The Sicilian Dragon is a perennial chess opening, played every day by youngsters, who love the fact that its typical opposite-side castling middlegames feature a few easily-learned maneuvers that result in pure calculate-to-mate middlegames, and played (occasionally) by World Champions (for surprise value, I suspect).
By contrast, despite their more radical-sounding names, the Accelerated and Hyper Accelerated Dragons are more sedate beasts: by delaying moving the d-pawn, Black can end up with less space, but has tactical and strategic options which cut across White’s most aggressive systems. This difference means they appeal to very different players: thrill-seekers like Nakamura give the Dragon a go from time to time, but stolid and hard-to-beat types like Tiviakov play the Accelerated. There are sharp lines in these Accelerated Dragons, but there are a lot more principled lines with extended maneuvering.
Moves and Chapters
The Hyper Accelerated Dragon begins: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6. Committing to the fianchetto before …Nc6 rules out the very popular anti-Sicilian Rossolimo lines with Bb5, but does allow White to continue with 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4, hitting h8, and this is the topic of one 12-page long chapter.
In both the Accelerated and Hyper Accelerated Dragons, Black delays …d6, which makes …d7-d5 (in one move) a clear equalizer in many variations. The Classical Variation (Be2 with 00) is the subject of Chapter 1, and Raja shows how Black equalizes with a quick …d5 (or less frequently …e5). That even includes a line where Black is not supposed to be able to get away with …d7-d5: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Bg7 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Be2 d5!? which will prove to be an unwelcome surprise to many White players.
If White avoids the Maroczy (c2-c4), then the only other way to stop the …d7-d5 equalizer is 7.Bc4, which is the subject of Chapters 2 and 3. Black could allow the game to transpose into a Yugoslav attack (Bc4, f3, Qd2, 000, and a kingside pawn storm) but Raja wants to avoid that, and offers two antidotes: 7…Qa5 (ch.2) and his own system (« My System ») which is a hybrid of the Dragon on the kingside (e7, f7, g6, h7/h5) and a Taimanov on the queenside (…a6, …b5, …e6). That’s the subject of Chapter 3, and the excerpt in the game player below.
The downside of delaying central counterplay has generally been regarded as the Maroczy bind, where White clamps in the center and queenside with c2-c4. Raja has two chapters on the Maroczy: one on the Breyer variation (where Black trades a pair of Ns with …Ng4 then plants the other N on d4 and tries to hold it there with …e5), and the other (the longest in the book) on the main line Maroczy:
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Bg7 5.c4 Nc6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 0-0 8.Be2 d6 9.0-0 Bd7 10.Qd2 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Bc6 12.f3….