Thursday, July 30, 2009
In both the Spanish / Ruy Lopez (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.d4 exd4 5.c3) and the Italian (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 g6 4.d4 exd4 5.c3), it is dangerous for Black to take the pawn by 5...dxc3 when White speedily completes his development with 6.Nxc3 and is well positioned to attack Black on the weakened dark squares by, for example, e5, Nd5 and Bg5 or Bf4.
As my analysis shows, Black probably survives and can often hang onto the extra material, but he is definitely under pressure and must be constantly aware of very concrete threats by his opponent. Therefore, the majority of my analysis focuses on lines where Black declines the pawn.
The simplest way to decline the pawn is to "push past," meeting 4.d4 exd4 5.c3 with 5....d3!? White is thus deprived of the best square for his Knight at c3 and, when he captures the pawn at d3, will eventually either have to move the same piece twice (with Bxd3) or place his Queen on an odd square (with Qxd3). White does retain a space advantage and a slight initiative, but the play takes on a much more strategic character where the best player has good chances to prevail.
The final part of this survey offers a system with an early Nge7 by Black, which can be used against a wide range of White systems with c3. The survey of Nge7 lines begins with the little-known Svenonius Variation against the Danish (1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 Ne7!?) and ends with a line from the Cozio Variation to which our system can transpose after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.d4 exd4 5.c3 Nge7!? 6.O-O!? (we also consider the range of White options) 6...Bg7 (see diagram above). The game now typically goes 7.cxd4 d5 with balanced play.
I hope you enjoy this installment which offers a lot of different ideas to incorporate into your own play. I am now working on lines where White plays an early d4 and Bg5, lines where White plays d4 and Nxd4, and the interesting Larsen Variation of the Philidor (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 g6!?). I will probably post on one of those some time next month.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Dean Ippolito and Jesse Kraai report at the USCF site (see "Jesse Wins Futurity; Dean Wins 1st FIDE Event") on the two recent New Jersey FIDE events: the 3rd New Jersey Futurity (won by GM Jesse Kraai) and the 1st Dean of Chess Academy / Transnet FIDE Invitational (won by IM Dean Ippolito, with NM David Grasso a close second). Both were held at the Dean of Chess Academy in Branchburg. Kevin E. Chen took some excellent photos of the FIDE event (see sample above), which have been posted at Diamondback and Jim West's blogs. Jim West also offers quite a bit of coverage, annotating several of his games and posting photos by Steve Ferrero. Special thanks to IA Glenn Petersen, TD Aaron Kiedes, and the sponsors -- including TransNet Corporation, Dean of Chess Academy, and Michael Khodarkovsky's International Chess School -- for making it possible to offer FIDE rating and norm opportunities in the Garden State.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
- Canadian Open: Friendly Faces Congregate in Edmonton
- Canadian Open: Canadians take it all
- Americans in Canada from USCF
- Canadian Open: Nine players lead after penultimate round
- Canadian Open: Four players with 6.0/7
- Canadian Open: Five players lead with 4.0/4
- Canadian Open Chess Championship
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Will other arrests follow? Does the chess public really care anymore? Personally I am waiting for the matter to be resolved and hope someone finds an interesting way to use the case to illustrate problems of the internet and the law. At least then something good might come out of this mess.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 09, 2009
SPIEGEL: Do you think it was helpful for Obama to deliver a speech to the Islamic world in Cairo? Or has he created a lot of illusions about what politics can deliver?
Kissinger: Obama is like a chess player who is playing simultaneous chess and has opened his game with an unusual opening. Now he's got to play his hand as he plays his various counterparts. We haven't gotten beyond the opening game move yet. I have no quarrel with the opening move.
As I noted in "Obama as Chess Master," the association of Obama with chess in the discourse of international relations contrasts sharply with the more primitive games (such as poker and Monopoly) associated with his predecessor. US foreign policy no longer seems driven by ideological brinksmanship but instead seems guided by objective and intelligent strategic maneuvering. The White House no longer hides its cards, but instead makes its moves openly on the world stage for all to see. Kissinger is clearly troping on the chess vs. poker theme I have been following for several years, and he elevates the praise of Obama implied by the "chess master" metaphor by pointing out that the President is "playing simultaneous chess" and trying out "an unusual opening." Kissinger, of course, is famous among chess players for having made an 11th hour call to Bobby Fischer that got him to participate in the 1972 World Championship match in Iceland. Even if he opened his conversation with Fischer by saying, “This is one of the worst chess players in the world speaking to the best,” Kissinger is surely regarded as a master of strategic maneuvering and a brilliant chess player on the world stage. So this is high praise indeed for Obama.
