The Sicilian Accelerated Dragon Breaks the Maroczy Bind

The Sicilian Accelerated Dragon variation, like very chess opening, involves a give-and-take but it gives much more than it takes.

Along with avoiding the Yugoslav Attack, it’s possible to avoid the Rossolimo with 2…g6 too.

Maroczy Bind 11 blog image

In return, you allow White Qxd4 and the Maroczy Bind, but neither of these moves is to be feared.

Grandmasters Mamedov and Tiviakov, among others, have shown Black has plenty of resources against the Maroczy Bind.

In fact, with a bit of preparation, you could find yourself looking forward to playing against the Maroczy Bind.

Since White has a space advantage, it makes sense for him to avoid exchanges with 6.Nc2.

Take a look at how GM Damian Lemos suggests you meet this knight retreat:

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

White’s Plans In the Maroczy Bind

Maroczy Bind: Crush The Sicilian Defense
The Once-Feared Maroczy Bind

Understanding the Maroczy Bind is essential if you play the Accelerated Dragon or the Symmetrical English Opening.

The pawns on e4 and c4 clamp down or place a bind on the d5-square.

This prevents Black from playing one of his thematic pawn breaks …d5.

Additionally, the move c4 has another benefit for White in that it prevents Black from obtaining counter-play in the semi-open c-file.

White can play c4 because Black has delayed …Nf6.

When Black develops his knight to f6 early, he attacks the e4-pawn, which White defends with Nc3.

This prevents the c4 advance.

The Maroczy Bind is a weapon used by White when he wants a safe but slight advantage.

White intends to keep control of the center and play with a space advantage.

Breaking the Maroczy Bind with Black

Black has plenty of resources to fight back against the Maroczy Bind.

He has a powerful bishop on g7, obtains counter-play on the dark squares, and can expand on the queenside with …a6 and …b5.

A crucial part of Black’s dark square play is Nd7-c5 with or without …a5.

The endgames arising from the Sicilian Defense Accelerated Dragon give Black a good game.

He has every reason to feel confident about playing for a win in them.

The Sicilian Accelerated Dragon: Black Plays …Nc5

There are many different move orders available to Black to reach a Sicilian Accelerated Dragon set-up.

Here is a move order you can use if you want to tempt White into playing the Rossolimo Variation.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.c4

The Sicilian Accelerated Dragon Maroczy Bind 2...Nc6
Maroczy Bind 2…Nc6

Play continued in typical Sicilian Defense fashion with 5…Nf6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Nc2 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Nd7 10.Bd2 Nc5

Maroczy Bind 10...Nc5
Maroczy Bind 10…Nc5

Black invites White to seize space on the queenside with b4 when the bishop on g7 becomes more powerful. 

GM Vladimir Malakhov wasn’t afraid to lose several tempi with his knights in the next game.

This included placing one of them on its original square.

Minasian, Artashes – Malakhov, Vladimir, 0-1, EU-Cup 22nd, 2006 

The Sicilian Accelerated Dragon: White Develops With 8.Be2

A good strategy for Black against 8.Be2 is to exchange knights on d4 and place the bishop on c6.

Playing the Sicilian Accelerated Dragon helps reduce your chess opening study time because you can play it against different openings.

For example, the next game started with the Reti Opening but transposed back to the Sicilian Accelerated Dragon.

1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.e4 Bg7

The Sicilian Accelerated Dragon Maroczy Bind 5...Bg7
Maroczy Bind 5…Bg7

6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 0-0 8.Be2 d6 9.0-0 Bd7 10.Qd2 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Bc6

Maroczy Bind 11...Bc6
Maroczy Bind 11…Bc6

After White defended the e4-pawn with f3, Black soon offered the trade of dark-squared bishops.

The pawns on f3, e4, and c4 severely restrict White’s light-squared bishop.

Avoiding the exchange of dark-squared bishops didn’t help Constantin Lupulescu, who found himself checkmated on move 28!

Lupulescu, Constantin (2618) – Iturrizaga Bonelli, Eduardo (2650), 0-1, Baku ol (Men) 42nd, Baku, 2016.09.12

When Black plays 9…Bd7 intending …Nxd4 and …Bc6, it makes sense for White to avoid the exchange of knights with 10.Nc2.

However, even this did not help Vishy Anand in his game against Ljubomir Ljubojevic.

Ljubomir was rated 210 Elo lower than Anand but still came away with a great win in the Sicilian Accelerated Dragon.

Anand, Viswanathan – Ljubojevic, Ljubomir, 0-1, Amber-rapid 08th, 1999

Final Thoughts

The Sicilian Accelerated Dragon is a versatile chess opening for Black you can play with confidence against 1.e4 and other openings by White.

Knowing how to break the Maroczy Bind will prove extremely helpful against the Reti and English Opening too!

Every chess player needs a sound defense against 1.e4.

The Sicilian Accelerated Dragon offers you the perfect combination of soundness and counter-attacking chances.

If you enjoy active piece-play, then you are sure to enjoy the positions that arise in the Sicilian Accelerated Dragon.

Black is not only holding his own against the Maroczy Bind but has every reason to play for a win.

Yes, you can break free of the Maroczy Bind and enjoy many satisfying wins!

Click here to get instant access to Deep Dive: The Accelerated Dragon with 50% off! This is an 8-hour course designed to get you playing the Accelerated Dragon with confidence and success.

Also, be sure to read:

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