Understanding The Accelerated Sicilian Dragon B36

18 examples and games.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 g6

In this modern era, the Sicilian Defense has been the defense of champions. Kasparov and Fischer became World Champions with almost religious devotion to the Sicilian, while all other World Champions of the twentieth century have used it as least fairly extensively. Other luminaries and national champions have been likewise captivated by the sea of Sicilian variations, making the theory of the opening rich with a diversity of plans and ideas.

The opening dates back to Italy of four hundred years ago. It was mentioned by Polerio in 1594 and given its name by Greco early in the next century. The match between MacDonnell and La Bourdonnals in 1834 greatly helped the chess world appreciate the virtues of the Sicilian, which requires some sophistication to think of playing as the strategy is not initially obvious.

With 1c5 Black stakes out territory in the center, denying White the pawn duo of e4 and d4. The black d- and e-pawns will later advance to control key squares, but their presence around the king allows Black to blunt any quick attack. White's most effective plan is Morphy's d4 (afterNf3), gaining space and opening lines. After cxd4 Black has an open c-file for counterplay, along with his two center pawns that play their initially defensive role. The positions arising are asymmetrical, which has the appealing aspect of local imbalances on the board. Frequently White will have pressure on one area of the board and back on another area, such as the typical White kingside attack vs. Black's queenside counterplay. Thus the games tend to be lively, with fierce struggles and winning chances for both sides. The lively play, combined with the inherent soundness of the defense, is the reason for the Sicilian's popularity.

There are many variations of the Sicilian that differ significantly in strategy and positional structure. Some of these variations are:
1. The Nadorf Variaton
2. The Scheveningen Variation
3. Systems with 2e6 - Tamanov Variation, Paulsen Variation and Four Knights Variation
4. Systems with Nc6 and e5 - Sveshnikov (Pelikan) Variation, Kalashnikov and Lowenthal Variation (and 4Qb6).
5. Non-open systems (lines without 2.Nf3 and 3.d4) - Closed Sicilian, 2.c3 Sicilian, 3.Bb5 variation, the f4 Attack, and Unusual Second Moves.
6. The Dragon Variation (and the Accelerated Dragon)

The Sicilian defense is definitely not an opening for the beginners opening repertoire. It is frequently called "The Granddaddy of Openings", "The Mother of All Openings" etc. It is a very complicated opening and requires a through understanding of the theory of its ideas behind this opening and its more common variations. Sicilian players often spend untold hours to study it and its variations. More books have probably been written about the Sicilian than any other opening, and no wonder, there are probably more variations than any other opening to write about. Its no wonder that most of the recent World Champions have relied heavily on one or more of the major variations of this semi-open opening. It was a favorite of Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov uses it almost exclusively, and all of the leading contenders for the crown as well.

If you are White and you are going to play against the Sicilian you must use precise play. The Sicilian is not very forgiving in any incorrect play in its beginning opening moves. Especially if you castle long, as is the case of the popular Dragon Variation. Black will storm your castled position and rip your King's fortress to shreds forcing your attacking plans to change to a now purely defensive posture.

The play tends to be very sharp, with White launching a full-scale attack on Black's king. Black has chances for an assault on the White king especially when Black is castled on the Kingside while White's Monarch is stationed on the queenside. The Sicilian Defense has one of the smallest ratios of draws of all openings, and is very useful in must-win-situations.

There are many different Sicilian Defenses, and they have very different histories and personalities. Some date back to the 18th century, while others have been developed only in the 1990s. Most normal Sicilians continue 2.Nf3 and Black now chooses between three moves 2.....d6, 2....e6, and 2....Nf6.

Although these can lead to quite a variety of positions, there are also many places where the lines intersect and calculating transpositional possibilities is a required skill if you want to play either side of the Sicilian.

The Sicilian Classical Dragon with Kingside Castling
In the Sicilian Classical Variation, White castles kingside, putting his monarch away from the dangerous Dragon diagonal. White seeks to keep a spatial advantage, a safer and more natural strategy than the Yugoslav Attack, but Black has adequate resources to gain equality
The Classical Dragion Variation relies on solid and rapid development with a focus on the center of the board. There are two main lines in the Classical Variation. White can go on the offensive immediately with 6.Bc4, leading to the Sozin Variation, invite the Boleslavsky Variation (or a transposition to the Scheveningen Sicilian) with 6.Be2 or play more subtly with the Richter Rauzer after 6.Bg5
The Sicilian Classical Dragon with Kingside Castling

The dangerous Dragon Variation, is the head of constellation of related lines where Black fianchettos the bishop at g7. Usually it is reached via 2....d6, 3.d4 cxd4; 4.Nxd4 Nf6; 5.Nc3 g6. White normally castles queenside and launches a pawnstorm on the Kingside, while Black aims everything at the White king. The Dragon attacks frequently on the chessboards of major tournaments, and a lot of theory has been accumulated. Dragoneers are known for spending many hours in their caves preparing new traps.

