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Understanding the Sicilian Dragon

GM Nigel Davies Avg Rating: 1846 Openings

The Sicilian Dragon (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6) was so named partly because of its ferocity and partly because Black's battle formation was deemed to resemble the mythical beast. It has been a favourite with many great players such as Bent Larsen and Victor Korchnoi. And Garry Kasparov himself used it in his successful World Championship defence against Vishwanathan Anand. This course is designed to familiarise players with typical Dragon strategies and develop a feel for where the pieces belong. This kind of familiarity is the most important part of learning a new opening; once it has been acquired the variations can be hung on hooks of understanding. There are 15 lessons in total, containing a variety of tactical, strategic and attacking motifs. They also have varying degrees of difficulty. Most players should be able to find the move in the easier positions but even these contain important insights as to how the Sicilian Dragon should be played. The more difficult positions should be a challenge for anyone, providing a training ground for a player's game as a whole. Thus I hope this course will offer something for everybody.

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  • Maeder - Levy

    One of the most important pieces in the Dragon is Black's fianchettoed Bishop on g7 which breathes fire down the h8-a1 diagonal.
  • Sznapik - Komljenovic

    The classic way for White to attack against the Dragon is to castle Queenside and then launch his h-Pawn up the board in order to open the h-file. The final stages of such attacks are often crowned by combinations.
  • Van Der Weil - Sax

    In the early stages of White's attacking plan he needs to get his pieces closer to the enemy monarch. This example shows one of the key ideas with which he can do this.
  • Eisen - Nesis

    The half open c-file features heavily in Black's attacking plans in the Dragon, can he penetrate with his Rooks down this file?
  • Tal - Wade

    Another imporant theme is the fate of Black's dark square 'Dragon' Bishop that starts out on g7. Because this is such a strong piece for both attack and defence, both sides must consier what they can do about it.
  • Janosevic - Mestel

    One of Black's most important resources in the Sicilian Dragon is a positional sacrifice that occurs again and again. Here we see it finely illustrated.
  • Christensen - Ward

    When both sides are engaged in flank attacks, it's often worth remembering that action in the centre can still be the most effective thing to do.
  • Koval - Berman

    The Dragon Bishop is such an important piece that sometimes Black can sacrifice with complete abandon in order to bring it to bear.
  • Polgar - Dely

    Not all combinations in the Dragon are based around the dark square Bishop and the c-file. Here's something a bit different which shows the importance of keeping an open mind.
  • Fossan - Ward

    Here's another combinative idea worth noting, once again with targets that are not directly connected with the Dragon Bishop.
  • Fournier - Ward

    Here's another thematic combination, but this time with White's King on f2 instead of the Queenside.
  • Draskovic - Lazic

    Once White has opened the h-file and exchanged Black's dark square Bishop he can have a plethora of combinative possibilities against Black's King. This lesson demonstrates a few of them.
  • Skjoldager - Dalhoff

    This lesson features another position in which White is coming down the h-file, allowing you to polish your combinative skills.
  • Shagalovich - Gufeld

    This lesson features another h-file attack, but unlike the other examples White's Queen can't easily come to h6. So the mode of attack takes the form of a chase rather than a siege.
  • Cullip - Ward

    This lesson features some familiar Dragon themes in a somewhat more complex form.

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