Dear Mr. Fantasy Variation

Decades ago this writer was having trouble playing against the Caro-Kann defense, invariably a tough nut to crack. It was so difficult to play against I stopped playing the Najdorf and began moving the black c-pawn one square after white played 1 e4. It was such a shock to one long-time opponent that he asked if the move just made was a mistake. After the game, which was won with the Fantasy variation, he said, “I was booked up, ready for your Najdorf. Therefore I was discombobulated when the pawn stopped short.” A game featuring the Fantasy variation played against the irrepressible Jude Acers

in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana, decades ago was written about in the post entitled, The Irrepressible Jude Acers(

Deshmukh Divya (IND)

vs Valentina Gunina (RUS)
Gunina wins a second European Championship |

FIDE Women’s Grand Swiss 2021 round 08
B12 Caro-Kann, Tartakower (fantasy) variation


  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3
What does GM Ben Finegold know?

3… dxe4 4. fxe4 e5 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. c3 Nd7 7. Bd3 Ngf6 8. O-O Bd6 9. Bg5 h6 10. Be3 Qc7 11. h3 Bh5 12. Qb3 O-O-O 13. Nbd2 g5 14. Nc4 g4 15. Nfxe5 Nxe5 16. dxe5 Bxe5 17. Nxe5 Qxe5 18. Rf5 Qg3 19. Bf4 Qxd3 20. Rxf6 Qxe4 21. hxg4 Rdg8 22. Bg3 Rxg4 23. Re1 Qd5 24. Qxd5 cxd5 25. Bf4 Rhg8 26. g3 Rxf4 27. Rxf4 Rxg3+ 28. Kf2 Rd3 29. Rd4 Rf3+ 30. Kg1 Rf5 31. c4 Bf3 32. Rf1 dxc4 33. Rxc4+ Kd7 34. Kh2 Rh5+ 35. Kg3 Bd5 36. Rh4 Rg5+ 37. Kf4 Be6 38. Rd1+ Ke7 39. Rd2 Rf5+ 40. Ke4 h5 41. Rdh2 Ra5 42. Rxh5 Rxa2 43. Rd2 b6 44. Rh8 Ra4+ 45. Rd4 Ra5 46. b4 Ra3 47. Ra8 b5 48. Rb8 a6 49. Rb6 Kf6 50. Rdd6 Rh3 51. Rd4 Ra3 52. Rdd6 Ra4 53. Rxa6 Rxb4+ 54. Rd4 Rb1 55. Rb6 Kg5 56. Ke5 Re1+ 57. Re4 f6+ 58. Kd4 Rd1+ 59. Kc5 Bc4 60. Rd4 Re1 61. Rd2 Rf1 62. Rg2+ Kf5 63. Rd6 Ke5 64. Rd8 f5 65. Rf8 Ke4 66. Rg6 f4 67. Rgf6 f3 68. Re8+ Kd3 69. Ref8 Ke3 70. Re8+ Kd2 71. Ref8 Be2 72. Rxf3 Bxf3 73. Rd8+ Ke3 74. Kxb5 Rc1 75. Kb4 Bc6 76. Kb3 Ke4 77. Kb4 Bd5 78. Rh8 Kd4 79. Rh4+ Be4 80. Rh3 Rc8 81. Rh5 Rc7 82. Rg5 Rh7 83. Rb5 Bc6 84. Rb6 Bd5 85. Rb5 Rh6 86. Ka5 Bc4 87. Rb8 Kc3 88. Ra8 Rc6 89. Ka4 Rb6 90. Ka5 Rb1 91. Ra7 Rb5+ 92. Ka6 Rb2+ 93. Ka5 Rb1 94. Rc7 Rb2 95. Ra7 Kd4 96. Rd7+ Kc5 97. Rc7+ Kd5 98. Rd7+ Kc6 99. Rd8 Be6 100. Rh8 Kc5 101. Rh5+ Bd5 102. Rh4 Rb1 103. Rf4 Rh1 104. Rg4 Rh2 105. Rf4 Be6 106. Ka6 Rh7 107. Ka5 Rh2 108. Rb4 Bc4 0-1

  1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 dxe4 (3…Qb6, SF) 4. fxe4 e5 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. c3 Nd7 (6…Nf6, says 3 different SF programs. There are only 3 games at the CBDB. There are 31 games with the move played in the game) 7. Bd3 (SF 12 @depth 39 plays the most often played move, 7 Bd4, with 69 games at the CBDB; SF 14 @depth 38 shows 7 Nbd2, which may someday become a TN; but SF220521 @depth 55 would play 7 Be2: See Stefansson vs Vignir, below) 7…Ngf6 8. O-O Bd6 9. Bg5 (SF 9 a4; see Popilski vs Nakamura, below) 9…h6

Vignir Vatnar Stefansson (2291) vs Jonathan Grant (2203)
Event: IoM Masters
Site: Douglas ENG Date: 10/25/2018
Round: 6.72
ECO: B12 Caro-Kann, Tartakower (fantasy) variation
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3 dxe4 4.fxe4 e5 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.c3 Nd7 7.Be2 Bd6 8.O-O Ngf6 9.Bg5 Qc7 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Bxf6 Nxf6 12.Nc4 Bxf3 13.Bxf3 Rad8 14.Qe1 Rfe8 15.Rd1 b5 16.Nxd6 Qxd6 17.Qe3 Qc7 18.Rfe1 h6 19.Qd3 a6 20.Qe3 Re7 21.Re2 c5 22.Red2 exd4 23.cxd4 cxd4 24.Rxd4 Rxd4 25.Rxd4 Qb6 26.Qf2 Re8 27.Rd2 Qxf2+ 28.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 29.Bxe4 Rxe4 30.b3 Re6 31.Rd7 Rc6 32.Rd2 g6 33.Ke3 Kg7 34.Ke4 h5 35.g3 b4 36.Rd5 Rc2 37.Ra5 Rxh2 38.Rxa6 Rg2 39.Kf3 Rc2 40.Ra4 g5 41.Rxb4 Rxa2 42.Rb8 Kg6 43.Rb5 g4+ 44.Kf4 Rf2+ 45.Ke4 Rf3 0-1

Gil Popilski (2529) vs Hikaru Nakamura (2816)
Event: Millionaire Chess Op 2015
Site: Las Vegas USA Date: 10/09/2015
Round: 3.1
ECO: B12 Caro-Kann, Tartakower (fantasy) variation
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3 dxe4 4.fxe4 e5 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.c3 Nd7 7.Bd3 Bd6 8.O-O Ngf6 9.a4 O-O 10.Nbd2 Re8 11.Nc4 Bc7 12.Qc2 exd4 13.cxd4 Bxf3 14.Rxf3 Nb6 15.e5 Nxc4 16.Qxc4 b5 17.Qc3 Bb6 18.Be3 Nd5 19.Qb3 bxa4 20.Rxa4 Rb8 21.Qc4 Qd7 22.Bf2 g6 23.Be4 f5 24.Bc2 Kg7 25.Rfa3 a5 26.Kh1 Bc7 27.Qa2 Nb4 28.Qc4 Nd5 29.Qa2 Nb4 30.Qc4 Nd5 ½-½

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