Commenting on Reader Comments

Commenting on Reader Comments

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Here are answers to various comments (in regards to my Q & A articles) by readers:


crowrevell says:

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 is a strong answer to 2…Nc6. I’m not familiar with 2...g6, though it seems White is able to almost force the Maroczy Bind with 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4.


Dear Mr. crowrevell,

First off (after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6), even if White could force a Maroczy Bind (which he can against 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6), at least he’s prevented Bb5. So that would, by itself, make 2…g6 the most accurate way of playing the Accelerated Dragon (of course, this presupposes that 3.Bb5 is something to be feared, which it’s not – but that’s another matter).

However, 2…g6 has its own baggage (meaning it has its own considerable theoretical landscape): White doesn’t have to acquiesce to 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4. Instead he can try several things:

A) 3.h4!?, which Donaldson and I analyzed in SOS, Volume 6 from New in Chess. It’s interesting, but doesn’t give White anything to speak of.

B) 3.Bc4 is a fairly common response (but also gives White nothing).

C) 3.c3 is critical, though I don’t believe White gets much here either after 3…Bg7 4.d4 cxd4 5.cxd5 d5.

D) 3.c4 Bg7 (Keene’s crazy looking 3…Bh6!? also deserves a glance. With 3…Bg7, Black can create transpositions to the Maroczy Bind, the Benoni, and even the Modern Defense!) 4.d4 can transpose into a normal Maroczy Bind, but Black can also strive for a sharper contest with 4…Qa5+, 4…d6, or 4…Qb6.

E) 3.d4 and now 3…Bg7 and 3…cxd4 lead to very different positions:

E.1) 3…Bg7 gives White all sorts of options – 4.c4 with a Maroczy Bind, 4.d5 with a Benoni, 4.Nc3, and 4.dxc5!, which is extremely dangerous.

E.2) 3…cxd4 4.Qxd4 (4.Nxd4 takes us back to the main lines of the Accelerated Dragon)

4…Nf6 and now Black must be ready to face 5.Nc3, 5.e5, and 5.Bb5 – all three have been extensively analyzed.


As you can see, 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 stops White from playing Bb5, but opens up a Pandora’s Box full of theoretical questions!

Kacparov asks, 

I play 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 myself and I decided that it’s better to play 6...Nxd4! 7.Qxd4 d6 to avoid 6...d6 7.Nc2! (white’s best try). What’s your opinion about it?


Dear Mr. Kacparov,

Theory comes and goes, and one second 6…d6 7.Be2 is best, and the next 7.Nc2 causes problems. This doesn’t mean that one is better than the other, merely that one is the taste of the day. All theory is like this, so don’t let it leave you panic-stricken. The fact is, 7.Nc2, while very interesting and challenging, is no better than the usual 7.Be2 or 7.f3.

Here's a fairly recent example of how Black can play the position:


Yes, a couple prominent books gave 7.Nc2 their stamp of approval. So what? Black’s position after 7.Nc2 is fully playable.

Of course, you can indeed avoid 7.Nc2 by 6…Nxd4?! (the old move, before 6…d6 came into vogue), but this comes with its own problems – in that case, White hasn’t been forced into f3 or Be2, and this let’s White (last I looked) get an edge with 7.Qxd4 d6 8.Bg5! Bg7 9.Qd2 0-0 10.Bd3!


Karlo melendres says,

Before essaying the Accelerated Dragon, you’d better have something good against the Rossolimo, the 2.c3 Sicilian, Closed Sicilian, and the Grand Prix attack.


Dear Karlo,

Before essaying the Sicilian (not just the Accelerated Dragon), you’d better have something good against the Rossolimo (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 or 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+), the 2.c3 Sicilian, Closed Sicilian, and the Grand Prix attack. You also need to be ready for the Smith-Morra Gambit (1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3), the Wing Gambit (1.e4 c5 2.b4), and other oddities that spring up from time to time like 2.b3 and 2.Na3.

There are tons of sidelines against every opening. It’s unavoidable, and you need to be conversant with each one! Such is life.

Dexman asked,

I like to play the Accelerated Dragon with Black, but some of my opponents transpose into the Dragon Variation, where White castles queenside and attacks black’s kingside, while black plays the “Rook takes Knight” sacrifice (…Rc8xc3).

Is white making an inaccuracy when transposing, or do I just have to be ready for it, and learn the Dragon too? 


I have a question that you probably can answer easily. I was reading an article that was written about Nick DeFirman and the Accelerated Dragon that he played in a New York Tournament. Mr. DeFirman was facing a Chilean IM whose name escaped me and they gave that line that you said for the trap. The article then went on to say that against the Accelerated Dragon you can’t play the Yugoslav as White ... the article was written in the old notation and I still am at a loss as to why one can’t play it. Could you help me out?


