The Dragon Sicilian – Chess Openings with GM Damian Lemos

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The Sicilian Defense Dragon Variation is considered to be one of the sharpest chess openings you can play. It is also known to be one of the most extensively analyzed opening systems in chess and one of the most-feared counterattacking options against the move 1.e4.

It is an early declaration of war to any e4-player and usually leads to breathtaking dynamic and double-edged positions.

The Sicilian Dragon is a chess opening which has been played in World Championship Matches (It was used by Kasparov to twice defeat Vishy Anand in their World Championship Match in 1995, for example), and which has been called “unplayable” and believed dead – but it always rises again, more powerful than before.

“Refutations” of the Sicilian Dragon have been refuted over the years and many adherents of the Sicilian Dragon have spent countless hours looking for improvements, novelties, and modernizations.

It has been played by Super Grandmasters such as Carlsen, Kasparov, Ivanchuk, Radjabov, and Nakamura. It is an opening you either love or hate and one of those chess openings which you do not simply play casually, but about which you become passionate.

The Sicilian Dragon is part of the Open Sicilian and arises after the moves 1.e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 g6.

White has a pair of centralized knights, while black is preparing to fianchetto his bishop on f8 and to create strong pressure on the long diagonal.

Black’s main idea is to use the dark-squared bishop to pressure White’s center and the queenside, regardless of whether we have opposite or same-side castling. The bishop on g7 is the key attacking and defending piece and thus it is called the “Dragon bishop”.

It is instructive to see that the Dragon Variation is the most harmonious setup of all lines in the Sicilian Defense. Black has no clear weaknesses and all of his pieces find useful squares and coordinate well.

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