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Dragon legends, theoretical interest and entertainment and that’s all in one game! Elsewhere you get trips down memory lane (or at least I do!) and Super Computers pointing the way with Yugoslav Attacks a plenty. All aboard!

Download PGN of October ’22 Dragon Sicilian games

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Classical Dragon 6.Be3 Nc6 7.f3 h5 8.Qd2 Nxd4 9.Bxd4 Bh6 10.Bb5+ Kf8 [B72]

The game Virostko, P- Peyrer, K highlights how practical outings in the offbeat system of 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Nc6 7.f3 h5 8.Qd2 Nxd4 9.Bxd4 Bh6 continue to appear with this one introducing new concepts though nothing especially to trouble Black. After 10.Bb5+ we know that Black has a decision to make and that 10...Bd7 doesn’t allow the simple scenario of White trading bishops, the bishop for knight on f6 and then parking a knight on d5. Yes, that’s all been shown before on the site but that doesn’t mean that Black can’t opt for 10...Kf8 as he does here. White then deviated from our previous offering in this system of 11 Qd3 Be6 12 Ba4 (planning Bb3) in favour of the different approach 11.Qe2 Be6 12.Nd5 Bxd5 13.exd5 although I can’t say that it’s an improvement:

Sure White has a little pressure along the e-file and for now the bishop pair. However there is always the danger that he could end up in a worse minor piece situation and that Black’s not castling doesn’t spell inactivity for his king’s rook. Indeed through 13...Bf4 14.0-0 h4 15.c4 Rh5 16.Rae1 Qc7 17.Kh1 Rh7 18.Bxf6 exf6 19.Qe4 Be5 20.f4 f5 21.Qc2 Bf6 22.b4 h3 23.g3 Kg7 24.Rc1 a5 25.bxa5 Qxa5 26.a4 Rhh8 27.Qe2 b6 28.Qe1 Qa7 29.Rd1 Rac8 30.Rf2 Rc7 31.Re2 Rhc8 I’d have to say that was the case with 32.Qf1 Rxc4! seeing Black going for it in an entertaining game that he certainly had his chances to win.

Yugoslav Attack 9.0-0-0 Bd7 10.g4 Rc8 11.Kb1 Ne5 12.Be2 [B76]

I have long thought that after 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 Bd7 10.g4 Rc8 11.Kb1 Ne5 in putting a stop to most of Black’s tactics the move 12 Be2! is the most frustrating move for Black to face:

It reinforces the f3-pawn thus inhibiting both sacrifices there/on g4 and e4, whilst dissuading the ...b5 thrust too. On e2 the bishop also has an x-ray view of h5 which in Gurel, E - Djokic, M was also very handy for White after 12...h5 13.gxh5 Nxh5 14.f4 To add insult to injury following 14...Nc4 15.Bxc4 Rxc4 it’s not as though 16.f5 Kh7 17.Rhg1 Rc8 18.fxg6+ fxg6 19.Nd5 Qe8 20.Qg2 were difficult moves for White to find. In fact he is spoilt for choice with 20...Nf6 21.Nf5 Nxd5 22.Rxd5 Rf6 23.Bd4 just one of several ways that White could be on the road to victory.

Yugoslav 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 Bxd4 13.Qxd4 Qb6 14.Na4 Qc7 15.Bc4 Rd8 16.Bb3 Be6 [B76]

To be fair the game Boruchovsky, A - Pijpers, A isn’t a thriller, but I do naturally feel the need to keep tabs on main lines just in case there are any theoretical developments of note. Well regards 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f3 Bg7 7.Be3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 Bxd4 13.Qxd4 Qb6 14.Na4 Qc7 15.Bc4 Rd8 16.Bb3 Be6 17.Nc5 Nf4 it’s probably fair to say there aren’t really!

Sure I’ve re-checked 18 Na6 and 18 Qf2 in the notes but they are not an improvement on the game continuation of 18.Nxe6 Nxe6 19.Qe3 Nf4 20.g3 Nd5 Actually here 11 years ago we did see Michael Adams fail to get an advantage over Peter Heine-Nielsen with 21 Qg5 but 21.Qc5 Qb6 22.Qxb6 axb6 wasn’t much better. White might point to his bishop for knight endgame advantage although after 23.Rd4 e6 24.Rhd1 Rdc8 25.a3 Kf8 26.c4?! c5! 27.R4d3 that might have seen Black with the superior minor piece had he dabbled in 27...Ne7!?-c6-d4. Instead 27...Nf6 28.Rd6 Rab8 29.Ba4 g5 30.Bb5 Ke7 31.Kc2 Rc7 32.R6d3 h5 33.Re1 Ne8 34.Bxe8 Rxe8 35.Rd5 Rg8 36.Kc3 Rd7 37.Re2 f6 was a bit of a yawn fest with it being a case of back to the drawing board for White!

