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Maybe the Dragon is Dead ...

SWRR2009
Oct 14, 2009, 2:11 AM 7

Anyone who has read the last blog I put up (which contained several games from the Toronto Labour Day Open 2009) or who has access to the CFC bulletin will know of the game Whissell-Peng 2009. In that game I mentioned how the Dragon may not be dead because David Peng showed an example of a very tricky and powerful line that can cause white all sorts of practical problems. Now I present to you what can happen when Black does not create some type of deviation. When Black merrily strolls down the mainline Sicilian Dragon - and isn't Teimour Radjabov - he may be in for a shock.

Both of the games presented here are from the Thanksgiving Open 2009 Toronto. Here I had the opportunity to play against not one but two (!) Dragon players in the same tournament. Add to that that both games were identical theory up to move 16 and you can see a recipe for victory coming up, or for perhaps disaster. Read on...

The first Dragon game came in round 2. My opponent was an unknown quantity who had recently been making some strides in his own chess ability:

 

The other Dragon game came in the final round of the tournament. I was facing a juniour player (always dangerous) and had to be accurate. Experience from the previous game lessened this task greatly and helped me to win third in the U2200 section. This was solid I believe, considering there were just 20 participants.

The middlegame themes shown here indicate why 16...Bf5 may not be such a good move, although the curious reader is invited to examine the game Mamedov-Aronian, Batumi 2002. It can be found in the notes to the second game here (Whissell-Florea) and shows how the Dragon is played by one of the world's (then) soon to be elite.

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