The Accelerated Dragon (Part 4)

Mar 2, 2010, 1:09 PM |

The Accelerated Dragon (Part 4) — The Hyperaccelerated Dragon

The Hyperaccelerated Dragon describes the position after 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6:

In hypermodern fashion, black immediately declares his intentions to fianchetto the dark-squared bishop on g7.  There are two key differences between the Hyperaccelerated Dragon and the Accelerated Dragon:  first, the Hyperaccelerated Dragon avoids the Rossolimo variation of the Sicilian Defense (1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bb5), which is a complex opening in its own right; second, the Hyperaccelerated Dragon does not control the d4 square twice, so after 3. d4 cxd4, white can play 4. Qxd4, threatening the unprotected h8 rook.

Because lines with 4. Nxd4 will transpose back into the main lines after 4... Nc6 (it is important to play 4... Nc6 rather than 4... Bg7 if black wants to keep the option of going into the Gurgenidze variation in response to 5. c4;  4... Bg7 5. c4 Nf6 6. Nc3 Nc6 7. Be3 prevents black from forcing white to capture on d4 with the queen), this article will examine the position after 4. Qxd4. 

(Note:  After 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4, black does have the option to play 3... Bg7.  If white plays something like 4. Nc3, 4... cxd4 transposes back into the main lines. However, 3... Bg7 also gives white the option to play moves like 4. d5, taking the game out of normal Sicilian territory. Indeed, after 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. d5 Nf6 5. Bd3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. c4 e6, the game has more of a King's Indian Defense feel to it.  Therefore this article will only look at lines with the typical exchange of black's c5 pawn for white's d4 pawn.)

After 4. Qxd4, the main move for black is 4... Nf6, blocking the queen's attack on the h8 rook.  White can play 5. e5 to attack the f6 knight, after which black should not move the knight but instead counterattack the white queen with 5... Nc6:

After 7. Qe4, black has to move the knight once again.  He has three main options:

7... Nb6 gives black a solid position.  White has no way to exploit the weak a1-h8 diagonal, so no matter what white plays, black can play ...Bg7 and then ...O-O.

7... Nc7 is another option, though it does leave black with a slightly more cramped position than 7... Nb6.

7... Ndb4 is the most tactically complicated option available to black. A quick look at some of the lines:

Hopefully this brief look at the Hyperaccelerated Dragon shows that even though 4. Qxd4 may look dangerous, black's position should be completely playable.  As with most defenses, one practical benefit is that the black player should be more familiar with these lines than the white player, so facing 4. Qxd4 in the Hyperaccelerated Dragon should be even less intimidating.  Or to put it another way:  would you rather face a 4. Qxd4 line you know well, or a Rossolimo variation that white specializes in?

This post concludes my brief look at the Accelerated Dragon.  I hope this series was enjoyable and informative. Please leave any comments, thoughts, or suggestions for improvement.