Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Another trap in the Caro-Kann, Two Knights Variation

Bobby Fischer wrote in My 60 Memorable Games that the purpose of the Two Knights Variation against the Caro-Kann Defense (1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3) "is to exclude the possibility of" ...Bf5. As I've showed previously, Black indeed gets in big trouble if he proceeds in stereotyped fashion with 3...dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5?! 5.Ng3 Bg6?! But the Two Knights Variation is no one-trick pony. The following game shows another, much less-known trap in the 3...Bg4 line, which is considered Black's best. As the game and notes show, after 4.d4!?, Black gets in hot water if he tries to win a pawn with the natural 4...dxe4 5.Nxe4 Bxf3 6.Qxf3 Qxd4. Better is the solid 4...e6!, which gives Black a plus score in the databases. Scott Thomson ("keypusher" on ChessGames.com) sets the stage for the game:
I don't have the score, but as our Secretary of State might say it is seared -- seared! in my memory. . . . It was when I lived in England in the early 90s, and for some reason -- perhaps a cholera epidemic -- I was playing first board for Wood Green in a team match. There was a pub next door, to which my opponent repaired after each move (which he took about five seconds on).
Deceived by his opponent's alcohol consumption and seemingly reckless play, Scott proceeded to lose a miniature in humiliating fashion. We've all been there.