Magnus Carlsen Being Human

“Looking at computer games it’s clear that we still have a very long way to go when thinking about long term compensation and such things, because simply we misjudge positions and we draw our conclusions too early. It’s not clear exactly how you can improve these things, but it’s very, very clear to see that we’ve only still scratched the surface of what is possible to do in chess, because we are human and we make mistakes.” – Magnus Carlsen


Good Old Friends and the Buddy-Buddy Draw at the Moscow Grand Prix

Although I have intentionally not followed the ongoing Moscow Grand Prix event my old friend the legendary Georgia Ironman has followed it because it did begin with a couple of games of what is now called “classical” Chess before devolving into what is called “rapid Chess” before devolving further into “speed” Chess. Frankly, I could care less about which player is best at faster time controls. The only thing that matters is who is best at a classical time control. Say what you will about Magnus Carlsen but the fact is that he could not beat either Sergey Karjakin or Fabiano Caruana at classical Chess, something to keep in mind when talking about the best Chess player of all time.

In an article at Chessbase by Antonio Pereira recently, dated 5/18/2019, it is written: “Ian Nepomniachtchi, Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Radek Wojtaszek won with the white pieces at the start of the FIDE Grand Prix in Moscow, which means Levon Aronian, Wesley So and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov will need to push for a win on Saturday if they want to survive the first round. Three match-ups ended with quick draws, while Peter Svidler and Anish Giri accepted the draws offered by Nikita Vitiugov and Daniil Dubov in games that could have easily kept going.”

The article continues:

“Better than losing and worse than winning”

“A lot of criticism followed the 2011 Candidates Tournament in Kazan, in which the knock-out format led to some players openly using a safe-first strategy by signing quick draws in the classical games and putting all on the line in the tie-breaks. In order to discourage the players from using this strategy, the organizers are awarding an extra point in the Grand Prix overall standings for those who eliminate their opponents needing only two games. In the first game of the opening round in Moscow, four out of eight encounters ended peacefully after no more than 23 moves.”

The so-called “strategy” of the organizers had absolutely no effect on the players who continue to agree to short draws with impunity whenever and wherever they want, regardless of what organizers or fans want to see from them. Are the players aware their “inaction” is killing the Royal game? Do they care?

Exhibit one:

Teimour Radjabov (AZE)

vs Hikaru Nakamura (USA)

Moscow Grand Prix 2019 round 01

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 e6 4. c4 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. d4 dxc4 7. Qc2 b5 8. a4 b4 9. Nbd2 Bb7 10. Nxc4 c5 11. dxc5 Be4 12. Qd1 ½-½

Sergey Karjakin (RUS) – Alexander Grischuk (RUS)

Moscow Grand Prix 2019 round 01

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. a4 Bd6 7. a5 O-O 8. Be2 e5 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. dxe5 Nxe5 11. O-O Bc7 12. Qb3 Nc6 13. a6 bxa6 14. Qa4 ½-½

The article continues:

“It must be added that Nikita Vitiugov had what seemed like a considerable advantage against Peter Svidler when he surprisingly offered a draw.

Both contenders are part of the Mednyi Vsadnik team from Saint Petersburg, which won the last two editions of the Russian Team Championship and are the current European champions. Vitiugov has also worked for Svidler as a second more than once. The long-time friends talked about how unfortunate it was for them to be paired up immediately in round one, although Svidler confessed that, “[he] somehow had a feeling that [they] would play at least one [match], and particularly in Moscow”.

Good old friends from Saint Petersburg | Photo: World Chess

“Regarding the position shown in the diagram, Peter recounted how he was thinking about 18.f4 being a move that would leave him worse on the board. So, when the move was accompanied by a draw offer, he thought, “yeah, that’s a good deal!” And the point was split then and there.

To accept the draw was a good match strategy? Peter wittily added:

“As for match strategy, I envy people who have strategies of any kind. I don’t have any. I thought I was worse and then I was offered a draw, so I took it.”

The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, have had to play each other many times during their storied tennis careers, and each and every time there has been a winner because offering a draw is not in the tennis rule book. What is it doing in the Chess rule book?

