ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
'Tis the season to be jolly and hence no Maroczy Binds this month! Also only slow play games need apply and hence no Blitzen ... nor any of the other eight reindeer!
Okay, enough is enough; I’ll be back soon! Enjoy...

Download PGN of November ’23 Dragon Sicilian games

>> Previous Update >>

Classical Dragon 6.Be3 a6 7.Qd2 Bg7 8.Be2 Nbd7 9.0-0 0-0 [B72]

Although the main theory of the Classical Dragon has always seemed to me to be fine for Black, I do like the simplicity of deploying a Dragadorf set-up against it with Escobar Forero, A - Hernandez Gonzalez, W being one such example.

The game started 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 a6 7.Qd2 Bg7 when White opted against a Yugoslav Attack formation with 8.Be2 Nbd7 9.0-0 0-0 occurring instead:

Here White has plenty of options but 10.h3 seems a little tame, not really plumping for one plan or another. Indeed this move seemed fairly irrelevant in the 10...Re8 11.Bh6 Bxh6 12.Qxh6 b5 13.Bd3 Bb7 14.Rae1 b4 15.Nce2?! e5 16.Nf3 Bxe4! that followed. White had some attacking aspirations through 17.Ng5 but 17...Bxd3 18.cxd3 Nf8 19.f4 exf4 was never really looking like enough for the pawn.

Hungarian Variation 6.Be3 Nc6 7.f3 h5 8.Bc4 Bd7 9.Qd2 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Bh6 11.Qf2 [B72]

Unfortunately, the game Audi, A- Bernadskiy, V never looked like being a thriller but it is still of theoretical relevance.

So, 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Nc6 7.f3 h5 is of course what we’ve come to refer to as the ‘Hungarian Variation’ and through 8.Bc4 White delayed parking his queen on d2 to avoid the main idea of a central trade of knights followed by ...Bh6. That though was essentially only put on ice as after Bd7, rather than the 9 Bb3 that we’ve investigated recently, the game continued through 9.Qd2 anyway, prompting just that 9...Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Bh6 Back in January we investigated this position with White responding with 11 Be3 but here White looked to keep those bishops on through 11.Qf2 instead.

Though White might be commended for wanting to keep more pieces on the board, leaving the ‘Dragon’ bishop on h6 meant that long castles wasn’t possible and actually after 11...Qa5 12.0-0 e5 13.Be3 Bxe3 14.Qxe3 those bishops came off anyway. Worse still 14...Rc8 15.Bb3 Qc5 saw the queens eliminated too with 16.Qxc5 dxc5 17.Bc4 Bc6 18.Rae1 Nd7 19.Nb5 Bxb5 20.Bxb5 a6 21.Bxd7+ Kxd7 headed for a draw.

Classical Dragon 6.Be2 g6 7.0-0 Bg7 8.Be3 0-0 9.Nb3 a6 [B74]

From a Black perspective the game Krivokapic, M - Djukic, Ni was a very nice and smooth game that nicely fit in why my previous assessment that whilst I believe Classical Dragon theory remains fine for Black, there’s nothing wrong with the simple ...a6 and ...b5 plan.

Yes, regards 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be2 g6 7.0-0 Bg7 8.Be3 0-0 9.Nb3 a6 10.f4 b5 11.Bf3 Bb7 the last time we featured this in a main game was when Magnus efficiently rebuffed Svidler’s 12 e5 back in 2010. Fast forward 13 (hopefully not unlucky!) years and instead we get the more measured 12.Qe1:

This leaves Black with a few available approaches but it’s difficult to argue with the played 12...e5 13.f5 and then before White could get in a g4-g5 clamp, the consistent 13...b4!, Unfortunately for White there is no way for him to secure an outpost on d5 for his knight and consequently 14.Nd5?! is an error. Black correctly responded with 14... Nxd5 when 15.exd5 Ne7 16.fxg6 hxg6 17.Qxb4 Bxd5 18.Rad1 a5! 19.Qh4 Bxf3 20.Rxf3 Nf5 21.Qe4 a4 22.Nc5 was already significantly in Black’s favour.

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

I have to admit that this month’s update doesn’t exactly overflow with excitement but nevertheless it reinforces some assessments on key variations. In Griffith, K- Hilby, C for example 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 d5 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Bh6 Bxh6 12.Qxh6 e5 we see 13.Qg5 Qd6 repeated but through 14.exd5 cxd5 15.Bc4 Bb7 16.Bb3 Kg7 no real promise for White. Inevitable really was the break 17.f4 but although I feel Black could have been more accurate, following exf4 18.Rhf1 Rad8 19.Nb5 Qb8 20.Qxf4 Qxf4+ 21.Rxf4 a6 22.Nd4 Ne4 23.c3 Rfe8 24.Rff1 f5 25.Bc2 Re7 26.Rde1 Rde8 27.Ba4 Rc8 28.Bc2 White sat sort of pretty:

However, with the white rooks struggling for the activity that might have punished Black’s inferior structure, a repetition soon resulted.

Yugoslav 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 e5 13.Bc5 Be6 14.Ne4 Re8 15.h4 h6 16.h5 g5 17.g4 [B76]

Ultimately I think you’d have to say that the game De la Riva Aguado, O - Soto, Miguel Angel from a Black perspective made for painful viewing. So after 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 Be6 14.Ne4 Re8 15.h4 h6 White dictated the structural formation of 16.h5 g5 (i.e. rather than 16 g5 h5) that following 17.g4 leaves some potentially super-attractive white outposts:

However, Black does have the odd appealing post of his own and following 17...Qc7 18.Bc4 Red8 19.Bb3 a5 20.a4 if he’d finally deployed the discovered attack 20...Nf4!? then after 21 Qe3, two of those squares are highlighted in the intriguing exchange offerings 21...Rd4 and 21...Rd5!?. Instead though Black opted for 20...Rab8 but in 21.Qe1 Rb7?! 22.Rh2 Rd7?, his rook positioning was asking for trouble. White didn’t disappoint and 23.Rhd2 Qb8 24.Rd3! Qd8 25.Ba3! Nf4 26.Rxd7 Rxd7 27.Rxd7 Qxd7 28.Bxe6 Qxe6 29.Qxa5 basically left White a passed pawn up that was destined to win the game.

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.g3 [B76]

In Tonndorf, M - Kargin , A we do at least finish the update on a high note of entertainment. We’re talking the good old (well not literally!) 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 Bxd4 13.Qxd4 Qb6 line and specifically a variation close to our heart in 14.Na4 Qc7 15.Bc4 Rd8 16.g3 Bh3!?:

Yes, with the help of a contributor submission, we presumably helped bring this tricky line to the World’s attention but perhaps I’m over sensationalizing! Anyway White’s 16 g3 freed the h1-rook of its defensive shackles re the h2-pawn whilst the pawn on g3 keeps black pieces out of f4. Black’s response though provocative looking, invaded a hole whilst connecting the rooks but the fun was to come after 17.Qh4 Bf5 18.Rhe1 Rab8 19.Bb3 Qa5 20.Re5? in the form of 20...Ne3!! and I’m not going to ruin the rest for you! Check it out!

Merry Xmas everyone! Chris

>> Previous Update >>

To get in touch with me subscribers can email me at