A Dragon Trap

Curious-Blue-Dragon-and-Drake-Studying-Giant-Book-of-Magic-Statue-19-in.

You may know it already. Or maybe you just heard about it.

 

But there is a trap in the Sicilian Dragon which catches many players each year. Including Masters.

 

And if you can defeat a Master within a few moves of the game; well, it’s probably something worth memorizing.

 

First some background information.

 

The Sicilian Dragon is a large complex of moves and variation that all feature a fianchettoed bishop on g7.

 

This trap is to be found in the Levenfish Variation and is defined as 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 (B71, if you are familiar with ECO).

The reasoning behind 6.f4 is to support a large center for White and to support a well-timed e5.

 

The first reason is easy to see. The second is not so easy as one has to visualize such a move (e5) and determine if it is a threat after each and every move.

 

In fact, many players do not suspect that .e5 may be coming so soon in the game and confidently, and yet innocently, play 6…Bg7?, which gives White a huge, almost winning, advantage.

 

The moves are 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7. And now White plays 7.e5, which attacks the knight with White having a strong center and better mobility for his pieces.

 

Even not reaching the main trap of the line, Black can lose very, very fast.

 

FM Perelshteyn-Shivaji (2230)
Pan Am Intercollegiate, 1998
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5
2019_12_19_A8…Nfd7 (8…Nd5 9.Bb5+ ; 8…Ng4 9.Bb5+ Nc6 10.Nxc6 Qxd1+ 11.Nxd1 Bd7 12.Nd4 Bxe5 13.Bxd7+ Kxd7 14.Nf3) 9.e6 Ne5 10.exf7+ Kxf7 11.Be2 Nbc6 12.O-O+ Bf6 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Bf4 Kg7 15.Qc1 h6 16.Kh1 Qb6 17.Ne4 Be6 18.Be3 Qc7 19.Nc5 Bf7 20.Bf4 Qb6 21.Qe3 Nc4 22.Ne6+ Bxe6 23.Qxe6 Na5 24.Be5 Qb7 25.Ba6 1-0

 

Hugo Spangenberg-Sergio Medina
Buenos Aires, 1999
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 Nfd7 8.e6 Nf6 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.exf7 Kxf7 11.Qf3 e6 12.Be3 d5 13.O-O-O Rf8 14.h4 Nc6 15.h5 Ne7 16.g4 Kg8 17.hxg6 hxg6 18.g5 Ng4 19.Qxg4 Bxd4 20.Bxd4 1-0

 

L. Zsiltzova Lisenko (2284)-P. Berggren (1913)
World Blind Ch.
Goa, India, Oct.9 2006
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 Ng4 8.Bb5+ Bd7 9.Qxg4 dxe5 10.fxe5 Bxe5 11.Bxd7+ Nxd7 12.Nf3 Bg7 13.O-O O-O 14.Kh1 Rc8 15.Qh4 Bxc3 16.bxc3 Rxc3 17.Bh6 Rxc2 (If 17…Re8, then 18.Qd4 still wins.) 18.Bxf8 Nxf8 19.Qa4 Qc7 20.Qxa7 e5 21.Qe3 Nd7 22.Rac1 e4 23.Ng5 Qc5 24.Qxc5 Rxc5 25.Rxc5 1-0

 

D. Tahiri (2099)-F. Niehaus (2204)
Lichtenberger Sommer
Berlin, Aug.24 2006
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 Nh5 8.Bb5+ Bd7 9.e6 fxe6 10.Nxe6 Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Qc8 12.Bxd7+ Nxd7 13.O-O Nc5 14.Qd4 Nf6 15.Ng5 Qf5 16.Re1 Kd7

2019_12_19_B
17.Re5! 1-0

 

The prevalent thought among most Black players at this point to first remove the attacking pawn from e5 and then worry about the knight. This idea, while valid in many positions in chess, actually places Black in worse position, due to the now-opened lines White has his disposal.

 

Let’s review the moves once again.