Chess organizers better wake up because Chess is in a battle with the game of Go and if the trend continues, like the Highlander, there will be only one left standing.

Theory Of Shadows: A Review

It must be extremely difficult to write a historical novel because many have tried and most have failed. Many of the historical novels I have read were of the type, “What if he had lived?” Some concerned POTUS John F. Kennedy.

The last one read was years ago and it caused me to put other books of the type on the “back burner,” where they have since continued to smolder…It may have helped if the author could write, but he had as much business writing as I have running a marathon. The book was not one of those print on demand tomes which allow anyone to publish a book nowadays but a book published by an actual publishing company, which means there was an editor who must have thought the book good enough to earn money. I found the book, a hardback, only a few weeks after it had been published and it was marked down to a price low enough for me to take a chance and fork over the cash. P.T. Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” In a way the editor was right, but then, marked down enough anything will sell.

There have been notable historical novels such as Michael Shaara‘s masterpiece, The Killer Angels,
which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1974.

It must be terribly difficult to write a novel about people who actually lived. A novelist invents a character. To write historical fiction about an actual living, breathing human being is another thing entirely.

Having recently returned to the city of my birth meant a visit to the local library, which happened to be selected as the 2018 Georgia Public Library of the Year. After renewing my lapsed library card I went to the catalog that very evening to check on, what else, Chess books. I had been pleasantly surprised when seeing the latest issue of Chess Life magazine in the reading room of the Decatur branch of the Dekalb county library system after obtaining my new card. While surveying the Chess books a jewel was found, a book I recalled being published years ago, but not in English. It was published at the end of the last century by the author of The Luneburg Variation,

Paolo Maurensig.

It was his first novel, published at the age of fifty, and it was a good read. The book about which I will write is, Theory Of Shadows,

published in Italy in 2015. It was published in the US by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2018 after being translated by Anne Milano Appel.

From the front inside jacket: On the morning of March 24, 1946, the world chess champion, Alexander Alekhine – “sadist of the chess world,”

renowned for his eccentric behaviour as well as the ruthlessness of his playing style – was found dead in his hotel room in Estoril, Portugal.”

There it is, a fictional account of how Alekhine died. The last paragraph on the jacket reads: “With the atmosphere of a thriller, the insight of a poem, and a profound knowledge of the world of chess (“the most violent of all sports,” according to the former world champion Garry Kasparov), Paolo Maurensig’s Theory of Shadows leads us through the glamorous life and sordid death of an infuriating and unapologetic genius: not only trying to work out “whodunit,” but using the story of Alexander Alekhine to tease out what Milan Kundera has called “that which the novel alone can discover.”

I loved everything about this book. The book begins with this quote : “If Alekhine had been a Jew hating Nazi scientist, inventor of weapons extermination and therefore protected by those in power, then that intellectual rabble would have held its breath. Instead, the victim had to drain the bitter cup to the last drop…Even the supreme act of his death was vulgarly besmirched. And we cowards stifled our feelings, remaining silent. Because the only virtue that fraternally unites us all, whites and black, Jews and Christians, is cowardice.” – Esteban Canal

After reading the above I had yet to begin the first chapter yet had been sent to the theory books…OK, the interweb, in order to learn who was Esteban Canal. “Esteban Canal (April 19, 1896 – February 14, 1981) was a leading Peruvian chess player who had his best tournament results in the 1920s and 1930s.” (

This was also found:

Who was Esteban Canal?

Writing in a 1937 edition of Chess Review, Lajos Steiner,

Lajos Steiner (1903-1975), by Len Leslie

who knew Canal when they were living in Budapest, said that Canal never reached the heights his talent deserved. He was awarded the IM title in 1950 and received the honorary GM title in 1977.
Not much is known about his life and what little is known is wrapped in a cloud of mystery. Canal himself claimed to have been a cabin boy on a cargo ship carrying wheat from Australia, but it has proven to be impossible to verify dates. It is known that he had an extensive nautical knowledge and sailors.
In 1955 the South African player Wolfgang Heindenfed, writing in his book Chess Springbok, An Account of a South African Chess Player’s Experiences Overseas wrote of Canal, “The grand old man of Italian chess is Esteban Canal, originally of Peru, who at the age of 57 won the 1953 Venice tournament to which I had the good luck of being invited. He is one of the most interesting and amusing of all chess personalities. Formerly a roving reporter, he speaks six or seven languages and still treasures mementos of such VIPs as Kemal Pasha and Abd el Krim. He is an inexhaustible raconteur of chess stories.” (

