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Hi everyone!
Hope you are all well. If you don't mind, less chit chat from me and straight onto the action!

Download PGN of May '12 Dragon Sicilian games

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Levenfish/ Classical Long castles hybrid [B71]

Yes, that white pawn really is on f4 rather than f3 and on that square it both obstructs a Bh6 idea and fails to control the g4-square:

In my annotations to Popovic - Matic I conclude that here (rather than earlier on) is possibly the right time for ...Ng4 but the game continuation of 9...Nxd4 10 Bxd4 Be6 sees similarities to a 9 0-0-0 Yugoslav but where the employed f4 sees White aiming towards thrusting further in the centre. Ultimately Black doesn't find a solution to this, but taking everything into consideration I can't see this system becoming popular.

Classical Dragon with 9 Qd2 [B73]

I used to get the position below quite a lot as a junior and I always opted for 9...Ng4 exploiting the fact that following 9 Qd2 White was no longer adequately controlling the g4-square. Although I was very prepared to meet 9 Kh1 or 9 h3 with 9...d5, this thematic thrust didn't feel as appealing with a white rook ready to come to the d-file:

Nevertheless, I was aware that upon 9 Qd2 the response 9...d5 was supposed to be an equaliser and indeed Gawain implies that it should probably just be a draw. However as you will see in Rizouk - Jones, even strong White players can still go wrong and it is still very possible for Black to take the full point. It is interesting how this position has the feel of a Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 d5 old main line but with Black having none of the typically associated problems on the kingside.

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

I used to get the above position and similar a lot in my early Dragon days when 9 g4 was popular. Although Dragon players don't usually expect to get straight to an endgame, actually I used to quite enjoy tackling such situations as Black. I have to say though that Mammedov - Guseinov is a fantastic example of how to play these positions. I am of course talking from a Black point of view. As for White, my advice (though I don't expect it to be heeded!) would have to be: stay away from this variation if you are trying to win!

Yugoslav Attack 9 g4 Be6 10 Nxe6 [B76]

After 9 g4 Be6 although we have seen on this site how 10 h4 d5 isn't conclusively bad for White (as suggested in old text books), but it's not that promising. I have never rated 10 0-0-0 Nxd4, and so the acid test is the trendy 10 Nxe6. The game Nakamura - Robson follows the same path as the previously annotated Socko-Robson with White deviating through 13 h4:

Things turn out well for the 'H' bomb in this game but keep an eye out for Gawain's suggestion for Black of 16...b5. It could be the way forward.

Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4 Nxd4 10 Bxd4 Be6 [B77]

A few updates ago this offbeat line made a reappearance on the scene thanks to its employment by Nakamura. He achieved a comfortable draw with it as Black and here Alonso - Toth is more of the same. This time, though, White tries 14 Rhe1 but Mr Toth, who appears to have a bit of experience in this line, responded with the bishop trade and then the ultra rare 15...e6 as illustrated below:

In truth not very exciting stuff for Black but White continues to struggle to prove an advantage.

Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4 Topalov System [B78]

We are of course talking 9 Bc4 Bd7 10 0-0-0 Rc8 11 Bb3 Nxd4 12 Bxd4 b5 and the Topalov system, which appears to have been quite reasonable for Black for a while now.

This month in Leko - Grandelius from the above illustrated position we see a repeat of Shirov's crafty 16...Kg8 and it is 18 Re3 that features here for the first time. Although Black doesn't lose this game Gawain observes that the selected 18...Qa8?! is perhaps trying to be a bit too clever and that Black should maybe just get on with 18...b4. All interesting stuff in another line that Black is holding up well in.

That's all for now folks! Back soon, Chris and Gawain

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