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Hello dear subscribers!
Well the scorching heat continues, yet in a trendy Accelerated Dragon line, we’ve still only touched the tip of the iceberg!
Interesting developments there, a blast from the past, a first for the site, a thematic exchange sacrifice, a cool piece offering and well what are you waiting for!...

Download PGN of July ’18 Dragon Sicilian games

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Hyper-Accelerated Dragon 2...g6 3.c3 d5 4.e5 Nc6 5.h3 [B27]

As the update was coming closer to the end of the month, I was hoping that I might be able to bring you a hot off the press Dragon game of mine from the British Championship but unfortunately that didn’t come until a tournament that had started in July moved into August!

Also, Tan, J - Ward, C kicked off with 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 (unfortunately in some cases I still feel the need to avoid the 3 Bb5 Anti-Sicilian!) 3.c3 d5 4.e5 Nc6 which because White didn’t take on d5 (transposing to a Sicilian c3), still leaves this game within the jurisdiction of the Dragons site. We have discussed the similar situation with the black bishop already on g7 (e.g. 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 g6 3 c3 Bg7 4 d4 cxd4 5 cxd4 d5 6 e5) but I feel that if White plays 5 d4 now then Black has a better version because he may not wish to commit his bishop to g7 if it is going to be biting on granite. Yes, I thought that the already played ...Nc6 and ...Bg4, both pressurising the d4-pawn would take priority but my talented young opponent was of the same view, instead deploying 5.h3 to prevent the bishop pin. For reasons that I discuss, I then felt it appropriate to disrupt White’s building of a central pawn chain through 5...d4!?:

An over the board decision, it transpired that there were only 3 documented examples of this position being reached, with 6 Bb5 reaping White two draws and a loss! Instead, Justin plumped for 6.Bc4 when 6...Bg7 7.Qe2 e6 8.0-0 Nge7 9.d3 0-0 10.Re1 h6 11.Nbd2 Nf5 12.Ne4 dxc3 13.bxc3 Nxe5 14.Nxe5 Bxe5 15.g4 Nd6 16.Nxd6 Bxd6 17.Bxh6 Re8 was all reasonable stuff leaving equal chances.

Accelerated Dragon Maroczy Bind 6...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 e6 [B38]

As is often the way with the Maroczy Bind, in fact, Salem, AR - Wieczorek, O was an Accelerated Dragon via a Reti/English , specifically 1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.e4 Bg7 5.d4 cxd4 6.Nxd4 d6 7.Be2 Nc6 8.Be3 0-0 9.0-0 Bd7. By far the most common in practice is 10.Qd2 connecting the rooks when after 10...Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Bc6 12.f3 a5 13.b3 Nd7 14.Be3 Nc5 15.Rab1, in this main line, rather than the solid 15...Qb6 Black dabbled in 15...e6 intending a system we have investigated recently in which Black weakens his d6-pawn but controls the d5-square and is ultimately optimistic about chances of attacking White’s king. Previously by transposition we have looked at 16 Rfd1 and an obvious plan of immediately scrutinising the d6-pawn but here White preferred 16.Bd1:

The d6-pawn is never going to be far from the thoughts of both players but the point behind the text is to try and force through a3 and b4 as quickly as possible in order to budge Black’s knight from its current attractive post. Actually here Black could still adopt the ...Be5 plan here but instead Black immediately set about muddying the waters with 16...f5 when 17.exf5 gxf5 18.Bc2 f4 19.Bf2 Qg5 20.Kh1 Be5 was all good fun.

Dragon Fianchetto 6.g3 Nc6 7.Nde2 Bd7 8.Bg2 Qc8 9.h3 Bg7

Regular subscribers will know that I don’t hold 6 g3 in especially high regard and it usually takes a lot for me to be persuaded to put games in that insipid (well relatively speaking!) variation into an update. I have to say though that Tomczak, J - Mista, A was particularly eye catching. It began 6.g3 Nc6 7.Nde2 Bd7 8.Bg2 Qc8 when White prevented ...Bh3 with 9.h3 but of course now can’t castle. Play continued 9...Bg7 10.Be3 h5 11.b3 (a move in retrospect I am critical of) when Black now ploughed right on with 11...h4 and after 12.g4 stunned his opponent with 12...Nxg4!:

A perfectly sound sacrifice; after 13.hxg4 Bxg4 14.f3 h3! 15.fxg4 hxg2 16.Rxh8+ Bxh8 17.Kf2 Qxg4 White was under the cosh and ultimately couldn’t find the accuracy required to hold.

Classical Dragon 6.Be2 Bg7 7.0-0 Nc6 8.Nb3 0-0 9.Bg5 Be6 10.Kh1 Rc8 11.f4 a6 [B70]

Another game this month that also appealed was Lubbe, M - Sriram, J for reasons that every Dragon player will surely appreciate. Black’s system in 6.Be2 Bg7 7.0-0 Nc6 8.Nb3 0-0 9.Bg5 Be6 10.Kh1 Rc8 11.f4 a6 has been played by quite a few strong Black players and although through 12.f5 Bd7 13.Qe1 Ne5 14.Qh4 White may have felt that he was building up an offensive Grand Prix attack style, in fact after 14...b5 15.a3 Rxc3! 16.bxc3 Qc8 it was actually Black who had the initiative:

White evidently felt that ...gxf5 was a threat but 17.fxg6? Nxg6 18.Qg3 Nxe4 19.Qe3 Nxg5 20.Qxg5 Qxc3 was simply a clear advantage for Black. A lovely thematic exchange sacrifice for which Black now has two pawns and comfortably proceeded to obtain the full point.

Yugoslav Attack 9.g4 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Nd5 [B76]

The game Eric, J - Alok, S was through 9.g4 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Nd5 a blast from the past:

Anatoly Karpov was the first to try this move back in 1982 with the main point of the move being to prevent the black queen from swinging out to a5. On the face of it one might figure that White is being more positional than aggressive as after 11...Bxd5 12.exd5 there is potential for standard e-file pressure. However 12...Qc7 13.h4 Rac8 14.Rh2!? e6 15.dxe6 fxe6 16.h5 suggested that White still had h-file aspirations and they were very much realised after 16...Nd5?! 17.hxg6 hxg6 18.Bxg7 Qxg7 19.0-0-0 Qf6 20.Bd3 Qxf3?? 21.Rh8+!.

Yugoslav Attack 9.g4 Be6 10.Nxe6 fxe6 11.0-0-0 Ne5 12.Be2 Qc8 [B76]

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 it would appear that 9 g4 remains popular. I’m not sure whether this is because White players believe they can get a genuine advantage here or just because there is less theory to learn than the 9 0-0-0 and 9 Bc4 options. That said though after 9...Be6 10.Nxe6 fxe6 11.0-0-0 Ne5 12.Be2 Qc8 the move 13 Rhe1!? has, since its introduction in 2014, now dropped just one draw in 8 outings:

It’s not that easy to explain the move either as it tends to suggest that White has abandoned h-file aspirations although just as in our other Yugoslav Attack game this month, that isn’t necessarily the case. Clearly though it does contain the latent threat of breaking through in the centre but Black should avoid panicking. Unfortunately in Radovanovic, N - Pantelic, Sa Black couldn’t help himself and after 13...Nc4 14.Bxc4 Qxc4 15.Bd4 e5 16.Be3 b5 17.Kb1 a5 18.h4 a4 19.g5 b4?! 20.Nxa4 Nh5 21.b3 Qb5 22.Nb6 from a position that didn’t seem too bad, a pawn sacrifice had suddenly left him in deep trouble.

Hope you are all well. Back real soon, Chris

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