That Obama met with opposition leader and former chess World Champion Garry Kasparov during his recent visit to Moscow is still more evidence of the objective and complex type of game he is playing. As ChessBase points out, he is the first president since Bill Clinton to meet the Russian opposition leader during a state visit.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
There is plenty of good commentary on the World Open, which wrapped up this weekend in Philadelphia, won by Evgeny Najer and Hikaru Nakamura (who played the short schedule, as Mig reports). Jennifer Shahade gives us her video "scoop" (see above). Lubomir Kavalek analyzes two snappy miniatures in his Washington Post column. Jonathan Hilton blogs about his games at the USCF website. And you can download the 128 available games from the World Open website (PGN here) and in TWIC #765 (see description or download PGN), or view them online at Chessgames.com (among other places). I found the Dragon games Friedel - Robson and Homa - Kudrin of interest.
Update: According to the USCF website ("Hilton on the World Open: Lenderman Dances; Nakamura and Najer Tie for 1st"), the World Open blitz event was won by Kenilworth Chess Club champion Yaacov Norowitz with a score of 9.5/10. Congratulations Yaacov!
Saturday, July 04, 2009
One of the most popular openings at every level of play, from beginner to GM, is the Sicilian Dragon (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6). This may well be due to "the power of animal names in helping us identify with our opening lines," and I still remember imagining myself like Bruce Lee at the chessboard when I played it as a beginner in the 1970s after reading Horowitz and Reinfeld's "How to Think Ahead in Chess" (most of which you can find online as "Learn to Play the Sicilian Dragon"). I think a lot of players feel this way about the opening. Now that many of the challenges posed by the Yugoslav Attack have been addressed, the Dragon is experiencing a resurgence even at the Super-GM level, having been used by Kasparov and most recently Magnus Carlsen and Teimour Radjabov. And it is clearly very popular among amateurs to judge by the number of books on the subject. It therefore should come as no surprise that there are many excellent online resources for anyone interested in learning more.
The following is intended as an experiment to see how much information is available online in various forms (including in video formats) on a specific opening line. As always, I welcome reader input and additions. I may repeat the experiment with other openings, and welcome your suggestions. In many cases, the material I have found appears to have been posted in violation of copyright, but I did not post it myself and so I don't see why I shouldn't link to it. Don't be surprised, however, to find that some of this material has been taken down by the time you read this! The web is an ever-changing mode of publication. But thank goodness for the Wayback Machine!
General Dragon Resources
ChessPub Discussion Forum on the Dragon
If you start playing the Dragon, you will want to keep up on the latest theory by visiting ChessPublishing.com's "Chess Pub" forum on the Dragon. You don't need to be a member to access it, but if you join you will have access also to ChessPublishing's opening theory.
Hammerschlag at Chess.com, "Ideas Behind the Sicilian Dragon"
A fairly good overview of the major lines in the Dragon, mostly for beginners or those new to the opening.
Tomas Bragesjös Sicilian Dragon Games
An interesting collection of amateur games.
Various White and Black Systems (B70-74)
IM Miodrag Perunovic, Sicilian Dragon vs. Fianchetto
Covers Black's play against the interesting White fianchetto line 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.g3 Nc6 7.Nde2.
IM Miodrag Perunovic, Dragon B70
Free copy of Chess Chronicle #11 featuring excellent analysis by Mio of Black's play against the Fianchetto system against the Dragon. This and the previous article definitely discouraged me from adopting this system as White.
IM Gary Lane, Opening Lanes #28: Crouching Tigran Hidden Dragon
Discusses a couple of games with White g3 fianchetto -- both won by Black.
Majnu2006 of Letsplaychess.com presents Tinni - Majnu
A quick loss in online correspondence that should serve as a warning to Black to beware the e5 shot.
IM Greg Shahade, Zombie-Ragozin vs Curtains
Interesting discussion of the g3 system in a video discussion of a Shahade ("Curtains") blitz game.
