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Dragon Variation

The Dragon Variation is a well analysed chess opening line in the Sicilian Defense. It begins with the moves:

1.e4 c5
2.Nf3 d6
3.d4 cxd4
4.Nxd4 Nf6
5.Nc3 g6

Black will develop his bishop to g7. This is called a Fianchetto. White often tries to trade off this active bishop as it exercises great pressure along the h8-a1 diagonal. The exchange of this bishop will weaken the kingside squares h6 and f6 as the move 5…g6 has already weakened this area to a certain extent.

Chessmaster Fyodor Dus-Chotimirski called it (1901)- the dragon – as he found a resemblance of the pawn structure d6-e7-f7-g6-h7 and the stars of the Draco Constellation.


It is most dangerous for Black if White plays now the Yugoslav Attack:
6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.0-0-0 (or 9.Bc4)

The Yugoslav Attack is extremely sharp as White has castled long and starts an attack on the kingside right away with his pawns.

It requires a lot of theoretical knowledge as it is a two-edged sword. Every move counts and Black can’t afford to make serious mistakes or he will get run over on the kingside in no time at all. The question is, which attacks comes in first, White’s attack or Black’s counterattack.

Anand versus Kasparov – 1995 World Championship

I have not much faith in the Dragon when playing the black pieces because White can choose to play the Yugoslav Attack as above, which in my view favors White. There are sufficient other good Sicilian variations around to be played which give better chances for Black than the Dragon, so why should I play it then? Play a few games yourself with the Dragon as Black then you will know what I mean.

Alternative Moves to the Yugoslav Attack for White are:

Löwenfisch-Variation: 6.f4 Nc6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Nd7 9.exd6 exd6 10.Be2 Be7
Positional Fianchetto: 6.g2-g3
Classical Variation: 6.Be2 Bg7 7.Be3 Nc6 8.Nb3 Be6 9.f4 0-0 10.g2-g4?!

Dragon Variation – Chess Games

Flip Board: Press F-Key (or click e7 or d2 on top) Select a game: Click on grey bar

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