M Bxwhi

m mmmt m rn mm

19 hxg6 (If 19 e5 then 19...!ab8! 20 exf6 ®xb2+ 21 <4d2 Axf6 22 We3 and then 22...gxf5 is a good response.) 19...fxg6 20 <Sxe7+ Sxe7 21 £k!5 £>xd5 22 Wxd5+ (Fritz loved this for White but, when showed the light, soon changed its tune; a feature which should have set alarm bells ringing in my head!) 22...Se6 23 #xa8+ Be8 24 Wd5+ iLe6 25 fxd6 (or 25 WgS i-xb2+ 26 &d2 Wf2 mate) 25...&xb2+ 26 <&bl ®b7 when Black is completely winning.

Actually I got quite excited that I might get this variation and, lo and behold, the next day things appeared peachy as I bashed out my moves while John pondered the complexities of the position. Suddenly, well behind on the clock, he deviated with the over-the-board inspiration: 20 „&g7!!

When he unleashed this stunner, it gradually dawned on me just how strong it was. Not really having played an over-the-board move of my own yet, I now used up over an hour on my clock to conclude that I was completely lost! I felt like a real idiot. Sure, especially in the Dragon, a bolt out of the blue can easily prove decisive for either side. However, as you have just read, (and contrary to the view of the watching public) it's not like I wasn't familiar with this concept. On the other hand, Fritz (or any other computer program for that matter) was never likely to suggest it and this, paired with my lazy preparation, was clearly a recipe for disaster.

Essentially it compares favourably with the ilg7 idea when the queen isn't on g5 and the game continued 20...J,xg7 21 £Vxg7 2eb8 (21...<4>xg7 is crushed by 22 <SM5 Wa5 23 Wh6+ <i>f7 24 £\xf6) 22 £>h5 (Although the <&bl-style quiet move has always been touted as the way to treat the ...#a5 variation, it is only in these kinds of lines that we can fully appreciate how useful it can be for the white king to have an escape square.) 22...'£)xh5 (Reiterating my last point, now 22...Wxb2+ 23 «¿>d2 £>xh5 24 gxh5 ®b6 25 &e2! leaves the white king safe and the black king in big trouble.) 23 gxh5 ite8 24 b3 (Now Black's major pieces look redundant while their king is devoid of defence.) 24...cxb3 25 axb3 W/c5 26 ®d5 (The e7-pawn is just one problem. I felt bitterly disappointed with this encounter as I hadn't really had a chance to get into the game and already the battle is effectively over.) 26...2b7 27 <£lxe7+ Sxe7 28 ®xe7 Sc8 29 Sh2 gxh5 30 2g2+ Jlg6 31 Sxd6 We3+ 32 Sgd2 Hf8 33 2d8 2xd8 34 #xd8+ <S?g7 35 Wd4+ Wxd4 36 Sxd4 h4 37 <&d2 h3 38 &e3 sfc>h6 39 -¿>f4 1-0 J.Nunn-C.Ward, 4NCL 1998.

Following on, I notice that 18...Wb4 19 e5 Sab8 20 Ag7 &xf5 21 gxf5 Jlxg7 22 hxg6 fxg6 23 fxg6 £)e4 24 gxh7+ &h8 25 fxe4 #xb2+ 26 &d2 J.xe5 27 Sh3 SfB 28 £ie2 Sf2 29 Sgl J§Lf4+- 30 Wxf4 Sxf4 31 Shg3 Sff8 32 £if4 «d4+ 33 &cl Wxgl+ 0-1 (K.Nicholas-T.Woodward, Kensington 1999) occurred later. However, although after 19 a3 the black queen could retreat to b7 rather than b6 (where as we know it is of course vulnerable to £kl5), I'm not sure that much is different from my Nunn fame. Indeed 19 hxg6 fxg6 20

}xe7+? 2xe7 21 ¿Sd5 £>xd5 22 «xd5+ Se6 23 «xa8+ Se8 24 ®d5+ Ac6 is the same trick as before, but I don't see any obvious reason why 20 ilg7(!!) shouldn't work again.