About a third of the way through the one hundred seventy nine page book we read: “Though it was an essential task, armchair analysis of the matches he’s played in the past often bored him. Without the presence of the human element, the pieces on the chessboard lost their vitality. It was quite a different matter to play with an opponent in front of you: to enter his mind, predict his strategies by interpreting the slightest variations of his posture, the position of his hands, the subtle though significant contractions of his lips. During the period when he worked for the Moscow police, they had taught Alekhine how to interpret small signs such as these during interrogations, to see if their subjects were lying.”

During an interview, after discussing the murder of his brother at the hands of the Soviet communists as retribution of Alekhine leaving “Mother Russia” the interviewer asks, “And you never feared that you might suffer the same fate?”

“You mean being killed?”

The journalist nodded.

He hesitated a moment, then: “Perhaps, yes, now and then, the thought’s occurred to me.”

“After all,” Ocampo said, a little heavy-handedly, “Trotsky himself, despite taking refuge in Mexice, was ultimately hit by a hired assassin.”

“I took my precautions.”

For a time Alekhine was silent. In fact, he knew very well that it was not strictly necessary for a victim to be close to his murderer, that there was no place in the world where one could be assured of finding a completely secure refuge. A well-trained hit man could strike even in broad daylight and in the midst of a crowd.”

I’m thinking, “Just ask JFK…”

Jews and Chess:

“That was the first time he’d faced a Jewish chess player – it would certainly not be the last. He would endure a stinging defeat by Rubenstein

Akiba Rubenstein

in the first masters tournament in which he competed. He was eighteen years old then, and, encountering that young man, some years older than him, who was said to have abandoned his rabbinical studies to devote himself to chess, he’s had to swallow several bitter truths. Later on, he played against Nimzowitsch,

Aaron Nimzowitsch


Emanuel Lasker

and Reshevsky,

Sammy Reshevsky

soon realizing that, in his rise to the world title, his competitors would all be Jews.
Their faces were still sharply etched in his memory: Rubinstein, dapper, with a drew cut and an upturned mustache and the vacant gaze of a man who has peered too closely into his own madness; Lasker, with his perpetually drowsy air and spiraling, hopelessly rebellious hair; Nimzowitsch, looking like a bank clerk who, behind his pincenez, is haughtily judging the insufficiency of other people’s funds’ Reshevsky, resembling a prematurely aged child prodigy. Often he imagined them muffled up in long black cloaks, gathered in a circle like cros around a carcass, intent on captiously interpreting chess the way they did their sacred texts.”

Near the end of this magnificent book it is written, “By then, the harbingers of what in the coming decades would be called the Cold War were already looming. And if the weapons of the two blocs were to remain unused, it was essential that there be other arenas in which they could compete and excel. Chess was therefore, as ever, a symbolic substitute for war: gaining supremacy in it was a constant reminder to the enemy that you possessed greater military expertise, a more effective strategy.”

In beating the Soviet World Chess Champion Boris Spassky in 1972 Bobby Fischer won much more than a mere Chess match.

Bobby emasculated the Soviet Communist regime. Alekhine may have taken a brick out of the wall when leaving Mother Russia, but Bobby Fischer took the wall down.

Being a novel within a novel made the book was a pleasure to read and I enjoyed it immensely. I give it the maximum five stars.

The Dirty Laundry of Atlanta Chess

While living in Greenville, SC, the octogenarian, LM Klaus Pohl, said something that stuck with me. When asked what he thought of the new Chess Center in Charlotte Klaus said he did not like to play there because the young players offer too many draws. Upon further questioning Klaus said that with scholarships so important the young players were “afraid to lose,” so therefore made far too many draw offers. From the time I began playing in USCF tournaments rating has been King. This was, though, the first time I had heard anything concerning what the rating points could possibly mean toward earning a scholarship. Another player listening to the conversation said, “Everyone knows rating points are being bought and sold like it’s an open market.” My reply, “I did not know that,” elicited this response, “Ah, come on man. You worked at the Atlanta Chess Center. Surely you were aware of that kind of thing taking place.” With a blank look on my face I replied, “Not really.” I am not saying it did not happen, just that I was completely unaware of it if it did, in fact, happen while I was employed at the House of Pain.

