30 March 2012

Slaying the Dragon

In honor of the Dragonslayer youth chess tournament tomorrow at Saint George's School, the tactical problems below all come from recent tournament games in the Yugoslav Attack against the Sicilian Dragon.* Sometimes the name St. George Attack is used for certain lines of the Yugoslav attack. I have failed to find historical information concerning this name in the usual places, but it seems appropriate for a line with a reputation for making a dragon's life short and unpleasant. On the other hand, the legend gets a little mixed up when the dragon becomes a mascot. Sometimes the beast prevails against our gallant knight in the positions below.

There may be more than one move that maintains an advantage for the side to move in some positions. We are looking for the best move in each case.

Black to move
Haria -- Wang, High Wycombe Open
3r2k1/p4p1p/3rb1p1/q1p1Q3/2B2P2/1P4P1/P1P4P/2KRR3 b - - 0 26

White to move
Ibrahimova -- Leolko, Moscow Open
2rq1rk1/1p1bppb1/3p2pB/p3n2n/3NP1p1/1BN2P2/PPPQ4/2KR3R w - - 0 16

White to move
Moreno Carretaro -- Perez Manas, Catalan Team Championship
5rkb/pp3p2/3p2pP/4pb1P/4q3/4B3/PPPQ4/2KR3R w - - 0 23

Black to move
Vuckovic -- Fedorovsky, European Individual Championship
r5k1/3R1pn1/1q2pQp1/1N4P1/5P2/2P5/1P6/2K5 b - - 0 40

White to move
Pokhlebin -- Kalinin, Moscow Championship
1r1qr3/4ppk1/2bp2p1/1p6/5Q2/1pN2P2/PPP3P1/2KR3R w - - 0 23

*[T]he name Yugoslav Attack, or Velimirovic variation, would not acquire that name until Dragoljub Velimirovic began playing it in the 1960s. See "12th Soviet Championship: Smyslov."


  1. First off you have a very clean and informative blog, two thumbs up. Second off I enjoyed solving these puzzles, thanks. Tried the first of the set will probably try the rest later.

    1...Rxd1+ 2. Rxd1 Qa3+ and mate on next.

    1. Rxh5 gxh5 2. Bxg7 Kxg7 3. Qg5+ Ng6 and maybe something like f4? Not sure about this one.

    1. In the first, your move order differs from the game. But, it appears just as good. However, White's Qb2 blocking check seems to prevent checkmate.

      Your second move for White needs to be different in the second problem. The first is correct, and is a theme that often comes up in these h-file assaults against the KID, Dragon, Pirc, and others with Black's dark squared fianchettoed.

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