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Sergey Karjakin vs Magnus Carlsen
Baku Grand Prix (2008), Baku AZE, rd 9, Apr-30
Sicilian Defense: Dragon Variation. Yugoslav Attack (B77)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-30-08  mistreaver: Can some1 explain why do people play h4 first instead of g4 ? i have tryed few times a set up with Be2 and g4 and it worked pretty well is it really doubtfull or what?
Apr-30-08  slomarko: to be honest i've absolutely no idea.
Apr-30-08  Augalv: Karjakin Sergey - Carlsen Magnus, Grand Prix Baku, 9th Round.

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

This is no longer a suprise.

6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.Bb3 Rc8 11.0-0-0 Ne5 12.Kb1 Re8 13.h4 h5 ( diagram )

click for larger view

If you compare this position with position from Radjabov - Carlsen you will notice that here we don't have B on g5 and R on c5.If White plan to play 14.Bh6 than this detail is irrelevant.


Best, White goes for small but lasting advantage.


Best, 14..Bh8? is a mistake.Althought in not tested 15.g4! should bring White an edge.

15.Bxc4 Rxc4 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Nd5 e5

Best again.Black must control g4 square with Bishop, price is weak fellow on d6.

18.Nxf6 Qxf6 ( diagram )

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Move itself is not bad but it does not bring advantage.Critical is 19.Nb3! Re6 20.Qa5! This is position where Black must solve his problem with awkward Rook on e6.

19..Rc6 20.Nc3 Be6

Optimal setup for Black.Game is equal.

21.Nd5 Bxd5 22.Qxd5 Qf4 23.Qd2 Qxd2 24.Rxd2 f5 ( diagram )

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25.Re1 Kf6 26.c3 Ke6 27.Kc2 fxe4 28.Rxe4 Rec8

Trying to do something on c-file.

29.Kd3 b5 30.a4 a6 31.axb5 axb5 32.Rb4 Rb5 33.Re2 Rd5+ 34.Kc2 Rc4 35.Kb3 Rxb4+ 36.Kxb4 Kd7 37.b3 Kc6 38.Ra2 Kb6 39.Re2 Rd1 ( diagram )

click for larger view

Black is having certain activity but you can't expect from Black to win this one.



40..exf4 41.Re6 Kc6 42.Rxg6 Rh1 43.c4 bxc4 44.bxc4 Rxh4 45.Rg5 ( diagram )

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Here 45..f3! 46.gxf3 Rh1 is best practical chance but it's still a draw.

46.Rxh5 Rxg2 47.Rf5 Rf2 48.Kc3 f3 49.Kd4 Rf1 50.Ke3 Ra1 51.Kxf3 Rf1+ 52.Ke4 Rxf5 53.Kxf5 Kc5 54.Ke6 Kxc4 55.Kxd6 draw

Extracted from blog about Sergey Karjakin.

Apr-30-08  januarylove: h4 is first played because white's main objective in the yugoslav is to open the h-file. although g4 does threaten g5 dislodging the knight, this activated Black's bishop - and also blocks a possible Bh6. i've tried both plans, and both are fine. h4 is much faster, as white immediately threatens h5. typically, h4-h5, then g4, and Rxh5 are used as well.
Apr-30-08  KingG: I'm no expert on the Dragon, but I thought the most critical line these days was 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0–0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0–0–0 Rc8 11.Bb3 Ne5 12.Kb1 Nc4 13.Bxc4 Rxc4 14.g4.

click for larger view

Now, Carlsen played 12...Re8 instead of 12...Nc4, but isn't 13.g4 still good? 13...Nc4 of course transposes, and the only other reasonable move seems to be 13...b5!?. Is that the reason Karjakin played 13.h4?

It's also interesting that Carlsen was asked at the press conference yesterday if there might now be a revivial of the Dragon at the top level, and he said something like 'No, I don't think so.' :-) I have to say that his style of playing many openings, many of them rarely played these days at the top level, makes him very difficult to prepare for and potentially gives him the advantage in the opening stages. For a start, his opponents rarely test him with the critical lines, either because they can't remember them, or because they are afraid of some improvement. I think it would make things more interesting if more players took his lead in this regard. The human memory is limited after all, and no one can possibly remember all the critical lines in every opening.

Premium Chessgames Member
  minasina: There were live commentaries: “translation” (without functioning board):

May-01-08  Warheart: On 12.Kb1 Nc4?! Is not wise thing to do because of 13.Bxc4 Rxc4 14.g4 which is better for White.If you are talking about 12.g4!? then 12..b5! is unclear. 12.h4 is main line or 12.Kb1 Re8 13.h4, it's a main thing. Why GM's are avoiding Dragon? First, they think it's unsound ( which is not true ).They are waiting for some top GM to start playing it.And only then masses will start to think about playing it, but noone desires to be the pioneer...
May-01-08  JuliusCaesar: A hard fight. Karjakin played well to keep the balance in the end. Apart from the previous Dragon (against Radjabov), this has been Magnus' best effort in the event so far.
May-01-08  mistreaver: <h4 is much faster, as white immediately threatens h5. > Yes but it also gives black time to play h5 and now it's hard for white to move g4 pawn. I am no expert but i played against many dragoons lately and i usually did well with the Be2 and g4 plan, altought strength of my opponents was doubtfull
May-01-08  Ulhumbrus: 13...h5 disturbs the King side pawns. If after the pawn sacrifice h4 White plays h5, Black's N on f6 covers the point h5. This suggests preparing g4 and h5 by first playing a N to f4 to counterbalance the effect of Black's Nf6 on h5 . On 14 Nd4-e2 Nc4 15 Bxc4 Rxc4 16 Nf4 Qa5 17 g4 hxg4 18 h5 the Nf4 supports the pawn on h5.
Aug-27-13  johnkr: My question is why does Carlsen play Re8 if he then allows the trade of light-sq bishops afer Bh6? Usually the point of Re8 is to let Black play Bh8. I did not check out vars yet. Seems that Black did end up with slightly inferior ending here so maybe Dragon is not good for much more than a draw at the GM level.
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