Chris Ward is one of the few strong international players who plays the Dragon Variation of the Sicilian consistently and gets away with it. Popular in club chess, the Dragon has been slain by too many St Georges to make more than fleeting appearances at the highest levels of play. As Ward showed in this game from last month's Reykjavik tournament, however, there is still considerable fire in the Dragon's belly.

Black's pawn sacrifice with 18...b5 looks the sort of thing Dragon players do when all other ideas have been shown to fail. The whole idea looks too slow, particularly after the exchanges ending with 24.Qxd5 (see diagram). After 23...Rxa4 (which seems to be the point of Black's play), White can play 24.Rh7! Kxh7 (24...e6! 25.Qc6 Kxh7 26.Qxa4 is better) 25.Qxf7+ Kh6 26.f4! with a winning position.

Ward's 23...Ra6 put a different complexion on the game, calmly preparing e6, then getting on with his own attack. 28...d5! and 29...Qe5! was a fine idea, and the final onslaught against b2 was irresistible.

White: H Stefansson

Black: C Ward

1 e4 c5 19 Nxb5 Qb8

2 Nf3 d6 20 Nc3 Rb4

3 d4 cxd4 21 hxg6 hxg6

4 Nxd4 Nf6 22 Bxf6 Bxf6

5 Nc3 g6 23 Nd5 Bxd5

6 Be3 Bg7 24 Qxd5 Ra6

7 f3 Nc6 25 f4 e6

8 Qd2 0-0 26 Qd3 Rab6

9 Bc4 Bd7 27 Rh3 Rxa4

10 0-0-0 Qa5 28 f5 d5

11 h4 Ne5 29 fxe6 Qe5

12 Bb3 Rfc8 30 exf7+ Kf8

13 Kb1 Nc4 31 c3 Rxb3

14 Bxc4 Rxc4 32 exd5 Rab4

15 Nb3 Qc7 33 Rd2 Qe1+

16 Bd4 Be6 34 Ka2 Qc1

17 h5 a5 White resigned

18 a4 b5

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