Thursday, September 27, 2007

Chess: The Caro Kann Lives

The ICCF WS/O/120 correspondence event is entering the final stages. Currently I stand at three wins, two draws, and no losses in the event. One of my first games finished was as Black against Metin Ciklabakkal.

[Event "WS/O/120"]
[Site "ICCF"]
[Date "2007.4.21"]
[White "Ciklabakkal, Metin"]
[Black "Owens, Steve"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Opening "Caro-Kann defense"]
[ECO "B10"]
[NIC "CK.01"]

1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. d4 Nf6 5. Bd3 Bg4 6. Bf4 Nc6 7. c3 e6

picThis position is like candy for a Caro Kann player. The aim of the opening when playing the CK as Black is to develop the light square Bishop outside the pawn chain and grab a stake of the center. White has allowed Black to achieve his basic goals and equalize very early with this variation of the CK Two Knights.

8. Qb3 Qc8 9. Ne5 Nxe5 10. Bxe5 Nd7 11. Na3

picWhite's 11th is ill considered. He wants to invade with the Knight via b5. A better plan would be developing the Knight to d2 or short castling. After 11...a6 the Knight is badly misplaced.

11...a6 12. Bg3 Be7 13. O-O Qc6 14. Nc2 Bh5 15. f4 Bd6 16. Ne3 O-O

picI'll take this as Black every time. White has allowed me a comfortable, equal position. Here come the fireworks...

17. Qc2 f5 18. c4 Qb6 19. Bf2 Bxf4 20. cxd5 Bxe3 21. Bxe3 Rac8 22. Qb1 Nf6 23. dxe6 Ng4 24. Qe1 Qxe6 25. Bf4

picWhite has his passed pawn, but it is isolated and his King is in a tough spot. 25...Qb6 will pin and win it.

25...Qb6 26. Kh1 Qxd4 27. Qe6+??

pic27 Bxf5 would have held with a slight edge for Black. White's move loses material and the game in short order.

27...Kh8 28. Bxf5 Nf2+ 29. Rxf2 Qxf2 30. Qe5 Rce8 {White Resigns} 0-1

White would have been down a pawn after 28. Qe2. Taking the f5 pawn loses the exchange. White could have fought longer with 30. Qxc8 trading the Queen for Rook+Bishop+Pawn.

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