Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Riazantsev Wins Caro-Kann

My books on the Caro-Kann Defence and Bird & Dutch are two of my best sellers month after month. Since readers buy them, it seems they may like to see more. What’s new in the Caro-Kann? The game between Timur Taysayev and Alexander Riazantsev played at Sochi is worthy of further consideration.

This short Black win had two significant twists that caught my attention. First, Black played 10.Qxd3 e6 11.Bd2 Bd6. This move subtlety steers the game from the hectic heavy traffic of a busy highway off onto a quiet country road giving players a chance to think for themselves. It allows Bc7 instead of the normal Qc7.

Second, after Black missed 21…c5! White mounted a kingside attack. Then Grandmaster Riazantsev pursued active counter play. Black aimed at c2. Glancing at the game score I thought this was a smothered mate. It was deeper than that. White’s Qe2 guards c2. Instead Black has a knight fork on the White rooks.

Taysayev (2241) - Riazantsev (2651), ch-RUS Blitz 2016 Sochi RUS (1.4), 04.10.2016 begins 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.Nf3 Nd7 7.h4 h6 8.h5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 e6 [10...Qc7] 11.Bd2 Bd6!? [Almost everybody plays 11...Ngf6 or maybe transposes to 10...Qc7 lines with 11...Qc7 ] 12.Ne4 Bc7 13.0-0-0 Ngf6 14.g3 Nxe4 15.Qxe4 Nf6 16.Qe2 Qd5 17.c4 Qe4 18.Be3 [18.Qxe4 Nxe4 19.Be3 0-0-0 20.Ne5 Rhf8 21.Rh4 Nd6 22.g4 f6 23.Ng6 Rfe8 24.c5 Ne4 and Black won a knight ending after 20 more moves. 0-1 in 44 Jehad - Zahedifar, Abu Dhabi UAE 2016] 18...0-0 19.Rh4 Qh7 20.Ne5 Rfd8 21.g4 [If White wanted to play for a draw against the grandmaster there was 21.Qc2 Qxc2+ 22.Kxc2=. Instead White is playing for victory.] 21...Bxe5 [21...c5!=/+ looks more promising.] 22.dxe5 Nd7!? [Passive play with 22...Ne8 23.f3+/- is not likely to work.] 23.g5 Nxe5 24.Rg1 [White has 24.g6 fxg6 25.Re4+/-] 24...Nd3+!? [24...Qf5! 25.Qc2 Nf3-+] 25.Kb1 Nb4+?! [25...Nf4+ 26.g6 fxg6 27.hxg6 Nxg6=/+] 26.Ka1 [26.g6!+- stops the Black attack cold.] 26...Nc2+ [Black is winning after 26...hxg5 27.Bxg5 Nc2+ 28.Kb1 Nd4+ 29.Qe4 Nf3!-+] 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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