Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Wild Line in the Caveman Caro-Kann

I have been writing about the Caveman Caro-Kann since 2007 (see the bibliography at the end of this article for links), and I play the line from time to time myself.  Most of my focus has been on the rook sac that arises after 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.h4 h5 5.Bg5!? Qb6 6.Bd3 Bxd3 7.Qxd3 Qxb2 8.e6!!  But taking the Exchange with 6...Qxb2 instead always seemed a little unclear to me.  So I have been glad to see a few recent games with that line to help clarify the situation.  I have analyzed "A Wild Line in the Caveman Caro-Kann" (download PGN), focusing on the recent game Chandran - Balakrishnan, US Chess League 2012.   
Position after 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5
4.h4 h5 5.Bg5!? Qb6 6.Bd3 Qxb2?!
It has been gratifying to see the Caveman crop up at the highest levels (including in a Shirov-Anand game from last year) and to see the "Caveman" moniker used by GM Ronen Har-Zvi at ICC in his discussion of this and similarly aggressive lines in the Caro-Kann.  Peter Lukacs and Laszlo Hazai's article "An Obscure Gambit in the Caro-Kann" (NIC Yearbook #100, 2011) has made the Caveman into a known and respectable line, and I am seeing it crop up more frequently in games -- including amateur games, many of which are theoretically important to understanding this still "obscure" variation. That's why I was pleased to see this recent US Chess League game with the critical variation 6...Qxb2 7.Bxf5 Qxa1, even if it was lost by our own Praveen Balakrishnan playing for the New Jersey team. But Praveen's loss is theory's gain, I suppose.  The end of the game was quite nice (see diagram below).

Chandran - Balakrishnan, USCL 2012
White to play and win.

No comments: