I'm very impressed by Magness's choicce on move three!
Rosen-Magness, Skokie 2011
Black to play
3...c5 was Karpov's choice against Korchnoi in the 1978 world championship. The idea of swapping the c-pawn for White's d-pawn is positionally sound, and Black scores well with this variation. But I always felt a little uncomfortable after 4.e5 Ng8. The artificial isolation of the e5 pawn offsets White's space and time advantages, but doesn't make the opening fun to play! And Karpov lost that game.
After 4...Ng8: White to play
Would you be comfortable with the Black pieces?
3...d5 is the most popular move here, but White just seems to have a nice position after 4.e5 d4 5.exf6 dxc3 6.bxc3 Qxf6 7.d4.
After 7.d4: Black to play
Seems pleasant for White!
Trevor's radical choice was new to me, but it's been played recently by the Filipino prodigy Wesley So:
Beginner's move or brilliant idea?
One idea behind Black's deliberate waste of time is that White's combination of e2-e4 and c2-c4 is double-edged, as dark squares are weakened. Another way of looking at this position: it's as if this were a Vienna Game (1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6) in which White gets the move c2-c4 "for free," but the value of the extra tempo is unclear. Anyway, 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.d4 cxc4 6.Nxd4 seems like a critical continuation. White would love to trick Black into an advantageous version of the Scotch Four Knights (recall that there's a line in which White plays Nc3-a4 to gain space with c2-c4), but Black doesn't have to allow such nonsense.
In the game above, Eric played more quietly against Trevor, and didn't get anything from the opening. If I can learn a new move on move three of an opening that I defended against for twenty years, then I've got to believe that chess is still full of surprises!
After busy season, I'll have more to say about this game on the ICA website. Perhaps in the interim, folks can explain this opening to me :-)