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Accelerated Dragon Gurgenidze System with 10...a5 [B36]
So, the following e-mail dropped into my inbox:
«First, thank you for publishing great content on the Dragon Sicilians on chesspublishing. I am writing to you to ask about your opinion of the following line in the accelerated dragon 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 g6 5 c4 Nf6 6 Nc3 d6 7 Be2 Nxd4 8 Qxd4 Bg7 9 Bg5 0-0 10 Qd2 a5!?, which as far as I could tell wasn't covered on chesspublishing.
Yours Sincerely, Wy»
And a couple of days later I had a London league match and the opportunity to create an opinion by experiencing the variation first hand. Well not exactly as it transpires because after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Nxd4 7.Qxd4 d6 8.Be2 Bg7 in Franklin, S - Ward, C White opted for the more common in practice 9.Be3 instead. Nevertheless I continued 9...0-0 10.Qd2 a5 to get a feel for the variation.
So previously I had essentially written about this position and specific move that 'This is becoming quite common. The idea is logical: Black wants to grab space on the queenside and not knowing yet know which square is best for his c8 bishop, delays its development.'
In moving the a-pawn at all though, a hole has been created on b6 and as the a-pawn has travelled beyond a6, achieving the traditionally desirable pawn break ...b5 now seems very unlikely.
As for the differences in the posting of the White dark-squared bishop, where it stands it doesn't have the pressure on f6 through to e7 (as it would have on g5) but it does support a future knight intrusion on b6 and could later challenge the Dragon bishop through Bd4.
Obviously then 11.f3 a4 12.Rc1 Qa5 has the similarity of my parking the queen on a5 but is not specifically the variation that our enthusiastic subscriber Wy (thanks for your kind words!) was after. I will feature the position with White’s bishop on g5 next month but I’ve a feeling my opinion is going to be similar. Black is solid but with White able to park a knight on d5 at any stage to encourage trades, just as with most Maroczy Bind lines, a draw is often the best that Black can hope for.
Through 13.Rc2 Bd7 14.g4 Bc6 15.Nd5 Nxd5 16.cxd5 Bb5 17.Rg1 Qa6 I thought that I had managed to drum up some play but alas ultimately it wasn’t anything like enough for a decisive result.
Irregular Dragon 7...e5 [B72]
It’s great when offbeat ideas crop up and even better if they look as though they may even be plausible!
Regards Erenberg, A - Fernandez, D I must confess to almost cringing when I saw 1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 c5 3.e4 Nf6 4.Nc3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 g6 6.Be3 Nc6 7.f3 e5, a weird move order to begin with, culminating in a seemingly Anti-positional 7th move:
As far as the Dragon goes, such a move here is frowned upon because:
- It concedes an outpost on d5.
- It leaves a backward pawn on d6.
- The pawn now on e5 obstructs the Dragon bishop diagonal.
However, although this is strictly a classification 'B72', just like in the Accelerated Dragadorf, it's not unlikely that Black's dark-squared bishop won't make it to g7 anyway. That then makes (3) redundant whilst the problems highlighted in (1) and (2) can be solved if Black obtains the desired pawn break ...d5.
In fact that he does following 8.Nb3 Be6 9.Qd2 d5 when 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxd5 Qxd5 12.Qxd5 Bxd5 13.0-0-0 0-0-0 was fairly equal.
A comparison with the Classical Sicilian variation of 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 Nc6 6 Be3 (not the most challenging!) 6...e5 and offering a bit of leeway with regards the inclusion of the moves f3 and ...g6, suggests that this may not be a ridiculous idea. I’m still not that comfortable covering games on this site where the ‘Dragon’ bishop never actually makes it to g7 but what the heck, watch this space!
