Is Is

Necessary to dissuade the break ...il5 which is on the cards and could easily leave Black emerging with a IVee pawn in the centre.

The position is fairly murky.

White has the two bishops, but Black's preferable pawn structure gives him control of many squares.

18 Wd2 5 19 Sadl 4ïe8 2D i.g5 Sxflf 21 Sxfl .¿f6 22 jlf4 Çjf7

A useful square for the knight to drop back to, particularly as it is Black's aim to trade dark-squared bishops (eliminating the bishop-pair and hoping for a good knight vs bad bishop scenario).

23 J2.C4 ile5 24 i.e3

I had at least been careful to check that 24 J,xe5 Ôxc5 25 &VJ5 exd5 26 ®xd5+ Sfcg7 27 ®g8+ ®h6 didn't work for White.

It was no surprise to me to see White trying to preserve the advantage of the two bishops, but, having finally obtained the piece configuration I had been aiming for, I knew that I would now have to think of a way to make further progress.

25 We2 ifeg7 26 Vf 13 h5

And this was it! For reasons that I can't really explain when looking at the game again, both players were getting rather short of time. Hence I felt that a kingside attack was worth a gamble. Even if such a policy was unsound, I was hoping that the

randomness of a time scramble would make it difficult for my opponent to find any flaws. Although I soon concede my other bishop as well, I certainly didn't fancy the immediate exchange 26...Jtxc3?>. 27 bxc3 28 Wh3 which would have exposed the dark squares around my king.

27 h3 gS

I would undoubtedly have played this in a friendly five minute game, so why not now? 28 J.cl Bh8

Of course this rook was already well placed, but I felt it was a case of all hands to the pump if I was going to get checkmate! 29 ^e2 Hh6 30 We3 Sg6 31 ^d4 I recall being worried about this manoeuvre and, specifically, that I would have to part with my beloved bishop to prevent jLxe6 and <Sif5+ tricks.

31...£xd4 32 Wxd4 <?Je5 33 Hdl £>e8 34 ±e2 g4

Now there was no holding back. White's two bishops held tremendous potential and I had to somehow get to the white king. The position is a complete mess and, although it was never likely to be his choice in time trouble here, it transpires that the best move for White now is probably 35 hxg4.

35 Af4

Tempting though this seemed, already White was showing signs of falling for a devious trap.

Again not visually attractive, but 36 gxh3 lTh4 37 kxe5+ dxe5 38 fce5+ 5W> would have been very promising for Black.

38 Bd7+

38 fcf6+ 39 gxh3 was

White's best continuation, but, with several weak pawns in his camp, Black has better practical chances.

Now the trade of queens would have enabled an 39...hxg2+ intermezzo. Nevertheless, oblivious to the oncoming bolt out of the blue, the text is a categoric disaster!

White had assumed that his king was safe and that Black was being tied up in knots at the other end. Regarding the latter, he has a point. Unfortunately on the subject of the former, there is a flaw!

it's always nice to make a queen sac—even if it's only a temporary one!—and have it displayed on the demonstration board.

I hope this game has shown the reader a rather offbeat approach to Dragon play (not always recommended!).

Game 5 T.Thorhallsson White P.Blehm Black Elbow Beach Club, Bermuda 2001

1 e4 c5 2 £>c6 3 d4 cxd4 4 ®xd4 g6 5 ¿Le2 Jtg7 6 ^b3 'hiO 7 &c3d6

And from a possible 'Accelerated' Dragon, Black transposes back into a Classical variation. 8 0-0 0-0 9 J,g5

Occasionally known as the 'Karpov' system, White uses the bishop to exert immediate pressure on f6 and through to e7. The bishop's departure from the centre does, however, leave White weaker along the a7-gl diagonal.

To prevent Black from expanding on the queenside. But this game is an excellent example of why White doesn't usually play this way!

Angling for the c4-square, but also highlighting how the foundations of the b.Vknight have been weakened. For this reason, the immediate 10...JLe6 was also natural.

12 Wd 2

Note that, although the game transposes, the earlier 10...Jte6 would have prevented the possibility of 12 iuxffi here. However, despite White's simple plan, Black has a couple of ways to cloud the issue:

a) 12...ex 16 13 Wxd6 15 with the compensating bishop-pair working well to pressurise White's queen-side.

b) 12...JLxf6 13 £sd5 Ah4\? 14 g3 e6 and White is denied the opportunity to play <5ixf6+, which would not only win the Dragon bishop but shatter the black pawn structure.

m mmti m mmti

13 <§M5?! doesn't work here as, after 13...Wxd2 14 £ixe7+ 4»h8 15 ±xd2 Sfe8 16 £id5 J.xd5, the e2-bishop hangs.

13...fifc8

13...fiac8 also looks sensible but either way White must take steps to reduce the impact of a positional exchange sacrifice on c3.

14 Ad3 ScS!

This is also a solid move. Black prepares a doubling of rooks on the c-file, while putting the question to the g5-bishop. Having made a point of placing it there, White is obviously keen to keep this bishop on its present h4-d8 diagonal, which explains his next move. 15 f4 h6 16 ±h4 Iac8 Black's fourth rank rook clearly hinders White's f4-f5 pawn push but we shall soon see another bonus, 17 Wei g5!?

A bold move, effectively wrestling for control over the e5-square.

18 Ai2 H5c7 19 fxg5

There is no future in 19 f5 J.c4 as the e5-square becomes Black's anyway and the e4-pawn remains a target.

Black now has the superior structure because of White's isolated e4-pawn and a comparatively less useful pawn on h2. However it is obvious that Black has weakened his king position and so he must tread carefully.

Black uses the h-file to his advantage and, having a pawn on f7 rather than h7, we can see why it's generally better to have fewer pawn islands.

Black's position is certainly very pleasing to the eye.

25 <4>gl g4 26 hxg4 g4 27 flf3 Sc5 28 $},e2 ScfiS 29 &g3 UgS 3© Ae2 #f8 31 111 Shg8 32 2aa3 33 2fe3 Jld7 Preparing to transfer the bishop to c6. The half-open g-file is a real burden to White and I also doubt that he wants to have to defend his c-pawn for ever and ever! 34 iLe2

35...2xg3 36 Hxg3 lxg3 37 <¿'12 i.c6 38 <&xg3 iLxe4

For all intents and purposes it's game over!

39 c3 e6 40 <¿12 <&e7 41 Adl aS 42 g3 d5 43 «e3 Ad6 44 Ae2 Ac! 45 J.b5 e5 46 Ae8 f6 47 A,b5 AfS 48 Ae2 Ad7 49 Adl 4>c5 50 &d2 (14 51 Ac2 f5 52 J.b3 1)6 53 Ac! Ae6 54 Adl e4 55 cxd4+ A xd4 56 Ac2 Ac4 57 Adl e3+ 58 &el f4 59 gxf4 '¿>e4 60 AhS -¿>xf4 61 AcX •&e4 62 Ag6+ <&d4 63 ilc2 Ad3 64 Jtb3 it?c5 65 Af7 i-h4 66 b3 i>c3 67 Ae6 Ac2 68 A>e2 &xb3 69 i.f5 Axa4 70 <4>xe3 Ac2 0-1

Game 6 R. Zelcic White l.Balinov Black Makarska 1997

White is extremely tied up and searches for some activity. However, the text loses a pawn and not just to 34...iixa4, which is also possible.

With 35 C'Vxe4 Hxg2+ 36 <4>fl (36 <i>hl Sgl i 37 &h2 I8g2 is of course even more terminal!) 36...%,! I VI '¿j[2 H8g2+ 38 $f3 ii_g4 i, Black regains the piece and more.

1 e4 c5 2 SM3 &c6 3 d4 cxd4 4 <^xd4 6 5 <5^c3 d6 6 Ae2 g6 7 0-0 £.g7 8 i/jb3 0-0 9 Jtg5 a6!?

This is the main alternative to 9...J,e6. Whereas ...a6 and ...b5 is too slow a plan in the Yugoslav Attack, in the quieter lines a queenside pawn expansion is nearly always handy. As regards the former idea, now seems the perfect time to use a high-level blitz game to illustrate some other Classical Dragon points:

9...i.e6 10 4>hl (Premature is 10 f4 because of 10..!b5!. when the queen check on b6 and pressure on e4 indirectly protects the b-pawn.) 10...fic8 11 f4 a6 12 a4?! (Weakening the b3-square and making the forthcoming sacrifice that much stronger. This may only be a blitz game but it is nevertheless very instructive as Kramnik's moves flow beautifully.) 12...i.\a5 13 f5 J.xb3 14 cxb3