 

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5

 

Black still has his knight under attack and he has to do something. Meanwhile, White has increased his attacking possibilities. White’s win is more certain.

 

V. Ortiz-J. Romagosa
corres., 1946
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Bg4 9.Bb5+ Nbd7 10.Qd3 Ng8 11.Qe4 Bxe5 12.Qxe5 Nf6 13.Bh6 Qb8 14.Qxb8+ Rxb8 15.Bg7 Rg8 16.Bxf6 exf6 17.O-O 1-0

 

Bubenyik-Mayer
corres., 1967
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng8 9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.e6 Bxb5 11.Ncxb5 Nf6 12.Qf3 Qb6 13.exf7+ Kxf7 14.Qb3+ e6 15.Nc7 Qxc7 16.Qxe6+ Kf8 17.Qxf6+ Bxf6 18.Ne6+ Kf7 19.Nxc7 1-0

 

D. Berezjuk-P. Carlsson
European Youth Ch.
Rimavska Sobota, 1992
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nh5 9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.e6 Bxb5 11.exf7+ Kxf7 12.Qf3+ Nf6 13.Ndxb5 Qd7 14.O-O Qc6 15.Qg3 Nd7 16.Be3 Rhf8 17.Nxa7 Qc4 18.Rad1 Kg8 19.Qf4 Qxf4 20.Rxf4 Bh6 21.Rf3 Bxe3+ 22.Rxe3 Rxa7 23.Rxe7 Rf7 24.Re3 Ra5 25.a3 Rf5 26.Ne4 Nxe4 27.Rxe4 Rf2 28.Rc4 Nf8 29.h3 Ne6 30.b3 Re2 31.Rf1 Rd7 32.Rf2 Rd1+ 33.Rf1 Rdd2 34.Rg4 Rxc2 35.Rg3 Nd4 36.Rf6 Nf5 37.Rxf5 Rxg2+ 38.Rxg2 Rxg2+ 39.Kxg2 gxf5 40.Kf3 Kf7 41.Kf4 Ke6 42.h4 Kf6 43.h5 Ke6 44.h6 Kf6 45.a4 Kg6 46.a5 Kxh6 47.b4 Kg6 48.b5 h5 49.a6 1-0

 

Mueller-Hoffmann
St. Ingbert Open
Germany, 1995
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Bg4 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Ne6+ 1-0

 

FM Perelshteyn-Shivaji (2230)
Pan Am Intercollegiate, 1998
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5

2019_12_19_C

8…Nfd7 (8…Nd5 9.Bb5+ ; 8…Ng4 9.Bb5+ Nc6 10.Nxc6 Qxd1+ 11.Nxd1 Bd7 12.Nd4 Bxe5 13.Bxd7+ Kxd7 14.Nf3) 9.e6 Ne5 10.exf7+ Kxf7 11.Be2 Nbc6 12.O-O+ Bf6 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Bf4 Kg7 15.Qc1 h6 16.Kh1 Qb6 17.Ne4 Be6 18.Be3 Qc7 19.Nc5 Bf7 20.Bf4 Qb6 21.Qe3 Nc4 22.Ne6+ Bxe6 23.Qxe6 Na5 24.Be5 Qb7 25.Ba6 1-0

 

Incredibly, White’s attacking chances increase even more if Black’s knight was to move to g4 or d5.

 

8.fxe5 Ng4

 

Aguilera-Lopez
Madrid, 1946
[This game has been repeated many times. Memorize it!]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4? (>Nfd7)

2019_12_19_D

9.Bb5+ Kf8? (After 9….Bd7, White plays 10.Qxg4 as Black’s bishop is pinned. Nevertheless, this move is the lesser evil.) 10.Ne6+ 1-0

 

