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Hello everybody!
Plenty of queenside castling this month but with no bishop to be seen on c4! Lots of accurate play often resulting in correct repetitions and one total disaster!
Okay, I'll let you judge for yourself. Enjoy!

Download PGN of July '15 Dragon Sicilian games

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Classical Dragon with 9 0-0-0 [B72]

The Classical system 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Be2 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 with 9.0-0-0 is at least a little entertaining:

When it first appeared on this site though it was a rather dangerous weapon but after all this time it should have lost its surprise value for the experienced Dragon player. The variation continues to surface from time to time but in Dourerassou - Sebenik, Black gives a good demonstration of how to handle it. In truth we have now seen a few reasonable treatments but 9...Ng4 10.Bxg4 Bxg4 11.f3 Bd7 12.Kb1 Ne5 looks like another one. This knight heads for c4 and the right blend of ...Re8 and ...Qa5 (i.e. side-stepping Nd5 tricks) looks just fine. As it happens this game saw 13.h4 Nc4 14.Qd3 Rc8 when Black had his share of attacking chances too.

Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 Bd7 [B76]

About time we had a 8...Nc6 9.0-0-0 Bd7 10.g4 Rc8 11.Kb1 Ne5 12.h4 but regarding 12...Qa5 13 Nd5 it would appear that the talented Indian GM Sasikiran hasn't been keeping up to date with our ChessPublishing annotations!

If he had then he would have known that Black has the endgame after 13...Qxd2 14.Nxe7+ Kh8 15.Bxd2 Rce8 under control and his 'improvement' in Sasikiran - Feller is not only far from testing but later in the game his opponent actually misses a win!

Yugoslav Attack 9 g4 e5 [B76]

The game Espinosa Veloz-Clavijo shows that there are still optimists in the World at least as far as 9.g4 e5?! goes!

I think I am always going to give 9...e5 as '?!' on positional grounds. Specifically then this e-pawn advance has the obvious downsides of:

  1. Blocking in the Dragon bishop.
  2. Leaving d6 as a backward pawn.
  3. Conceding an outpost on d5.

Even the surprising choice of 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.g5 looks good and White's attack after 11...Ne8 12.h4 Qa5 13.h5 ultimately proved too powerful.

Yugoslav Attack 9 g4 Nxd4 [B76]

Of course after 9.g4 we have seen so much of 9...Be6 10 Nxe6 in recent times but I remain intrigued by 9...Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 which comes with a bad reputation because of 11.h4 Qa5 12.h5. Actually after 12...Rfc8 13.hxg6 hxg6 14.a3 Rab8 15.0-0-0 b5:

in 33 encounters (Megabase 2015) White has scored 86.4% with 16 Qg5 but Black has won the two games in which he has deployed the engine recommendation 16...d5. I suspect I know then what the talented young Chinese Grandmaster's response would have been in Yilmazyerli - Lu Shanglei but we might have to wait a little longer for that truth! Yes, instead White opted 16.Nd5 Qxd2+ 17.Rxd2 Bxd5 18.exd5 Nd7 19.Bxg7 Kxg7 and basically an equal endgame.

Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 Nxd4 10 Bxd4 Be6 [B76]

The game Haubro - Djurhuus is somewhat of a mystery but I thought it might be useful to include this relative miniature to highlight the pitfalls in this sharp 9.0-0-0 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Kb1 Qc7 12.h4 Rfc8 13.h5 variation:

In the annotation I have quite a few things to say on related issues but basically after 13...Nxh5? the experienced Norwegian Grandmaster finds himself lost already. The best I can come up with is that he might have got confused with 13...Qa5 14 a3 (14 hxg6! is best) 14...Nxh5 15 Bxg7 Kxg7 16 g4 Rxc3! which is fine for Black. A vicarious lesson for our subscribers to learn through a very strong and probably extremely cheesed off player!

Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 d5 10 Qe1 [B76]

It feels like this is the first time in a while that we haven't featured a game with 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 Bxd4 13.Qxd4 Qb6 and if White wants to avoid that (now pretty theoretical!) variation then 10 Qe1 is one obvious port of call.

The game Georgiadis - Liu seemingly sees the lower rated player better prepared as after 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Qe1 e6 11.h4 Qc7 12.h5 Nxh5 we finally see the move 13.g4!? that I suggested would inevitably appear (but a long time ago!)

Black ventures in with the critical 13...Ng3 and in 14.Ndb5 Qb8 15.Rh3 a6 16.Bc5 axb5 17.Bxf8 Kxf8 we see some fun complications in a game full of intriguing possibilities for both sides.

Am off to the British Championship soon. Who knows, perhaps I'll have a Dragon or two of my own to report back with!?

Wish me luck! Chris

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