As a beginning/intermediate player I have come up against the Dragon Sicilian in
many encounters and decided that I needed to find a way to tackle it. At first I
looked at the Yugoslav Attack, but realized that against a Dragoneer who knew not
to let me open the h-file I was hard pressed to find a devastating attack. About
3 months ago I came across the Levenfish variation and have found that I am able
to use it to effect against those same Dragoneers with whom the Yugoslav failed.
The Levenfish turns the board into a minefield of tactical traps along with chances
to sacrifice material for an overwhelming attack like you will see in my game. If
someone is playing the Dragon and is unprepared to meet this attack he should think
Sicilian Levenfish Variation
f4 This is the Levenfish variation of the Sicilian Dragon. After the
exchange of pawns 7...dxe5
and then 8...Nd7
black can equalize, but white has the pawn sac with 9.e6
recapturing the pawn right away) to make the game board a dangerous place for the
Black king that will be trapped in the middle and black needs to play accurately
to stop white from building an attack. Playing 6...Nc6
to stop the e5 pawn push is usually played to keep the board in a more familiar
position to the Dragon Sicilian.
Nd5? This move causes black to lose his ability to castle. 8...Nd7
is the only good move here, but black needs to be able to deal with 9.e6
drops the knight to 9.Bb5+
Kf8 Any other move loses badly. 9...Bd7
drop the knight to 10.Nxd5
loses to 10.Nxc6
with an attack on the queen, the knight on d5 and indirectly on the rook on a8 which
stops black from recapturing with 10...bxc6
The book move that I found here is
0-0 but I was really attached to my pawn on e5 because of the pressure that
it could possibly put on e6. (I was scared to sacrifice this pawn, because this
game was played as part of my high school tournament and I didn’t want to lose for
my team, this being said the sacrifices I made later in the game seem very ironic)
I wanted to force black to make a move with his knight or to protect his knight
while I used the tempo that I gained to show how I could flex my power on the f-file.
After playing 10.0-0
white needs to be able to deal with 10...Bxe5
with a nice attack. Black can not play 13...Qxc4
or else 14.Ne6+
0-0!? Right here I feel like I lost the tempo if I had recaptured the
knight. I felt this built my before mentioned flex on the f-file. This move also
hangs my knight on d4 while giving my opponent a check to my king which I was hoping
he would see and take. 11...
Be3 In conversation with my opponent after the game he said "I just
figured that my check was faster than checkmate." After he captured my knight as
I had hoped he would his only variation to maintain at least equality is 12...Qxe3+
where black will have 3 minor pieces for a queen. I still feel like my development
might help me retain a small advantage, but I was scared of this move during the
game. His greed was his downfall by trying to hold on to his two knight advantage.
Qd5? This move looks like it protects the mate threat while retaining
a large material advantage until I played my next move.
Rad1!! This move adds a second mate threat on d8 to the already potent
one on f7. Blacks problem after this move is that his lack of development is now
being thrown right in his face, while whites development is superb. Whites pieces
are all developed to their maximum squares with rooks on the open files, bishops
on open, useful diagonals, and his queen has a rook behind it aiming at the black
king along with being on the f3-b7 semi-open diagonal which cuts through the black
queen. Black on the other hand has an entirely undeveloped queenside and a confused
kingside. His one nicely positioned piece, his queen, is so overworked defending
mate threats that it cant even move. And even with his two knight advantage his
clumsy position makes him utterly lost. 13...
Qxd1?? In all desperation he loses instantly to 14.Qxf7#
but his other moves weren’t really helpful at all either. I include a lot of annotation
next on every playable line, but it is important to see why black must lose here.
puts up much more of a resistance and is really his only move. 13...Be6
Still hitting home the fact that his awkward but forced move of 9...Kf8
gives his king no protection on the back rank. (Not 14.Rxd5
where he will have a material advantage over me and a way to defend my mate threats)
Black has three choices here: 14...Nxd1,
Qa5 so I will show all fully annotated.
fxe6 with both threats of
looking at either 20.Qb3 or 20.Qd5 and mate at f7) 16.Qxd5
with mate; 17...Nxe3
with mate) 18.Bh6+
with a big plus for white.
with mate; 17...Kd7
with a massive plus for white.) 18.Qxb7
with white having an advantage.
Third and finally, the worst of the 3 options 14...Qa5
and mate happens because of the weak back rank.
The games like the one I played in my High School match are rare now because white
gains such a great game that black plays 6...Nc6
as in this Grandmaster game:
Averbahk vs. Lisitsin (1948)
Nc6 This is played to prevent an immediate e5 push, but is not foolproof
and e5 is still usually played after exchanging a pair of Knights.
Nd7 The d6 pawn is pinned to black's queen.
Qd4 Both protecting the Bishop and threatening exd6 which would leave
blacks rook attacked. 10...
0-0 Right here the opening is over and the game is in play but the
end of the game is quite interesting so I will include the whole game for reference.
Building a Queen-Bishop battery aimed at g2. 21.
Rd4 Which can't be taken (22.Bxd4
Bxd4 and the queen in lost because after 23.Qxd4
Kh1 Breaking the pin. 23...
Don’t underestimate this move it grabs the diagonal that cuts right across
the king! 29...
In conclusion the Levenfish can help you to slay the dragon who is not prepared
to meet it and the plus is that there is not a lot of theory to it, because it is
mostly made up of tactics. This allows players to play it with minimum study. If
you went through my annotation closely you should be ready to start trying out this
fascinating line. Good luck!