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Actually this month brings quite a lot of new moves but generally reinforcing what was already implied rather than altering the direction of theory. The continuation of fashionable 9 0-0-0 Yugoslav Attack lines, some beautiful checkmate patterns and a stunning exhibition from a young superstar. Glad he’s in ‘our’ corner!

Download PGN of September ’22 Dragon Sicilian games

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Classical Dragon 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Be2 0-0 8.0-0 Nc6 9.Qd2 Bd7 10.Rfd1 [B73]

We kick this month’s update off with the excellent encounter Navara, D - Erigaisi, A which in a Classical Dragon after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Be2 0-0 8.0-0 Nc6 9.Qd2 saw Black eschew both 9...d5 and 9...Ng4 in favour of retaining the tension 9...Bd7. The Czech GM has a lot of experience (from both sides) of 10.Rfd1 but the super talented young Indian star took the situation in his stride with 10...Rc8 11.f3 Ne5 12.Nb3 a6 13.a4 Nc4 14.Bxc4 Rxc4 15.a5 Qc7 16.Bb6 Qb8 17.Nd4 Rfc8:

Then after 18.Rac1 he looked to involve his knight via 18...Be8 almost expecting the error that came in the form of 19.Nd5?! Nxd5 20.exd5 allowing the beautiful exchange offering 20...R8c5!! 21.Bxc5 dxc5 22.Nb3 Bxb2. Black had a pawn to go alongside the bishop pair and White decided to return the material via 23.Qe2 Bb5 24.Qxe7 In fact there was an interesting alternative here although 24...Bxc1 25.Rxc1 Qf4 26.d6 Rd4 27.g3 Qxd6 28.Qxd6 Rxd6 29.Nxc5 Bc6 still left an endgame advantage that was duly converted.

Yugoslav 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Qe1 e5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.exd5 Nxd5 13.Bc4 Be6 14.Kb1 Re8 15.Ne4 f5 16.Ng5 Bc8 17.h4 h6 18.Ne4 Be6 19.Nc5 Bf7 [B76]

It is great seeing the young Indian Superstar in the swing of the Dragon way although compared to the Classical Dragon encounter just covered, in Yoo, C Woojin - Erigaisi, A Black failed to generate the same sort of activity.

On to a fashionable Yugoslav Attack variation and we saw a critical position reached after 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Qe1 e5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.exd5 Nxd5 13.Bc4 Be6 14.Kb1 Re8 15.Ne4 f5 16.Ng5 Bc8 17.h4 h6 18.Ne4 Be6 19.Nc5 Bf7 20.g4:

White is looking to open the g-file whereas Black wants to make the most of the b-file to pressurise b2. In the notes you’ll discover why I currently believe 20...e4!? To be Black’s best try and certainly in the game the outcome of 20...Rb8?! (alas not an unnatural looking move) 21.Bb3 f4? was that neither side got their wish! However following 22.Bf2 Qe7 23.Ne4 Red8 24.Qa5 what White did get was fantastic control of the e4-square which the white knight sat very pretty on! Black in contrast gets a bad Dragon bishop whilst retaining those queenside isolanis!

To be fair I would definitely recommend Black players learn from this painful encounter or otherwise you might have some tough challenges ahead involving very few points!

Yugoslav Attack 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Bh6 Bxh6 12.Qxh6 e5 [B76]

After 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Bh6 Bxh6 12.Qxh6 e5 the game Heberla, B - Zilka, S deviates from our previous investigations in that White plumped for the immediate 13.h4 rather than trading off pawns on d5 first.

The obvious comparison regards Black’s natural reaction of 13...d4 is that the e4-pawn obviously stops the white knight from parking itself on that square but equally prevents Black’s bishop from developing itself on the often appealing (from both an offensive and defensive) f5 post. Given the ‘attacked’ c3-knight doesn’t have to move yet, alternatives are considered in the notes but nevertheless 14.Na4 occurred when after 14...Be6 15.h5 I recommend 15...Rb8!? especially as the played 15...Qe7?! left her majesty undefended and thus 16.Qg5! netting the e5-pawn. However following 16...c5 rather than take it, White erred with 17.Nxc5?! leaving Black in the game through 17... Bxa2! and furthermore after 18.Nd7?! Qxd7 19.Qxf6 Qe6 20.Qh4?! Rfc8! with a stronger attack once you notice that 21 hxg6? would run into 21...Rxc2!.