There were rumors going around before I returned to Atlanta. I will not print rumors. I did, though, reach out to several people involved with Chess in Georgia, writing, “If you would like to comment on any of this, let me inform you that I may use anything you say, or write, UNLESS YOU WANT IT KEPT PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL!”

No one responded. They ain’t talking.

In an article appearing at the Georgia Chess News website, Meet the 2019 GCA Candidates (, David Hater,

candidate for the position of OFFICE OF 1ST VICE PRESIDENT writes: “I am running for 1st Vice President of GCA. I previously served on the GCA Board in this position, but I resigned from the board because, in my opinion, the board had become dysfunctional. Several months ago several GCA Board members encouraged me to run for the position again. I agreed to do so only after Scott Parker also agreed to run for President of GCA. My hope is that the next board will place personal feelings and animosity aside and work for chess instead of for their own interests/pet projects or a narrow constituency.”

The fact that Colonel David Hater felt he had to resign from the GCA Board speaks loudly. The fact that David, a man I admire and respect, felt compelled to write, “…the board had become dysfunctional,” screams out in pain. Nevertheless, David did not respond to my entreaty.

One of the board members did say, in an off hand comment at the Ironman Chess Club, they were “fed up” with all the “screaming and shouting” at the meeting of the GCA board. Although no names were mentioned the fact is that it is now, and has been for some time, an open secret that Thad Rogers was not happy when Parnell Watkins used his affiliate, American Chess Promotions to rate some of the events listed below. The thing is that Thad Rogers

and Parnell Watkins

were earlier listed as running for the same office, that of 1st member at large. The only one leaving a statement at a page mentioned earlier was L. Thad Rogers, the man who became POTGCA again after the previous president, Fun E. Fong, abdicated, leaving Chess behind like it was the plague. From reports it is obvious Chess in my home state of Georgia has quickly devolved under the caretaker leadership of Thad Rogers.

The Georgia State Chess Championship begins tonight and there will be an election Sunday. Chess players, and members of the GCA, can only hope responsible leaders, such as Scott Parker

and David Hater, gain a seat on the board.

Alan Piper was known as “The Pipe” at the House of Pain. As one of Alan’s victims eased down the stairs those below watched as someone said, “It looks like he got hit by the Pipe,” while others nodded in agreement. One wag said, “Sometimes you hit the Pipe. Sometimes the Pipe hits you.” Alan once won a state championship (I want to say Missouri, but could be wrong) when younger and was a NM. Although uncertain about Alan’s age, the fact is he has been eligible for the Senior tournaments for many years and must be seventy, or older.

The following results for the past 12 months was taken from the USCF website:

10487030: ALAN G PIPER
Current Published
Rating ( Supplement)
Regular Rating 2000 2019-03
(Current floor is 1600)
Quick Rating 1905 2019-03
Blitz Rating 1808 2019-03

Rank USCF ID Name Games Wins Draws Losses
1 14916346 SHANMUKHA MERUGA 50 1 0 49
2 14114923 KAPISH POTULA 19 1 1 17
3 14299428 SAITHANUSRI AVIRNENI 14 7 0 7
4 14577814 DAVIDE NASTASIO 3 1 1 1
5 15909472 TAIYE HILARY ESTWICK 1 1 0 0
6 16045110 TYLER JAMES BREDOW 1 1 0 0
7 16045235 CASEY WASSERMAN 1 1 0 0
8 14822494 TYLER SCHMUGGEROW 1 1 0 0
9 14684432 JOSHUA MORGAN KAROL 1 1 0 0
10 12365700 J PARNELL WATKINS JR 1 1 0 0

The Pipe has obviously played an inordinate amount of games with two players. The number of losses to the two much younger players is simply staggering. Usually when one is drubbed in a match there are no further matches. One of the members of the GCA board, a very nice woman, Anna Baumstark, told me it was all “public record on the USCF website.” I decided to take the time to check it out…You, too, can check it out here:

On September 12, 2015. Alan Piper played in the INVITATIONAL QUAD #10 (GA), directed by Grant Oen. The Sponsoring Affiliate was SOUTHEAST CHESS.

