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Hi there everyone!
So, in time for this month's update I received an interesting e-mail, and that's up shortly, but we start with a heavyweight clash; as big as it comes!

Download PGN of September '14 Dragon Sicilian games

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Accelerated Dragon Maroczy Bind [B36]

What opening would you play against 1 e4 when facing a 2800 who has just scored 7/7 against some of the World's top players? Well, in this day and age you'd have to say that the Berlin Defence would be a good bet, but fortunately for us that wasn't the case when the World Champion had the task of halting the steamroller. Maybe not the Dragon, but its more solid colleague the Accelerated variant, though with a relatively ambitious twist. Yes, in Caruana - Carlsen , following 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 d6 7.f3 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Bg7 9.Be3 0-0 10.Qd2 first up Magnus played 10...a5. Sure, 10...Be6 and 10...Qa5 are more popular moves, but we have featured this a-pawn several times before which carries with it the idea of ...a4 only to park the queen on a5 after. Well, the new World number 2 sought to freeze that pawn in its tracks with 11.b3 (where others have tried 11 Na4 and 11 c5) but that didn't stop arguably the greatest player of all time. No, he carried on with 11...a4:

but after 12.b4 Be6 13.Rc1 Nd7 14.Be2 Nb6 there was no doubting (as is typical in these Maroczy Bind positions) that White had an edge. Many might have just dropped their knight into d5 but, showing his confidence, Caruana continued with 15.Nb5 and after 15...a3 16.Nd4 Bd7, seemingly went for it with 17.h4 h5 18.g4. Needless to say an intriguing game followed!

Dragadorf with an early ...h5 [B75]

Harvey emailed me: «A friend of mine and a strong correspondence player as well as being a Dragon expert asked me to send you this game of his. Feel free to use it on the site if you wish. He is particularly interested in what you think of his idea of h5 and not castling till late.»

Thanks for that game (to you and friend) but regular subscribers will know that we have seen a few encounters here recently with an early ...h5. Specifically, that is, in conjunction with the Dragadorf set-up of ...a6 intending ...b5. ...Nbd7, ...Bb7 etc. and that is of course how your submitted game turns out. Although Black didn't quite grind out that full point, it was an attractive game from his point of view and in the early examples on this site, I quite liked this early ...h5 move, in particular thwarting both g2-g4 and Bh6. However, those who have been following the developments here will know that it was the featured game Navara-Kislinsky that has put a bit of a dampener on the variation.

I have annotated your submission for this month's update but the first thing that people will note is how unimpressed I am with White's selected 8 h4?!. Currently the onus is on Black to respond to Navara's simple idea of castling kingside and playing in the centre.

'Dragadorf with an early ...h5' seems like the best way to label this variation although just as in the Navara-Kislinsky game, after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 it was 7...h5 that appeared before ...a6. Although of course I don't know for sure if Black was planning to play in the same mould as a Dragadorf, that is certainly how he was tempted to continue after 8 h4?! in Hiarcs Forum - Erdo with 8...a6 9.Qd2 Nbd7 10.Be2 Qc7 11.0-0-0 b5 12.Kb1 Bb7 being typically characteristic moves. I certainly like Black's position here but in the annotation I seriously question the logic behind White advancing his h-pawn after Black has his and reiterate that theoretically speaking it is the central plan of David Navara's that Black needs to be coming up with a solution for.

Yugoslav Attack 9 g4 e5 [B76]

As we all know, 9 g4 is very trendy these days but this is only the second time that I have featured the response 9...e5 on this site:

I explain in my annotations to Wang Hao-Salem how I will probably always consider the move 9...e5 as dubious because of the standard reasons of blocking the Dragon bishop, conceding an outpost and creating a backward pawn, and for those reasons perhaps it is a bit surprising that this second outing also sees 10.Nxc6. However, after 10...bxc6, a lot revolves around Black's ability to successfully achieve the break ...d5 but the novelty 11.g5 pretty much ensures that he can't. This is a very impressive demonstration of controlled chess by a top player.

Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 d5 10 Kb1 [B76]

In the 9 0-0-0 Yugoslav Attack, I have always thought that there was a certain appeal to the variation 9...d5 10.Kb1 Rb8 with that rook itching to enter the action if only Nxc6 can be provoked. This line has featured a few times here on ChessPublishing and the new move we have here is that following 11.Ndb5 a6 12.Na7 e6, White plays the illustrated below 13.f4:

The blatant idea is to shut out the Dragon bishop with e4-e5 but in Suarez Gomez-Pavlidis that doesn't work out too well after 13...Re8 14.e5 Nd7 15.g4 g5! An entertaining game for sure but no doubt one in which White regretted not preventing that break with 15 h4! instead.

Yugoslav attack 9 0-0-0 d5 10 Qe1 [B76]

I have to say that I liked the game Nanjo,R-Grandelius, not because anything particularly special happened but because of Black's determination to play for a win and not acquiesce to a draw by repetition. The opening though did bring us something different as after 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Qe1 e5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.exd5 Nxd5 13.Bc4 Be6 14.Ne4, instead of the most common 14...Qc7 preparing ...Rfd8, Black settled for the rare 14...Re8 as illustrated below, with a different plan in mind:

The game continued 15.g4 Qc7 16.Bc5 Nf4 17.Bd6 Qb6 18.Bc5 Qc7 19.Bd6 when Black deviated with 19...Qc8. Of course he doesn't stand better but in 20.Bxe6 Qxe6 21.Kb1 f5 22.gxf5 gxf5, he had clearly generated some winning chances that eventually came good.

Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 d5 Main line with 12...Bxd4 [B76]

Unfortunately it would appear that after 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 Bxd4 13.Qxd4 Qb6 14.Na4 Qa5 15.b3 Qc7 16.g3, Black's idea of 16... Rd8('?!' or '?') as seen in Zajic - Vucinic is just flawed. The rook isn't adequately protected yet on d8 and White promptly called Black's bluff with the illustrated below 17.c4!

There are variations elsewhere in the old 9 0-0-0 d5 main line where leaving a piece on d5 to be taken tenders some very reasonable compensation but here 17...e5 18.Qd2 Bf5 19.cxd5 cxd5+ 20.Kb2 definitely wasn't one of them. Instead of 18...Bf5 I have tried to make 18...Bd7!? work but alas my efforts still came up short. However, it's not as though this is dreadful news for Black as both 16...Bf5 and 16...Nb6!? still seem to be okay.

That's all for now folks!

Best Wishes, Chris

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