The Dragon and the Accelerated Dragon is Black's most direct attacking (or counterattacking) scheme in the Sicilian. The fianchettoed bishop on gh7 exerts a powerful influence on the long diagonal bearing down on the center and queenside. The opening is named for the serpentine like pawn formation of Black's kingside. The name is also appropriated for the aggressive dangerous character of the defense. Black can generate crushing attacks when things go his way or his position can go up in fiery flames!

The Dragon Yugoslav Attack with Queenside Castling
The Yugoslav Attack meets the aggressive Dragon with a response worthy of St. George. White castles on the queenside and thrusts forward his kingside pawns, playing for mate. The most involved and complex positions arise in the Soltis Line. White has chances for advantage with the subtle 13. Bg5 though play is involved and dangerous for both sides.
Dragon Yugoslav Attack, with Queenside Castling

The Dragon Levenfish Attack with Kingside Castling
One popular attacking scheme for White is the devilish Levenfish Attack. White threatens c4-e5, which Black immediately prevents. White plays for a quick attack in the center. Black has little trouble if White responds with 6.g3 then 6Nc6 is a way to take play into unusual territory and not theoretically troublesome for Black.
Dragon Levenfish Attack with Kingside Castling

The Dragon Nottingham with Kingside Castling
As an alternative to the Levenfish Attack, White can take a more restrained approach with this variation.
The Dragon Nottingham with Kingside Castling

The Accelerated Dragon B34 - B39

The Accelerated Dragon, 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 is a very solid defense, enabling Black to go for a long-term struggle for the full point. Due to its clear strategic conceptionsize The Learning Player is able to familiarize himself with its objectives in a logical way which is something of a rare exception in the Sicilian Defense with its excessively analyzed tactical sequences. That is why this amazing opening is very popular above all others with positional players.

The Accelerated Dragon Variation of the Sicilian Defense is a solid alternative with a very clear strategic objectives dating back to the nineteenth century, it is extremely popular in present times and player like Anand, Van Wely and Kortschnoi have used it in important encounters.

When Black plays Nc6 instead of d6 and then fianchettoes the bishop at f7 before playing Nf6, we now have the Accelerated Dragon. The point behind this plan is to save time by advancing the d-pawn to d5 (the Sicilian break) in one move, if permitted to so by White. The drawback to this plan is the lack of pressure at e4, which allows White to create the dreaded Maroczy Bind by playing 5.c4. Although Black suffers from some lack of maneuvering room, the opening remain popular, in part because it is fairly simple to play. Black can use the dark squares effectively, often bringing a knight to c5 via d7.

Black's main objective is to fight quickly for the center based on the advance of d7-d5. This is what distinguishes this opening from the Dragon Variation where Black plays with his pawn on d6 and most variations of the Sicilian, as here plans of flank operations are more often employed than the direct and quick reaction in the center.

In order to develop a clear understanding of the typical features of the Accelerated Dragon, it is absolutely necessary to get familiar both with the theory deployed through the text as well as with the concrete playing situations examined in the games and examples shown.

Because of our limitations here, we cannot endow you with a repertoire that covers all the alternatives you might face in your games, that would be just beyond our capabilities. However, you can purchase CD's and books that will do that.

One such excellent CD is from Chessbase by Minzer and Albarran called, "The Accelerated Dragon" for approximately $26.00
This CD has an extensive treatment that is divided into three parts. First the different opening variations are presented in 15 chapters, each of which containing the relevant sample games. The complete database includes more than 8,000 games from which no less than 150 have been annotated by the authors. After this introduction to theory, the Middlegame part dwells on the strategic facts of the opening. In the concluding test part, you can finally check the freshly acquired knowledge in 20 games with 57 training question sweating against the clock,

Fundamentals of the Sicilian Accelerated Dragon

White's many ways of playing this position
5.Nc3

! The Maroczy Bind is still considered to be the best approach for White, and White is still finding ways to establish a small advantage using it.
5.c4

The blockade strategy
12.a5

Tactics
In this example we can observe the tactical blows associated to the clearance of the long diagonal by means of the knight on f6. The theme is purely tactical and the objective is the elimination of the important Bishop on e3. In this game we can see how black takes advantage of the knight versus the bad light squared Bishop.
Marquez - Pillsbury

Again we observe the tactical blows associated to the clearance of the long diagonal by means of the Knight on f6
Brody - Pillsbury

In this game we see how Lasker gets the breakthrough on the d file and takes hold of the critical key square d5
Taubenhaus - Lasker

This game shows how Schlechter wins because of his achievements on the queenside, and skillfully maneuvering a Bishop and pawn for an anchor point for his rook.
MKieses - Schlechter

The Accelerated Dragon Games

Marjanovic - Velimirovic

Camps - Andres

Larsen - Fischer

Damjanovic - Fischer

Fischer - Stephans

Petrosian - Fischer

Haefele - Jirovsky

                                   HOME