Pilnik-Kashdan, 1948
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4 9.Bb5+ Nc6 10.Nxc6 Qxd1+ 11.Nxd1 a6 12.Ba4 Bd7 13.h3 Nh6 14.Nxe7 Bxa4 15.Nd5 Rd8 16.c4 Nf5 17.Bg5 Rd7 18.N1c3 Bc6 19.O-O-O h5 20.Nc7+ Kf8 21.Rxd7 Bxd7 22.Rd1 Bxe5 23.Rxd7 h4 24.Ne4 Nd4 25.Rd8+ Kg7 26.Ne8+ Kh7 27.N4f6+ Bxf6 28.Nxf6+ 1-0

 

Glenn Cornwell-Jerry Gray
Southern Amateur
Tennessee, 1972
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4? (8…Nd7 9.e6!) 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Ne6+ fxe6 11.Qxd8+ Kf7 12.O-O+ Nf6 13.Rxf6+ Bxf6 14.Qd4 Bg7 15.Bg5 Nc6 16.Bxc6 bxc6 17.Rf1+ Kg8 18.Qc5 1-0

 

Crotto-Hindle
Haifa Ol., 1976
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4 9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.Qxg4 Bxb5 11.Ndxb5 Bxe5 12.Bh6 a6 13.Rd1 Qb6 14.Qc8+ 1-0

 

B.Probola-A.Plicner
Polish U16 Ch.
Zakopane, Jan. 21 2001
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Ng4 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Ne6+ fxe6 11.Qxd8+ Kf7 12.O-O+ Bf6 13.Rxf6+ Nxf6 14.Qxh8 a6 15.exf6 exf6 16.Bh6 1-0

8.fxe5 Nd5

 

Watts-Pierce
corres., 1946
1.e4 c5 2.Ne2 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Rf1 Bxe5 11.Qf3 Nf6 12.Bh6+ Kg8 13.Nde2 Nc6 14.Rd1 Bxc3+ 15.Qxc3 Bd7 16.Rxf6 exf6 17.Rxd7 Qa5 18.Bxc6 Qxc3+ 19.Nxc3 bxc6 20.Ne4 1-0

 

R. Nezhmetdinov-P. Ermolin
Kazan Ch., 1946
1.e4 c5 2.Ne2 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.O-O Bxe5 (10…e6 11.Qf3) 11.Bh6+ Kg8 (11…Bg7 12.Bxg7+ Kxg7 13.Nxd5 Qxd5 14.Nf5+) 12.Nxd5 Qxd5 13.Nf5 Qc5+ 14.Be3 Qc7 15.Nh6+ 1-0

 

Crisovan-Rey
Switzerland, 1951
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.O-O Bxe5 11.Bh6+ Kg8 12.Nxd5! Qxd5
2019_12_19_E

13.Nf5! Qc5+ (Not 13…Qxb5 due to 14.Nxe7#. The text move also loses. But Black is lost as White also threatens Qd8+.) 14.Be3 Qc7 15.Nh6+ Kg7 16.Rxf7mate 1-0

 

N.N.-Karlin
Pan Am Intercollegiate, 1998
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.O-O e6 11.Qf3 Qe7 12.Bg5 1-0

 

Nicolaisen-Skovgaard
Politiken Cup
Copenhagen, 2001
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nd5 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Nxd5 Qxd5 11.O-O Bxe5 12.Bh6+ Kg8 13.Nf5 Qc5+ 14.Be3 Qc7 15.Nh6+ Kg7 16.Rxf7mate 1-0

 

How does Black get out of such mess if White was to play the Levenfish?

 

8.f4 Nc6!? is useful to Black as the Nc6 protects the Queen on d8.