Pair | Player Name |Total|Round|Round|Round|Round|
Num | USCF ID / Rtg (Pre->Post) | Pts | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
1 | KAPISH POTULA |2.5 |W 2|D 3|W 4|* |
GA | 14114923 / R: 2014 ->2053 | |B |W |B | |
2 | CARTER F PEATMAN |2.0 |* |W 3|W 4|L 1|
GA | 12945576 / R: 2101 ->2108 | | |W |B |W |
3 | ALAN G PIPER |1.5 |L 2|* |W 4|D 1|
GA | 10487030 / R: 2070 ->2071 | |B | |W |B |
4 | SHANMUKHA MERUGA |0.0 |L 2|L 3|* |L 1|
GA | 14916346 / R: 2088 ->2053 | |W |B | |W |

Alan would not play again until August 13, 2016 when he participated in the CHESS BUG ATLANTA TOURNAMENT, directed by JOSEPH COUVILLION, with CHESS BUG ATLANTA, being the affiliate. SHANMUKHA MERUGA was clear first with 3-0. KAPISH POTULA finished clear second with a 2-1 score, the loss was to Meruga. Alan Piper won a game from a class C player, and lost two other games, one with a class B player, the other to Kapish Potula.

Let us go back to the tournament prior to the Quad, August 8, 2015, the LOGANVILLE SUMMER QUAD, directed by Grant Oen, with the affilate being Southeast Chess. The Pipe won all three games; gained 29 rating points which raised his rating to 2079. He beat Shanmukha Meruga, rated 2054, in the first round, then two class A players, Vedic Panda and Davide Nastasio.

After playing in the aforementioned CHESS BUG ATLANTA TOURNAMENT Alan did not play again until January 22, 2018 when he played a match with Shanmukha Meruga. The TD was J PARNELL WATKINS JR, and the affiliate was Gwinnett Chess. The time control was G/30;d5. Meruga won all four games, gaining fourteen points to end with a rating of 2056. The Pipe lost twenty points dropping to 2019.

After a couple of blitz quads on July 13 the next match with Meruga took place the next day, July 14. The TD was J PARNELL WATKINS JR, using the affiliate of the acting President of the GCA, L. Thad Rogers, AMERICAN CHESS PROMOTIONS. It was a real old fashioned, “speed,” time control of five minutes only for the games. Meruga won all ten games.

Three days later another match was contested between the same two players, named, PIPER MERUGA MATCH 2. The time control was, G/25;d5. The TD was J PARNELL WATKINS JR, and it was rated using the affiliate of GWINNETT CHESS. Meruga won all five games.

Two days later, July 19, 2018 there was yet another tournament contested once again by the young whippersnapper and the old leaky Pipe. Once again it was directed by J PARNELL WATKINS JR and the sponsoring affiliate was again GWINNETT CHESS, and once again Meruga won all ten games played at a “speed” TC of five minutes for the entire game.

Three days later there was the NASTASIO-PIPER MATCH, which was held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta in Roswell, Georgia, the seventh largest city in the great state of Georgia. The chief TD was BENJAMIN P FINEGOLD,

Meruga/Finegold in front of the Atlanta Chess and Scholastic Club of Atlanta located in Roswell, Ga.

assisted by KAREN BOYD.

Karen Boyd and Ben Finegold

The time control was G/60;+10. The three game match was drawn. In addition there was another match played that day between the same two players. The TC was G/4;+2, and Piper won 8-2.

A few weeks later, 9/8/18, Piper and Meruga were back at it, contesting not one, but two, more matches. J PARNELL WATKINS JR was again the TD and AMERICAN CHESS PROMOTIONS was the affiliate used to rate the matches. No one will be surprised to learn Meruga won the G/5 “speed” match 9-1. What is surprising is that Piper actually won a game…Three games were also contested at a TC of G/30;d10. Guess who won all three games? Yeah, Meruga.