Irregular Classical 6.Be3 a6 7.Be2 Bg7 8.g4 [B72]
It’s not unusual that in the Accelerated Dragadorf move order of 5...g6 6.Be3 a6 that White (probably having intended a Yugoslav Attack against the standard Dragon) switches to a Classical via 7.Be2, trying to prove ...a6 is premature. Following 7...Bg7 White really goes to town in that department with 8.g4 in Gaehwiler, G - Baenziger, F:
Certainly an aggressive approach, Black attempts to react in kind through the probably overly ambitious 8...b5?! but then 9.Bf3 brings into play the concept of e4-e5 to exploit the exposed queen’s rook. A difficult situation for Black, his response was to halt White’s pawn in its tracks with 9...e5?! but then 10.Nf5! was already pretty grim for Black.
Accelerated Dragadorf 6.Be3 a6 7.f3 b5 8.Qd2 Bb7 9.a4 e5 [B75]
After 5...g6 6.Be3 a6 7.f3 b5 8.Qd2 Bb7 9.a4 e5 10.Nb3 b4 11.Na2 d5 it is 12 Bg5! that has been scoring best in practice for White in what is arguably the main line. However, in Erenburg, S - Hess, R White came up with the novelty 12.Nc5!? as he tried to exploit some weak points in the black position:
The jury remains out on 12...Bxc5 13 Bxc5 dxe4 (or 13...Nbd7) as the black king might find itself marooned in the centre. Instead then Black played it safe with 12...Bc6 when through 13.Bf2 a5 14.exd5 Qxd5 15.Qxd5 Nxd5 16.Nc1 White hadn’t seriously tested his opponent who ultimately held the draw rather comfortably.
Yugoslav Attack 9 g4 Be6 10 Nxe6 fxe6 11 0-0-0 Ne5 12 Be2 Qc8 [B76]
The game Shevchenko, K - Huschenbeth, N was yet another encounter in the topical 9 g4 variation. Not one which gets my own juices flowing and 9.g4 Be6 10.Nxe6 fxe6 11.0-0-0 Ne5 12.Be2 Qc8 and now 13.Rhf1 wasn’t destined to rock my World either!
Last month 13 Rhe1!? offered something a little different but through the text 13...Nc4 14.Bxc4 Qxc4 15.Qd3 Rfc8 16.Qxc4 Rxc4 was hardly looking inspirational. However, then 17.Nb5 a6 suddenly prompted a spate of errors in 18.b3? Nxg4? 19.Bg1? Rc6 20.Na7? before Black got his act together with 20...Nxh2! 21.Nxc6 Nxf1 22.Nxe7+ Kf7 23.Nxg6 but then missed the 23...Ng3! that would surely have seen him victorious. The annotation has the full coverage where White managed to grovel a draw having missed just one opportunity to gain a clear advantage. For Black though with the lion’s share of the chances, he’ll surely see this as the one that got away!
Yugoslav Attack 9.0-0-0 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Kb1 Qc7 [B76]
After 9.0-0-0 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Kb1 Qc7 I still believe that we are right to consider 12 h4 Qa5 13 h5 as the most critical variation. I had promised to revisit this old variation on the site and that is an ongoing process. Also very relevant, though, is the slightly annoying 12.Nb5!?:
Just seen again recently in Pavasovic, D - Svendsen, B this move may be a prelude to a knight relocation on d4 but at the very least prevents the black queen from taking up residence on a5. We have previously considered all of the queen options and here 12...Qd7 is revisited with 13.g4 a6 14.Nc3 Rfc8 15.h4 b5 16.h5 Qb7 17.hxg6 hxg6 18.g5 Nh5 hitting the board. It seems to me that here simply trading bishops and advancing the f-pawn would be strong but 19.Bh3 Bxd4 20.Qxd4 Rc4 21.Qe3 wouldn’t have been so good had Black seen 21...Qa7! He didn’t and further Black errors soon enabled White to reach a winning endgame.
All the same, especially given its impressive results the conclusion must be that 12 Nb5!? Has to be taken seriously and will no doubt feature on the site again in the future.
Yes I don’t think it’s a joke at all; some good stuff! Either way, I’ll be back shortly!
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To get in touch with me subscribers can email me at Chris Ward@ChessPublishing.com.