The Fantasy Variation

In round twelve of the Candidates tournament Kirill Alekseenko

decided to play the Caro-Kann against MVL. On his third move MVL must have stunned the young player when he moved his f-pawn up one square to f3. The opening then became what is known as the “Fantasy” variation.

It is also known as the Tartakover variation, having first been played in a top level event by the inventive Dr. Savielly Tartakover.

Tartakover is known for some great Chess quotes. One of the best is, “A master can sometimes play badly, a fan never!”

One of the best Chess books you will ever read is, 500 Master Games of Chess, by Tartakover.

We devoured the book ‘back in the day’. I was known for playing “off beat” openings and many came from the mind of Dr. Tartakover, and this book.

MVL v Alekseenko

1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 f3

I played this against The Man in the Red Beret, Jude Frazer Acers

at his “World Chess Table” in New Orleans. ( Read about it in a previous post: “The Irrepressible Jude Acers” (

dxe4 4. fxe4 e5 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. c3 Nf6 7. Bc4 Qc7?

Alekseenko was never in the game after this weak move. 7 Bh5 is best.

8. dxe5 Bxf3 9. Qxf3 Qxe5 10. Bf4 Qh5 11. Nd2 Nbd7 12. O-O-O Nb6 13. Bb3 Be7 14. Rhg1 Qxf3 15. gxf3 g6 16. Nc4 Nxc4 17. Bxc4 b5 18. Bb3 Nd7 19. Bxf7+ Kxf7 20. Rxd7 Ke6 21. Rc7 Rhc8 22. Rxc8 Rxc8 23. Be3 a5 24. Kd2 a4 25. f4 Rd8+ 26. Ke2 Rf8 27. Kf3 Rd8 28. Rc1 c5 29. c4 b4 30. Ke2 Rd7 31. Rd1 Rxd1 32. Kxd1 Bf8 33. Kc2 Be7 34. b3 a3 35. Kd3 Bf8 36. Bf2 Be7 37. Ke3 Bd8 38. Kf3 Be7 39. Kg4 h5+ 40. Kf3 Bf8 41. Bh4 Bd6 42. e5 Bc7 43. Ke4 Ba5 44. Bg5 Bb6 45. Bh6 1-0

Tomas Skacel (1630) v Jiri Forsilka Jr (1670)

Czech ch Under 16


1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3 dxe4 4.fxe4 e5 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.c3 Nf6 7.Bg5 Be7 8.Bxf6 Bxf6 9.dxe5 Qxd1+ 10.Kxd1 Bxe5 11.h3 Bxf3+ 12.gxf3 Nd7 13.Nd2 O-O-O 14.Kc2 Nf6 15.Bc4 Rd7 16.Rad1 b5 17.Bb3 c5 18.c4 a6 19.Nb1 Rhd8 20.Rxd7 Rxd7 21.Nc3 Bxc3 22.bxc3 Nh5 23.Rd1 Rxd1 24.Kxd1 f6 25.cxb5 axb5 26.Be6+ Kc7 27.Kd2 Nf4 28.Bg8 Nxh3 29.Bxh7 Ng5 30.Bf5 Nxf3+ 31.Ke3 Ne5 32.Kf4 Kb6 33.Bc8 Ka5 34.Kf5 b4 35.cxb4+ Kxb4 36.Be6 c4 37.a3+ Kxa3 38.Bxc4 Nxc4 39.Kg6 Ne5+ 40.Kxg7 Ng4 41.Kg6 Kb4 42.Kf5 Nf2 1/2-1/2

Fabiano Caruana (2828) v Alireza Firouzja (2728)

Stavanger 2020

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3 dxe4 4.fxe4 e5 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.c3 Nd7 7.Bd3 Ngf6 8.O-O Bd6 9.Na3 b5 10.Nc2 Bh5 11.Ne3 O-O 12.Nf5 Qc7 13.Qc2 Bg6 14.Nxd6 Qxd6 15.Bg5 c5 16.dxe5 Nxe5 17.Nxe5 Qxe5 18.Bxf6 gxf6 19.Bxb5 Bxe4 20.Qf2 Rab8 21.Bd7 Rfd8 22.Rad1 Rb6 23.Rfe1 f5 24.Qh4 Qf6 25.Qxf6 Rxf6 26.Ba4 Rxd1 27.Rxd1 Rg6 28.Rd2 f4 29.Bd1 Kg7 30.Kf1 Rh6 31.Kg1 Rg6 32.Rf2 f5 33.Kf1 Kf6 34.Bf3 Ke5 35.Rd2 Rh6 36.Kg1 a5 37.b3 Rb6 38.Kf2 Ra6 39.Rd8 a4 40.Re8+ Kd5 41.Be2 Rg6 42.g3 axb3 43.axb3 fxg3+ 44.hxg3 Kd6 45.Bc4 Bc6 46.Rf8 Be4 47.Rb8 Kc7 48.Re8 Kd6 49.Rb8 Kc7 50.Rh8 Rh6 51.Ke3 Rh2 52.g4 Kd6 53.Re8 Rh3+ 54.Kf4 Rf3+ 55.Kg5 Bb1 56.Re6+ Kc7 57.Re5 fxg4 58.Rxc5+ Kb6 59.Rb5+ Kc6 60.Kxg4 Rxc3 ½-½

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