IM Miodrag Perunovic, How to Bust the Sicilian Dragon Sidelines
Better than book quality coverage of unusual White sixth moves following the standard 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6, including 6.h4, 6.Bg5, 6.Bb5+ and the interesting 6.h3!? intending to develop by g4, Bg2, Nde2, Be3 followed by either O-O-O or O-O.
GM Raymond Keene, Magnum Force
Keene annotates Nisipeanu - Carlsen, Foros Ukraine 2008 with 6.Be2.
Misha Savinov, Interview with Alexander Motylev
Features a game of Motylev's against the Be3 and Be2 set up.
Leopold Lacrimosa, Learn to Play the Sicilian Dragon
A nice introduction to the Dragon that basically reproduces my own intro to it via Horowitz and Reinfeld's "How to Think Ahead in Chess" (Simon & Schuster 1951).
IM Greg Shahade, Von Luck vs. Curtains (Classical Dragon)
A classical with Be2 and Nb3 by transposition from Accelerated Dragon. White tries some typical bad ideas which you might see at the club or online.
GM Gary Lane, Opening Lanes #8
Covers tricky tactical traps in the Dragon, including 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 g6 6 Be3 Ng4?? which loses a piece.
IM Andrew Martin, Combating the Sicilian Dragon
Recommends the unusual line 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Bg5!? Bg7 7.Bb5+, which is an idea of Vitolins.
IM Andrew Martin, "The Verdict"
Covers the Levenfisch Variation with an early f4.
Kingscrusher of Letsplaychess.com presents Blitz #165 vs daviv52 (1904)
A smashing game with an odd sort of Levenfisch.
Karel van der Weide, My Contributions to Opening Theory, Part 2
Discusses a game of the author's beginning 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.f4 Nf6 5.Nf3 c5 6.dxc5 Qa5 7.Bd3 Qxc5 8.Qe2 0-0 9.Be3 Qa5 10.0-0 Bg4 11.h3 Bxf3 12.Qxf3 Nc6.
Eric Schiller, Sicilian Dragon, Attacking Plans for Black
A portion of a longer book on the Dragon, covering various systems, mostly featuring unusual or mistaken play by White.
Kingscrusher of Letsplaychess.com presents Blitz #33 vs TORREATTACK (1889)
White somehow gets away with an early Nxc6 and Bc4 and Qf3.
IM Andrew Martin, "Dragon Forever."
An excellent introduction from the "Starting Out: Dragon" author.
Steve Farmer, Roller-Coaster Chess
An interesting game with White Be2 and Be3 with good commentary, especially on the ending and on Black typical error with ...e5?! advance.
ChessGames, Sicilian Dragon
A useful collection of games.
Yugoslav Attack with 9.O-O-O (B76)
Dorian Rogozenco, Bazna Round 9
GM commentary on Nisipeanu - Rdjabov, which began 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.0-0-0 d5 10.Kb1 Nxd4 11.e5!?
Majnu2006 of Letsplaychess.com presents Mason vs Ward
Part 6 in the series. A very nice 2007 attacking game with both players attacking heavily on opposite sides, but Black's attack triumphing.
Majnu2006 of Letsplaychess.com presents Lekic vs Banikas
Part 8 of an excellent series analyzing games with the Dragon.
Majnu2006 of Letsplaychess.com presents Fossan vs Ward
Part 3 in the series features a great game with a well known and thematic sacrificial combination for Black that is very worth knowing.
Andre Schulz, The Bjering Variation -- Something New in the Dragon
Analysis of the surprisingly effective 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 Nxc3!
Karel van der Weide, My Contributions to Opening Theory
Discusses a particular line following 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.0-0-0 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Kb1 Qc7 12.g4 Rfc8 13.h4 Qa5 14.Qg5.
ChessGames, Chess Openings: Sicilian Dragon, Yugoslav Attack (B76)
Hitchhiker, A Strange Breed of Dragon
An interesting way of playing where Black delays castling.
GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, Alexandra Kosteniuk Plays Blitz Chess in Coreglia
A safe and effective line by the Women's World Champion. I found the moves easy to follow and I think anyone familiar with the opening will be able to follow easily.
Steve Farmer, Puff Goes the Dragon
A wrong-headed Black attack with a cute finish, well presented.
Chess HW: Sicilian Dragon, Adams - Fedorov
A soundless video (good for watching at the office perhaps) with text commentary on a very cute tactical game won by Black.
