Friday, June 22, 2012


( GM Wesley So vs. GM Ray Robson SPICE CUP 2010 )

 This game was played in the 3rd round of the 2010 SPICE CUP. The six-player A Group featuring GM's Zoltan Almasi of Hungary 2707, Alexander Onischuk of the U.S 2688, Wesley So, Philippines 2668, Georg Meier, Germany 2659, Ray Robson, U.S 2539, and Eugene Perelshteyn, U.S 2528 was a category 16 event. It was the highest rated international invitational Chess tournament in U.S. history at that time.

GM Ray Robson is known to be a fine attacking player with the Sicilian Dragon as among his favorite defense . He is the youngest ever American GM to play for the United States, completing the qualifications at a younger age than Bobby Fischer and current US No.1 Hikaru Nakamura having attained the GM title just a couple of weeks before his fifteenth birthday.

 [Event "Spice Cup"]
[Site "Lubbock USA"]
[Date "2010.10.30"]
 [EventDate "2010.10.28"]
 [Round "3"]
 [White "Wesley So 2668"]
[Black "Ray Robson 2539"]

Sicilian Dragon Yugoslav Attack

 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4

In the last  round of the 2009 Intercontinental Asian Championships held in Subic International Convention Center, Philippines, Wesley was paired with another child prodigy in the person of Vietnam's top player GM Le Quang Liem.  Needing a win to qualify for that year's World Cup, GM So opted to sidestep GM Le's pet Sicilian Dragon and used  the Rossolimo variation ( 3. Bb5 )  instead.  He sacked a pawn and pressed his attack from the opening but GM Le defended tenaciously and was rewarded with a win. This time around, there is no side stepping and GM So was ready to meet the Dragon head on. 

3... cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 

The Yugoslav Attack. In his book " Starting Out: The Sicilian ", GM John Emms made the following  note: " I can safely say that the Yugoslav Attack is the ultimate test of the Dragon. White quickly develops his queenside and castles long before turning his attentions to an all-out assault on the black king. To the untrained eye, this attack can look both awesome and unnerving".

O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. O-O-O 

The 9. O-O-O was the original idea for White in the Yugoslav Attack and has made a come back in the 1990's. It is now considered as the main move. Previously, 9. Bc4 was considered more precise so as to prevent Black's next move.

9... d5!?

For more than 40 years, this gambit move is Black's main answer to 9. O-O-O. In his book " Easy Guide to the Dragon ", GM Mikhael Golubev stated that in his view, the position after 9. O-O-O d5 remains the most critical for Dragon theory ( and even for the fate of the Dragon) .    

10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Nxd5 cxd5 

13. Qxd5 Qc7 14. Qc5 Qb7 15. b3!

Previously, 15. Qa3 was considered as the main move. However, Houdini thinks that this move is better. It gives the white queen more option as it can go directly to a5 as in the game thereby saving  a tempo. GM Simon Williams, in his 2 Part DVD Series entitled " Killer Dragon " commented that in a recent game, GM Wesley So played 15. b3 thus he now considered it as the main line. He further commented that GM So is a very talented junior and very good theoretically.   

15... Bf5 16. Bd3 Rfc8?

Moving the wrong rook. More precise is 16... Rac8. 
GM Simon Williams made reference of this game 
in his 2 Part DVD Series "Killer Dragon " and 
considered the diagram as the critical moment of 
the game. He provided the continuation 16...Rac8 
17. Qa5 Rc3!18. Bxf5 Rxe3 and Black enjoys full 
compensation as in the game Smirin-Basin, USSR 
1985. This line would not be possible if Black's 
rook was on a8 because of 19. Be4 pinning black's 
queen and rook.   

17. Qa5 Qc6 18. Bxf5 gxf5 19. c4!

Black's position is now strategically lost. He has no counter play for the gambited pawn and white's pieces are slowly dominating the board. GM So conducted the rest of the game with seaming ease and precision. 

19... Qe6 20. Rhe1 Rab8 21. Bf4 Qf6 22. Be5 Bh6+ 

23. Kb1 Qb6 24. Qxb6 Rxb6 25. Rd7 Rxc4 

26. Bd4 Rbb4 27. Bb2 1-0

Replay the game below.