Sep 19, 2010, 5:38 AM |

Playing the The Dragondorf


Recently I started to develop an interest in playing the Sicillian (c5) as my defence to 1. e4. Over the years I have played the French defence, The Scandinavian defence, Alekhine defence and  the Pirc defence against 1. e4 but never the Sicillian. There are many variations of the Sicillian, but the first variations to catch my interest was The Nadjorf variation (1.e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6). I think this was largely to the fact that is was played by one of my mentors the Great Gary Kasparov. Recently I was watching a chess video by IM Andrew Martin titled: The ABC of the Sicillian. In this video he introduced another variation of the Sicillian in response to the Yugoslav attack! This new variation is known as the "Dragondorf" which is a cross between the Nadjorf and Dragon variation of the Sicillian. Its a variation of  the Dragon that employs ...a6 first before  committing to ... 0-0. The main ideas of this variation is for black to delay castling quickly while going ahead with a queenside attack against  the white King after  playing queenside castling (0-0-0).

I play for Atticus chess club in Liverpool, and if there is any player in the club that knows so much about the Dragon Sicillian, its Luke Boumphrey. He is so notable for playing this defence with notable high profile wins to his name. I decided to deploy the ideas that i had learnt in my study of the Dragondorf,  against him in our Club Championship game (2010).



1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6


Here i decided to play 5. ...g6 first before ...a6, and this is because knowing Luke, and the fact that he is a Dragon player himself, I anticipated he would go for the Yugoslav attack. But he never anticipated that my reply to his next move be 6. Be3 would be 6. ...a6 instead of the conventional 6. ...Bg7.

6.Be3 a6 !? (dragondorf; and also avoiding 6. ...Bg7 7. Bb5!)
7.f3 Bg7 8.Qd2 Nbd7 9.Bc4 Qc7

[9...b5 10.Bb3 Bb7 11.0–0 0–0 12.a4 bxa4 13.Bxa4 Nb6 14.Bb3 Qc7 15.Na4 Nxa4 16.Rxa4 d5 17.e5 Qxe5 18.Bf4 Qh5 19.Re1 e5 20.Rb4 exf4 21.Rxb7 Qh4 22.Ree7 Rfe8 23.Qe2 Bf8 24.Nc6 Sahoo,U (2004)-Sharma,R (2299)/Mumbai 2008/CBM 124 Extra/0–1]

10.Bb3 b5

 [10...h6 11.0–0–0 Nb6 12.e5 Nfd7 13.exd6 Qxd6 14.Rhe1 Qc7 15.Bf4 e5 16.Ndb5 axb5 17.Nxb5 Qc6 18.Nd6+ Kf8 19.Nxf7 Nc5 20.Qd8+ Qe8 21.Qxe8+ Kxe8 22.Nxh8 Nxb3+ 23.axb3 Bxh8 24.Bxe5 Bxe5 25.Rxe5+ Karjakin,S (2562)-Romero Holmes,A (2544)/Pamplona 2003/CBM 099/1–0 (48)]


[11.0–0–0 Bb7 12.Bh6 Bxh6 13.Qxh6 Ne5 14.f4 Nc4 15.e5 dxe5 16.Nf3 exf4 17.Bxc4 bxc4 18.Rhe1 Bxf3 19.gxf3 Qb6 20.Ne4 Nxe4 21.Rxe4 c3 22.bxc3 Qf6 23.Rdd4 Rc8 24.Rxf4 Qe5 25.Rfe4 Qf6 Torre,E-Fuller,M/Australia 1975/EXT 99/0–1 (41); 11.0–0 Ne5±]

11...Bxh6= 12.Qxh6 Traps the king in the centre 12...Bb7 13.Qg7 White threatens to win material: Qg7xh8 [13.0–0 Qc5 14.Nce2 e5³]

13...Rf8 14.g4 Nc5[14.0–0–0 Ne5=]

 15.g5 Nxb3[15.0–0!? Nxb3 16.axb3=]  

16.axb3 White has new doubled pawns: b2+b3 [16.axb3]

16...Nh5 Black threatens to win material: Nh5xg7 [16...Qc5 17.gxf6 Qxd4 18.Ke2=]

 17.Qxh7 Qc5 18.Ne6 Qe3+ [18...Qe3+] 19.Ne2 fxe6 20.Qxg6+ Kd7 21.Qxh5 Rxf3 22.b4 [22.Rf1] 22...Bxe4 23.Ra3 [23.Kd1 the only chance to get some counterplay 23...Bxc2+! Deflection: e2 24.Kxc2 Qxe2+ 25.Kb1 Rf1+ 26.Rxf1 Qxh5 27.Rg1 Qg6+ 28.Ka2–+] 23...Qf2+ 24.Kd2 [24.Kd2] 24...Rxa3 [24...Rxa3 25.bxa3 Bf3 26.Qxf3 Qxf3–+] 0–1