Everyone loves the Dragon Sicilian

by ChessBase
4/29/2008 – Maybe they don't enjoy playing or facing it, but if nothing else it's often a lot of fun watching games in that variation. That's what our Playchess.com lecturer Dennis Monokroussos will do this week. A treat for present-day dragoneers.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

Everyone loves the Dragon Sicilian, right? Maybe they don't enjoy playing or facing it, but if nothing else it's often a lot of fun watching games in that variation. That's what we'll do this week, but be warned: the contest between Vasily Byvshev and his strong grandmaster opponent Alexander Tolush is anything but theoretical. The actual move order was a Najdorf, and after 6.Bg5 Black played the theoretically questionable 6...Nbd7. Only after 7.Bc4 did the game take on a Dragon appearance with 7...g6 8.h4 Bg7 9.Qd2 0-0 10.0-0-0, and even then some unusual things happened from the perspective of modern ideas. Yet the game remained quite interesting, and Tolush's play is instructive even for today's Dragoneer.

We shouldn't be too surprised by this, as Tolush (1910-1969) was a strong GM who played in 10 Soviet championships, finishing in the top 5 three times, and whose work as a trainer was instrumental in Boris Spassky's development into an elite player. Known as a bloodthirsty attacking player who "always" went forward, Tolush shows in this game that he can also defend when necessary. Byvshev started out on the right foot, but once Tolush seized the initiative it was over in a hurry.

The opening of this game should be quickly forgotten, but there are lessons in the remainder that deserve to be remembered. It's impossible to remember what you don't experience, however, so you'll have to tune in. The show, which is free, starts Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on the playchess.com server and goes for about an hour. See you then!

Directions for watching the show, which starts at 9 p.m. ET, are here.

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Thursday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).

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Dennis Monokroussos is 41, lives in South Bend, IN, where he teaches chess and occasionally works as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University-South Bend.

At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S. and has reached a peak rating of 2434 USCF, but several long breaks from tournament play have made him rusty. He is now resuming tournament chess in earnest, hoping to reach new heights.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for ten years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.

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