The Hidden Dragon: Part 2

Jun 20, 2011, 10:47 AM |

The Hidden Dragon is my nickname for the defensive repertoirre I use.  Essentially it is the set up found with Black's pieces in the Sicilian Dragon, but with White playing very differently.  This allows Black to watch carefully for opportunities to transpose into the Sicilian Dragon catching his opponent off guard.  If we just start with the Sicilian Dragon then our opponent can fight to play the lines that are favorable for White.  We intend to play with strength of the Dragon but not against the usual white set up.  Here is a Diagram of the Sicilian Dragon.   Notice how Whites pieces are set up, and then compare them to the diagrams that follow:

Black's strenghts include a fianchetto Bishop covering the long diagonal, strong king safety with the Nf6 and the g6 pawn blocking the "classic bishop sacrifice" on h7, and the d6 pawn guarding e5.  Take note that in the Dragon Black has already played c5 and committed to Queenside play with the opening of the c-file, and Whites c pawn is blocked in by the Knight.  All of this comes into consideration later.






Here is the Pirc Defense which we will play against e4 waiting for a chance to transpose into a favorable line of the Sicilian Dragon:


Black patiently awaits Whites 4th move.  With the 4th move White will indicate his plans to attack Kingside, Queenside, or in the Center.  Black will counter appropriately.  There are also some neat traps Black has for counterplay, but more on that later. 

Now compare to the King's Indian Defense against d4:


Here Black awaits Whites 5th move for indication of his intentions.  Notice however the same set up for Black.  Whites BIG difference between KID and Pirc is the c-pawn.  Pirc has it blocked in on c2 by the Knight, while KID has it actively placed on c4.  This is a big deal.

How about the English (KID):


Black awaits to see where White will play his g1 Knight.  Will it be the usual Nf3, or maybe Ne2?  Black will play ...d6 soon reaching the Dragon set up.  With Whites fianchetto Bishop Black will attack differently.

Bird's Opening is rare but must be addressed:

And yet again we have our Dragon set up.

With White opening with a waiting move like 1. Nf3 I play 1. ...d6 and then 2. ...Nf6 as waiting moves to see what White will do next.


These are the related defenses that all attack / counter-attack differently against White.  We will examine them individually but first we need to understand ...d6. 

The move ...d6 is critical to this set up.  Unlike the Grunfeld which plays with ....d5, we will always use ...d6.  A pawn on d6 supports a choice:  Will we play e5 or c5?  With the Sicilian Dragon you have already committed to c5.  With the Hidden Dragon we maintain options.  We may play c5 often transposing into favorable lines of the Sicilian but we reserve the option to attack with e5 as we will see can be devestating to Whites kingside castled position.  A pawn on d6 also guards the e5 square from invasion, which White certainly wants to do with a pawn to eject our f6 Knight from protecting our King.

All for now.  More will be revealed in The Hidden Dragon: Part 3