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Welcome dear subscribers!
Is it too soon to say 'Merry Xmas'? Well I'm going to, and as an early present to you I'm going to give you 6 thrilling Dragon encounters. Gee, you guys must think it's Xmas every month!
I continue to monitor the Dragon related goings on around the World each month and in the last few weeks there were actually a few new ideas; some promising, the others not quite so much. I've given my opinions and now I'll leave you to have your own.

Download PGN of November '14 Dragon Sicilian games

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Accelerated Dragon 7 Bc4 with 8...e6 [B35]

We kick off this month's update with something new to the site and actually from Black's point of view, something rather appealing. We are talking the Accelerated Dragon and after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6, White foregoing the option of erecting a Maroczy Bind through 5 c4 and instead plumping for 5.Nc3. The not uncommon 5...Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 0-0 follows, with the bishop retreat 8.Bb3 designed to eliminate tricks with ...d5. However it is clearly just that move that Black has in mind through 8...e6:

with 9.0-0 d5 10.exd5 exd5 up next. In Ruiz - Delgado Ramirez it looked as though 11.h3 Be6 12.Qd2 Qd7 13.Rad1 Rfe8 14.Rfe1 would be a very positional game until the Paraguayan GM stunned his opponent with 14...Bxh3! I won't spoil the rest of it for you, but it's entertaining stuff!

Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 Nxd4 [B76]

The once main line variation 9.0-0-0 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Kb1 Qc7 12.h4 Rfc8 13.h5 Qa5 14.hxg6 hxg6 15.a3 continues to be a problem for Black due largely after 15...Rab8 16.Bd3 b5 to the presence of the strong 4th rank pin 17.Qg5!:

I was immediately attracted to this month's offering Thybo - Kratochvil because Black brought to the table something new in 17...Rc4. Certainly after 18.Bxc4 Bxc4, Black was threatening ...e5 followed by ...b4 but unfortunately 19.f4 with some accurate play thereafter, appears to have put paid to Black's idea. Alas it's a case of 'Back to the drawing board! Unless...

Although I wouldn't recommend getting too excited, the game Gurevich - Finegold did actually come as a breath of fresh air to a line that has been in need of a boost for some time. Following 9.0-0-0 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Kb1, we've seen plenty of 11...Qc7 intending ...Rfc8 and ...Qa5 (including of course in this November 2014 update), but actually never 11...Rc8:

I'm certainly not going to suggest that it is the answer to all of Black's problems, but following 12 g4 (we may see more of 12 h4 in the future), the simplicity of Ben Finegold's 12...Nd7 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.h4 Qa5 holds a certain appeal. The game continued dynamically with 15.h5 g5 16.Bb5 Bxa2+ 17.Kc1 Rxc3 and Black was ultimately able to turn a fascinating endgame in his favour.

Yugoslav Attack 9 g4 Nxd4 [B76]

Actually the game Oparin - Lu Shanglei is another boost for Black in an unfashionable variation as the young Chinese GM avoids all that 9 g4 Be6 10 Nxe6 business and instead seems happy to travel down the path of 9.g4 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.h4 Qa5 12.h5, which in the past has seem a fair amount of suffering for Black. More often though that is because Black feels obliged to sacrifice his b-pawn (which is promptly snuffled as White edges towards endgame superiority rather than checkmate!) but 12...Rfc8 13.hxg6 hxg6 14.a3 a6 as illustrated below, sees Black adopting the calmer approach:

Yes, ...a6 instead of ...Rab8 and his reasoning is that he doesn't believe his king is actually in especially grave danger. Black is probably okay after 15.0-0-0 b5 16.g5 Nh5 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.f4 Rxc3 and actually I speculate as to whether he even needs to deploy the standard exchange sac right now. Interesting stuff!

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

Viewing the game Alonso - Ruiz was like taking a journey back in time for me as I remember investing plenty of time analysing the position after 9.g4 Be6 10.0-0-0 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Qa5 12.a3 Rfc8 13.h4 Rab8 14.h5 b5 in my early Dragon days. Critical has always been 15 hxg6!? but here White effectively closed the h-file through 15.h6:

This generally isn't considered as good because of the black possibilities 15...b4!? and the odd looking 15...Bf8!? but in this game Black selects 15...Bh8, allowing White to enter a probably favourable endgame through 16.Nd5 Qxd2+ 17.Rxd2. As you will see in the annotation, I have quite a lot to say on such situations, irrespective of which 17...Nxd5 18.exd5 Bxd5 19.Bxh8 Bxf3 20.Rh3 Bxg4 21.Rg3, imbalancing the situation with a piece for 3 pawns, is always going to be intriguing.

Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4 Chinese Variation [B78]

And so we end this month with a Chinese Dragon and a story about the Andrew Whitely Memorial Blitz tournament. Okay, you'll have to check out the annotation for the latter, but re the game, all of 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Rb8 11.h4 b5 12.Bb3 Na5 13.h5 Nc4 14.Bxc4 bxc4 15.Bh6 Qb6 16.b3 has been seen before on several occasions here at ChessPublishing:

There's the long running debate as to who should and when should the dark-squared bishops be traded, when should Black take on b3 and with which pawn should White recapture? In Thogersen - Georgiadis we saw something a bit different (though no less logical) in 16...cxb3 17.cxb3 Bxh6 18.Qxh6 Rfc8 19.Kb2 Qc5. The variation offers about equal chances but ultimately I guess it was the gulf in rating that proved the decisive factor.

Okay bye for now! Chris

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