The Caro-Kann Defense has historically been employed
by grandmasters who are playing for a draw in a tournament
game. However, there is no denying the dynamic capabilities
of this solid defense.
In a previous column, I described
black's main idea: control the d5 square by ...Nf6, ...c6,
and even sometimes ...e6. In recent years, opening theorists
have attempted to come up with some better systems for white because
black had been equalizing far too easily.
One of the most
common ideas now is a variation in the advance system (1.e4 c6
2.d4 d5 3.e5) when white plays g4, Nc3, and Nge2 soon to be followed
by Nf4. Black has a few options against this though, he can
play simply with ...h6, ...Bh7 and a later ...c5, or he can
choose to play more dynamically with ...h5!?
try for white is the Fantasy Variation, initiated by the opening moves
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3, establishing white's pawn e4. There are,
of course, drawbacks to this move. The knight usually finds
a good home at f3, where it can now no longer go. This move
can also be deemed passive. While it might be strong if black
plays in a normal Caro-Kann fashion and gets crushed by white's
advantage in space, black can get a good game through active
In this week's featured game, Lyell plays with inspiration
(a little home preparation also helped). Notice how his play
leads to easy development and a strong attack while white's
king is stuck in the center.
Notice the difficulty white
has developing comfortably his kingside pieces (i.e. the knight
blocks the bishop). And black could have even improved an otherwise
flawless game with 12...Bxe5 13.fxe5 Qxc3+ 14.Bd2 Qxe5+ 15.Be2
Bb5 with a three pawn advantage.
Enjoy. Happy Holidays.
to mate in two moves.
Taylor, R. (2195) - Lyell, M.