Yugoslav Attack 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 e5 13.Bc5 Re8 14.Nxd5 cxd5 [B76]

Ultimately the game Milenkovic, M - Stankovic, M isn’t going to register as theoretically important but it has features that both sides can learn from and contains some beautiful variations.

So we’re talking the fashionable 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 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 e5 13.Bc5 where instead of 13...Be6, Black prioritises 13...Re8. We’ve focused most on 14 Ne4 here but it was 14.Nxd5 cxd5 that occurred. Nothing new to us and regulars will know that we’ve analysed out 15 Qxd5 Qxd5 16 Rxd5 Be6 17 Rd6 Bxa2 as being fine for Black. Instead here White deployed 15.Bb5?! highlighting the lack of squares available to the e8-rook:

We’re used to black offering his king’s rook for White’s dark-squared bishop on f8 but through 15...Be6! 16.Bxe8 Qxe8 it was the light-squared bishop for the rook. With the same sort of compensation though Black had those impressive centre pawns and a couple of handy half-open files to help launch an attack. Indeed 17.Kb1 Rc8 18.Ba3 Qa4 19.Rc1 Rb8 20.Be7 a5 21.Rhd1 Qb5 22.Ba3 d4! 23.c3 a4! was already impressive in a game with some snazzy side-lines.

Yugoslav Attack 9.g4 Be6 10.h4 d5 11.0-0-0 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 dxe4 13.Qe3 [B76]

Following 9.g4 Be6 we’ve grown accustomed to seeing plenty of 10 Nxe6 fxe6 11 0-0-0 on the site and it’s kind of refreshing when we see something different! Regards 10 h4 it is correct to meet wing play with action in the centre and hence 10...d5!. We have investigated this position on a few occasions in the past but Kantans, T - Zilka, S is the first time that we have seen 11.0-0-0:

Black reacted in a natural manner through 11...Nxd4 12.Bxd4 dxe4 and following 13.Qe3, sensibly ejected his queen from the d-file with the active 13...Qa5 The familiar theme (but not usually in this position!) of 14.Qg5 then appeared when I quite like 14...Qc7!? but instead 14...b5 15.Qxb5 Qxb5 16.Bxb5 exf3 17.g5 Ng4 18.Bc6 occurred with a nicely imbalanced and fun endgame.

Yugoslav 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Qa5 11.Kb1 Rfc8 12.Bb3 Ne5 13.h4 Nc4 14.Bxc4 Rxc4 15.Nb3 Qc7 [B79]

Saint Louis is where it all happens these days but regards the 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Qa5 of Antipov, M2 - Kaliksteyn, A it was in my favourite old variation but with my least favourite result! I think I last analysed 11.Kb1 Rfc8 12.Bb3 Ne5 13.h4 Nc4 14.Bxc4 Rxc4 15.Nb3 Qc7 16.Bd4 Be6 17.h5 here in 2012 and prior to that 2002 and so every 10 years seems about right! Alas not much is new with 17...a5 18.hxg6 hxg6 and now 19.Be3!? still causing trouble:

I’d generally have thought that Black had to justify his a-pawn advance with 19...a4 but over the years we have investigated other moves. In any instance 19...Rc8 20.Nb5!? Qd7 21.N3d4 Rb4 22.Nc3 Rbc4 23.Nce2 b5 really wasn’t looking like a good solution with 24.b3 R4c7 25.Bh6 Bh8 26.g4 Bxg4 27.fxg4 Nxe4 28.Qf4 Nc3+ 29.Nxc3 Rxc3 30.Rdf1! e5 31.Qh2! leaving Black on the brink of disaster!

Back soon! Chris

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