IM Mark Ginsburg Shows his US Chess League Opening of the Week!
USCL Week 9 Opening of the Week (OOTW)
USCL Week 9 action sees a Caissic Horror Show brought out of the storage closet for Halloween!
Caro Hyper-Advance USCL Special
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. g4? LOL! This move is not good! White ‘forgets’ to play the mainline 4. Nc3 first covering e4. An ideal risky line in USCL fast time limit play unless black knows it (nightmare scenario).
4…Bd7?! LOL again! Black submits to white’s bully-boy ploy and transposes inadvisedly into an old Bronstein-Petrosian 1959 USSR Ch. game. Note his game is not at all bad here, but students of the Nezhmet-Mackenzie Wars (striking similarities to TV’s Clone Wars) know that black should pop into the juicy square with 4… Be4! 5. f3 Bg6 and white is hurting in all variations. For example, 6. h4 h5 7. Bd3 Bxd3 8. Qxd3 e6 and ewww. Or, 7. Ne2 hxg4 8. Nf4 Bh7 9. fxg4 e6 10. Nc3 c5! and black is faster. The nice thing is that black doesn’t have to do anything special, white’s problems are all self-inflicted with the 4. g4? lunge. Consult the above link for full gory details.
In SOME Caro lines, but definitely not here, black doesn’t want to move off the c8-f5 diagonal in fear of a white sac e5-e6. Here, though, that sac fails miserably but black didn’t know that, and this accounts for black’s mistake in the game. The reason it fails here is that white’s disgusting pawns on f3 and g4 open up the g3 square for black’s queen after Qd8-d6.
5. c4 Na6!? A nice inventive move. Black starts to redeem himself after the misstep last move. After the plausible but passive 5… e6 6. Nc3 Ne7 7. c5 (White might be better off not doing this) 7…b6! 8. b4 a5 9. Na4 Nc8! 10. Rb1 axb4 11. Rxb4 bxc5 12. dxc5 here Petrosian played 12…Qc7? and missed a great shot, namely: 12… Na6! 13. Bxa6 Qa5!! exploiting white’s uncoordinated army. After 14. Bd2 Qxa6 black is just better. In the game Petrosian held on and drew, but Bronstein stood better with the space advantage (USSR Ch. Tbilisi 1959).
6. cxd5 After 6. Nc3 the move 6…Be6!? is very interesting. For example, 7. Nh3 dxc4 8. Nf4 Qd7 9. Nxe6 Qxe6 10. f4 g6 11. b3 h5 12. f5 gxf5 13. Bxc4 Qg6 14. gxf5 Qg2 15. Rf1 Nb4 and it’s anybody’s game. Not for the faint of heart. Even so, 6. Nc3 might be stronger; note black’s big improvement on move 6 in the game.
6… cxd5?! Boo! Black doesn’t follow through on his nice last move! Indicated was the logical and aesthetic knight jump 6…Nb4! exploiting the early g2-g4 opening of the c6-h1 diagonal. If 7. e6 (7. Qb3 Nxd5 8. Qxb7 Rb8 9. Qxa7 Nb4 10. Na3 Bxg4 11. Bd2 e6 and black is all right) 7…fxe6 8. Nf3 cxd5 and black is fine. Another humorous line: 7. Nc3 Qb6!? (7…Nxd5 is dead equal) and black can always take on d5 with the knight later. This game was just one big set of black missed opportunities.
7. Nc3 e6 8. h4 h5 9. gxh5 Nh6 Here, the immediate 9…Qc7 10. a3!? Nc7!? makes sense, rerouting right away the problem knight on a6.
10. Bd3 Qb6 11. Nge2 Nc7 12. a3 a5? Last chance to be competitive with12…O-O-O! unclear.
13. Na4 Qa7 14. Rg1 Bb5 15. Bc2 We’re far afield of the opening now, but just notice that the simple 15. Bxb5+ Nxb5 16. Bxh6 Rxh6 17. Rc1 leaves black with a completely dreadful game. This is just to highlight that black drifted while white was purposefully developing.
15…Nf5 16. Bxf5 exf5 17. Ng3 Bd7 18. Be3 b5 19. Nc5 Bxc5 20. dxc5 Qa6 21. Rc1 O-O-O 22. c6 Be6 23. Qd4 g6 24. Bg5 Rde8 25. h6 Kb8 26. Ne2 Qa7 27. Qd2 Bc8 28. Bf6 Rh7 29. Nd4 Qb6 30. Rg3 Rxh6 31. Nxb5 Rxh4 32. Bxh4 Qxb5 33. Bf6 Ba6 34. Kd1 f4 35. Rgc3 d4 36. Rf3 Nd5 37. Kc2 Qxc6+ 38. Kb1 Qb6 39. e6 Nc3+ 40. Ka1 Qxe6 41. Qxf4+ Ka8 42. bxc3 Qb3 43. cxd4 Bd3 44. Rxd3 Qxd3 45. Qg3 1-0
Well, I hope next time we see the juicy 4…Be4! on the board!
In Other Week 9 News
I see Jan van de Mortel won Game of the Week with an interesting Dragon vs Bartholomew. The variation as a whole does not have a good reputation. I am still a fan of 14. Rc1! and am a) surprised Bartholomew did not play it and b) wondering how Jan would improve if Bartholomew had played it. The full move order being
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.0-0-0 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Kb1 Qc7 12.Nd5 Bxd5 13.exd5 Rfc8 14.Rc1!.