The Keres Variation Versus the Caro Kann

After 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 there is an alternative for white, 5 Ng3, as NM Michael Lucas, from Alabama, played against me in a game ultimately drawn in a time scramble. “Wasn’t that exciting?” Mike asked immediately after I agreed to his draw offer. “No” I replied. “It was HARROWING!” He laughed uproariously as we signed score sheets. IM Boris Kogan said Mike was one of the most inventive players he had known. Lucas did not like to study Chess; only play. I still recall going over one of his Closed Sicilian games in which he played g3-g4, and then on the following move, g4-g5. I said something like, “Wow.” He looked up and grinned. “It thwarts everything,” he said. “Thwarts” has stuck in my memory. As I recall my response, after Mike retreated his knight, was 5…g6. Then it was that or 5…h5, but I had experimented with moves like 5…Qc7, and 5…Na6, among others, but never thought to play 5…c5, which is the move Komodo gives as best at the CBDB.

The variation 1 e4 c6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Nf3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nf6 5 Qe2 has become popular. Anyone who has read my blogs know of my predilection for the move Qe2 in the opening, especially against the French. I have yet to play 5 Qe2 versus the Caro Kann because I do not play 2 Nc3. I favor 3 f3, the Caro Kann Krusher, after the usual 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5. Maybe the white player hopes for 1 e4 c6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Nf3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nf6 5 Qe2 Nbd7:

White to move

There is a reason one should ALWAYS EXAMINE ALL CHECKS!!!

This was actually played in a game between Paul Keres and Edward Arlamowski at the Przepiorka Memorial in Poland two months and three days before I was born in 1950. Since the first game played with Qe2 iin this variation was played by Paule Keres, I declare it to be the “Keres variation.”

Here are a couple of recent games with the Keres variation from Gibralta:

Harshit Raja vs

Chanda Sandipan

Rd 4

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Qa5 7. Qf4 Qf5 8. Qe3 Qxc2 9. Bd3 Qa4 10. b3 (10. O-O f6 11. b3 Qa5 12. Bb2 Na6 13. Rfe1 Nc7 14. b4 Qh5 15. b5 Nxb5 16. Nd4 Nxd4 17. Bxd4 1/2-1/2 Giri v Riazantsev, Palma De Mallorca GP 2017) Qa5 11. Bb2 Na6 12. O-O f6 13. Bc4 Bd7 14. Rac1 Nc7 15. Bc3 Qh5 16. Nd4 e5 17. f4 O-O-O 18. fxe5 Qxe5 19. Qxe5 fxe5 20. Nf3 Be6 21. Bxe5 Bxc4 22. Rxc4 Ne6 23. Re1 Bc5+ 24. d4 Bb6 25. Re4 Rhe8 26. Rg4 Rd5 27. Kf1 g5 28. Rg3 h5 29. h3 Rf8 30. Ke2 Rf5 31. Kd3 Rfxe5 32. Nxe5 Bxd4 33. Rxd4 Rxd4+ 34. Kc3 Rd5 35. Re3 Nf4 36. g4 Ra5 37. Rf3 Rxe5 38. Kd4 0-1

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

vs Richard Rapport

Rd 10

1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Na6 6. d4 Qd5 (6…Bf5 7. Ng3 Bg6 8. c3 e6 9. h4 h6 10. Ne5 Bh7 11. Nxc6 Qb6 12. Ne5 Nc7 13. a4 a6 14. a5 Qd6 15. Qd1 Nd7 16. Qa4 Nd5 17. Be2 f6 18. Bh5+ g6 19. Nxg6 Bxg6 20. Bxg6+ Ke7 21. O-O f5 22. Bxf5 1-0 Khruschiov v Karacsony, Miercurea Ciuc op 1998) 7. Nc3 Qa5 8. Qe5 Qxe5+ 9. dxe5 Nb4 10. Bd3 Nxd3+ 11. cxd3 Nd7 12. Be3 Nb6 13. Ke2 Be6 14. Nd4 Bd5 15. Nxd5 Nxd5 16. e6 g6 17. exf7+ Kxf7 18. Nf3 Bg7 19. Ng5+ Ke8 20. Rab1 a5 21. Ne4 b6 22. Rhc1 Kd7 23. Nc3 a4 24. Nxd5 cxd5 25. d4 Rhc8 26. Kd3 e6 27. Rxc8 Rxc8 28. Rc1 Rxc1 29. Bxc1 Kc6 30. b3 axb3 1/2-1/2