The very next day, 9/9/2018, the two intrepid players were back at it. Once again J PARNELL WATKINS JR was the TD, but the affiliate used was now GWINNETT CHESS. The speed match, with only five minutes per game, was convincingly won by Meruga by a score of 20-0. That is ZERO, ZIP, NADA!

It will come as little surprise by now that Meruga also won the G/30;d10 match by a score of 4-0.

The very next day yet another match was contested between the same two players, again with the same TD and affiliate. The time control was G/30;d10 and Meruga won all six games.

Have you gotten a whiff of some sort of fishy smell yet?

A few days later the Pipe was back at it, but with a different opponent, Kapish Potula. The TD and affiliate was the same, J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS. The time control was G/25;d5. Kapish Potula won all four games and increased his rating from 2136 to 2159.

One week later, on 9/28/18 the two players with the same TD and affiliate did it again. And again Potula won all four G/25;d5 to raise his rating from 2159 to 2179.

On October 6, 2018 the Pipe had a new opponent, SAITHANUSRI AVIRNENI, rated 1964. A six game match at a time control of G/35;d5 was contested and…the match was drawn! J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS was at it again.

On October 13, 2018 there was another six game, G/25;d5 match with Kapish Potula, and again it was J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS. Hold on to something as I inform you that Alan G Piper actually won, and drew, two of the games played, while losing the other four.

The thing is that on that very same day, October 13, 2018, the Pipe also played another match with someone else, SAITHANUSRI AVIRNENI. It was another G/25;d5 with all the usual suspects present, meaning Parnell and Gwinnett Chess. The match was drawn, 2-2.

Then we come to November 19, 2018, the 2018 MERUGA PIPER “dual.” It appears as though that between 2018-11-17 thru 2018-11-19 a NINETEEN GAME MATCH at a TC of G/25;d5 was contested by the usual suspects, Meruga and Piper. The aforementioned player, Meruga won all nineteen games…J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS were again the usual suspects.

But wait, there’s MORE! On November 27 the same two players contested yet another G/25;d5 “dual,” which Meruga won 12-0. Again, J PARNELL WATKINS JR and GWINNETT CHESS were the responsible parties.

On December 7, a day which will live in infamy, 2018, another G/25;d5 match took place between Alan G. Piper and Kapish Potula. It was won by Potula, 5-0. J PARNELL WATKINS JR directed and GWINNETT CHESS sent it in to be rated.

After a couple more tournaments in December and a last one on January 26, the CCSCATL WINTER BLITZ CHAMPIONS, the record shows no more games, or matches, for the Pipe.

As a result of all these games, and others, Meruga became a 2300 rated player. Kapish Potula is currently rated 2187, knocking on the National Master door.

B12 Caro-Kann Defense, Advance Variation, Botvinnik-Carls Defense

If a player decides to defend the Caro Kann with 3…c5, the so called BotvinniKann, he should be prepared for an early Nf3 from the player in charge of the white army because many players are reluctant to move the Queen early in the opening of the game regardless of what the computer programs compute.

Emil Sutovsky (2651)

vs Jonathan S Speelman (2603)

North Sea Cup 16th 07/11/2001 Rd 6

B12 Caro-Kann, advance variation

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bb5 cxd4 6.Nxd4 Bd7 7.Nxc6 Bxc6 8.Bxc6+ bxc6 (All best according to SF)

9.O-O (The best move according to SF & Komodo is 9 c4, a move yet to be played in practice) e6 10.c4 Ne7 11.Qa4 Qd7 12.Nd2 Rb8 13.b3 Nc8 14.Rd1 Nb6 15.Qa5 dxc4 16.Bb2 cxb3 17.axb3 Nd5 18.Ne4 Be7 19.Rd3 Rb4 20.Nd6+ Bxd6 21.exd6 Re4 22.Rg3 e5 23.Rxg7 Kf8 24.Rg3 Re2 25.h3 Rg8 26.Qxa7 Qxa7 27.Rxa7 Rxg3 28.Ra8+ Kg7 29.d7 Nf4 30.Rg8+ 1-0

Nf3 has also been played after 4 dxc5 e6:

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. Nf3 Bxc5 6. Bd3 Ne7 7. O-O Nbc6 8. Nbd2

(Although 8…Ng6 has almost invariably been played Stockfish gives 8…Nb4, a move yet to be attempted in practice, best)

Komodo prefers 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. Nf3 Bxc5 6. Bd3 Ne7 7. O-O Nbc6 8. a3. The following game transposes into the 8 a3 line and follows the computer programs best play until 12…Kf7, when black should simply castle, a move that will become a theoretical novelty once played by a top GM.