Dear Mr. Dexman and MikeRoesell,

That’s a very important question, but also shows the dangers of not knowing the idea of your opening. A few memorized moves won’t help you if you don’t know the philosophy of the systems you are playing!

First we have the Dragon: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 when White’s best is the very dangerous Yugoslav Attack via 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 when White can follow with Bc4, Qd2, 0-0-0, h2-h4-h5 with a terrifying kingside attack. Of course, Black has his chances on the queenside, but this kind of theoretical minefield isn’t for everyone.

The Accelerated Dragon avoids all this rubbish by gaining a full developing move: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 Note the difference between this and the normal Dragon: Black has avoided …d7-d6, which gives him an extra tempo and the possibility of playing …d7-d5 in one thrust. This extra tempo makes the Yugoslav Variation impossible: 7.Bc4 (7.f3 0–0 8.Bc4 Qb6! and Black equalizes: 9.Bb3 Nxe4 10.Nd5 Qa5+ 11.c3 Nc5 [11…Bxd4!? is a risky way for Black to play for a win: 12.Bxd4 Nc5 13.Bc4 Ne6 14.Be3 Qd8] 12.Nxc6 dxc6 13.Nxe7+ Kh8 14.Nxc8 Re8 15.0–0 Raxc8 16.Bd4 Rcd8 17.Bxf7 Re7 18.Bc4 b5 19.Bb3 Bxd4+ 20.cxd4 Qb4 21.d5 Nxb3 22.Qxb3 Qxb3 23.axb3 Rxd5 - Analysis by Andres.) 7…Qa5 and now White has nothing better than 8.0–0 which ends all thoughts of the queenside castling Yugoslav Attack. Once White castles kingside, Black can enjoy the usual Dragon setup without worrying about being mated on the h-file (8…0–0 9.Bb3 d6 10.h3 Bd7, etc.).

But if White DOES try to play the Yugoslav, he runs into the following traps: 8.f3 (8.Nb3 Qb4 9.Bd3 Nxe4 10.Bxe4 Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Qxe4 wins a clean pawn; 8.Qd2 Nxe4 9.Nxc6 [9.Nxe4 Qxd2+ followed by chopping on d4] 9…Qxc3! is horrible for White.) 8…Qb4 9.Bb3 Nxe4 10.Nxc6 Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Qxc3+ 12.Ke2 dxc6 13.Bd4 (13.fxe4 Bg4+) 13…e5! 14.Bxc3 Nxc3+ when Black ends up two pawns ahead in the endgame. Black lives for these traps in the Accelerated Dragon, and if you don’t know them then you are missing out on all the juicy goodness that the Accelerated Dragon offers.

Ravens16 says:

After 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 Qa5 is an ok move but why not 7…0-0 for Black when after 8.Bb3 a5? This is all in Dzindidzichashvili’s repertoire books.


Dear Ravens16,

The line with 7…0-0 8.Bb3 a5 is known as the Uogele Variation (an old favorite of IM John Donaldson and written about extensively in our old [1998] book, Accelerated Dragons). There’s nothing wrong with it, just as there’s nothing wrong with 7…Qa5. Sadly, you are only allowed to play one move at a time, so you pick the one that is most to your individual taste. I always loved 7…Qa5 (GM Dzindidzichashvili also used to be a big fan of 7…Qa5), while Mr. Donaldson always championed 7…0-0 8.Bb3 a5.


The only problem with the Uogele Variation (7…0-0 8.Bb3 a5) is that there are a couple lines which allow White to easily force a draw, making it an unacceptable choice if Black is playing someone far lower rated, or if Black is in a must win situation.

cleofosmedina says,

I play 1-minute games a lot, so I am now a chess addict according IM Silman. Should I consider it a complement?


Dear cleofosmedina,

I also play a lot of 1-, 2-, and 3-minute games. Therefore, I’m also a chess addict (and proud of it!).

Bokhtan says,

The Budapest gambit is a very poor opening for Black. With right play from White it gives not so many interesting possibilities for Black. The best way to answer in my opinion is this way. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.e4 Nxe5 5.f4 Ng6 6.Nf3.


Dear Mr. Bokhtan,

The Budapest is not a very poor opening, but your 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.e4 (this is known as the Alekhine Attack) is indeed dangerous. In the recent book by IM Tim Taylor (The Budapest Gambit, Everyman Chess, 2009), he makes a case that it’s white’s best try and claims that Black has to answer it with Reti’s 4…h5! (Taylor’s exclamation point – he claims that White doesn’t get more than a small plus in that case) since 4…Nxe5 5.f4 gives White a free and easy attack.


I haven’t analyzed this, so don’t have an opinion at this time. I guess you’ll have to buy Taylor’s book and decide for yourself!

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