14...£Lxc3! (A typical Classical Dragon exchange sacrifice, the likes of which this chapter has already seen. If White accepts it. Black will win at least the c- and e-pawns. Hence he declines it, but this leaves him struggling from now on.) 15 kxf6 lxb3 16 JiLxg? ifexg7 17 Ac4 2b4 18 Jcd5 9b6 (Seeking dark-square domination in the absence of his Dragon bishop.) 19 Wd2 Wd4 20 Wg5 f6 (White is unlikely to be able to make much of the a2-g8 diagonal.) 21 Wg3 Hxb2 22 iacl £>c6 23 h4 We5 24 Wg4 Sb4 (A perfect situation. The queen stands tall in the centre while the rook continues to hoover up pawns.) 25 #h3 Hxa4 26 h5 g5 27 h6+ ®h8 28 Ibl Ib4 29 We3 a5 30 Sbcl Wd4 31 Wg3 fe5 32 We3 Wd4 33 Wg3 Sb6 (From here on, Black continues to show who's boss with the odd repetition. In the end he achieves his goal, albeit probably on time!). 34 Ifdl Wb2 35 *d3 £>b4 36 Ve3 ¿bc6 37 flc3 a4 38 fid2 #bl+ 39 r&h2 Sb2 40 Sxb2 Wxb2 41 iLxc6 bxc6 42 lxc6 fe5+ 43 4>hl d5 44 fie6 WaM- 45 <4>h2 d4 46 #d2 Wc3 47 Wa2 Wc7+ 0-1 R.Kasimdzhanov -V.Kramnik, Wijk aan Zee 1997.

10 f4 b5

11 iLO

Protecting the e-pawn and offering up possibilities of e5, hitting both knights. It must be remembered though that ...Wb6+ offers indirect support to the one on c6.

Immediately putting the question to the white knight. However, receiving support from the new World Champion, ll...J.b7!? shouldn't be overlooked. Indeed, it introduces a new dimension to the play, 12 ^hl ®d7 13 Ibl (so that the knight can move without dropping the b-pawn) 13...!e8 14 £sd5 AS ('!' according to Vladimir Kramnik. The start of a novel idea to kick away the d5-knight and secure the e5-square for one of Black's own steeds.) 15 J,h4 e6 16 &e3 g5! 17 Ag3 gxf4 18 Äxf4 ®de5 19 ±h5 Hffi. Controlling some vital squares along White's 5th rank, Black stands a

Little better and indeed went on to win in M.Apicella-P.Svidler, Yerevan 1996.

The most obvious move, but possibly not the best. Placing the knight offside with 12 ¿?ia4 could be better, when I once had a marathon encounter with 12...J.d7 13 312 lie?

14 a3 Sab8 15 axb4 ^xb4 16 c3 ¿hc6 17 S\d4 18 f5 &c4 19 b3 ¿he5 20 c4 h6 21 Ae3 Axa4 22 Hxa4 g5 23 2xa6 g4 24 ±e2 €jxe4 25 flf41V7 26 Ha5 h5 27 ®b5 Sa8 28 Hxa8 Hxa8 29 Wbl ®f6 30 J.d4 ,&h6 31 Hfl 32 Wb2 f6 33 Sal ; ixai ! 34 fcal &d2 35 Wdl We4 36 ,&b6 Jte3+ 37 Axe3 Wxe3+ 38 >A>hl £ixb3 39 h3 gxh3 40 &xh5 bxg21 41 <S?xg2 Wd2+ 42 Wxd2 C'\xd2 43 &c7 &dxe4 0-1 J.(iallagher-C.Ward, London 1988

Another sensible alternative is 12...Wc7, e.g. 13 2£2 Ab7 14 c3 a5

15 Hd2 bxc3 16 bxc3 <£>b8 17 e5 dxc5 18 ,&xb7 fxb7 19 ®bc5 Wc7 20 Sbl G\a6 21 AxflS ®xc5 22 ¿xg7 &xg7 23 £\b6 flab8 24 ®d5 Wa7 25 fxc5 £to4+ 26 Sd4 Ixbl 27 Wxbl ^xc3 0-1 P.Gerber-T.Tolnai, /.uridh 1988, but check out 12...e5!?

