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Welcome everybody!
A really weird month this time, causing me a headache but hopefully providing plenty of entertainment for you. Do please read on...

Download PGN of October '15 Dragon Sicilian games

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Classical Dragon with early ...a6 [B70]

As soon as I saw the game Klein - Reinderman it really appealed. Okay it was a rapidplay game but involving good players. White looked set on a super-solid line in the Classical variation but Black decided to rock the boat and confusion is what we got!

Following 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Bg5 Black delayed deploying his queen's knight through 8...a6 9.Re1 b5 and White tried to prove these advances premature with 10.Bf3 Ra7 11.a4 b4 12.Nd5:

The right idea but White lacked in accuracy and after 12...e6 13.Bxf6 Bxf6 14.Nxf6+ Qxf6 15.Qd2 e5 16.Nb3 Nc6 17.Be2 Rc7 18.Bc4?! Nd4!, already the tide was turning.

Dragon 6 Be3 a6 7 h3 [B72]

Jeepers creepers, these odd move orders and classifications are testing me this month! Yes, in Dimov - Zhou, after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 g6 6.Be3, Black looks all set for an Accelerated Dragadorf with 6...a6 but then White plays 7.h3 and following 7...Bg7 comes up with a set-up of 8.Qf3 Bd7 9.0-0-0 Nc6 10.g4 0-0. Actually this position has been reached a few times in practice and I can see why Black has scored well! After 11.Be2 Rc8 12.g5 Nh5 13.h4 Ne5 14.Qg2, I wonder if you can figure out what Black did next?

I'm not going to give it away here but I'm pretty confident you'll get it! Anyway, a nice instructive game from the talented young Englishman!

Yugoslav Attack with Be2 and ...a6 [B75]

Regards 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6, don't panic everyone! You are still here at the Dragon section of ChessPublishing although as the young Chinese superstar features so much, at this rate I'm thinking of renaming it 'The Dragon adventures of Lu Shanglei'!

We then saw 6.Be2 g6 when prior to Black deploying this and showing his true colours, some may have called this the 'Opocensky variation' of the Najdorf, but me, well I'm reassigning this 'B92' or 'B72' classification to 'B75'!

In Topalov - Lu Shanglei the game continued 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.f3 where we basically have a Yugoslav Attack where White has included the 'typically not that urgent' Be2 in his set up whilst Black has the 'not exactly vital' ...a6 for free! An intriguing and probably about even trade off! The big question is which system does Black now want to deploy in order in order to tip the trade off in his favour? Black opted for ...d5 when after 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 Bxd4 13.Qxd4 0-0 14.0-0-0 regulars will surely recognise the position below as one we frequently cover but with the alterations of placing Black's a-pawn and White's light-squared bishop back at home:

With that in mind it seems to me that the changes from the standard position favour White (though maybe not significantly). Although the bishop does little on e2, at least the rooks are now connected along the back rank. I suppose the a-pawn would no longer be en prise to the white queen if say Black wanted to play ...Rb8 quickly but standard here typically would be ...Qb6. However with no pawn on a7 to recapture, that would never be an attempt to iron out the pawn structure.

It's always great to see two Super GMs going at it in our favourite opening, but this encounter didn't end the way most would have expected.

Yugoslav Attack with ...a6 [B75]

In Nayhebaver - Prorok again we see Black having deployed an early ...a6 but (unlike in the Dragadorf) alongside castling. We're talking 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 a6 8.Qd2 0-0 but after 9.0-0-0, Black eschewing ...Nc6 in favour of 9...b5. A while back on ChessPublishing from here we saw the continuation 10 Bh6?! Bxh6 11 Qxh6 e5!? when Black went on to grab the initiative. Back then I recommended 10.h4! and here it gets an outing:

Regards this whole scenario, as Black has moved pawns (well one!) around his king and White hasn't, as the general aim of pawn storms is to create action for the major pieces, in that department, White's attack will clearly be faster. In fact 10...b4 11.Nd5 Nxd5 12.exd5 Qa5 13.Bc4 Qc7 14.Qxb4 occurred after which White had secured a pawn and eventually got the better attack too!

Yugoslav Attack 9 g4 Nxd4 [B76]

The game Medina - Navrotescu is really testing my memory. After 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.g4 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.h4 Qa5 12.h5 Rfc8 13.a3 we have reached a position where annotations have discussed plenty on the relative waiting moves 13...Rab8 and 13...a6. However, although I allude to the general plan of trading off light-squared bishops in order to park a troublesome rook on c4, I can't find any reference to the specific move 13...Bc4 in the archive:

Possibly I wrote about it in my 'WWTD' books but alas I don't seem to have either of those any more (I know, it's really sad!).

Well anyway a fresh approach never hurt anyone and so I add my comments to the game continuation of 14.hxg6 hxg6 15.g5 Nh5 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Bh3 Rh8 18.Bg4 Nf4! 19.0-0-0 Qe5 which had actually worked out quite well for Black.

Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4 Soltis Variation [B78]

I couldn't resist including the game Smart - Pert,R in this update for a few reasons. Firstly, as it was a London league match, it wouldn't otherwise have made it on to a database and hence you guys would never have seen it (such a waste!). Secondly it was in a sharp variation i.e. 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Bc4 0-0 8.f3 Nc6 9.Qd2 Bd7 10.h4 h5 11.0-0-0 Rc8 12.Bb3 Ne5 13.Bh6 Bxh6 14.Qxh6 Rxc3 15.bxc3 Qa5 but where White now deviated from the standard prophylactic 16 Kb1 with 16.f4:

Sat on the next board, I was naturally taking an interest in this game and, bizarrely for some reason I was expecting this. My logic was that I felt that Richard's opponent was desperate to budge the e5-knight in order to take the g6-pawn (i.e. given that f7 is pinned) and regards Richard's follow up, I suspected that he might not think that Black had any more than a perpetual. Without totally giving the game away, following 16...Qxc3! 17.fxe5? Qa1+ 18.Kd2 Qxd4+ 19.Kc1 Qa1+ 20.Kd2 Black most certainly did have more than a draw!

Thanks for reading! Chris

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