I think I decided that 18...1^5!? is a better practical try and, upon mentioning that to my pupil, 19

fihel Hab8 20 f4 Wc5 21 eS dxe5 22 fxe5 Wb4 23 £>xe7+ Sxe7 24 exf6 Sxel 25 Sxel Wxb2+ 26 &d2 J.c6 27 #e5 Sd8+ 28 &e3 He8 29 #xe8+ &xe8 30 <&d2 11)8 31 SM5 c3+ 32 &d3 Ab5+ 33 &d4 #d8 34 &c5 &xf6 35 Q)xf6+ Wxf6 36 <4>xb5 Wb6+ 37 <&c4 Wc6+ 38 &d3 gxh5 39 g5 #d5+ 40 <S?e2 %2+ 0-1 was in fact promptly played in Wood-Tan, Golders Green rapid-play 1998.

If you study these positions (with or without computer assistance), I hope that you will forgive me for not providing you with as many answers as I would have liked. Besides, you might also have taken on board my cleverly disguised advice that you shouldn't just blindly take someone's (or something's!) word for it. Be sure to check carefully all analysis yourself because if you play such lines then it is your head that is on the chopping block. That said, of course, there is a certain thrill in exerting minimum effort and still ending up as the one in possession of the axe!

18 gxfS

The advantage of the text move is that White gets the chance to utilize the g-file. Instead 18 exf5 would no doubt elicit other complications when the game could go either way (I've been waiting to say that!).

Indeed, although after 18...Sab8 19 hxg6 fxg6 20 Sdel fic7 21 We3 We5 22 Wg5 Wc5 23 He6 Wb4 24 We3 Wxb2+ 25 it?d2 #b6 26 fxg6 hxg6 27 #xb6 axb6 28 g5 <&f7 29 Shel 30 £>d5 Sc5 31 £)xe7 White managed to go on to win in M. Calzetta Ruiz - L.Cernousek, Olomouc 2000, surely the not played 31...i.e5 (or ...£lxh6 first) should in fact seal things in Black's favour.

19 Sdgl

In fact perhaps this game doesn't belong in this book as 19 fixh5 &xc3 20 Wxc3 (20 bxc3? ®a3+ 21 <&bl Bab8-t- is mating) 20...fxc3 21 bxc3 gxh5 22 Sgl+ &h8 23 J.g7+ <&g8 24 ¿Lh6+ &h8 25 i.g7+ <&g8 is a draw by perpetual check!

On 19..Jbcc3 20 bxc3 Wxa2?!, all of a sudden 21 #d5! looks way too dangerous.

20 fxg6

Note that now 20 fixh5 is met by 20...1rb6!, attacking gl and b2.

Though proud of this game, young Desmond later conceded that 20...fxg6 could be better. Understandably he was worried that there might be problems along the d5-g8 diagonal.

21 e5

Temporarily reducing the threat against b2 and breaking the connection between the queen and knight. In a familiar story, this continuation wins a piece, but at the cost of several pawns.

2L.Axe5

Though it was a lot to see, actually 21...«b4!? 22 fe3 Wxb2+ 23 "¿?d2 dxe5! (played to open the d-ffle) 24 Sxh5 Sd8+ 25 sfe>el #xc2 puts forward a convincing argument as an improved mode of play.

22 Sxh5«b6

23 Shhl

It looks as though White's best practical chance would have been 23 Hxg6+!! fxg6 24 Wd5+ <&h8 25 A«3+ gxh5 26 Axb6 Sxb6 27 «f7. Materially speaking, Black stands well but things are unclear as his pieces are not well coordinated and are a long way from their king.

Preventing the check that would have caused severe grief in the event of 24...Wxc3? 25 Sxg6+!! fxg6 (or 25...-¿?h7 26 J.f8+ <S?xg6 27 Wh6+ &f5 28 Sh5 mate) 26 Wd5+ e6 27 #xe6+ <&h7 28 iLf8+.

White has his extra piece but Black has a beautiful and pretty much impenetrable wall of pawns —and an attack to boot.

If White swaps off queens, Black will not get mated and will almost certainly win the a2 pawn.

27 4hh3 Sb2!

Cool. There is no need to hurry. Black will trade queens on his own terms and now sets about exploring the seventh rank.

A change of plan! Black has also re-fianchettoed his bishop, making his own king extremely safe, and, with the white monarch looking a bit ropey, he decides to keep the queens on after all. 30...1S'b2 also looked good.

