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Is the Day of the Dragon Over?

  • #1

    I don't see it used at top level any more. Gawain Jones looks like the only one that still plays it and only infrequently.

  • #2

    No, it is not over, there are many openings that are not played at GM level and are good. 

    The Dragon is a good opening for everyone, sure, Black has some little trouble in the Classical Nc4 Yugoslav, but they have the exchange sac lines, the Chinese Dragon, and most importantly the Topalov, which is pretty complicated, but leads to equality.

    It is all fashion, I think we are entering a new era where practicality and strategic middlegames in which evaluations are not cristal clear and there is opportunity to outplay your opponent are valued more than deep theory and tactical battles.

    You can thanks Carlsen for it, I personally think it is interesting, we had Kasparin, the theory nutjob, and now we have Carlsen. 

  • #3

    the Dragon doesn't give enough reward for the risk you are taking by playing it. A playable opening though, but I wouldn't recommend it in view of the theoretical effort you would have to put in.

  • #4

    The Dragon: Volume One by Gawain Jones (2015)
    "This book is highly recommended for all who play the Dragon or who are thinking of taking it up." - IM John Donaldson
    http://www.jeremysilman.com/shop/pc/Dragon-The-76p3898.htm

  • #5

    Depends upon  level of play. If among 1500- yes, 2000-possible, 2500-still possible but not good, among 3300+ super Engines in stong hardware like TCEC extremely impossible. I saw most lines of Sicilian Dragon, Pirc, King Indian Defense and Richter-Rauzer  and Sveshnikov variation of sicilian are quite unplayable for black in TCEC.  However very solid defense such as QGD, Nimzoinidan , Ruylopez,and sicilian scheveningen are playable for black .

     

     

  • #6

    Think about it from a practical standpoint: if everyone knows you play the Dragon, then it makes it very easy to prepare against you.

    All it takes is one computer-assisted novelty and you face certain defeat.  A single defeat can cost you the money rounds in a close tournament.  Because of the incredibly forcing nature of these lines, computer assistance is that much more powerful, and a black player needs to EVERY white try inside and out lest he get caught out.  Does that make sense from a practical standpoint? 

    Of course, there may be some hypocrisy here, because these same GMs have no problem using the Najdorf or Botvinnik Semi-Slav every game, facing similar attacks, theory and forcing lines.  Maybe, as Bronstein Pawn says, it’s just fashion, or maybe the Dragon really is near refuted at the highest level.

    Personally, in an era where computers rule supreme and home-preparation decides games, playing super-aggressive openings doesn’t make sense to me, practically speaking.

  • #7

    I think the problem with the Dragon is that you have to know some theory even if your opponent doesn't, because the white side of the Yugoslav attack is very dangerous and straightforward to play.  If neither player knows any theory, my money is always on white.  So, to walk the tightrope, you have to learn a ton of theory, but if you're going to learn a ton of theory, the Najdorf and Sveshnikov are just flat out better.

  • #8

    NEVER!

  • #9

    Some of us lower rated folks will still try it out against other low rated opponents. Most of us only know the first 5 or 6 moves anyway and it makes for an interesting game.

  • #10

    SmithyQ wrote:

    Think about it from a practical standpoint: if everyone knows you play the Dragon, then it makes it very easy to prepare against you.

    All it takes is one computer-assisted novelty and you face certain defeat.  A single defeat can cost you the money rounds in a close tournament.  Because of the incredibly forcing nature of these lines, computer assistance is that much more powerful, and a black player needs to EVERY white try inside and out lest he get caught out.  Does that make sense from a practical standpoint? 

    Of course, there may be some hypocrisy here, because these same GMs have no problem using the Najdorf or Botvinnik Semi-Slav every game, facing similar attacks, theory and forcing lines.  Maybe, as Bronstein Pawn says, it’s just fashion, or maybe the Dragon really is near refuted at the highest level.

    Personally, in an era where computers rule supreme and home-preparation decides games, playing super-aggressive openings doesn’t make sense to me, practically speaking.

    It has more to do with the fads of the time than anything else. If you look at the games of the top 10 or 20 players from when they were younger, most of them played the Dragon a LOT. As they got older, they switched. Part of it has to do with remaining unpredictable, and another is simply that after playing it for 10+ years, they likely got bored of pawn storm races.
  • #11
    drmrboss έγραψε:

    Depends upon  level of play. If among 1500- yes, 2000-possible, 2500-still possible but not good, among 3300+ super Engines in stong hardware like TCEC extremely impossible. I saw most lines of Sicilian Dragon, Pirc, King Indian Defense and Richter-Rauzer  and Sveshnikov variation of sicilian are quite unplayable for black in TCEC.  However very solid defense such as QGD, Nimzoinidan , Ruylopez,and sicilian scheveningen are playable for black .

     

     Nonsense. All the openings you mentioned are completely sound and playable in computer and modern correspondence chess.

    Here is a centaur game I played recently as white, using a line I considered as rather problematic for Black. The opponents novelty/pawn sac 15...Qc7! solves Black's opening problems succesfully.

