Complete Dragon Repertoire
We have the pleasure to present a unique opening course by GM Mihail Marin - Complete Dragon Repertoire. This opening database is different from everything we have been doing so far.
The material consists of the following components: Theoretical Part (51 Opening Chapters), Video Part (2 hours running time), Memory Booster, and Strategy Booster.
The Strategy Booster is a new feature of the Modern Chess opening courses. The Strategy Booster consists of thematic exercises divided into several categories. While the Memory Booster helps you in the process of memorization of the concrete lines, the Strategy Booster is designed to improve your understanding and intuition. In this database, the Strategy Booster includes 59 exercises (with extensively annotated solutions) divided into the following 5 sections - Attack, Tactics and Calculation, Positional Sacrifices, Structure with 9...d5, White Pawn on d5.
Introduction by the Author
The main position of our current repertoire arises after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6
During my teenage, I noticed that many of the young promising Soviet players had the Dragon in their repertoire. I inferred that at that age, their trainers considered that this sharp opening develops a series of qualities, such as tactical skills and the ability to take decisions in extremely sharp positions. I have been playing the Dragon at a more advanced age, between 1994-1996. I got so much into it that during those years I used other openings in very rare cases only.
My main idea had been to retrieve my vitality from earlier years since I felt that my play between 1991-1993 had lost some of its strength. Why did I stop playing it? That sounds like a natural question. This happened when Kasparov used it for turning the World title match with Anand to his favour (among others, he used one of my recent novelties). I understood that the opening would become popular instantly and I have never intended to play along fashionable paths. I took up the Dragon when it had almost fallen into oblivion, but after that match, I felt that it ceased to be "my personal" opening.
After a break of a quarter of a century, with plenty of time during the quarantine year, I suddenly felt the urge to study the Dragon again. This database is the result of my latest researches (even though much of what I knew earlier still applies).
Optically, the Dragon is the most aesthetically appealing Sicilian, due to the elegant structure reminding of a Dragon's tail (as, for instance, in the constellation with the same name).
I was surprised when the former World title candidate Kevin Spraggett (with whom I have been maintaining friendly relations for decades) criticised the Dragon for its lack of flexibility. He did not give more details, but I thought that he might have had two different aspects in mind. Let us compare the Dragon with the Scheveningen system. In the latter variation, Black has a central "hedgehog" consisting of the pawns on e6 and d6. They control a lot of central squares, preventing for instance Nd5 (unless there is a tactical justification for it). Moreover, Black can choose whether to attack the centre with ...e6-e5 or ...d6-d5. This requires from White to be permanently alert and somewhat restricts his active possibilities. From this point of view, the Dragon structure looks more rigid. On the other hand, the strong bishop on g7 adds force to the queenside attack. Besides, Black has no obvious weakness in the centre (in the Scheveningen, the d6-pawn is relatively weak, for instance). The positional systems examined in the Lines 40 to 51 show that Black's play is no less flexible than White's! The second aspect behind Kevin's statement may refer to the sharp positions arising in the Rauzer attack (Lines 1 to 39). Indeed, Black is frequently walking on a tight rope, with rare possibilities of deviating. This is a reason why this opening experienced long periods of crisis. However, the same can be said about White, who has to avoid numerous tactical dangers on the way to building an attack. A natural question is why did the crisis happen only from Black's point of view? I would answer that Black needs a bit more imagination in order to keep the game going with balanced chances in irrational positions. As mentioned above, this is precisely why one needs to play the Dragon at least for a while if one wishes to develop certain skills, useful in all kinds of other openings, too!
If you wish to develop your fighting skills, I believe that the Dragon deserves a try from you, dear reader! As the last word, you may have noticed already that the Rauzer attack occupies almost 80% of the space below. This is explained by the fact that play is extremely concrete in this system. One does not have to remember all the examined lines, but the material below should be useful for developing one's specific intuition. Hopefully, it will also please your aesthetic feelings! The positional systems do not require very precise knowledge. Therefore, the character of my analysis is anything but exhaustive. I have kept a depth level that I consider sufficient for myself and I am sure that this will be useful for the reader, too.