Now the queens must come off and, together with this, Black wins material.

34 Wxd4 iLxd4 35 &e7 fial+ 0-1

Game 11 A.Schekachev White C.Ward Black Gran Canaria Open 1993

1 e4 c5 2 <aD d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 £>xd4 ¿hf6 5 £sc3 g6 6 Ae3 Ag7 7 f3 £ic6 8 #d2 0-0 9 i.c4 Ad7 10 0-0-0 WaS 11 <S?bl fifc8 12 l.b3 <5}e5 13 ±g5

A positional approach that I occasionally see recommended, though, as far as I can make out, with little justification. Essentially White ditches plans for a serious attack in favour of trying to reach a good endgame. Not presumably what the Yugoslav Attack was intended for, but if that's the way that White wants to play then so be it! The just-moved dark-squared bishop pressurises the e7-pawn which could be useful if he can ever arrange f4 and e5. However, the truth is that White also has a more mundane sequence in mind. In an ideal world he will simply swap on f6 and then recover the bishop for knight deficit by ®d5xf6. If he can achieve this— involving a queen trade and a Black ...exf6 recapture—then, granted, he would stand comfortably better. Rest assured, though, that sort of idealistic simplicity isn't going to occur in a month of Sundays!

I didn't have much to say about 13 We2 in WWW and in fact I still don't! The move usefully controls c4 but significantly reduces his attacking options. If Black is ever considering an exchange sac on c3, he should bear in mind the sneaky itd2 and should probably choose between the pawn sacrifice 13...b5 or, first, the slower 13...a6. More typically, of course, there is no time foT the latter quiet move but 13 Wc2 changes the face of the whole position.

Seen not for the first time, this flexible continuation keeps the tension and offers support to the fourth rank and possibilities of doubling on the c-file.

14 fihel

This move, offering some protection to the e-pawn, shows that White has no intention of taking the usual route down the h-file. The need for it is well illustrated after 14 f4 ^c4 (Actually, 14...?:,c6 and 14...£seg4 are both worthy of consideration.) 15 iLxc4 2xc4 16 £)b3 #xc3!! 17 bxc3 ®xe4

This is a position I've had before and it is extremely good fun for Black. Though currently a queen down for a piece (well ... and a pawn!), Black will zap the c3-pawn, the a2-pawn and, with all of his pieces getting in on the act, in all likelihood the c2-pawn too. Important to note is that White's uninspired approach of 14 JLxf6 Jlxf6 15 £id5 #xd2 16 ®xf6+ is foiled by 16...<à'g7! and, if White continues trying to elicit a doubling of Black's pawns by 17 &h5+, then 17...i>h6!? 18 Hxd2 &xh5 is consistent. Provided they don't get mated in the open, kings are of course very useful in endgames and, though I would hardly suggest it as being forced, the following encounter shows an unusually excessive amount of legwork by the black monarch: 19 £te2 <4>h6 20 £)f4 <4>g7 21 £sd5 '<t?f8 22 fihdl £ic4 23 ±xc4 Ixc4 24 e5 dxe5 25 £rt>6 axb6 26 Sxd7 Hac8 27 Sd8+ 2xd8 28 Sxd8+ &g7 29 c3 e4 30 fid7 exf3 31 gxf3 Sh4 32 Sxb7 Hxh2 33 lxb6 h5 34 a4 h4 35 Sb4 g5 36 Sg4 <S?g6 37 a5 h3 38 <i?a2 Sg2 39 Ha4 h2 40 a6 hl=!t 41 a7 ttcl 42 Sa6+ 43 Hb6 Sgl 0-1 J. Cuadras Avellana - A. Martin Gonzalez, 1974.

covering move (after the b3-bishop for e5-knight trade) is unlikely to be available to White. Though I see no reason to be unhappy with the text, my view, based on current material, is that 14...5ac8 has been given unjustifiably bad press, e.g. 15 f4 £)c4 (Admittedly 15...&eg47! 16 h3! h6 17 hxg4 hxg5 18 f5 is annoyingly awkward for Black, despite retaining his Dragon bishop and having good control over e5.) 16 Jlxc4 Sxc4 17 JLxf6 (Essentially then, I disagree that this offers White much of an advantage and suggest that White must instead turn to the complications of 17e5!?

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