I use this line a lot, as it tends to lead to interesting games, and I was wondering whether any advances in theory have been made here.

[FEN ""]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. Bc4 Bd7 10. O-O-O Rb8


  • 5
    It would be good if you could write out what you already know, or at least some research you have done, and/or which lines you think are giving problems from the perspective of black. – Ken Wei Aug 13 '15 at 20:49

When black plays the Dragon, recently, the top players tend to choose 9.0-0-0 and 9.g4, instead of 9.Bc4. For example, Topalov-Lu Shanglei, Wei Yi-Lu Shanglei, Caruana-Nakamura and Karjakin-Nakamura.

According to the Game Database of ChessTempo, after 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0, 10....Rc8 is the most popular choice. A couple of months ago, two books about the Dragon have been published, written by GM Jones. In Volume 1 he recommends 10....Rc8 and a couple of days ago, he used this move to beat GM Yu Yangyi.

However, according to the Game Database of ChessTempo, 10....Rb8 scores close to 50% with a performance of 2410, for players with an average rating of 2407. This indicates that 10....Rb8 is a good alternative for 10....Rc8.

White usually continues with 11.Bb3. After 11....Na5 12.Bh6 Bxh6 13.Qxh6 b5 14.g4, white does seem to be slightly better. Recent games of strong players are: Mamedov-Can, Ledger-Jones, Saric-Cvitan, Demchenko-Kanter and Georgiadis-Cvitan. The same position can arise after 12.g4 b5 13.Bh6 Bxh6 14.Qxh6.

      [FEN ""]
      [StartPly "20"]

      1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 O-O 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.Bc4 (9.O-O-O)(9.g4) Bd7 10.O-O-O Rb8 (10...Rc8) 11.Bb3 Na5 12.Bh6 (12.g4 b5 13.Bh6 Bxh6 14.Qxh6) Bxh6 13.Qxh6 b5 14.g4


There is a website dedicated to the Chinese Dragon. It's updated monthly with recent theory. www.sicilianchinesedragon.com


Going over lines with Stockfish 6, it appears White holds the edge in all lines after the counter-intuitive 11.Kb1. Which is maybe why this "works" for Black -- what player not already prepped is going to move King in line with enemy rook like that?

The main line seems to be 11.Kb1 Nxd4 12.Nxd4 b5 13.Be2 b4 14.Nd5 Nxd5 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.exd5.

If Black launches b5 right away, sacking it, there is not enough comp: 11.Kb1 b5 12.Ndxb5 Qc8 13.Bb3 (12...Ne5 13.Be2).

  • 2
    The move isn't counterintuitive. It allows white to attack without a threat of getting immediately counterattacked. Many variations have Kb1 and it normally becomes a habitual move. – Ariana Apr 25 '17 at 5:14
  • Typo: You mean 12.Bxd4, not 12.Nxd4 – Evargalo Aug 25 '17 at 8:35

The idea for white with 11. Kb1, a defensive move with a long term plan of playing Ka1 Then Rb1 which is a very safe king for white.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.