William Vallicella, author of the fine Maverick Philosopher blog, recalls a bit of chess fame he enjoyed thanks in part to my work on this blog. I'll let you read the story over there, and ask a favor of anyone who has Jovanka Houska's new book on the Caro-Kann: is the "Vallicella Trap" mentioned in this one?
Entries in Caro-Kann (5)
Alexey Bezgodov, The Extreme Caro-Kann: Attacking Black with 3.f3 (New in Chess 2014). 271 pp., $28.95/€25.95.
On the surface the Caro-Kann looks like a very solid opening choice, but in fact it degenerates into mayhem in a surprisingly large number of lines. In some cases the play is deeply worked out and the adventures arise later, as in the Classical Caro-Kann (3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 etc.), while in others play gets sharp more quickly. The Fantasy Variation (1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3!?) is one such line, and is the subject of the book. (A note on terminology. I've always seen the line referred to as the "Fantasy" variation, but that label is never applied by Bezgodov, who instead dubs it the "Extreme" Caro-Kann. Perhaps neither moniker is very good, but I'll stick with the original poor label rather than endorsing and adopting Bezgodov's attempt to co-opt it with a new one.)
Unlike the book reviewed in the previous post, this one is friendlier to the club player. Model games are used and there are plenty of lengthy verbal explanations. This doesn't imply that the book is a frivolous "Winning With The ___" title; Bezgodov delves deeply when necessary and not every variation ends in an advantage for White.
At any rate, I'm not an expert on either side of this variation and this is not meant to be a full-fledged review, just a book notice. So I'll close by suggesting that aggressive players looking for something fresh and fighting against the Caro-Kann may find this book just what they wanted, while Caro-Kann aficianados may want this book for the purpose of self-defense.
His chances of winning a third straight U.S. Championship took a big hit tonight when he lost to Hikaru Nakamura, but overall it has been a pretty good event for Gata Kamsky. Coming into today's round he was in clear first, and his previous game was an impressive win over Yasser Seirawan on the white side of a Classical Caro-Kann. Kamsky had prepared a nasty surprise that had probably been intended some time earlier for Veselin Topalov, but it was Seirawan who wound up the victim.
The winning combination was very attractive, and the game is also valuable for us to follow in White's theoretical footsteps, both in that precise position but also in a more general way. The g4 idea Kamsky used has become popular across a range of Classical Caro-Kann positions, and so it's important for players on both sides of the dispute to be familiar with them.
So there's both an aesthetic and an educational component to this week's show, which as always can be viewed free of charge (free registration required) and will be available on demand for the next month or so.
It has been a long while since my last viewer games show, and the result is that this one is a doozy! No fewer than eight games are covered, and while it's a long video I do try to keep things moving along, and viewers will be compensated by getting a rich variety of topics.
The focus is more on openings (including the old Lasker-Pelikan, the Modern Benoni, the Veresov and the Norwegian Variation of the Ruy), but endgames appear as well, most notably one Caro-Kann that culminates in a very important and thematic pawn ending. There are some spectacular middlegames as well, so I hope all viewers will find several topics of interest.
The show is here and it's free, as always (one-time free registration is required), and will be available on-demand for at least the next month or so.
For this week's show, which is free (as always, though free registration is required in case you haven't signed up already), I show my last round game from the tournament I played in last weekend. As the title ever-so-subtly hints, it's a Caro-Kann, and along the way I show another game in the same opening.
The tournament game is a smooth positional win, while the parenthetical game is a short, fun, tactical affair. I hope you'll enjoy them both!