GM Roman Dzindzichashvili, Beating the Dragon, Part One and Beating the Dragon, Part Two
Only a teaser on these two videos, recommending the 9.O-O-O line for White and mostly looking at weaker plans for Black. To see the full videos you have to subscribe.
GM Nigel Davies, Understanding the Sicilian Dragon -- Chess Mentor
A selection of videos available for subscribers only.
Yugoslav Attack with 9.Bc4 (B77-79)
FM Boris Schipkov, G. Shahade - Mezentsev, San Francisco 2000 (B77)
Schipkov annotates a game that offers a great illustration of how Black can exploit control of the c-file in the Dragon. The game reaches regular Dragon lines via transposition from the Accelerated, which is a Shahade specialty.
Majnu2006 at Letsplaychess.com, Anand vs Kasparov at YouTube
An easy way to play over Kasparov's famous Dragon game from his 1996 match with the current champion, with its very nice tactical conclusion. Good commentary, but no deep theory here.
Canstein2 at Letsplaychess.com, Anand vs Kasparov at YouTube
Another useful commentary with lots of color and personal insight.
Majnu2006 at Letsplaychess.com, "Winfield vs Purdy"
A very interesting game despite some theoretically mistaken play in the opening.
Majnu2006 at Letsplaychess.com, "Majnu vs Ceri"
A great Black win due to White failing to castle. Part 7 in the Dragon series.
Majnu2006 at Letsplaychess.com, "Nicholson vs Mestel"
Part 4 in the series, featuring a classic Rxc3 sac.
Majnu2006 at Letsplaychess.com, Geller - Korchnoi 1971 at YouTube
Second game of the candidates match with a classic Rxc3 sac. Good general commentary, but not a lot of deep theory here. I really like this series.
Majnu2006 at Letsplaychess.com, Corus 2008, Negi - Carlsson
A very interesting game where Black offers the exchange in an unusual way and concludes with a nice heavy-piece attack on the White King while facing down threats against his own King.
Majnu2006 at Letsplaychess.com, Fischer - Larsen, a closer look
A look at a critical moment from the much-analyzed game Fischer - Larsen, Potoroz 1958, showing how Black might have saved the game (following analysis by Kasparov). A good lesson in Black defense.
Majnu2006 at Letsplaychess.com, "Petrosians Friend vs Majnu"
An excellent attacking game, with an embedded second game featuring a King hunt. White gets materialistic grabbing the a-pawn and opening lines for Black.
Kingcrusher from Letsplaychess.com: World no.5 vs no.6 : Slaying the Dragon!
A great Topalov - Carlssen game from 2008 where White gets a stunning kingside attack by just throwing his pawns, and Carlsen makes too big a concession with ...e5.
Kingscrusher of Letsplaychess.com presents blitz #37 vs Kungsangen (2071)
A nice White crush of Black, after setting up the e5 shot and getting to play it.
Kingscrusher of Letsplaychess.com presents Karpov vs Gik
A great classic game for White in the Dragon, with some fascinating ideas.
Kingscrusher of Letsplaychess.com: Battering ram critical success factors!
First in a series on h-file battering ram attacks, with Carlsen - Radjabov, Bilbao 2008 as example.
Kingscrusher of Letsplaychess.com presents Kasparov vs Piket
An impressive Kasparov victory.
IM Gary Lane, Opening Lanes #117: Enter the Dragon
Offers several games with 9.Bc4, plus a bonus line for Dragon players to try against the annoying c3 Sicilian: 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.Nf3 g6 4.c3 Bg7!? with the idea of d5 and Nf6 to follow.
Misha Savinov, Interview with Tigran Petrosian
Includes Petrosian's own analysis of Cornette - Petrosian 2002.
NM Jim West, Sicilian Dragon, Soltis Variation (B77)
An article that originally appeared in Atlantic Chess News 1987 on 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 O-O 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.h4 Rc8 11.Bb3 h5.
NM Jim West, Sicilian Dragon, Yugoslav Attack with 14...Qc7
An article that originally appeared in Atlantic Chess News in 1994, featuring some of the author's wins (or shoulda-wons) as White with an early Bc4 system that transposes to a Yugoslav.
Mike Glick, Sicilian Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
Focuses on the Bc4 "tabiya" -- for beginners.
GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, Annotated Game: Kosteniuk - Pogonina
A lovely attacking game contested by two of the most lovely chessplayers on earth. Notes by Kosteniuk.