The next game found in the Big database is from 1968:

Istvan Csom

vs German L Khodos

HUN-URS 1968

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Nd7 7. Bc4 Nf6
8. Ne5 e6 9. Qe2 Be7 10. c3 c5 11. Bb5+ Bd7 12. Nxd7 Nxd7 13. O-O a6 14. Bxd7+
Qxd7 15. Rd1 Qb5 16. Qxb5+ axb5 17. d4 c4 18. Be3 Kd7 19. a3 Kc6 20. Kf1 Kd5
21. Bf4 g5 22. Be5 f6 23. Bg3 h5 24. h3 Rag8 25. Re1 h4 26. Bh2 g4 27. Re3 g3
28. Bg1 Bd6 29. Rae1 Re8 30. Rf3 f5 31. fxg3 hxg3 32. Be3 Rh4 33. Bg5 Re4 34.
Rxe4 Kxe4 35. Re3+ Kd5 36. Rf3 Rg8 37. Bf4 Bxf4 38. Rxf4 b4 39. axb4 Ra8 40.
Ke2 Ra2 41. Kf3 Rxb2 42. Kxg3 Rc2 43. Rf3 e5 44. dxe5 Kxe5 45. Re3+ Kf6 46. Kf3
Kg5 47. g4 fxg4+ 48. hxg4 Kf6 49. Kf4 Rf2+ 50. Rf3 Re2 51. Rh3 Kg6 52. Re3 Rf2+
53. Ke5 Rd2 54. Re4 b5 55. Kf4 Rc2 56. Re6+ Kf7 57. Re5 Rxc3 58. Rxb5 Rc1 59.
Ke3 Ke6 60. Rc5 Rc3+ 61. Kd4 Rg3 62. Kxc4 Rxg4+ 63. Kb5 Kd6 64. Rc1 Rg8 65. Ka6
1-0

Oleg M Romanishin,

v Ratmir D Kholmov,

Vilnius zonal 1975

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Qd5 7. Qe3 Bf5
8. c4 Qe4 9. d3 Qxe3+ 10. fxe3 Nd7 11. Be2 e5 12. e4 Bb4+ 13. Kf2 Be6 14. Be3
f6 15. d4 exd4 16. Nxd4 Bf7 17. Rhd1 g6 18. Nf3 Bc5 19. Bxc5 Nxc5 20. e5 O-O
21. exf6 Ne4+ 22. Kg1 Nxf6 23. Ng5 Rae8 24. Re1 Re5 25. Nxf7 Kxf7 26. Bf3 Rxe1+
27. Rxe1 Rd8 28. Re3 g5 29. h3 h5 30. Rb3 Rd7 31. g4 hxg4 32. hxg4 c5 33. Bxb7
Rd4 34. Bf3 Rxc4 35. Kf1 Ke6 36. Ra3 Rf4 37. Ke2 Nxg4 38. Bxg4+ Rxg4 39. b3
Re4+ 40. Kf3 Rf4+ 41. Kg3 Rf7 42. Ra6+ Kd5 43. Rg6 Rf1 44. Ra6 Rf7 1/2-1/2

Melanie Ohme

v Judith Fuchs

GER-ch U16 Girls 2005

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Nd7 7. Bc4 Nf6
8. Qe2 Bf5 9. O-O e6 10. d4 Bd6 11. Bg5 O-O 12. c3 Be7 13. Ne5 Qc7 14. f4 h6
15. Bxf6 gxf6 16. Ng4 Kh7 17. Bd3 Bg6 18. f5 exf5 19. Bxf5 Kg7 20. Rf3 Rae8 21.
Qd2 Rh8 22. Raf1 Qd6 23. Rg3 h5 24. Ne3 Kh7 25. Qc2 Reg8 26. Qb3 Rg7 27. Qxb7
Rb8 28. Qxa7 Rxb2 29. Nc4 1-0

