The Hidden Dragon: Part 1, an Introduction.
Like many of you I have read a small libraries worth of chess books. Some just for fun, some I really studied. Before I share with you how I am building my current defensive repertoirre I want to share a few books that I think are an absolute must for growing chess players.
I am blessed to be sharing chess with a number of youth in my area at the school as well as church. They are all excited to learn not only how to play, but how to win! Obviously new players begin with the rules and mastering En Passant, Promotion, Castling. Then it's all about Tactics! The famous quote is "Chess is 90% Tactics". I suggest Yasser Seirwainn's book on tactics from Microsoft Press. I also use a neat book with a great title "Weapons of Chess". Both are solid at sharing the Tactics. After we have a good grip on the tools for battle I follow the next big quote: "The end is a good place to start". For endgame studies I use Jeremy Silmans Endgame Course. After I studied this book my rating went up over 200 points! While it is more exciting to win in the middle game, most games go to and endgame (hence why it's called the end) and the stronger endgame player will win! Only AFTER studying Tactics and Endgames do I recommend studying Opening Theory. Sure, it's ok to learn the fundamental ideas early on like Control the Center, Develop your pieces quickly, Don't waste Tempo moving the same piece twice, Castle often for King Safety and Rook development, However diving into the quagmire of Openings should be reserved for after you are strong at Tactical play, and Endgame technique. After all, it's not how you start, it's how you finish!
Ok, That being shared: The Hidden Dragon.
After reading many "repertoirre" approaches to openings I learned the theme for building a repertoirre. Select a position and learn ALL it's aspects. For instance The Caro-Kann, Slav, Semi-Slav, etc are all related because no matter what white plays you will respond with the same two moves: 1. ...d5 and 2. ...c6; or 1. ...c6 and 2. ...d5 starting every game with the same 2 pawn set up. Depending on how White opened it will change how you approach the rest of the game. I used this repertoirre for over a year studying the book: Black Defensive System For The Rest Of Your Chess Career by GM Andrew Soltis.
I have always had a love for the Sicilian Dragon. If I'm being completely honest it's because it has the word Dragon in the title. Admit it, you think so too! However upon learning it I noticed there were so many ways for White to avoid the Dragon or destroy it all together. With it's popularity comes a lot of knowledge against it. Still I want to play it....Always! So after searching for a repertoirre book regarding the Dragon set up I couldn't find one. Probably because the set up is too deep for one book! After there is a library of books on the subject. I have taken a lot of time and energy to build this repertoirre from many sources.
While I am by no means a Master I believe I can help you get started using a cool defense system: The Hidden Dragon! My attempt is to use the Dragon set up of the moves ...d6 ...g6 ...Nf6 ...Bg7 ...0-0 against everything White has to offer. Often times we will have the opportunity to Transpose into a favorable line of the Sicilian Dragon, but we will NEVER start there!
This includes lines from the PIRC defense against e4.
The King's Indian Defense against d4.
The English (KID variation) against c4.
Also how to handle 1. Nf3 as well as 1. f4. Books used for this study include Pirc Alert! and Play the King's Indian and the MCO guide.
I will show which White set up's clue black to attack Kingside, in the Center, or Queenside.
Compare each of these setups to the Sicilian Dragon. While Black's setup remains similar, Whites is drastically different allowing us to attempt to transpose from one of these options into a favorable line of the Dragon against our unsuspecting opponent. The biggest difference and asset however is the c-pawn. We still have it and with it the choice to attack with c5 or e5.
*on a side note, I am glad to have added these diagrams and can now continue with the next part of the blog. apparently chess.com is not compatible with Internet Explorer 9. So I downloaded Mozilla Firefox. This works!