Friday, March 9, 2007

Sicilian Dragon, Yugoslav Attack

NM Jim West - IM Mike Valvo, Edgar McCormick Futurity 1991

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

By a slightly unusual move order, a Sicilian Dragon has been reached.

6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 O-O 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.h4 Rc8 11.Bb3 Ne5 12.O-O-O Nc4 13.Bxc4 Rxc4 14.h5 Nxh5 15.g4 Nf6 16.Nde2 Re8 17.e5

White often interpolates 17.Bh6 Bh8 before playing 18.e5.

17...Nxg4 18.fxg4 Bxe5?!

Valvo gets his lines mixed up. This move is playable with White's bishop on h6, as in the above note. But here Black must play 18...Bxg4 after which I was planning 19.e6 Bxe6 20.Bd4 f6 21.Nf4 Bf7 22.Qh2 h5 with sharp tactics in the air. Analysis by GM John Nunn now goes 23.Nxg6 Bxg6 24.Rdg1 Rxd4 25.Rxg6 Rg4 26.Qxh5 Rxg6 27.Qxg6 e6 28.Ne4 Rf8 with an unclear position. White appears to have a strong attack after 29.Qh7+ Kf7 30.Rg1 Rg8 31.Rg6, preparing to meet 31...d5 with 32.Nxf6. However, Black holds after 31...Qb6! 32.Rf6+ Ke7 33.Rxe6+ Kxe6 34.Qxg8+ Ke5 35.Qxg7+ Kxe4.


Now 19...Qa5, hoping for 20.Bxe5 Qxe5 transposing into variations good for Black in the 17.Bh6 line, would be crushed by 20.Qh6 threatening 21.Qxh7+ Kf8 22.Qh8+ Bxh8 23.Rxh8#.

19...Rxd4 20.Nxd4 Bxg4

Black has four connected passed pawns on the kingside for White's extra rook. But my next move allows him no time to consolidate.


Now on 21...Bxd1 White wins by 22.Qxh7+ Kf8 23.Rf1! Bf6 24.Rxf6 exf6 25.Nd5 followed by 26.Qh8#.

21...Bh5 22.Nf5!

Black is busted. For example:
(a) 22...Bxd1 23.Qxh7+ Kf8 24.Qh8+ Bxh8 25.Rxh8#.
(b) 22...gxf5 23.Rxh5 f6 24.Qxh7+ Kf8 25.Rg1 Bf4+ 26.Kb1 Bg5 27.Rgxg5 fxg5 28.Rxg5 followed by 29.Rg8#.
(c) 22...Qc8 23.Rxh5 gxh5 24.Qxh5 Qe6 (24...Bxc3 25.Rg1+ Kh8 26.Rh1) 25.Nd5 threatening 26.Nc7 as well as 26.Rg1+ Kh8 27.Rh1 Qg6 28.Ndxe7.

22...Kh8 23.Rxh5 gxh5 24.Rh1, Black resigns.

A pretty finish might have been 24...Rg8 25.Qxh5 Bf4+ 26.Kb1 h6 27.Qxh6+ Bxh6 28.Rxh6#.

{This article originally appeared in Atlantic Chess News in 1992}