Andrey Zhigalko (2576) vs Pavel Lomako (2385)

78th ch-BLR 2012 01/20/2012 Rd 9

B12 Caro-Kann, advance variation

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.dxc5 e6 5.Nf3 Bxc5 6.a3 Ne7 7.Bd3 Ng6 8.O-O Nc6 9.b4 Be7 10.Re1 f6 11.Bxg6+ hxg6 12.Qd3

Kf7 (12…0-0 Komodo) 13.Bb2 b6 14.c4 Bb7 15.Qe2 dxc4 16.exf6 Bxf6 17.Qxe6+ Kf8 18.Bc3 Rh5 19.Qxc4 Qd5 20.Qg4 Ne5 21.Bxe5 Bxe5 22.Rxe5 Rxe5 23.Nc3 Qe6 24.Nxe5 Qxe5 25.Qg3 Re8 26.Qxe5 Rxe5 27.Rd1 Ke7 28.h3 Rg5 29.Re1+ Kd6 30.Ne4+ Bxe4 31.Rxe4 a5 32.Kf1 Kd5 33.f3 Re5 34.bxa5 bxa5 35.Rg4 g5 36.Kf2 Kc5 37.a4 Kd5 38.Kg3 Rf5 39.Re4 Kc5 40.Kg4 Rd5 41.Kh5 Rd2 42.Rg4 Rd4 43.Rxg5+ Kb4 44.Rxg7 Kxa4 45.g4 Rf4 46.g5 Rxf3 47.h4 Kb3 48.Rb7+ Kc4 49.Ra7 Kb4 50.g6 Rg3 51.Kh6 a4 52.h5 a3 53.g7 1-0

The following game is the first game found in the database in which black played 3…c5. Chess Tempo gives Carl J M Carls his due.

Caro-Kann Defense, Advance Variation, Botvinnik-Carls Defense (B12)


(born Sep-16-1880, died Sep-11-1958, 77 years old) Germany
Carl Johan Margot Carls was born in Varel. Awarded the IM title in 1950, he was German champion in 1934.

A successful banker in Bremen with little time for tournament play or study, Carls specialized in the English Opening to help neutralize his relative lack of opening knowledge. Several variations bear his name or that of his city; for example, English, Bremen System, Keres Variation (A23) and English, Bremen System with …g6 (A24).

Karel Treybal vs Carl Johan Margot Carls

Breslau 1912

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. Be3 Qc7 6. Qd4 Bd7 7. Nc3 Ne7 8. Bd3
Ng6 9. Nf3 Nc6 10. Nb5 Qb8 11. Qc3 Ncxe5 12. Bxg6 Nxf3+ 13. gxf3 hxg6 14. Qa5
Bxb5 15. Qxb5+ Kd8 16. O-O-O Qc7 17. c4 Rh5 18. cxd5 exd5 19. Rhe1 Qc6 20. Qc4
Be7 21. b4 Ke8 22. Qc3 Kf8 23. Bd4 Bf6 24. Bxf6 gxf6 25. Rd2 Kg7 26. f4 a5 27.
a3 axb4 28. axb4 Ra4 29. Rb2 Rxh2 30. Ree2 Qb5 31. Qd4 Ra1+ 32. Kd2 Rhh1 33.
Kc3 Rhc1+ 34. Rec2 Ra3+ 35. Rb3 Rxc2+ 36. Kxc2 Qe2+ 37. Kc3 Qf3+ 38. Qe3 d4+

Caro Kann Vitamin B12 Theory

Let us take a look at some cutting edge Caro-Kann opening theory in a topical line evolving almost daily.

