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IT'S GENERALLY believed that chess is a draw - that is, neither side can force victory from the initial position - but nevertheless that the first move is an "advantage".

This advantage manifests itself in the perceived need for Black, against trenchant White opening play, to make some concession to get a reasonable game. This can be a slightly compromised pawn structure, (unusually) a pawn sacrifice, or, very often in modern play, a space disadvantage, as in one of the main lines against the subject of today's review, The Sicilian Accelerated Dragon, by the grandmaster Peter Heine Nielsen and Carsten Hansen (BT Batsford, pounds 17.99).

The Accelerated Dragon differs from the normal Dragon variations - 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 g6 - in that Black delays moving his d pawn, playing instead 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nc6. This has the advantage that the d pawn may jump to d5 in a single move, but allows White other distinctive options, notably 5 Nc3 Bg7 6 Be3 Nf6 7 Nxc6!? bxc6 8 e5 and, the main deterrent , the Maroczy bind, named after the great Hungarian Geza Maroczy (1870-1951), in which White immediately seizes space with 5 c4 (see the diagram).

The Maroczy Bind

This line, which is generally regarded as extremely difficult for Black, was rescued from obscurity by the great Danish player Bent Larsen who showed that Black can fight against White's space advantage by playing on the black square complex which 5 c4 has somewhat weakened.

A significant minority of players have followed him, particularly other Scandinavians such as the Danish authors. Real life is seldom like this, but here is a dream game by much the stronger of the two.

The inaccurate 10 f3?! was immediately exploited by 10 ...Qb6!. If 16 cxb5 Nxe4!. 23 Bxf6? was a bad positional mistake, leaving the knight dominant, both completely defending the queen's side and exerting influence on the centre.

If 38 Kxh3 Rb8 39 Bd3 (or 39 Kg2 Rb7! and 40 ...a6) 39...exd3! 40 Rxb8 d2 41 Rb1 Ne4 wins: 38 Kf1! was forced but Rb8 39 Bd3 Rxb1+ 40 Bxb1 is strong. At the end there's no defence to ...Rb7 and ...a6.

White: Annakov

Black: Peter Heine Nielsen

Buenos Aires 1992

Sicilian Accelerated Dragon