B70 - Sicilian Defense, Dragon Variation

B70 - Sicilian Defense, Dragon Variation

Jul 26, 2014, 9:34 PM |

Take a moment to read about the Sicilian Defense to get some basic ideas behind this opening.



In chess, the Dragon Variation[1] is one of the main lines of the Sicilian Defence and begins with the moves:

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

In the Dragon, Black fianchettoes his bishop on the h8–a1 diagonal. The line is one of the sharpest variations of the Sicilian Defence, making it one of the sharpest of allchess openings.[2]

The modern form of the Dragon was originated by German master Louis Paulsen around 1880.[3] It was played frequently by Henry Bird that decade, then received general acceptance around 1900 when played by Harry Nelson Pillsbury and other masters.

The name "Dragon" was first coined by Russian chess master and amateur astronomer Fyodor Dus-Chotimirsky who noted the resemblance of Black's kingside pawn structure to the constellation Draco.[4]

Read about the Dragon Variation on Wikipedia.





This video is quite long and covers the 4 main lines of the dragon:

Yugoslav Attack: 5:15

Classical: 15:05

Levenfish: 18:30

Harrington-Glek: 25:50

Variations -

Yugoslav Attack:

Wikipedia info about the Yugoslav Attack

The Yugoslav Attack is considered to be the main line that gives maximum chances for both sides, it continues:

6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3

The point of White's last move is to safeguard e4 and to stop Black from playing ...Ng4 harassing White's dark-squared bishop. Note that Black cannot play 6.Be3 Ng4?? immediately because of 7.Bb5+ winning a piece, since after the forced 7...Bd7 white can take the g4 knight with Qxg4 due to the pin on the d7 bishop.

7... 0-0 8. Qd2 Nc6

and now there are fundamentally two distinct branches with 9. 0-0-0 leading to more positional play while 9. Bc4 leads to highly tactical double-edged positions.

The Yugoslav Attack exemplifies the spirit of the Dragon with race-to-mate pawn storms on opposite sides of the board. White tries to break open the Black kingside and deliver mate down the h-file, while Black seeks counterplay on the queenside with sacrificial attacks. Typical White strategies are exchanging dark-squared bishops by Be3–h6, sacrificing material to open the h-file, and exploiting pressure on the a2–g8 diagonal and the weakness of the d5 square.

Black will typically counterattack on the queenside, using his queenside pawns, rooks, and dark squared bishop. He sometimes plays h5 (the Soltis Variation) to defend against White's kingside attack. Other typical themes for Black are exchanging White's light-square bishop by Nc6–e5–c4, pressure on the c-file, sacrificing the exchange on c3, advancing the b-pawn and pressure on the long diagonal. Black will generally omit ...a6 because White will generally win in a straight pawn attack since Black has given White a hook on g6 to attack. In general, White will avoid moving the pawns on a2/b2/c2, and so Black's pawn storm will nearly always be slower than White's on the kingside. Black can frequently obtain an acceptable endgame even after sacrificing the exchange because of White's h-pawn sacrifice and doubled pawns.


My Take -

As mentioned in both videos above, the Yugoslav is a very tactical variation. The plans are clear; black will attack on the queen side, white on the king side.

As Black -

  It seems black is best off when he wrestles control of the queen side, then works to move his forces over to address the advancing white pawns. In most of the games I looked at, black sacraficed material to get the upperhand; a rook for a knight, a queen for 2 rooks...

  Black seems to have problems if he does not get some control over the queen side BEFORE attempting to deal with the king side pawns.

  Black might do best not to focus on a checkmate during the queen side attack, but rather use the queenside attack as a way to open an attack on the king side

As White -

  White seems to do well when he keeps good control over the area around his king side pawns. He should watch for black making attempts to change his focus to the king side.

  Some tactical ideas I saw in games: Use of the king even before the queens leave the board. Late casteling. Center break throughs.

  It seemed, in most cases, white did not lose directly because of blacks queen side attacks, but rather because of black shifting his forces to the kingside once the queenside is occupied.

Download some Yugoslav games.

If you have not done so, please take a few minutes to read about my opening study plan.