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The Glek Variation According to TCEC

In the marathon 64 game match between the two “engines” left standing to battle it out for the TCEC championship, Komodo 1333 and Stockfish 141214, both rated over 3200, the Glek variation of the Four Knights was the opening chosen by humans for the two titans in games 37 & 38. The first game began early enough that I was able to follow it live. I opened the CBDB (http://database.chessbase.com/js/apps/database/) and 365Chess (http://www.365chess.com/opening.php?m=8&n=1004&ms=e4.e5.Nf3.Nc6.Nc3.Nf6.g3&ns=3.5.5.6.47.57.1004) in order to check out which variation would be used. After 4 g3, 365Chess shows the database contains 99 games by GM Igor Glek, the man for whom the variation is named. Surely, I thought, the variation chosen by the TCECers would feature one of the variations promulgated by GM Glek.

The first surprise was 4…d5 since 4…Bc5 is played more often, but the former move is one of the standard moves. It would have been wonderful to see which move the “engine,” left to its own devices, would have played. 4 g3 signals the Glek variation and one would assume the humans would have forced the “engines” to begin the game by answering it with the move the “engine” playing Black considered best. We all know what happens when one makes an assumption…

The next moves through White’s 7th move are all standard, but Black’s 7…Be7 is not standard, as 7…Bc5, and 7…Bd6, have been played far more often, and with better results. GM Glek has faced 7…Bc5 seventeen times, and 7…Bd6 eleven times, while having faced 7…Be7 on only four occasions. Hummmm…

For the final “forced” move, the humans chose 8 0-0, and it has been the most played move by far, but has been outscored, by far, in limited action, by a move near and dear to my heart, Qe2! The last forced move was 8…0-0.

Stockfish 141214 (3218) vs Komodo 1333 (3210)
TCEC Season 7 – Superfinal 37
2014.12.23
C47
Four Knights: Glek, 4…d5

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Bf6 10. d3 Be6 11. Ba3 Re8 12. Nd2 Qd7 (12…Rb8 13. Qc1 Bg5 14. Bxc6 bxc6 15. Rxe5 Bh3 16. Rxe8+ Qxe8 17. Qd1 f5 18. Rb1 Rxb1 19. Nxb1 c5 20. c4 Qc6 21. f3 Qe6 22. Kh1 Qe3 23. Nc3 Qf2 0-1, Benoit Lepelletier 2480 vs David Marciano 2470, 1997 FRA-ch) 13. Ne4 Be7 14. Bxe7 Qxe7 15. Nd2 Qc5 16. c4 Rab8 17. Ne4 Qe7 18. a4 a5 19. c3 h6 20. Qf3 f5 21. Nd2 Rbd8 22. Qe2 Bf7 23. Bxc6 bxc6 24. Nb3 Rb8 25. Qd1 Rb6 26. Nxa5 Reb8 27. d4 e4 28. d5 cxd5 29. cxd5 Rd8 30. Nc4 Rxd5 31. Qe2 Rb7 32. a5 Ra7 33. Ne3 Rdxa5 34. Nxf5 Qf6 35. Rxa5 Rxa5 36. Nh4 Qxc3 37. Qxe4 Ra1 38. Rxa1 Qxa1+ 39. Kg2 Qf6 40. Qa8+ Kh7 41. Qe4+ g6 42. f4 c5 43. Nf3 Qb2+ 44. Kg1 c4 45. Qe7 Qa1+ 46. Kf2 Qa2+ 47. Ke3 Qb3+ 48. Kf2 c3 49. Ne5 Qa2+ 50. Ke3 Qd2+ 51. Ke4 Qe2+ 52. Kd4 Qf2+ 53. Kxc3 Qe3+ 54. Kc2 Qe2+ 55. Kb1 Qd1+ 56. Kb2 Qd2+ 57. Kb1 Qe1+ 58. Kc2 1/2-1/2

Komodo 1333 (3210) vs Stockfish 141214 (3218)
TCEC Season 7 – Superfinal 38
2014.12.23

