The Fantasy Variation

IM Dorsa Derakhshani (2306)

vs WGM Anna Sharevich (2281)

U.S. Womens Championship 2018 round 01

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 (One of the things I like about 365Chess.com is learning who is the leading practitioner of an opening and/or particular variation. Heather Richards has played 3 f3, the opening FM Kazim Gulamali, called the “Little Grandmaster” at the House of Pain when still a child, proclaimed the “Caro-Kann Crusher,” in twenty-two games. GM Nikola Mitkov has used the weapon eighteen times; and Artyom Timofeev is credited with playing the Crusher on sixteen occasions. The thing about playing so-called “offbeat” openings is that one can compare the play of other, stronger, players with that of your own play. Chess is a language of sorts. The moves “talk” to you if you will listen. The game you are replaying contains ideas of the players producing the moves. The beauty of Chess is “understanding” those ideas, and possibly incorporating them into your own play. With tools like the 365Chess.com and the CBDB (http://database.chessbase.com/js/apps/database/) how can players not be better than their predecessors? If one wanted to learn this opening a good start would be to replay the above mentioned fifty-six games. With only that one would be well-armed for battle in a weekend tournament. Stockfish ‘thinks’ little of the Fantasy variation. If white played 3 Nd2 SF shows an advantage of +0.47. After playing 3 f3 it shows black with a small advantage of -0.2)

3…g6 (After this move Heather leads with ten, scoring seven wins; two draws; and only one loss. GM Julian Hodgson has faced 3…g6 five times, scoring three wins and two draws. Stockfish 8, at depth 49, plays 3…e6, which is a tough not to crack. Houdini 3 x 64 at depth 30 plays 3…dxe4. The CBDB shows white scoring only 52% against 3…e6, but an astounding 64% after 3…dxe4!)

4. c3

(After reading an article advocating this move it was my choice the next time facing 3…g6, something soon regretted because of the lack of development. The Fish at the CBDB has 4 Nc3, but the Fish at ChessBomb shows 4 Be3.)

Bg7 5. Bf4 (Komodo plays 5 Na3 [Najer v Rozum below] or Bg5. The Fish at ChessBomb plays 5 Na3, but I prefer it’s second choice…Qe2!)

5…dxe4

(This move is not shown so it is an unsound Theoretical Novelty. Komodo & Stockfish play 5…Nd7. See Mitkov v Azmaiparashvili below for 5…Qb6.)

6. fxe4 e5 (6…Nf6) 7. dxe5

7…Qxd1+ (7… Nd7 is better. If 8. Qd6 Qe7 9. Qxe7+ Nxe7, for example.)

8. Kxd1

Be6 (Stockfish “thinks” black should play 8…f6, with this to follow: 9. Nf3 fxe5 10. Bxe5 Bxe5 11. Nxe5 Nd7 12. Nf3 Ngf6. Black is down a pawn, but the isolated e-pawn can be attacked. It may be the best hope for black.)

9. Nf3 Nd7 10. Nbd2 h6 (There is no reason to delay developing with 10…Ne7)
11. Nc4 (11 Bc4 is better)

11…g5 (She should take the knight with 11…Bxc4)

12. Bg3 Ne7 (SF shows 12..Kf8; Bxc4; g4; & 0-0. The move played in the game is not shown.)

13. Nd6+ (White has a ‘won’ game)

Kf8 14. Kc2 Rb8 (14…Ng6)

15. Nd4 (Why not develop with Bc4?)

Ng6 (SF prefers 15…Bxe5)

16. Be2 (The Fish prefers 16 Rd1)

Bxe5 17. Nxe6+ fxe6 18. Rhf1+ Nf4 19. Nc4 Bc7

20. e5 (And there goes the advantage…20 Rfd1 or a4 keep the advantage)

Ke7 21. Bxf4 gxf4 22. Rxf4 b5 (Why not take the pawn with 22…Nxe5?)

23. Raf1 (I’m “advancing to the rear” with 23 Nd2)

Rbf8 ((23… bxc4 looks strong)

24. Rxf8 (24 Nd2) Rxf8 25. Rxf8 Kxf8 26. Ne3 Nxe5 27. Ng4 Nxg4 28. Bxg4 Bxh2 29. Bxe6 Ke7 30. Bg4 Kd6 ½-½

Derakhshani- Sharevich

U.S. Womens Championship 2018 round 01

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 g6 4. c3 Bg7 5. Bf4 dxe4 6. fxe4 e5 7. dxe5 Qxd1+ 8. Kxd1 Be6 9. Nf3 Nd7 10. Nbd2 h6 11. Nc4 g5 12. Bg3 Ne7 13. Nd6+ Kf8 14. Kc2 Rb8 15. Nd4 Ng6 16. Be2 Bxe5 17. Nxe6+ fxe6 18. Rhf1+ Nf4 19. Nc4 Bc7 20. e5 Ke7 21. Bxf4 gxf4 22. Rxf4 b5 23. Raf1 Rbf8 24. Rxf8 Rxf8 25. Rxf8 Kxf8 26. Ne3 Nxe5 27. Ng4 Nxg4 28. Bxg4 Bxh2 29. Bxe6 Ke7 30. Bg4 Kd6 ½-½

Evgeniy Najer (2706) v Ivan Rozum (2573)

Event: TCh-TUR Super League 2017 07/30/2017

B12 Caro-Kann, Tartakower (fantasy) variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 g6 4. c3 Bg7 5. Na3 e5 6. dxe5 Bxe5 7. exd5 cxd5 8. Bf4 Bxf4 9. Qa4+ Nc6 10. Qxf4 Nge7 11. O-O-O Be6 12. Ne2 a6 13. Nc2 Qa5 14. a3 O-O-O 15. Ned4 Qc7 16. Qf6 Bf5 17. Nxf5 Qf4+ 18. Rd2 Qxf5 19. Qh4 Rd6 20. g3 Qxf3 21. Bh3+ Nf5 22. Rhd1 Kb8 23. Qa4 Qh5 24. Bg4 Qg5 25. h4 Qf6 26. Rf1 Qe5 27. Bxf5 gxf5 28. g4 fxg4 29. Qxg4 Rf6 30. Rxf6 Qxf6 31. Rxd5 Re8 32. Rf5 Qe6 33. Rg5 Qf6 34. Rg8 Qf1+ 35. Kd2 Qf2+ 36. Kd1 Qf1+ 37. Kd2 Qf2+ 38. Kd1 1/2-1/2

Nikola Mitkov (2495) vs Zurab Azmaiparashvili (2625)

Event: Moscow ol (Men) 1994

B12 Caro-Kann, Tartakower (fantasy) variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 g6 4. c3 Bg7 5. Bf4 Qb6 6. Qb3 Be6 7. Qxb6 axb6 8. Nd2 Nd7 9. Bd3 O-O-O 10. Ne2 dxe4 11. fxe4 Bg4 12. h3 Bxe2 13. Bxe2 e5 14. Bg5 Re8 15. Nc4 Kc7 16. dxe5 Bxe5 17. O-O f6 18. Nxe5 Nxe5 19. Bxf6 Nxf6 20. Rxf6 Rd8 21. Kf2 Rd2 22. Re6 Nd3+ 23. Ke3 Rxe2+ 24. Kxd3 Rxg2 25. Rf1 Rd8+ 26. Ke3 Rg3+ 27. Rf3 Rxf3+ 28. Kxf3 Rf8+ 29. Ke3 Kd7 30. Re5 h6 31. b4 Kd6 32. Kd4 Rc8 0-1