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Sicilian, Dragon (B72)
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 g6 6 Be3

Number of games in database: 1714
Years covered: 1892 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 38.4%
   Black wins 31.8%
   Draws 29.8%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Gabriela Lnenickova  12 games
Alexander Fishbein  10 games
Lothar Vogt  10 games
Tony Miles  12 games
Gennadi Sosonko  11 games
Andrew Jonathan Mestel  11 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Y Gusev vs E Auerbach, 1946
Beliavsky vs Kupreichik, 1973
A W Fox vs H L Dickerson, 1904
I Kan vs Botvinnik, 1936
E Garcia vs M Preuss, 2005
Short vs Chiburdanidze, 1985
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 page 1 of 69; games 1-25 of 1,714  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Lasker vs R Short 1-0221892Simul, 26bB72 Sicilian, Dragon
2. A W Fox vs H L Dickerson 1-0271904Brooklyn CC chB72 Sicilian, Dragon
3. Spielmann vs B Leussen 0-1421905ScheveningenB72 Sicilian, Dragon
4. P Johner vs A W Fox 0-1221906Fox - Johner mB72 Sicilian, Dragon
5. M Smith vs C Curt  1-0391908Curt - Smith mB72 Sicilian, Dragon
6. Yates vs H Voigt 1-060191113th Anglo-American Cable MatchB72 Sicilian, Dragon
7. R P Michell vs G Schwietzer  ½-½67191113th Anglo-American Cable MatchB72 Sicilian, Dragon
8. J Fridlizius vs V Sjoberg  0-1551912StockholmB72 Sicilian, Dragon
9. Chess Club of Bergen op Zoom vs Chess Club of Middelburg  ½-½351924corrB72 Sicilian, Dragon
10. G A Thomas vs Colle 0-1281925Baden-BadenB72 Sicilian, Dragon
11. W Koch vs L Engels  ½-½291929ht BB72 Sicilian, Dragon
12. J Schulz Sr vs J Rejfir  1-0561930Mnichovo HradisteB72 Sicilian, Dragon
13. B H Villegas vs Tartakower  0-1921931Buenos AiresB72 Sicilian, Dragon
14. O Rocas vs A Gama  1-0611933Brazilian Championship MatchB72 Sicilian, Dragon
15. G Schories vs B Koch  1-0271933GER-ch 1stB72 Sicilian, Dragon
16. G Schories vs K Richter  0-1301933GER-ch 1stB72 Sicilian, Dragon
17. L Steiner vs Petrov  1-0601933Moravska OstravaB72 Sicilian, Dragon
18. V Rauzer vs Lisitsin  0-1461933USSR ChampionshipB72 Sicilian, Dragon
19. L Steiner vs P Frydman  0-1331934UjpestB72 Sicilian, Dragon
20. P Rabinovich vs M Yudovich Sr.  ½-½301935Moscow-chB72 Sicilian, Dragon
21. P Rabinovich vs N Riumin  ½-½411935Moscow-chB72 Sicilian, Dragon
22. J Enevoldsen vs E Lundin 0-1311935Warsaw OlympiadB72 Sicilian, Dragon
23. R Skuja vs Petrov  0-1561935Latvian ChampionshipB72 Sicilian, Dragon
24. N Kopaev vs Kokinsky  1-0351936RSFSR 1st CategoryB72 Sicilian, Dragon
25. A Gerschenkron vs K Kopetzky  ½-½351936Club matchB72 Sicilian, Dragon
 page 1 of 69; games 1-25 of 1,714  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-29-04  ruylopez900: Long live the Dragon! for it is a nobe beast!
Feb-29-04  Benjamin Lau: It's also a good opening in an activity known as chess.
Feb-15-06  blingice: Ah yes. Question: What is the necessity of g6 again?
Feb-15-06  RookFile: Well, guys like Rubinstein used to ask the same question. The classically strong chess theorists argued against the finachetto for black, arguing that you can just arrange the exchange of bishops, leaving black weak on the squares the bishop then no longer covers. Further, g6 is vulnerable to a push like h4 and h5.

Gee, with all these negatives, you'd think black could just save trouble and resign. Yet, there is one factor: that bishop on g7 is a magnificent piece, often fully equal to any rook white has. If black can find a way to keep it on the board, he usally has a great game.

Feb-15-06  Zaius: Other than preventing a white e5 what is the purpose of d6?
Feb-15-06  square dance: <zaius> seems like ...d6 is played to activate the light squared bishop.
Mar-29-06  suenteus po 147: How come the database doesn't have any games with the move 7.Bd3 in this position?:

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <suenteus po 147> for move seven? for white? In this line, Be3 was played on move 6.
Mar-29-06  suenteus po 147: I'm asking, once the position I posted is reached, why doesn't anyone play 7.Bd3?
Mar-29-06  sitzkrieg: Cause there is no point in wasting time i pressume
Mar-29-06  suenteus po 147: <sitzkrieg> Oh, okay. Guess I was playing against someone who doesn't know Dragon theory.
Mar-29-06  sitzkrieg: I guess its playable..
Mar-29-06  ganstaman: <suenteus po 147>: The usual move is 7. f3, right, which I think is used to prevent ...Ng4.

So 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. Bd3 Ng4, and now the d4 knight looks like it should be lost (though I'm noticing that 8. Qd2 should hold, but might not be pretty for white. Either black exchanges the knight for the dark square bishop and then tries Nc6, or black plays 8...Ne5, which may or may not actually be a good move).