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Bf6 10. d3 Bg4 11. Rb1 Rb8 12. h3 Be6 13. c4 Re8 14. Bb2 Bf5 15. Nh2 Nd4 16. Bxd4 Qxd4 17. Ng4 Bxg4 18. Qxg4 b6 19. a4 Qc3 20. Qd1 g6 21. h4 h5 22. Bd5 Kg7 23. Re2 Qa3 24. Qe1 a5 25. Bc6 Re6 26. Rb3 Qa2 27. Bd7 Rd6 28. Bb5 Rbd8 29. c5 bxc5 30. Rb1 Rb8 31. Rb3 Rbd8 32. Qxa5 e4 33. Rxe4 Qxc2 34. Bc4 Rd4 35. Qxc7 R8d7 36. Qc6 Rxe4 37. Qxe4 Re7 38. Qf3 Bd4 39. a5 Qd2 40. a6 Bxf2+ 41. Qxf2 Re1+ 42. Kg2 Re2 43. Qxe2 Qxe2+ 44. Kg1 Qe1+ 45. Kg2 Qe2+ 46. Kh3 Qd1 47. Rb2 Qa1 48. Ra2 Qh1+ 1/2-1/2

From the comments left in the “chat” window it was obvious the fans did not care for the choice of opening because some spiced their comments with profanity. How are these eight moves chosen, and who makes the choice? If the Glek variation is chosen, why not stop the forced moves as soon as it becomes a Glek variation when White plays 4 g3? What is the point of forcing the top chess playing things in the universe to play additional moves they may, or may not, play on their on volition?

Here is a recent game played by GM Igor Glek:

Igor Glek, (2438) vs Rustam Kasimdzhanov (2700)
FIDE World Rapid 2014 06/17/2014

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. g3 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Bf6 10. Rb1 Re8 11. h3 g6 12. Nh2 h5 13. d3 e4 14. d4 Qd5 15. Bf4 Qxa2 16. Nf1 Qd5 17. Nd2 Kg7 18. Nxe4 Bxh3 19. Bxh3 Rxe4 20. Rxe4 Qxe4 21. Bg2 Qf5 22. Rxb7 Ne7 23. Rxc7 Rd8 24. Rxa7 Nd5 25. Bd2 Rc8 26. Ra5 Ne3 27. Qa1 Nxc2 28. Rxf5 Nxa1 29. Rb5 Nc2 30. Rb3 Ra8 31. Bxa8 1-0

Here is a game that began as a Paulson Vienna before transposing, played by one of my favorite female players, Melanie Ohme (OhMy!):

Melanie Ohme (2315) vs Karina Szczepkowska Horowska (2376)
GER-POL w Match 2012 07/21/2012

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 d5 4. exd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Be7 7. Nf3 Nc6 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Bf6 10. d3 Rb8 11. Nd2 Re8 12. Rb1 Bd7 13. Ne4 Be7 14. Be3 b6 15. d4 Qc8 16. Qd3 h6 17. Rbd1 exd4 18. cxd4 Nb4 19. Qd2 Bf5 20. Bf4 Qd7 21. c4 Rbd8 22. Qb2 Bg4 23. Rd2 Nc6 24. d5 Na5 25. Rc2 f5 26. Nd2 Bf6 27. Qc1 Rxe1+ 28. Qxe1 Re8 29. Qc1 c5 30. h3 Bh5 31. Nb3 Nb7 32. Be3 Nd6 33. Qd2 a5 34. Qd3 Qe7 35. Nc1 g5 36. a4 Kg7 37. Kh2 f4 38. gxf4 Bg6 39. Qd2 Bxc2 40. Qxc2 gxf4 41. Bxf4 Be5 42. Nd3 Bf6 43. Qd1 Nxc4 44. Qg4+ Kh8 45. Qg6 Ne5 46. Qxh6+ Kg8 47. d6 Qg7 48. Qxg7+ Kxg7 49. Nxe5 Rxe5 50. Bxe5 Bxe5+ 51. Kg1 Bxd6 52. Kf1 Kf6 53. Ke2 Bf4 54. Kd3 Ke5 55. Kc4 Bd2 56. Bd5 Be1 57. f3 Bh4 58. Be4 Bd8 59. Bd5 1/2-1/2

