Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lakdawala on 2.Ne2!? vs the Caro-Kann Defence

I purchased the book "The Caro-Kann: Move by Move" by Cyrus Lakdawala published by Everyman Chess. Like all of his books, this one is excellent! I have played the Caro-Kann Defence about once every 10 days for the past 40 years, though not so much recently. It is my number three defense to 1.e4. First is 1.e4 e5 Open Game, and second is 1.e4 Nf6 Alekhine Defence.

I briefly glanced at the last chapter King's Indian Attack and 2 Ne2". I wanted to read what Lakdawala said about the KIA, whether he went with the standard 3...e5 or the old 3...g6. But what's this 2.Ne2? He implied it was dangerous. I figured someday I would check it out, but right then? A quick glance at my own games shows that I had faced 2.Ne2 only four times, winning all of them against weaker players.

Yesterday I played the Caro-Kann Defence in a 3-minute blitz game on the Internet Chess Club. My opponent "OutsideTheGate" was rated 2212; I was rated four points lower at 2208. Both of us good; neither of us superstars. What to my wondering eyes would appear but 2.Ne2!?

"Times change, but chess players don't. This is another attempt to confuse us decent hard-working Caro folk. I would take this line seriously." Lakdawala. Turns out I followed the line I was "most likely to encounter" for 11 moves before my opponent deviated from the book that I did not know.

There is no time to refer to a book during a 3 0 game. You play moves every 1-2 seconds based on memory, intuition, pattern recognition, experience, and the clock! Here is my game along with some comments. Junior 12 was my analyzing partner for most.

OutsideTheGate - Sawyer, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 07.03.2012 begins 1.e4 c6 2.Ne2 d5 3.e5 "This tricky line is very popular on the Internet Chess Club." Schandorff 3...Bf5 4.Ng3 Bg6 5.h4 h6 6.h5 Bh7 7.e6 I am used to this, having played the Alekhine Defence even more than the Caro-Kann. 7...fxe6 [7...Qd6 8.exf7+ Kxf7 9.d4 e5 10.Bd3 e4 feels like a Latvian Gambit.] 8.d4 e5! "A key move to remember. We deny White his brilliant blockade sac by returning the pawn to seal e5 with a cork." Lakdawala. [Also interesting is 8...c5!? 9.dxc5 e5] 9.dxe5 e6 [9...Nd7!? 10.f4 Qb6 11.Bd3 Bxd3 12.Qxd3 0-0-0=] 10.Bd3 Bxd3 11.Qxd3 Qd7 12.Nd2!? [Lakdawala gives 12.0-0 Bc5 13.Be3 Na6 where he shows that Black gets good compensation for a pawn he sacrifices.] 12...Bc5 13.Nf3 [13.Nb3! Bb6 14.Be3 Na6 15.0-0-0 0-0-0 16.Qc3+/= and White has a somewhat better position.] 13...Na6 14.c3 Ne7 15.Be3 Bxe3 16.Qxe3 0-0= Why not castle kingside? 17.Rh4 Nf5 18.Nxf5 Rxf5 19.0-0-0 Qe7 Simple tactics for a 3 0 blitz game: threat ...Rxf3/...Qxh4. 20.Rh3 Qc5?+/- [Missing White's response. I should have played 20...Qf7! ] 21.Nd4! Threatening f5/e6. 21...Rf7 22.Rg3 Kh8 23.Nxe6 Qxe3+ 24.fxe3 Re8 25.Nf4 Nc5 26.Rf1 [26.Rf3!+/-] 26...Ne4? [26...Kh7!=/+ and Black has a good game.] 27.Ng6+ Kg8 28.Rxf7 [28.Rgf3!+/-] 28...Kxf7 29.Rf3+ Kg8  [29...Ke6!?] 30.e6= [30.g4! gives White good winning chances.] 30...Ng5 After this White's e6-pawn falls and the endgame is completely equal. I am ahead in time. Eventually White forces the draw. 31.Rf5 Nxe6 32.Re5 Nc7 33.Rxe8+ Nxe8 34.Kd2 Kf7 35.Nf4 Nf6 36.Kd3 b6 37.b4 Nd7 38.Kd4 Kf6 39.e4 dxe4 40.Kxe4 Nf8 41.g4 Ne6 42.a4 Nxf4 43.Kxf4 b5 44.a5 a6 45.Kf3 Kf7 46.Ke4 Ke6 47.Kd4 Kd6 48.c4 bxc4 49.Kxc4 Kd7 50.Kc5 Kc7 51.Kd4 Kd6 52.Ke4 Ke6 53.Kf4 Kf6 54.Ke4 Ke6 55.Kd4 Kd6 56.Ke4 Ke6 Drawn by repetition 1/2-1/2


Sets: Chess Games 1.e4 Series and Chess Games 1.d4 Series
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