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Hi everyone,
Two games apiece this month from two current leading Dragon protagonists. One the solid young French Super GM Romain Edouard who ever since his loss with White to our very own Gawain Jones (who ironically loses himself in this update!) appears to have joined the Black team and the other, the even younger but equally talented Chinese GM Lu Shanglei. However highly rated he may be, but one of those games was well.... See for yourself!

Download PGN of September '15 Dragon Sicilian games

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Yugoslav Attack 8...h5 [B75]

Following 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 in more recent times we have seen Black dabbling in such fiddly ideas as the 8...h5 of Jarmula - Starostits. Rather than automatically travelling down the main lines. As White hasn't yet played h2-h4 , Black may of course regret this thrust if he eventually castles kingside but for now it inhibits the White advance g2-g4 and brings into play the possible idea of pushing this pawn one square further and trying to utilise the h5-square:

The clear downside of this move is that it just may just end up looking silly if all the action is in the centre and actually following 9.0-0-0 Bd7 10.Kb1 Qa5 11.Nb3 Qc7 12.h3 Rc8 13.Be2 h4 14.f4 Be6 15.Nd5 Bxd5 16.exd5 that's exactly how things panned out.

Yugoslav Attack 9 g4 Be6 10 h4 d5 11 e5 [B76]

Upon 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.g4 Be6 10.h4 by now we all know that 10...d5! is thematic but who can remember our 2006 site annotated game with 11.e5!? Nxe5:

White has presumably sacrificed a pawn to clog Black up a little and prevent the centre from being opened up. Clearly Black's centre pawns have enormous potential but just one question is whether White has bought himself enough time to conduct a successful kingside attack.

In this month's all French heavyweight encounter Bauer - Edouard, White avoided the complications of 12 h5 Nxf3!? through 12.0-0-0 but then 12...Qa5 13.Be2 Rfc8 14.h5 Rxc3 hit the board with a surprising conclusion to the game.

Yugoslav Attack 9 0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 with 12...Bxd4 [B76]

Another high rated battle for sure but I'm afraid that Gharamian - Edouard lacks somewhat in the entertainment stakes. Following 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 Bxd4 13.Qxd4 Qb6 regular subscribers may recall the time that WGM and International Master Dagne Ciuksyte came up with 14.Qe5 seemingly over the board:

That was only the second documented live outing of this move and as far as I can make out, this high level encounter is the first time since then that it has been repeated.

The move itself makes a certain amount of sense. The white queen remains centralised whilst White neither allows the Black pawn structure to be 'ironed out' nor his/her own to be compromised. The Ciuksyte-Ward game (featuring 14...Be6 15 h4 Rb8) was quite entertaining but rather than encouraging complications, Eduard plays like a rock with 14...Nxc3 15.Qxc3 Be6 and with his opponent also seemingly unwilling to take risks, a draw was almost inevitable!

Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4 with 11...Rc8 12 Kb1 [B78]

After 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Ne5 11.Bb3 Rc8, it has been a while since we have featured a game with 12.Kb1 Nc4 13.Bxc4 Rxc4 14.g4.

This was of course a system which scored very well for White for a while until Black generally gave up the ghost. Yes, as regulars will know, the top players including Magnus ditched 12...Nc4 in favour of the likes of 12...Re8 and 12...a6 which of course tends to reach Soltis style positions after the inclusions of h4 and ...h5. Naturally I had high hopes for this month's Super GM clash Zhao Jun-Lu Shanglei as I thought that some new novelty was about to be unleashed.

No such luck I'm afraid; 14...Qb8?! followed which was met by 15.b3 ejecting the rook:

That retreated with 15...Rcc8 after which White got his attack under way with 16.h4. Actually, I have to confess to being a little shocked by how such a strong player handles the Black pieces. See for yourself!

Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4 ...Rc8 with 12 Bg5 [B78]

Following 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Ne5 11.Bb3 Rc8 12.Bg5 in Fang,Yan-Lu Shanglei we see White avoid heading for the h4 and ...h5 (of course, for all we know Black might have favoured the old ...Nc4 variation) lines without deploying the popular 12 Kb1 (and g2-g4) system (seen above).

Instead he played 12 Bg5 which is more commonly seen in the Soltis variation (after the inclusion of the h-pawn advances) although it was also one of the main choices against the old ...Qa5 and ...Rfc8 system that I enjoyed playing for so long. Not I would say a big threat to it and that may be what tempted Black into Qa5. 13.Kb1 Rfe8 was a little different as in my WWTD 9 Bc4 Dragon system, Black wouldn't have been able to move a rook to e8 from a8!

Being such a strong player who to be fair has been utilising the opening at the very top level in this year's World Cup (no doubt something we will investigate in next month's update) surely the Chinese talent was familiar with the tricks around f6 and e7 courtesy of a Nd5. Consequently after 14.Rhe1 he chose to side-step them through 14...Qc5 when 15.Bxf6?! Bxf6 16.Nd5 seemed somewhat uninspiring. Indeed the Dragon bishop simply retreated and although I might have expected a comfortable grind to victory, in fact this very enjoyable game was full of available neat tactics and chances for both sides.

Yugoslav Attack 9 Bc4 Topalov System (10...Rc8 11 Bb3 Nxd4) [B78]

No doubt Gawain won't be best pleased that I am annotating Kravtsiv - Jones but he does appreciate that our regular followers will have an interest in his games. Hopefully, they would too mine if only anyone would play the Open Sicilian against me!

Anyway, with 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Rc8 11.Bb3 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5 Gawain had benched the Chinese Variation in favour of the Topalov inspired system that he has also had quite a lot of experience in. Following 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.exd5 a5 16.a3 Kg8 17.Rhe1:

we had reached arguably a critical line when 17...Rc5 18.Re3 b4 19.axb4 axb4 20.Qxb4 sees Black making a standard pawn sacrifice for some major piece action on the queenside. Hopefully my notes will offer some hope for Black but certainly after 20...Qa8 21.Bc4 Bf5 22.Ra3 Qc8 23.b3 Qc7 24.Qd2 Rb8 25.Qd4 Qb6 26.Ra2 Qb4 27.g4 Bc8 Black had lost his way. Being unable to breach White's b3-pawn and light-squared bishop blockade, soon the queens came off and Black had to suffer in the endgame.

Okay guys, that's it for now, see you in October! Chris

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