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When I noticed a couple of relatively quick wins in a variation renowned for its long draws, I thought it might be time to revisit a couple of key lines in the Accelerated Dragon. Of course I couldn't abandon our beloved Dragon (i.e. of the pure variety) entirely but it is with the Maroczy bind that we start...

Download PGN of March '15 Dragon Sicilian games

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Accelerated Dragon Gurgenidze System [B36]

We are of course then talking the Maroczy Bind that appears after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 and specifically here the luring of the white queen into the centre through 6...Nxd4 7.Qxd4 d6. Essentially then White has the choice of parking his dark-squared bishop on g5 or e3, and in Antal - Vitouch it was the latter with 8.Be3 Bg7 9.f3 0-0 10.Qd2 Be6 11.Rc1 Qa5 12.Be2 Rfc8 13.b3 a6 reaching a standard position. White is on the verge of forcing an endgame and whilst I entertain a discussion (with myself!) on the matter, there is no doubt that theory considers 14.Na4 to be most critical when 14...Qxd2+ 15.Kxd2 Nd7 16.g4 puts the ball in Black's court:

The first of our games in this variation this month sees Black ignore White's attempted clamp with 16...f5 when after 17.exf5 gxf5 18.h3 Rf8 19.f4, probably his attempt at more action via 19..d5 is a little optimistic. Check out the game to see why.

Nijboer - Van Overdam is the same line but is a game more to do with technique than tactics. The same position arrived at via a different move order, instead (as illustrated below) Black plays the waiting game with the other theoretical alternative 16...Rc6:

Given that we are used to the bright lights and razzamatazz of the Yugoslav Attack, this game doesn't provide us with too much entertainment and is certainly no fun for Black. Maybe his position is okay here but with White demonstrating great control, it's painful to watch!

Accelerated Dragon Maroczy Bind Classical System [B38]

This time we have a 'B38' so called Classical system of 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Be3 d6 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Bd7 10.Qd2 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Bc6 although instead of the main move 12 f3, White opts for the arguably more ambitious 12.Bd3. This keeps options open for both a rook swinger and an f-pawn assault but through 12...a5 13.Rae1:

13...a4!? 14.Nd5 Nd7 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.Re3 e5 17.Rh3 h5, it would appear that Black had played rather accurately. Yes in Espinosa Aranda-Vazquez Igarza there was to be no h-file mate and even the fall back plan of pressurising the backward black d-pawn came to nothing.

Yugoslav Attack 9 g4 Be6 10 0-0-0 Nxd4 [B76]

Well we have now moved on to the 'real' Dragon and straight into the Yugoslav Attack. However I really can't understand how the game Dvoirys - Forster even came to be. Indeed I use this game to summarise this whole 9 g4 variation. For some time now it has been generally accepted that the endgame reached after 9.g4 Be6 10.0-0-0 (yes of course 10 Nxe6 has been the big debate for a while now and certainly in view of the alternatives, with some justification) 10...Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Qa5 12.a3 Rab8 13.h4 b5 14.Nd5 Qxd2+ 15.Rxd2 Bxd5 16.exd5 offers White very little and is relatively easy for Black to play. The point is though that once the position below hits the board:

White is really obliged to trade queens after which in my opinion Black has at least as many winning chances as White and it is probably harder for him to go wrong!

Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 d5 with 12 Bd4 Bxd4 [B76]

Yes, I am of course referring to the highly popular 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 Bxd4 13.Qxd4 Qb6, although here in Alekseev - Grandelius, instead of our main line 14 Na4 (where White hopes for a queen trade that won't iron out Black's structure) he employs the increasing-in-outings 14.Bc4:

In the annotation I remind readers of why the obvious ...Qxd4 followed by ...Nxc3 isn't so hot for Black and hence why 14...Ne3 15.Rd2 Nxc4 16.Qxc4 Be6 is revisited, with the main difference in this encounter being 17.Qf4.

Although this game won't go down as one of the most thrilling Dragon games, it certainly has a lot of moments and it is refreshing to see two Super GMs battling it out till the very end.

Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4 Na5 [B77]

Every now and then we get an offbeat idea or move coming along and that is the case in Timofeev - Kuderinov. Actually following 9.Bc4 Na5, which could conceivably transpose to standard lines after 10 Bb3, we have featured an encounter with 10 Bd3 before. Considerably different was this game of 10.Be2 a6 11.0-0-0 b5 12.h4:

when I must confess to having trouble explaining 12...Re8. My feeling is that 13 h5!? might be best here as after 13.Bh6 Bxh6 14.Qxh6 e5 15.Nb3 b4 16.Nd5 Nxd5 17.Rxd5 Nxb3+ 18.axb3 Be6 19.Rd2 Qc7, Black's chances are certainly no worse.

Weirdly showing some similarities with both the Dragadorf and the Chinese variation despite no bishop on b7 nor rook on b8, this is an exciting tussle which could possibly open up some new avenues.

Well that's all for now but I'll be back real soon.

Thanks for watching! Chris

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