ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
There May be a Maroczy Bind, there May be Yugoslav Attacks, there May be offbeat systems, there May be novelties and there May be checkmates and entertainment. Yep, that’s right it’s that time... May!

Download PGN of May ’22 Dragon Sicilian games

>> Previous Update >>

Accelerated Dragon 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 0-0 8.Bb3 Re8 9.0-0 d6 10.h3 Na5 [B35]

Clearly following 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Bg7 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 0-0 8.Bb3, the 8...Re8 that Negi was originally so impressed by, remains popular. In Sadhwani, R - Abdusattorov, N though following 9.0-0 d6 10.h3 Na5 11.Qd2 we get our first main game outing on the site of 11...a6!?:

Previously we have had 11...b6 occur with the idea of fianchettoing the queen’s bishop to pressurise e4 but through the text Black is preparing queenside expansion whilst importantly depriving a white knight access to the b5-square. That feature proves very relevant in the game continuation of 12.Bh6 Bh8 (an advantage of 8...Re8) 13.a4 e5! 14.Nde2 Nxb3 15.cxb3 Be6 when Black already seems to be for preference. White sought out action but 16.f4 Bxb3 17.Bg5 Qb6+ 18.Kh1 exf4 19.Rxf4 Nh5 20.Rf3 Be5 21.g4 Ng7 left insufficient compensation.

Naturally there were twists and turns before the end but the eventual Black win was deserved. Well, sort of!

Accelerated Dragon Maroczy Bind 5.c4 Nc6 6.Be3 Qb6 7.Nb5 Qa5+ 8.N5c3 Nf6 [B36]

I suspect after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Bg7 5.c4 Nc6 6.Be3 Qb6 7.Nb5 Qa5+ 8.N5c3 Black has interesting alternatives that we might end up investigating in the future but the standard 8...Nf6 9.Nd2 0-0 10.Be2 d6 11.0-0 Be6 is what occurred in Nepomniachtchi, I - Abdusattorov, N.

White has a number of plans to progress here and of those the World Chess Championship Challenger selected 12.a3 Rfc8 13.b4 Qd8 14.Rc1. His ultimate plan was to challenge Black’s structure through c4-c5 but after 14...Nd7 15.Nd5 a5!? 16.Rb1 axb4 17.axb4 Ra3 (17...Nd4!? looks fine) 18.c5 dxc5 19.bxc5 Na5 20.Qc1 the exchange sacrifice 20...Rxe3 21.Nxe3 Nxc5 22.Qd1 Bc3 left equal chances. Alas after 23.Ndc4 Qxd1 24.Rfxd1?! Nxe4 25.Nb6 Rc5 26.Na4 Rc7 27.Nd5 Bxd5 28.Rxd5 e6 29.Rdb5 Nc6 30.Bd3 Nd2 31.Rxb7 Rxb7 32.Rxb7 White had regained one of the pawns and was able to grind Black down.

Classical Dragon 6.Be3 Nc6 7.f3 h5 8.Qd2 Nxd4 9.Bxd4 Bh6 [B72]

Who would ever have thought that a line like 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 d6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 g6 6.Be3 Nc6 7.f3 h5 8.Qd2 Nxd4 9.Bxd4 Bh6 would cross our paths but it has been doing so for a while now with the game Bracker, A - Clarke, B showing that an English IM has joined its band of followers and doing so with aplomb! What’s more is that whilst we have already seen Richard Rapport highlight the danger to White after 10.Bb5+ Bd7, here Brandon put his own mark on things with the novelty 10...Kf8:

The logic is that Black may not have been castling anyway and if a trade on f6 is to follow soon then he doesn’t want the trade of light-squared bishops that might allow the white knight to settle on d5. Okay it’s true that the ...Bd7-c6 manoeuvre doesn’t make that so simple but nevertheless 11.Qd3 Be6 demonstrated a new approach. Following 12.Ba4 h4 13.0-0 Bg7 14.Rad1 Rc8 15.Bb3 Qa5? I think there was a clear blip in that White should have traded on e6 and then played f4 but as 16.f4 Bxb3 17.axb3 h3 18.g3 Ng4 played out, following the error 19.Bxg7+? and then the continuation 19...Kxg7 20.Qd4+ f6 21.Ra1 Qc5 22.Qxc5 dxc5 23.Rxa7 Rcd8 24.Rd1 Ne3 25.Rxd8 Rxd8 , White was soon under extreme pressure in the endgame.