Note that the other moves played don't block the white queen from her defence of the d4 knight. Maybe 7...Ng4 isn't winning, but it does provide black some good play that he doesn't quite get after 7. f3

Mar-29-06  Kelvieto: <ganstaman> in your line "1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. Bd3 Ng4" on whites eight move, can't he/she just play 8.Bb5+ and win the knight?
Mar-29-06  suenteus po 147: <ganstaman> Thanks for the insight and analysis!

I've been playing the black side of 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 recently since the Najdorf gives me headaches. However, recently I've been facing transpositions into the Najdorf with 3.Nc3, to which I always play 3...d6 4.d4 cxd6 5.Nxd4 and then if I play 5...a6 the headaches come back. So I've been experimenting instead with transposing into the Dragon for kicks and I'm trying to find simple themes and moves that I can spring in just such an occasion :)

Mar-29-06  hayton3: <suenteus po 147: I'm asking, once the position I posted is reached, why doesn't anyone play 7.Bd3?>

In answer to your question one of the advantages for White in the Open Sicilian is the half-open d-file. Why close up that file with 7.Bd3? - it clogs up White's mobility and stifles his space advantage. Moreover the bishop simply plays the role of a tall pawn on d3 instead of taking up a more threatening and active post on c4.

Also at some stage White should play f3, preferably on move 7 so as to prevent the knight attacking the bishop on e3 from g4. Note that if Black plays Ng4 before placing his bishop on g7 then Bb5+! wins the knight.

Finally, in response to <7.Bd3> Black can simply play 7...Nc6 virtually forcing the exchange of knights, solidifying Black's centre and with White a tempo down as he will have to relocate the bishop of d3. All in all 7.Bd3 is a great way of taking the sting out of the Dragon and allowing Black more than an equal game.

Mar-29-06  ganstaman: <<Kelvieto>: <ganstaman> in your line "1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. Bd3 Ng4" on whites eight move, can't he/she just play 8.Bb5+ and win the knight?>

Yeah, 8.Bb5+ seems to force 8...Kf8 to avoid losing material for black. Now things are real awkward for the black kingside (thought the h8 rook may be good for some defense, but it's definitely not ideally placed). So 7...Ng4 does seem to be a mistake.

Everything hayton3 says seems right to me, so maybe we should just listen to him instead. After 7...0-0, black is now threatening Ng4, and the bishop ends up getting in the way at d3.

I don't actually play either side of the dragon, so I don't really know from experience which pieces are most valuable to each side. How are things after 7.Bd3 Nc6 8.Bb5 Bd7 or 8...Qc7? Should white then make the trade, following up possibly with f3 and then continuing on with the normal plan of queenside castling and kingside sacrificing?

Mar-29-06  suenteus po 147: <hayton3> Thanks! Your comments are very helpful and to the point.
Apr-28-06  jamesmaskell: I came across a Dragon transposed from a Najdorf last night. Imagine my suprize... Lost the game but against stronger opposition and my second OTB game for a while. This is the first time Ive come across a Dragon and Im not too ashamed of it as I expected to be hammered as soon as I saw the fianchetto. I put in a Yugoslav and shoved the rook into an open e-file and tried to prise it open. I eventually did flood into the queenside through that file but got caught out on a tactic and left myself overextended. One swift counter attack by Black and I was a knight down. Ultimately I was doomed due to mistakes in calculation, so I was quite pleased with my game.
Oct-30-06  Sami Jr: Does anyone know why the statistics of <White wins/Black wins/Draws> here are very different than that listed in the opening expolorer? Here the stats are listed at <37.6%/31.8%/30.6%> versus <46.1%/25%/28.9%> in the opening explorer. They are very different. The first set of statistics look favorable for black to want to play the Dragon where as the second set of statistics are much more dismal. Are they based on different databases or something? Anybody know?
Oct-30-06  who: The stats here are for any opening that reaches this position but doesn't transpose (or get further specified) into another opening. This means the people are playing an offbeat Sicilian. The opening explorer deals with all positions which have this setup independant of which opening they turn into.
Oct-30-06  ganstaman: And determining which is more useful is tough, too. On one hand, your opponent and you can enter any of various ECO codes, so looking at the move overall in the OE should give you the most information. On the other hand, many of those variations in the OE are trash, and you'd really expect the good moves (with ECO codes) to be played, so the stats here give you more info.

It's easier just to close your eyes and move whatever you touch first.

Jun-19-09  Moses2792796: I think this is slightly better for white because of 0-0-0 and h2-h4-h5. If black plays Nc6 instead of d6 and keeps a tempo in hand he gets a better game, despite the maroczy bind.
Oct-23-09  SetNoEscapeOn: <Moses2792796: I think this is slightly better for white because of 0-0-0 and h2-h4-h5. If black plays Nc6 instead of d6 and keeps a tempo in hand he gets a better game, despite the maroczy bind.>

I'm not sure what you mean. 2...d6 does not define the dragon; indeed, you can reach the dragon quite easily by playing 2...Nc6. There is no "loss of tempo" involved. Both moves can lead to the Najdorf, Scheveningen, Classical, or other Sicilians, and white has a plethora of plans that he can employ against each one of them that do not involve the Maroczy Bind.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WTHarvey: Here's a collection of 78 tactical puzzles taken from short games in the B72 Dragon opening: Find the winning move.

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