GM Mihail Marin, Linares Super-GM
Marin annotates the spectacular Dragon game Dominguez - Carlsen, Linares 2009, which began 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Rb8!? -- the Chinese Variation.
IM Ivan Markovic, The Sicilian Dragon, Yugoslav Attack (B78)
A very useful introduction from the editor of the Informant series to 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0.
Luiz Roberto da Costa, Theory: the Trapped Queen in the Chinese Dragon (B78)
An archived ChessMail article from 2004 in PDF format.
Stefan Bücker, The Chinese Dragon Refuted Over the Horizons 37 at ChessCafe
ChessBase, Bilbao, R2
The exciting Dragon (B78) game Ivanchuk - Carlsen, with 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Rc8 11.Bb3 Ne5 12.Kb1 a6, is lightly annotated.
IM Gary Lane, Opening Lanes #41
Lane annotates the Yugoslav Attack game Michal Novak-Lukas Mezera Czech Team Championship 1997, which offers an excellent illustration of Black's thematic exchange sac at c3.
Canstein2 from Letsplaychess.com presents Short - Topalov
An interesting game with an early White g4 to discourage the Soltis Variation with ...h5.
IM Andrew Martin, "Sicilian Dragon, 10...Qa5 Refuted." TWIC Theory February 15, 2005.
Joe Hurd, The Sicilian Dragon
A brief introduction for beginners with two sample games featuring the Qa5 line.
Bobby Ang, Beating the Dragon
Covers 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0–0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.h4 Qa5 11.0–0–0 Rfc8 12.Bb3 Ne5 13.Kb1 Nc4 14.Bxc4 Rxc4 15.Nb3
ChessGames, Chess Openings: Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack (B77)
A useful collection of games to play over online.
IM Andrew Martin, Accelerated Dragon Assault!
A great introduction to the Accelerated Dragon by the ubiquitous IM. A great ad for his video.
Grakovsky at Chess.com, "Sicilian Defence: Accelerated Dragon."
A useful resource for beginners or those new to the opening.
Majnu2006 from Letsplaychess.com presents De Vreugt vs Tiviakov
A very typical Accelerated Dragon, Maroczy Bind game, nicely discussed.
GM Nigel Davies, Accelerated Dragon
Interesting medias res analysis of White alternatives against Qa5.
Gooeyjim, The Sicilian Dragons for Black
An interesting amateur video that presents a strong argument in favor of the Hyper-Accelerated Dragon move order with 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 g6.
John Donaldson, Accelerated Dragon, Uogele Variation
Playing a5 in the Acclerated Dragon.
John Donaldson, Accelerated Dragon (Non-Maroczy) Main Line with 11...Qh5
An answer to a reader's question regarding the dubious looking queen adventure.
Majnu2006 at Letsplaychess.com on "Nijland - Michaud"
A drawn over the board game from the narrator.
Karel van der Weide, Abandon the Acc! - The Pain and Anguish of Opening theory, Part 11
Black struggles against 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4.
IM Gary Lane, Opening Lanes #115: Dragon's Dream
A good overview of the Accelerated Dragon, with games in the major lines.
IM Greg Shahde, Chapaev - Curtains, 4.Qxd4 Accelerated Dragon
Good commentary from IM Shahade in high rated blitz play.
IM Greg Shahade, Curtains - L379: B vs Rogo
An interesting game with dark-square domination.
IM Greg Shahade, B vs Molton, h3 Dragon
This opens as an accelerated Dragon but turns into a more normal dragon with an early White h3.
IM Greg Shahade, Mathematician vs. Curtains
White plays a g3 system against the Accelerated that remains in true Accelerated territory.
IM Greg Shahade, B vs Iraj
A tricky line of the Accelerated with Qxd4.
GMs Lev Alburt, Roman Dzindzichashvili, and Eugene Perelshteyn, Excerpt from Openings for Black, Explained.
A useful excerpt from the popular book on the Maroczy Bind with c4 and Be3.
Chessgames.com, Sicilian Dragon Accelerated Fianchetto, Breyer Variaiton (B39), Maroczy Be3 (B38), Maroczy Bind (B37), Maroczy Bind (B36), Modern Variation with Bc4 (B35), and Various Systems (B34).
ChessLecture.com has about 20 videos devoted to games with the Dragon.