Sicilian Dragon, Yugoslav attack- with 10…Rb8!?, the Chinese Dragon


In the Sicilian Yugoslav attack where white plays the sharp 9.Bc4 (instead of 9.0-0-0), by far the most popular move is 10.Rc8. However, black does have a few reasonable alternatives such as 10…Qa5 and 10…Rb8. The later is called the Chinese Dragon, and has been gaining in popularity in the last decade. The dragon is notorious for its deep forcing continuations, often involving the exchange sac on c3, and the necessity for learning absurd amounts of opening theory in order to survive white’s kingside onslaught.

Part of the allure of the Chinese dragon then, is that it is a slight deviation from book, without changing the character of black’s attacking ideas that much. After the moves 1. e5 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8. Qd2 0-0 9.Bc4 Bd7 10. 0-0-0 Rb8!? the following position arises:

This is the so-called Chinese dragon. Edward Dearing’s coverage of this line in his famous book on the dragon cites a New In Chess article in Yearbook 62 by Luc Henris. Supposedly, it was Henris who dubbed the line the “Chinese Dragon” and the name has stuck. The list of top players who have tried their hand at this variation include the usual suspects of Dragonphiles, Tiviakov, Golubev, Chris Ward, even Carlsen has tried it on for size.

Black’s basic plan is play …b5 and the manoeuvre Na5-c4, or Ne5-c4, meeting Bxc4 with …bxc4, and playing against white’s king down the b-file instead of the usual play down the c-file. The attack plays itself, and anyone well versed in how to handle the black pieces in the main lines would be able to figure out the basic attacking schemes with the above clues in mind.

Below, find a collection of games from this variation which illustrate many of black’s attacking ideas on the queen-side as well as white’s plans, which usually involve either Kb1, Bh6, h4, and the well known dragon recipe of sac sac mate.