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the d5 square in Dragon formations appears to me to be incredibly weak. Is there not a so called drawing line where black plays d5 but its considered harmless?
There's a line in the Dragon Yugoslav line with d5. It's actually a critical variation for the evaluation of the Yugoslav.
This is what Chris Ward (previously mentioned) wrote in 2016 about the Yugoslav line with 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Qe1:
My initial thoughts are indeed that White could indeed have an advantage in the endgame although with rooks on, two minor pieces for a rook is never straightforward
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.
You do realize 10.Qe1 is a mainline move there, right? That Adams, who happens to be over 1500 by a bit, just played it? That Gawain Jones's book (along with most others on the Dragon) devote a whole chapter to it?
Some Classical lines (i.e. 9.Kh1) allow an immediate 9...d5, which can lead to mass simplification and a very equal ending
this is the line I was thinking of here.
Dragon is a very popular opening. And the top players are well educated in its theory even if they don't play it in their games regularly. Any sharp opening that has been analysed and studied by both sides, loses its potency. Dragon is still effective at club level because the players tend to be less prepared.
"... A typical way of choosing an opening repertoire is to copy the openings used by a player one admires. ... However, what is good at world-championship level is not always the best choice at lower levels of play, and it is often a good idea to choose a 'model' who is nearer your own playing strength. ..." - FM Steve Giddins (2008)
at master level you find that these lines regularly end in draws whereas at amateur level its much much more decisive. In the amateur opening database of another chess site black has a win percentage of 51% in the line I posted above, white 41% with a very small percentage of draws. For a club level player then it seems that the Dragon is just pretty awesome. If you take something like the Caro Kann at club level using the same data blacks chances of victory drop down to about thirty percent.
... In the amateur opening database of another chess site black has a win percentage of 51% in the line I posted above, white 41% with a very small percentage of draws. For a club level player then it seems that the Dragon is just pretty awesome. If you take something like the Caro Kann at club level using the same data blacks chances of victory drop down to about thirty percent.
You have to be careful of sampling bias, though.
A weaker player who has tp play Black against a stronger opponent is more likely to play something solid like the Caro-Kann, while a stronger player who has Black against a weaker opponent is more likely to choose an aggressive, tactical opening like the Dragon.
So your 51% vs 30% might just be measuring "strong vs weak" pairings, rather than measuring the relative strength of the opening systems.
Its measuring all pairings under master level. What bias exists appears to me to be assuming that what transpires at master level has any bearing on what happens at amateur level. Clearly this is not the case.
... Let's see what Watson says:
He does say, "[t]he simple fact is that the player who is familiar with a Dragon variation and knows it by heart will almost always beat the opponent who doesn't."
But his very next sentence is "For one thing, it took untold hours of home study and computer analysis to work out most of the Dragon positions that are part of theory, so the knowledgeable player will benefit from the specific results of that work". He goes on to say that while he won't spend too much time on generalities, the Dragon requires many hours of work, and that it contains serious structural weaknesses on d6 and g6 that make it more difficult to defend than other Sicilian lines. He also points out that the Dragon contains many paradoxical combinations, and ...
Here are the two Watson sentences, together with the actual subsequent three Watson sentences: "The simple fact is that the player who is familiar with a Dragon variation and knows it by heart will almost always beat the opponent who doesn't. For one thing, it took untold hours of home study and computer analysis to work out most of the Dragon positions that are now part of theory, so the knowledgeable player will benefit from the specific results of that work. On top of that, many of the best Dragon moves are counterintuitive and not the choice that you would make under time constraints. Consequently the most practical solution for those who want to play the Dragon as Black or use the Yugoslav Attack as White is to find lines in which to specialize and/or require less work. At any rate, this book is not intended as a theoretical tome so I'll just present games that show a number of themes for both sides."
A few pages earlier in the Watson book: "... Black activates his pieces rather quickly, especially by comparison with most other Sicilian Defences. He can attack on the queenside ... in part because the g7-bishop exerts so much pressure in that direction. ... Black's important central pawn on d6 is well defended by its neighbour on e7, unlike the queen's pawn in the ...d6/...e6 structures which distinguish so many Sicilian systems. ... But as in so many openings, every advantage carries with it some disadvantage. In this situation a white knight can land on d5 at the right moment and disturb Black's game. ... ...e6 is risky, because the d6-pawn could be very weak, in contrast to the normal Sicilian lines where Black's bishop defends it from e7. ... Black's main central break is ...d5, which White will do his utmost to prevent. ... the g6-pawn offers a target for attack, in particular by h4-h5. In other Sicilian Defence variations, White may achieve an attacking advance such as g4-g5 (or a positional one like a4-a5) but there's no specific pawn target. As usual, these various structural issues tend to balance out; if they didn't, no one would play the Dragon! ..."
Nepo won an amazing game with a Dragon like formation against Adams, he played ...a6 as one does in the Najdorf but them played ...g6 going into a kind of Dragon.
I saw that! Very impressive game!
I somehow think that the ending is better for black, he has the better structure a single pawn continent despite Adams potential for creating a passed pawn.
Carsten Hansen recently wrote that playing the Dragon is like a religion. In order to play it, you have to rely on blind faith and prayers!
After the prayers you can also use concrete contemporary analysis, which shows that white has no advantage at all, in all critical lines.
Actually playing the Najdorf Poisoned Pawn as Black (currently regarded as flat equal) is more risky, as the resulting positions do not allow the slightest mistake (mainly from Black).
....yeah, ask BF....they say.