Veselin Topalov (2740)

The Advantages of Being a Good Loser – Veselin Topalov

Who would have ever thought the man responsible for one of the most sordid incidents in the history of the Royal game would ever be thought of as a “good loser” by anyone at any time in the history of mankind. See:

vs David Navarra (2739)

Need a better reason to play Chess guys?

Gashimov Memorial 04/01/2019

B12 Caro-Kann, advance variation

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.dxc5 e6 5.a3 (SF 9 at depth 45 plays this, expecting 5…Bxc5 6 Nf3; or 5 Nf3 Bxc5 6 a3. At a lower depth SF plays 5 Bd3 Nd7 6 Nf3) Bxc5 6.Qg4 (6 b4 and 6 Nf3 have been played far more often but for SF the game move is best) 6…Ne7 (At a lower depth SF goes with 6…Bf8 but going deeper prefers 6…Ne7 expecting 7 Nf3 Nbc6 to follow) 7.Nf3 (Komodo, at a lower depth, plays 7 b4 h5 8 Qxg7. SF plays the game move with 7…0-0 8 b4 to follow)

7…Qb6 (SF 151218 at depth 48 plays 7…0-0 8 b4 Bb6; SF 10 at depth 42 goes with 7…Ng6 8 Bd3 Bd7. Neither of these moves has as yet been attempted in practice, by a human or A.I.)

8.Bd3 Nbc6 9.O-O Ng6 10.Nc3 Qc7 11.Re1 O-O 12.Qh5 Bd7 13.b4 Be7 14.Bd2 f5 15.exf6 Bxf6 16.Rac1 Nd4 17.Nxd4 Bxd4 18.Nd1 Qb6 19.Be3 e5 20.c3 Bxe3 21.Nxe3 Rae8 22.Bb1 d4 23.cxd4 exd4 24.Nc4 Qf6 25.f3 Rxe1+ 26.Rxe1 Bf5 27.Bxf5 Qxf5 28.Qxf5 Rxf5 29.Re8+ Rf8 30.Rxf8+ Kxf8 31.Nd6 Nf4 32.Kf2 d3 33.Ke3 Nxg2+ 34.Kxd3 Ne1+ 35.Ke4 Nc2 36.Nxb7 Nxa3 37.Nd8 Nc2 38.Nc6 a6 39.Kd3 Ne1+ 40.Ke2 Nc2 41.Kd2 Na3 42.Kd3 Nb5 43.Nb8 Nc7 44.Ke4 Ke7 45.Ke5 Kd8 46.h4 g6 47.f4 Ke7 48.Nc6+ Kd7 49.Nd4 Ke7 50.Nc2 Ne8 51.Ne3 Nf6 52.f5 Kf7 53.Nc4 gxf5 54.Kxf5 Nd5 55.b5 ½-½

Mateusz Bartel (2604) vs Suri Vaibhav (2556)

51st Biel Master Open 07/26/2018

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.dxc5 e6 5.a3 Bxc5 6.Qg4 Ne7 7.Nf3 Nf5 8.Bd3 h5 9.Qf4 Nc6 10.Bxf5 exf5 11.Qg3 g6 12.Bg5 Qa5+ 13.Nbd2 Qa4 14.Nb3 Qe4+ 15.Kd2 h4 16.Nxc5 hxg3 17.hxg3 Rf8 18.Nxe4 dxe4 19.Ng1 Nxe5 20.Bf6 Nd7 21.Bd4 b6 22.a4 Ke7 23.a5 b5 24.Ne2 a6 25.Rad1 b4 26.Ke3 Rb8 27.Nf4 Rb5 28.Bg7 Rg8 29.Rh7 Rxa5 30.Nd5+ Ke6 31.Nc7+ Ke7 32.c3 Rxg7 33.Rxg7 bxc3 34.Rg8 cxb2 35.Re8+ Kf6 36.Rb1 Nb6 37.Kd2 Ra2 38.Kc3 Ra1 39.Rxb2 Na4+ 40.Kd4 Rd1+ 41.Ke3 Rd3+ 42.Ke2 Nc3+ 0-1