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Download PGN of September ’21 Dragon Sicilian games

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Dragon Fianchetto System 6.g3 Nc6 7.Nxc6 [B70]

A first for the site, I felt compelled to include the high level clash Vitiugov, N - Abdusattorov, N even though after 6.g3 Nc6 I’m personally very unlikely to ever accept 7.Nxc6?! as a serious option.

Okay so following 7...bxc6 , in the notes I’ve briefly pondered whether White would have much compensation for the pawn after 8 e5 dxe5 9 Qxd8+ Kxd8 but instead our main game saw 8.Bg2. Of course White is now threatening e4-e5 but 8...Qc7 thwarted that with 9.b3 Bg7 10.Bb2 presumably White’s idea. I would be tempted by an ...h5 ‘mixer’ as Black but 10...Ba6 worked out very well after 11.Ne2?! 0-0 12.0-0 d5! with Black’s position already looking massive following 13.exd5 cxd5 14.Re1 e5 15.Nc3 d4 16.Na4 Rad8 17.Qd2 Rfe8 18.c3 d3 19.c4 Bb7 20.Rad1 Bxg2 21.Kxg2 Qc6+ 22.Kg1 e4 Some neat tactical play by Black at the end to finish an impressive performance, somewhat refuting White’s dubious approach.

Dragon 6.Be3 Bg7 7.h3 [B72]

Still an offbeat system but with the mini f-pawn advance being replaced by an h-pawn equivalent, there were two high level encounters of 6.Be3 Bg7 7.h3 0-0 8.Qd2 this month with my picking the more exciting one of Antipov, M2 - Lagarde, M to focus on.

Rather than commit the knight to c6 immediately Black kept his options open with 8...a6 (rare but transposing to a Najdorf relative sideline) only after 9.Be2 dabbling in 9...Nc6 10.0-0-0 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 and then 11...b5:

It is noted that this position has occurred five times previously in practice with incredibly White deploying five different moves! Certainly 12.Bf3 (bringing e4-e5 ideas to the table) was quite natural when after 12...Qa5 13.Kb1 b4 14.Nd5 Nxd5 15.exd5 rather than accept a minute disadvantage by trading bishops immediately on d4, Black mixed things up through 15...e5 16.dxe6 Bxe6 with some interesting tactics soon occurring.

Yugoslav Attack 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Bh6 Qa5 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 13.e5 Ng8 [B76]

Following 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Bh6, the game Perez Ponsa, F - Mustaps, M sees a debut on the site for 11...Qa5:

Her majesty is activated but not in a manner that dissuades e4-e5 and so no great surprise that 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 13.e5 does indeed occur. The big question is where this attacked knight should move to and although alternatives are touched upon in the notes, we await further outings for a deeper investigation. Here Black opted for 13...Ng8 when 14.h4 Be6 15.h5 Rfd8 16.hxg6 fxg6 17.Rh4! Rab8 allowed White the promising positional approach of 18 Na4! Instead though 18.Ra4 Qc7 19.f4?! c5 20.b3 c4 21.Qd4 occurred when Black sadly blundered. I won’t ruin the suspense!

Yugoslav Attack 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 e5 13.Bc5 Re8 14.Nxd5 [B76]

Intriguing this month is that there was a bunch of games featuring 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 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 e5 13.Bc5 Re8 that then saw White reply with 14 Ne4. Immediately I consulted the archives to see what my assessment had been on 14.Nxd5 cxd5 15.Qxd5 Qxd5 16.Rxd5 and I noticed that all it contained was one unannotated game.

It seemed to me that even before I could check out the subtleties of Black not developing his light-squared bishop following 14 Ne4, I needed to decide whether or not White could simply win a pawn in this manner. Well given that Blees, A - Tiviakov, S featured one of my favourite ever Dragon players, it was a no-brainer to make amends and conduct a full investigation starting naturally with 16...Be6 17.Rd6 Bxa2 and first up whether the a2-pawn would prove to be poisoned after 18 b3. Well, my conclusion is that it isn’t (check out the notes) and also that 18.b4 a5!? 19.Bb5 Rec8 20.Bd7 Rc7 21.Bb6 Rb7 is fine for Black too who actually was pushing for the full point himself after 22.bxa5?! Rxa5! 23.Bxa5 Bh6+ 24.Kd1 Rb1+ 25.Ke2 Bc4+ 26.Kf2 Rxh1.

Yugoslav Attack 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 e5 13.Bc5 Re8 14.Ne4 [B76]

Okay so back to 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 e5 13.Bc5 Re8 and given we’ve ruled out White gaining any real advantage by taking on d5, it’s time to move on to 14.Ne4 Qc7 15.h4 which it seems is all of a sudden trending!

Seen in Ter Sahakyan, S - Sebenik, M along with other games, Black’s idea seems to be to take advantage of the fact that after 15...f5 White wouldn’t be hassling a bishop with 16 Ng5. Nevertheless of course 16.Nd6 Rd8 17.Nxc8 does pick it up anyway with 17...Raxc8 18.Bc4 offering an interesting imbalance. Yes, after a relatively forced sequence, we can see that White has the bishop pair and still hopes for some h-file action whilst Black has retained his nice central knight and has handy control of the e4-square courtesy of his f5-pawn.

Black now looked to thwart White’s attacking aspirations with 18...h5 but my feeling is that White should anyway immediately persevere with 19 g4!? He didn’t though with 19.Qf2 Kh7 20.g4 Qf7 21.gxf5 Bh6+ 22.Kb1 Nc3+ occurring and not long after a justified draw by perpetual check was the outcome.

Yugoslav Attack 9.g4 Be6 10.h4 d5 11.Nxe6 fxe6 [B76]

The amount of inaccuracies made in Bicer, AM- Draskovic, L is possibly testimony to the complexity of the middlegame position although there seems little doubt to me that after 9.g4 Be6 10.h4 d5 11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.0-0-0 Qa5 13.g5 Black is both better and destined to have more fun!

Nevertheless, whilst he should settle for the simple 13...Nh5! (intending to meet 14 exd5 with the dangerous 14...Nb4!), he couldn’t resist the temptation of 13...Nxe4 14.fxe4 d4 Here White’s best defence was 15 Bc4! utilising this bishop both offensively and defensively but instead 15.Nb1? Nb4 16.Bc4 dxe3 17.Bxe6+ Kh8 18.Qxe3 Qe5 19.Qb3 occurred when Black missed 19...Na6! aiming the steed for a5. Instead 19...Nc6 20.c3 Qxe4 21.Nd2 Qe3 22.h5 Qxg5 happened and a little more excitement before it seemed White was relieved to force a draw.

Best wishes to everyone Chris

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