Yugoslav Attack 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Bh6 Qa5 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 13.e5 Nd7 14.h4 [B76]

How can you not help but love the Dragon? I mean here we are back on the case of the popular 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Bh6 variation where suddenly after 11...Qa5 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 13.e5 Nd7 14.h4 we get the novelty 14...Rb8 that leads us to another crazy avenue:

Yes, previously we have seen Black take evasive action on the kingside with 14...h5 but not so in Sirosh, I - Matinian, N where after 15.h5 Qb4 the Russian GM instead focused his attention on b2. Then 16.b3 Nxe5 17.Kb2 occurred (although the notes will indicate the immediate 17 hxg6 is critical leading to whacky possibilities) with 17...Bf5 18.hxg6 Bxg6 19.Qh6+ Kg8 turning out fine for Black and 20.Rh4 Qc5 21.f4? Qf2 22.Rc1 Nc4+ 23.Bxc4 dxc4 24.g4 cxb3 25.axb3 Rxb3+! even better!

Yugoslav 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Kb1 Rb8 11.Nb3 dxe4 12.Qxd8 Rxd8 13.Rxd8+ Nxd8 14.Bxa7 Ra8 [B76]

It’s definitely clear that whilst up there in popularity as an alternative to the main lines, following 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 9.0-0-0 d5 clearly 10.Kb1 has fallen from grace in that respect. The cheeky response 10...Rb8 has somehow always appealed to me with Black just itching for White to trade knights on c6 and open that b-file. Typically then White doesn’t oblige but whilst 11 Ndb5 has been covered a lot on the site this time it is 11.Nb3 that gets revisited in Milosevic, M - Ratkovic, M.

Although many might sigh at the prospect of the endgame 11...dxe4 12.Qxd8 Rxd8 13.Rxd8+ Nxd8 14.Bxa7 Ra8 15.Bb6 Bf5 in fact given the imbalance in the pawn structure, I don’t think that Black should moan at all. Really the game could go either way and actually I quite like Black’s chances particularly after the game continuation of 16.g4 Be6 17.g5 Nd5 18.Nxd5 Bxd5:

when 19.fxe4 Bxe4 20.Rg1 Ne6 left Black with nicely placed pieces and White pressurised into making the structural concession 21.Bd3 Bxd3 22.cxd3 Admittedly there were one or two swings between now and the end of the game (pretty normal for this site!) but nevertheless Black justifiably ended victorious.

The conclusion is that nothing has changed for years in the assessment of this line here and frankly, though I could be wrong, I’m not expecting anything to in the future either!

Yugoslav 9.Bc4 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Bb3 Qa5 12.0-0-0 b5 13.Kb1 b4 14.Nd5 Bxd5 15.exd5 Qb5 [B77]

Regards the slightly offbeat 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 9.Bc4 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 variation, a while back as inspired by Hikaru, we covered a spate of activity with 11.Bb3 Qa5 12.0-0-0 b5 13.Kb1 and now 13...Rfc8 (with Black’s last two moves being interchangeable). Courtesy of Priasmoro, N - Laohawirapap, P though, we get to tackle the other main line of this system in 13...b4 14.Nd5 Bxd5 15.exd5 Qb5 Black’s plan is to hassle White’s light-squared bishop through ...a5-a4 and hence 16.Rhe1 a5 17.Qe2 preventing such an occurrence. Now following 17...Qxe2 18.Rxe2 a4 19.Bc4 Rfc8 20.b3 Rc7 in fact 21.Bf2 is a novelty although White’s options are much of a muchness.

White retains the bishop pair and ultimately his winning plan involves trying to create an outside passed pawn. Alas via the odd inaccuracy in 21...Rb7 22.Be1 Ne8 23.bxa4 Rxa4 24.Bb3 Ra8 25.Re4 Rab8 26.Ba4 Bf6?! 27.Bxe8 Rxe8 28.Rxb4 Ra7 29.Bf2 Ra3 30.Rd3 that’s exactly what he gets when he is able to grind it out and convert his extra pawn.

Back real soon, Chris

>> Previous Update >>

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