ËSSSTWSI

•*?hl #xb2 18 Icl ¿hd4 19 &c4 ®b8 20 Sbl ®c7 21 <g}b6 #xc3! 22 ^xa8 Aa6 when Black's chances are certainly not worse) 17 b3 Ji.a6 18 Ae2 Wb6+ 19 <4>hl Wd4 20 Icl £»b4 21 &c4 '5lxe4 (Things are also crazy with 2S...?:ixa2!?.) 22 Q)xe4 (At first, 22 lfxd4 cx<14 23 <Sixe4 appears good for White, until closer inspection of 23...d5 24 Jle7 4i\xa2! 25 Hc2 dxc4 26 lxa2 cxb3 27 Jtxa6 bxa2 28 Axf8 2xa6 29 Axg7 r4!xg7. Okay, it's a fantasy variation but one that demonstrates the tactical potential of Black's position. Here it would be the back rank that causes White problems.) 22...d5!? (The straightforward 22...Wxe4 may also be okay.) 23 Ae7. Now Black eventually went on to win with 23...fifb8 in R.Tischbierek-R.Meessen, Berlin 1996, but 23...£>xa2! 24 Axfg (or 24 Sal Ife8) 24...£>xcl 25 J.xg7 £>xe2 26 #xe2 <i>xg7 is even stronger.

...conceding an outpost ond5 only now that the knight has gone from c3: 13 15 a 5 14 c4 bxc3 15 ¿hxc3 a4 16 W12 a3 (or even 16...®b6+ 17

As is often the case when White's e-pawn transfers to d5, Black's e7-pawn is his main weakness. However, 15 jLxe7 fie8 is very nice for Black as 16 JLxd6?? drops the bishop to 16...Wb6+. The alternative, of course, is a retreat of the white bishop along the e7-h4 diagonal which will probably concede both the b2 and a2-pawns.

15..JSe8 16 Wcl

This looks a little passive but }VWTD demonstrated how important the b-pawn is. Indeed, after 16 Bel ¿xb2 17 Ibl ¿Lc3 18 Hxe7 flxe7 19 Axe7 l'xa2 20 g4 ¿b7 21 f5 fc4 22 ±xd6 ttd8 23 ile7, White's position soon fell apart at the seams:

23 Sxd5! 24 ®fl #xfl+ 25 Ixfl fldl! 26 it?g2 flxfl 27 ilxb7 Sal 0-1 G.Basanta-T.Tolnai, Saint John 1988.

Preparing to relocate the queen is logical, although also sensible was 16...Af5!? 17 a3 lab8 18 axb4 fxb4 19 ttxa6 h6 20 Jlh4 ±xb2 21 'We3 Wc4 22 Ae2 #xd5 23 c4 WeA

24 #xe4 jtxe4. Indeed, ultimately it had helped Black to bag a pawn (and the game) through queenside pressure in G. De! Rio de Angeles-A.Romero Holmes, Leon 1997.

17 Ibl #c4

The black queen is more active here and, in case it matters, the a-pawn is no longer obstructed.

18 Eel iif5 19 b3

Expelling the queen but conceding a hole on c3 and doing little to alleviate the pressure on c2.

19...1V7 20 Ie2 Sac8 21 ttel e5 22 dxe6

After 22 #xb4 h6 23 J.h4 exf4 24 Sxe8+ Sxe8 it will be Black's pawn majority that makes a quicker impact on the position.

Black's weak pawn now is on d6, but his active pieces more than compensate for it.

23 g4

Now in fact Black could get away with chopping the c2-pawn, but he has a better refutation of White's rash outburst. 23...iLxg4! 24 #fl Presumably White had failed to notice 24 J.xg4 Wb7+ 25 yfcgl Ad4+ 26 <¿»11 Whl mate!

24...1xe2 25 Wxe2 Wxc2 26 lei fce2 27 Axc2 Se8 0-1

The e2-bishop is pinned and winned!

Game 7 F.Fuigsang White C.Ward Black Politiken Cup, Copenhagen 1996

1 e4 c5 2 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 «S:ixd4 Pif6 5 <5k3 g6 6 ±e2 Ag7 7 0-0 £ic6 8 £lb3 0-0 9 ±,g5 a6 10 J?hl b5 11 a3

Halting ...b4 in this way is a necessary consequcnce of White's previous move as there is no alternative convenient way to defend the e-pawn. The obvious drawback of this move is the reduced support now provided for the b3~knighl.

With a simple and reasonably effective plan in mind. That said, 13...^d? was also sensible, unleashing the bishop and preparing a relocation of the knight to the queenside.

14 He I h6

There isn't exactly a rule of thumb regarding this move but obviously it has its pros and cons. Provided it doesn't seriously weaken lite king and the g6-pawn isn't put loo much at risk, then it is often worthwhile. Here, for example, the bi.sliop i.s forced to leave the f-pawn unguarded (adding more bite to Mack's next move) and ...g5 becomes a serious option.

15 iLh4 c5

siin

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