due to the potential loss of the e4-pawn. Advancing the e-pawn sees it control the d5-square but also offers the black queen access to the kingside with the likes of the probing ...Qh4 on the menu. The big debate then comes after 17.Qe1 Qe7 18.Bf1 and in general whether Black should be deploying 18...f5 As it happens 19.exf5! Rxf5 20.Ne2!? Rf7 21.Nd4 Bd7 22.Qd2 b6 23.g3 Rd8 24.f4 Bg7 25.Bg2 Qe8 26.Re1 Kh8 27.Rbd1 clearly left White in the driving seat but the notes suggest some improvements for Black.

Accelerated Dragadorf 6.Be3 a6 7.f3 b5 8.Qd2 Bb7 9.a4 b4 10.Na2 a5 [B75]

Previously on the site much of the discussion after 6.Be3 a6 7.f3 b5 8.Qd2 Bb7 9.a4 has revolved around whether Black should advance his b-pawn immediately or hit out with 9...e5 intending to meet 10 Nb3 with 10...b4; a move order that avoids the Qxb4 intermezzo that arises after 9...b4 10.Na2 e5. However, in Caglar, S - Zhou, Y the talented young English IM deleted the e-pawn advance altogether and simply defended his pawn with 10...a5:

Regular subscribers will know though that I have been a bit scathing of this approach because I felt it conceded too many squares; b5 being one that White takes immediate advantage of. Indeed only one Dragon player prior has gone down this route and I’m sticking to my view that 11.Bb5+ Nbd7 12.c3 bxc3 13.Nxc3 Bg7 14.0-0 0-0 should be advantage White for reasons that I delve deeper into. However, through 15.Rfc1 Nc5 16.Ra3 Nfd7 17.Nce2 Ne5 18.b4?! axb4 19.Qxb4 Ba6 20.Rd1 Qc7 21.Nf4 Qb7 22.Nb3? Nc6 suddenly the tables had completely turned and Black was on the verge of netting serious material.

Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 d5 10 Nxc6 bxc6 11 e5 [B76]

Although most of the time the games I feature involve high rated players, I’m not going to make any excuses for now featuring one involving a not as highly rated (i.e. in the general scheme of things) 8 year old! Yes, playing with the Black pieces is the junior that myself and others were so keen would get the opportunity to represent England last Summer and his support from everyone was totally justified when he came joint 1st in the European U-8 championship. At the age Shreyas Royal is now, I was just mastering the basics of chess and here he is about to be judged in the same way that everyone else’s play is scrutinised on this site. His progress compares favourably to other once young English talents such as Luke McShane, David Howell, Michael Adams and Nigel Short and what's more, as can be seen here, he plays the Dragon! I can honestly see him rising all the way to the top and unless God forbid he switches openings to say, the Berlin Defence, he will surely feature on this site in the future!

So, Cresswell, M - Royal, S saw 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Nxc6 bxc6 when I’d be inclined to award 11.e5 with a ‘?!’:

One can understand White wanting to budge the black knight thus removing a potentially key defender but White is a long way off of delivering mate down the h-file and I am never impressed with anything that leaves Black with a rock c6 and d5 formation and a half-open b-file. Another recent counter saw the knight retreat to e8 followed up by a swift ...f6 to free the Dragon bishop but here 11...Nd7 12.f4 occurred. Then in 12..Bb7 13.h4 e6 14.Qf2?! Qa5 15.Kb1 Rfb8 16.Bd2 Qc7 17.Bd3 c5 18.Bc1 Bc6 19.Rde1 Qa5 20.Nd1 c4 21.Be2 Nc5 clearly one side had gotten their attacking aspirations into gear first and a few moves later we saw Black deliver a quite delightful checkmate.

Yugoslav Attack 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Qe1 e5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.exd5 Nxd5 13.Bc4 Be6 14.Kb1 Re8 15.Ne4 f5 16.Ng5 Bc8 [B76]

Wow, wow and wow, so where do I start and should I really need to for unless you have only just returned from a holiday to a different planet then you would surely know all about the Tata Steel Masters game Carlsen, M - Jones, G.

Regards 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Qe1 e5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.exd5 Nxd5 13.Bc4 Be6 14.Kb1 Re8 15.Ne4 f5 16.Ng5 Bc8 and shocking in itself was that Magnus said that he was surprised by my ChessPublishing ex co-host playing the Dragon. In truth Gawain’s only reservations about the opening are that having been so heavily analysed, there are a few drawing lines that White might go down, but that was never likely to be a concern here. Anyway, after 17.g4 twitter went into meltdown as it seemed the whole World and his dog were speculating as to whether the World Champion had some brilliant preparation/over the board inspiration or whether he had made a huge oversight as far as 17...f4 18.h4 fxe3 19.Qxe3 was concerned. Carlsen later sorted that argument by calling 17 g4?? a ‘crude blunder’ but it is perhaps the position after 19...h6 20.Qc5 Bb7 21.Ne4 Re6 22.h5 that will probably haunt Gawain for some time:

Ordinarily he would have locked down the kingside with 22...g5 with barely a moment’s thought but by Gawain’s own admission he tried to be clever, and after 22...Qb6? 23.g5! hxg5 24.Qa3! though the position is still unclear, ultimately he was mercilessly punished for inaccuracies. Check out the annotation for the full story!

Back real soon, Chris

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To get in touch with me subscribers can email me at Chris