Timofey Galinsky (2424) vs Denis Shilin (2424)
UKR-ch 2000

1. e4 Nc6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Be7 8. Qe2 O-O 9. O-O Bf6 10. d3 Re8 11. Nd2 e4 12. d4 Bf5 13. Nc4 Qd7 14. Ne3 Bh3 15. Bxh3 Qxh3 16. Nd5 Bxd4 17. Nf4 Qc8 18. cxd4 Nxd4 19. Qh5 Re5 20. Qh3 Nxc2 21. Qxc8+ Rxc8 22. Bb2 Ra5 23. Rac1 Na3 24. Rfd1 b5 25. Rxc7 Rb8 26. Rdd7 1-0

This is the oldest game found, and it makes me wonder why the variation is not called the “Nimzowitsch variation.” Could it be that there are so many other variations named after Nimzo that it would be too confusing to have another one? Or is it a variation is not named after a player who loses the initial game?

Aaron Nimzowitsch vs Ernst Gruenfeld
Karlsbad 1923

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. g3 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Bd6 8.
O-O O-O 9. d3 Bg4 10. h3 Bd7 11. Rb1 Rb8 12. Re1 Re8 13. Ng5 h6 14. Nxf7 Kxf7
15. Qh5+ Kg8 16. Bxh6 Qf6 17. Bg5 Qf7 18. Qh4 Ne7 19. Rxb7 Rxb7 20. Bxb7 Qxa2
21. Bxe7 Rxe7 22. Be4 Qe6 23. Qh7+ Kf8 24. Qh8+ Qg8 25. Qh5 Be8 26. Qg5 Qe6 27.
Ra1 c6 28. Kg2 Qh6 29. Qg4 Qd2 30. Qh4 Qh6 31. Qg4 Rf7 32. Qe2 Bc5 33. Bf3 Bd7
34. g4 Qf4 35. Ra5 Bb6 36. Rxe5 Bc7 37. Re4 Qh2+ 38. Kf1 Qxh3+ 39. Bg2 Qh6 40.
Qe1 Bg3 41. Re2 Qh4 42. c4 Kg8 43. g5 Qxg5 44. Kg1 Bd6 45. d4 Bh3 0-1

Scandals at the Bermuda Party

The chess24 website (https://chess24.com/en) contains an article, “The Bermuda Party – a retrospective.” (https://chess24.com/en/olympiad2014/news/the-bermuda-party-a-retrospective)
Over on the right side there is a list of the top ten “Popular Players.” World human Champion Magnus Carlsen tops the list. With the exception of #3 Vugar Gashimov , who died far too young, and #6 Garry Kasparov, the man who will be remembered only for losing to a computer program known as Deep Blue, the list shows most of the top human players today, with the exception of #2, Anna Rudolf. Having never heard of the woman, I decided to check her out. Keep in mind this list is on the page with skant news of the Bermuda Party, where one also sees this: Tarjei J. Svensen @TarjeiJS
“So a couple of scandals at the Bermuda party, but “what happens in #BermudaParty stays in Bermuda Party” – sorry guys 🙂 #ChessOlympiad”
I clicked on her name and, wa-la, there she was. Well, it is actually a picture of Anna. I immediately understood why she was on the list and also wondered why she is only #2. It shows her ranked 4429 in the world, but it does not specify if that is overall or as a woman player. She is rated 2314 and is from Hungary. Too bad I don’t do pictures, huh guys? I leave that up to GM Kevin Spraggett. (http://kevinspraggettonchess.wordpress.com/) There are, though, a few pictures of the Bermuda party. In addition, one can watch the movie, “Chess Fever.”
Speaking of pictures, on the home page there is a picture to the left of Magnus of the lovely WGM Melanie Ohme. As the Legendary Georgia Ironman can attest, I have been an admirer of the young woman for awhile now. I always refer to her as “Melanie Ohme (Ohmy!)” I may be old, but I still like to gaze upon a pretty face. Women may not be as strong at playing the Royal game, but they sure look better while playing! Thus proving that not all of the changes in chess have been bad.

Rock’n Roll SCANDAL