     

  • #12

    Winter is coming with a mother of dragons. Hold tight!

  • #13

    What is the level of opponent from white? I bet no more than 1500 rating.  I am extremely unpleasant to review your game completely after I saw white's play as 10. Qe1?? Why . It waste your tempo, It block rook connection, it let e5 from opponent  and endless weakness .It is the area of opening where you should teach the new player and beginner , how to move logical opening moves. TCEC is unofficial computer chess championship where extremely strong 48 cores desktop hardwares are used in extremely long time control (more than 3 hours per each side) and the engines are setup to play from the end positions of the most popular opening lines. If you are not familiar with TCEC, you can see those games in this link http://tcec.chessdom.com/live.php. Weakness of some bad opening such as king gambit accepted and benko might be easily seen in most hardware and SF will show you how bad those opening are.  To test those opening I mentioned above , you might need to set up quite similar hardware as TCEC. For example 12 hours per game of most modern desktop in each side may be equivalent to TCEC hardware.

  • #14

    drmrboss wrote:

    What is the level of opponent from white? I bet no more than 1500 rating.  I am extremely unpleasant to review your game after I saw white's play as 10. Qe1?? Why . It waste your tempo, It block rook connection, it let e5 from opponent  and endless weakness .It is the area of opening where you should teach the new player and beginner , how to move logical opening moves. TCEC is unofficial computer chess championship where the engines are setup to play from the end positions of the most popular opening and lines. If you are not familiar with TCEC, you can see those games in this link http://tcec.chessdom.com/live.php. Please set up with the latest dev versin of stockfish and review your game and Stockfish (at least 10 mins per games in a decent hardware) and SF will show you how to play against position. Weakness of some bad opening such as king gambit accepted and benko might be easily seen in most hardware and SF will show you how bad those opening are.  To test those opening I mentioned above , you might need to set up quite similar hardware as TCEC. For example 12 hours per game of most modern desktop in each side may be equivalent to TCEC hardware.

    Did you seriously just try to tell an IM with a ~2400 rating how to play? That is a special kind of ....
  • #15
    penandpaper0089 wrote:

    I don't see it used at top level any more. Gawain Jones looks like the only one that still plays it and only infrequently.

    If you know a few dozen lines 30 moves deep, and don't mind taking risks, then the dragon is probably fine.

    I guess Najdorf is the same, except it's not as risky,, and that's why it's non-Berlin of choice. Just my impression though, I'm not following top games recently.

  • #16

     I dont care who i am against. If you are in doubt, set up that position and let stockfish play . SF on handphone wont even consider 10. Qe1 and most human >1500 wont consider Qe1 as  well.

  • #17
    drmrboss wrote:

    What is the level of opponent from white? I bet no more than 1500 rating.  I am extremely unpleasant to review your game completely after I saw white's play as 10. Qe1?? Why . It waste your tempo,

    I'm surprised you say this when you managed to get a 2000 rating here... although I guess it's bullet. Maybe you just move fast and don't really know how to play tongue.png 

  • #18
    drmrboss wrote:

     I dont care who i am against. If you are in doubt, set up that position and let stockfish play . SF on handphone wont even consider 10. Qe1 and most human >1500 wont consider Qe1 as  well.

    Well, first of all, Qe1 looks sensible.

    But even if it didn't... it's the dragon in correspondence game by an IM... they are probably in some kind of theory or prep until move 20 at least.

    But even if not, I look in my database to check and 10.Qe1 has been played by:

    Caruana, Leko, Svidler, Navara, Ivanchuk, Nakamura, Shirov, Nisipeanu, Adams, Timman.

    And these are just the names I recognize grin.png

  • #19
    pfren wrote:
    drmrboss έγραψε:

    Depends upon  level of play. If among 1500- yes, 2000-possible, 2500-still possible but not good, among 3300+ super Engines in stong hardware like TCEC extremely impossible. I saw most lines of Sicilian Dragon, Pirc, King Indian Defense and Richter-Rauzer  and Sveshnikov variation of sicilian are quite unplayable for black in TCEC.  However very solid defense such as QGD, Nimzoinidan , Ruylopez,and sicilian scheveningen are playable for black .

     

     Nonsense. All the openings you mentioned are completely sound and playable in computer and modern correspondence chess.

    Here is a centaur game I played recently as white, using a line I considered as rather problematic for Black. The opponents novelty/pawn sac 15...Qc7! solves Black's opening problems succesfully.

     

     

    That doesn't look like an easy defense to play over the board. 

    Quite a few top GMs have said that they think the Dragon is on the verge of being proven unsound. From an OTB perspective, the question isn't whether White gains an advantage, but whether White's advantage is big enough to convert to a win.

  • #20

    Btw, in slower time controls, Elite GMs routinely play the Yugoslav Attack, or something similar. To me, this suggests that the elite GMs are in concensus that the direct attack is very close to being decisive. And, over the board, their optimism tends to bear fruit.

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