52 ( +1 | -1 ) Fischer on the Sicilian dragonBobby fischer has claimed that he has no respect for the dragon variation of the sicilian, and has been quoted saying that the recipy for defeating it is to pry open the h-file, -sac -sac - and mate. Blatant as always =). Naturally this is after castling long, setting up the yugoslav attack.
What i'd like to hear is a discussion on why that the dragon is different to other sicilian systems in this respect? Why does fischer only talk down the dragon? What makes him consider a king-side fianchetto in the sicilian as so bad?
74 ( +1 | -1 ) The king side fianchetto involves the opening of the kingside pawn structure. The move ...g6 is a weakening move (compensation comes in the form of the all-powerful g7-bishop). At first, I looked at that pawn structure and saw stability, so I couldn't understand this. But play over game after game where the enemy h-pawn is thrust upon that structure -- moving any pawn in front of the castled king really does give a point to attack.
Against other Sicilians, it's harder to pull off similar kingside pawnstorm. Black will just wait for the pawns to come and then push forward out of the way. White may have more space on the kingside, but his own pawns will block the entry of his pieces.
28 ( +1 | -1 ) It's interesting to compare the Dragon with the KID, too. In the KID, Black also fianchettos his Bf8, but White usually castles K-side, in part because c4 and d4 open up the Q-side pawns. There, it's usually Black who plays for a K-side pawn storm, while White's best chances are on the Q-side.
48 ( +1 | -1 ) I agree with everything said so far, and naturally pushing the h-pawn into a fianchettoed kingside is going to cause problems because simply pushing forward out of the way is going to leave the bishop open for attack. But you don't see the yugoslav attack in other fianchetto variations. Why this doesn't apply to the KID is described by kewms above, but what about the Robatsch Defense(1...g6) or other fianchetto variations? Or can we agree that every kingside fianchetto is open to this tactic?
76 ( +1 | -1 ) To vertho's point about other fianchettos being okay, I think the key probably lies in the defending pieces. In the Dragon, the Nf6 can be forced off by White's Nd5, or chased by the advancing pawns, while the Bg7 is subject to exchange by Bh6. In the KID, the central pawn chain, including white pawns on d5, e4, and f3, and black pawns on f4, e5, and d6, makes those particular exchanges impossible and in general makes it much more difficult to shift pieces from one side of the board to the other.
I'll let others speak to other fianchettos, since I don't play them myself.
FWIW, Fisher's comment isn't the last word on the Dragon, either. Plenty of players are still willing to walk right into it, knowing that the Yugoslav is looming.
244 ( +1 | -1 ) I may be over-generalizing, or just wrong, but you probably would have believed me had I not said this, so.... :
There was a time when I played the Pirc or Robatsch a lot. And many players will adopt a similar formation (Q on d2 with B on d3 to exchange on h6 or g7, pawn on f3 to protect the Bd3 from black's knight, castle queenside, throw h-pawn forward). Now, in the Sicilian Dragon, black has a semi-open c-file down which he can conduct a counter-attack to slow down white's kingside assault. Without that file open, black has little to do other than defend, IMO. So, in these types of positions, I am forced to open up the queenside in order to give me chances of victory, basically transposing into some type of weird Dragon.
However, this isn't seen as much as with the actual Dragon. I think the reason comes down to that open c-file. Without it, black has less queenside counterplay. And so white doesn't need to play as aggressively on the kingside in order to win. He can focus more on the center, which is how more Pirc/Robatsch games tend to go. Though I guess part of the Dragon does involve white usually having good control of the center, which does assist in the kingside attack, so maybe this is all somewhat wrong.
I believe I have had an opponent castle kingside in the white side of KID before. Hmmm, let me remember. Ah, yes, it was actually a game on here (one of my favorites, actually). The battle seemed to be on the kingside, which was where I (black pieces) had the space advantage. Things actually got cramped for white! Though I did mess up a bit and almost let him win, but then he made a mistake and I won instead. Point is, he did get his h-pawn onto h6. But I threw my pawns right past that, and I think I could do that only because the center pawns were all locked up. That greatly reduces his ability to break in, which I think is what kewms had said.
Another interesting point to that game: at one point, I could have attacked the queenside instead of defending the kingside. It looks like it would actually have won. So again, it's a risky strategy. You put all you've got into the kingside attack, and so your queenside defense suffers. If the queenside opens up, your king will be vulnerable.
Final point, I believe this general piece formation is playable against most Sicilians. Isn't it called the English attack in the Najdorf variation?
46 ( +1 | -1 ) Yes, the English Attack against the Najdorf is similar. The key differences are that Black hasn't played g6, which gives him a little more flexibility on the K-side, and has played a6, which gets his Q-side attack rolling faster. Also, it's not unheard of for Black to forego castling altogether in the Najdorf, and for the center to actually be the safest and most stable part of the board. Shoving a pawn up the h-file is much less effective with a Black Rh8....