 

Evans-Reshevsky
New Orleans, 1955
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Nc6 7.Nf3 Bg4 8.h3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Bg7 10.Be3 O-O 11.Rd1 Qa5 12.a3 Rac8 13.Be2 Nd7 14.e5 Nb6 15.O-O dxe5 16.Nb5 Nd4 17.Bxd4 exd4 18.Qxb7 Nc4 19.Bxc4 Rxc4 20.Nxa7 d3 21.Kh2 dxc2 22.Rc1 Qd2 23.Nc6 Kh8 24.Qb5 Re4 25.Nb4 Rxf4 26.Qg5 Rf2 27.Qxd2 Rxd2 28.Rxc2 Rxc2 29.Nxc2 Bxb2 30.Rf3 Rc8 31.Ne3 Kg7 32.Nd5 e6 33.Nb4 e5 34.Rb3 Bd4 35.Nd5 Rc5 36.Nb6 e4 37.Kg3 f5 38.a4 Ra5 39.Kf4 Kf6 0-1

 

Djuric-Mencinger
Ljubljana, 1981
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Nc6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Bd3 a6 9.O-O O-O 10.Kh1 b5 11.a4 b4 12.Nd5 Bb7 13.f5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Ne5 15.Be4 Nd7 16.Ng5 Qa5 17.Bd2 h6 18.fxg6 hxg5 19.c4 fxg6 20.Qg4 Nf6
2019_12_19_F
21.Qe6+ Kh7 22.Qh3+ Kg8 23.Qe6+ Kh7 24.Qh3+ Kg8 25.Qe6+ 1/2-1/2

Perhaps even better for White is 6.Be3, a favorite of Tal.

 

James Drasher-Brian Polka
US Amateur Team, East
Parsippany NJ, Feb. 13 1999
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Nc6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Be2 O-O 9.Qd2 Ng4 10.Bg1 Bd7 11.h3 Nf6 12.O-O-O Rc8 13.g4 Nxd4 14.Bxd4 Bc6 15.Bd3 Qc7 16.g5 Nd7 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.h4 Nc5 19.h5 f5 20.hxg6 hxg6 21.Rh6 Rg8 22.Bc4 Nxe4 23.Rh7+! Kf8 (23…Kxh7 24.Qh2+ Kg7 25.Qh6#) 24.Qd4! Nxc3

2019_12_19_G

25.Qg7+! 1-0

 

But Black can improve by NOT moving his Bishop so early. He can play after 6.f4, 6…Nbd7. This prevents any checks and the knight lays siege on e5, which also prevents .e5. The variation is known as Flohr Variation.

 

U. Andersson- Raimundo Garcia
Skopje-Krusevo-Ohrid, 1972
1.Nf3 g6 2.e4 c5 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.f4 Nbd7 7.Nf3 Qc7 8.Bd3 Bg7 9.O-O O-O 10.Qe1 a6 11.Kh1 b5 12.e5 dxe5 13.fxe5 Ng4 14.e6 Nc5 15.Qh4 Nxd3 16.cxd3 Bxe6 17.Ng5 h5 18.Nxe6 fxe6 19.Bg5 Rxf1+ 20.Rxf1 Rf8 21.Rxf8+ Kxf8 22.Ne4 Bxb2 23.Bd2 Bf6 24.Qh3 Qe5 25.Qg3 Qxg3 26.Nxg3 Nf2+ 27.Kg1 Nxd3 28.Kf1 Kf7 29.Ne4 e5 30.g3 Nb2 31.Nc5 Nc4 32.Bc1 a5 33.Ke2 Nd6 34.Bd2 b4 35.Kd3 e4 36.Nxe4 Nxe4 37.Kxe4 Ke6 0-1

 

F. Vreugdenhil (2150)-A. Summerscale (2423)
Coulsden International
England, Sept. 5 1999
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Nbd7 7.Nf3 Qc7 8.Be3 Bg7 9.Bd3 a6 10.h3 b5 11.a3 Bb7 12.O-O Nc5 13.Bd4 O-O 14.g4 e5 15.fxe5 Nfxe4 16.Nxe4 Nxe4 17.Qe1 dxe5 18.Bxe4 Bxe4 19.Qxe4 exd4 20.Nxd4 Qg3+ 21.Kh1 Qxh3+ 22.Kg1 Rae8 0-1

 

And Black, now playing this newer variation, can survive. At in least the opening.

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