Sicilian Dragon

Here are some Dragon games

Some people see a dragon in the black pawn structure. Others see a dragon in the play that results. White conducts an assault against the Black kingside, while black heads down the semi-open c-file against white's king on the queenside. The play is sharp and dynamic, with plenty of sacrifices and combinations to keep you alert!

Dragon Trap

Most opening traps catch only the occasional beginner. Here's one that's caught more than its share of experts and masters. In the main line of the Sicilian Dragon, white has an interesting choice on move 9. Most GMs including Kasparov and Anand favor 9.Bc4. Karpov often played 9.g4. I prefer 9.0-0-0. I know... who am I compared with that crowd, but the fact is, 0-0-0 has a nice sting.

In the 9. Bc4 line, white will often have to retreat the Bc4 to b3 and the capture a Black knight on c4. By contrast, in the 9.0-0-0 line, the bishop can stay home on f1 ready to capture a Nc4 in asingle move. That would represent two useful tempi for the g4/h4 led attack.

More important perhaps, 0-0-0 and Kb1 halt black's natural counter-play with ...Qa5. How? Here's the nice trap and about 30 games in which masters fell into it!

Dragon trap [B76]

1.e4 c5 The Sicilian 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 The Dragon variation 6.Be3 With the idea of f3, Qd2, 0-0-0, and attacking the Black 0-0 king with h4-h5 and Be3-h6 6...Bg7 [6...Ng4?? 7.Bb5++- Bd7 (7...Nd7 8.Qxg4; 7...Nc6 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.Bxc6++-) 8.Qxg4] 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.0-0-0 Bc4 and g4 are playable, but in this varaition, white prefers first to safeguard the king and to respond to Nc6-e5-c4 with a single move Bf1xc4 (rather than three moves: Bc4-b3xc4) 9...Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Kb1! Setting a trap into which black now falls with 11...Qa5? Diagram

[11...Qc7 Idea Rfc8 and only then Qa5] 12.Nd5! The most powerful threat, of course, is Qxa5, but white also threatens Nxe7+ winning a pawn 12...Qxd2 Thanks to Kb1, this is NOT check, permitting white to play an intermezzo (an in-between move) [12...Qd8 13.Nxf6+ Bxf6 (13...exf6 14.Bc3+/-) 14.Bxf6 exf6+/-] 13.Nxe7+ Kh8 14.Rxd2 Rfe8 Trying to trap the Ne7 15.Bxf6! [15.Nd5!? Nxd5 16.exd5 Bxd5 17.Bb5+/-] 15...Bxf6 16.Nd5+- And white emerges a clear pawn ahead and with a target on d6 1-0

Here is one of my recent correspondence wins in a prestigious grandmaster event. My 17th move is a nice novelty, but it's my 21st move that deserves a look. Here's the position with white to move after 19...Qa5. Don't peak!

Edwards,J (2520) - Cruzado Duenas,C (2465) [B76]
25 Years Mate Postal A, 2000

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 Be6 14.Ne4 Re8 15.h4 Nf4 16.Qe1 Bd5 17.h5 N [17.c4? Qc7 18.cxd5 cxd5-/+] 17...f5 18.hxg6 hxg6 [18...fxe4 19.fxe4] 19.Nc3 Qa5 20.Nxd5! Qxe1 The threat is Bc4 +- 21.Nxf4!! Qxf1 [21...exf4 22.Bc4+ Qe6 23.Bxe6+ Rxe6 24.Rhe1+/-; 21...Qxd1+ 22.Kxd1 Rad8+ 23.Kc1 exf4 24.Bc4+ Rd5 25.Bxa7+-] 22.Rhxf1 Bh6 23.g3 exf4 24.Rh1 Bg5 25.g4 fxg4 26.Rd6 Be7 27.Rxg6+ Kf7 28.Rxc6 gxf3 29.Bxe7 Rxe7 30.Rc4 Re2 31.Rf1 Rh8 32.b3+- Rhh2 33.Rxf3 Ke6 34.Rfxf4 Rh7 35.Rfe4+ Rxe4 36.Rxe4+ Kd5 37.Rc4 Kd6 38.Kb2 Re7 39.Ka3 1-0

After my novelty 17.h5, why can't Black just take with 17...Nxh5. The answer is that the Black knight is needed on f4 to help prevent c2-c4. After 17...Nxh5 18.c4! because 18...Qc7 19.cxd5 cxd5 20.Rxd5 Nf4 21.Rd2 f5 22.Bc4+ Kh8 23.Ng5 h6 24.b4 +-

Related literature

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