Yugoslav Attack 9.g4 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Nd5 [B76]

Given the game involved a Dragon legend in an entertaining game of theoretical interest, I make no excuse for featuring Salinas Herrera, P - Golubev, M even if accuracy levels deteriorate a little at the end!

Actually we have seen a bit of 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.g4 Nxd4 (yes as an alternative to all that 9...Be6 10 Nxe6 stuff!) 10.Bxd4 Be6 recently with White opting for one of the recommended recipes in 11 h4 Qa5 12 h5 Rfc8 13 a3 but Black finding some resources. Here White turns to the other suggested method of gaining an edge with 11.Nd5 but I’m not convinced it does.

Certainly the black queen is prevented from springing out to a5 but 11...Bxd5 12.exd5 Rc8 13.h4 Qc7 14.Rh2 e5 15.dxe6 fxe6 16.0-0-0 Nd5 17.Bxg7 Qxg7 seems okay to me. Arguably White could have played a tad more dynamically but it’s clear that in 18.Be2?! Qe5! 19.Rdh1 Rf4 20.Kb1 Rc3 21.Bd1 Rb4 22.b3 Re3 Black was having fun taking over White’s operation and following 23.c4 Nc3+ 24.Kc1 already had plenty of very attractive options.

Yugoslav 9 Bc4 Bd7 10 0-0-0 Qa5 11 Bb3 Rfc8 12 Kb1 Ne5 13 Bg5 [B79]

Could it really be that my old favourite line is making a comeback? Well I can’t quite confirm that but its number of outings seems to be increasing and when one Super Computer is forced to play it against another, the fact that it holds as Black offers something at least.

So the penultimate game this month will feature the h4 and g4 permutation but in Ethereal 13.89_NNUE (3515) - Stoofvlees II b1 through 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 Qa5 10.0-0-0 Bd7 11.Kb1 Ne5 12.Bb3 Rfc8 13.Bg5 it is the Kb1 and Bg5 pairing that takes centre stage:

Typically more after an endgame advantage than checkmate, this is quite a solid system for White but Stoofvlees appears untroubled and calmly continues with theory through 13...Rc5 14.h4 b5 15.Bxf6 Bxf6 16.Nd5 Qxd2 17.Rxd2 Kg7 and after 18.h5 a5, isn’t phased by the prospect of a slightly inferior endgame and simply accepts 19.a3 Ra6 20.h6+ Kf8 21.Nxf6 exf6. Realistically Black’s only weaknesses are the isolated d-pawn and the outpost on d5 which a white knight would love to permanently occupy. Black doesn’t intend to allow that though with 22.Ne2 Be6 23.Nf4 Ke7 24.Rhd1 Rb6 25.Nd5+ Bxd5 26.Bxd5 Nc4 27.Bxc4 bxc4 seeing trades that maintain White’s small edge in the rook endgame but it’s nowhere near enough for the full point.

Yugoslav 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.h4 Ne5 11.Bb3 Qa5 12.0-0-0 Rfc8 13.g4 b5 14.h5 b4 [B79]

The hot off the press game Brown, M - Ward, C was like a trip down memory lane for me allowing me to get all nostalgic about how Dragon games used to be! After 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.Bc4 Bd7 my opponent deployed the ‘Anti-Chinese’ move order 10.h4 when I couldn’t resist the temptation to wheel out my old favourite line of 10...Ne5 11.Bb3 Qa5 12.0-0-0 Rfc8 However whilst 13.g4 b5 14.h5 b4 has been seen a few times before on the site, I think it’s the first time that I’ve actually played it myself in a serious game. My conclusion to date has been that White probably needs to look at 15 Nce2!? to try for an advantage but 15.Nd5 is not an unnatural reaction as White looks to swap off a key black defender. However as stated before on the site, I believe Black to be fine after 15...Nxd5 16.Bxd5 Nc4 17.Bxc4 Rxc4 18.Kb1 Qe5! although that was when the fun began!

The engines rate 19.Qd3 as best when 19...Rac8 20.f4 Qa5 21.hxg6 hxg6 22.Rdg1 e5 23.Nf5 was destined to get a little crazy!

It appears that after 23...Bxf5 24.gxf5 exf4 25.fxg6! Qe5! 26.gxf7+ Kxf7 White could draw through 27 Rxg7+ Kxg7 28 Be5+! but instead he erred with 27.Bc1? when 27...Rxc2 28.Qb3+ R2c4 left Black (i.e. me!) in full control in what I felt was an entertaining encounter.

Best wishes everyone! Chris

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