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Desmond Tan vs Richard D Westwood
"Tan, Westwood, and Ready" (game of the day Oct-07-2012)
Smith & Williamson British Championships (2004), Scarborough ENG, rd 6, Aug-07
Caro-Kann Defense: Karpov Variation (B17)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I've never seen 5...Ndf6 (rather than the normal 5...Ngf6) before, and I've played this line for Black (lifetime losses as Black in Caro-Kann: zero). But I see that Huebner and Adorjan have both played it against GM opposition, so it must be OK.
Oct-07-12  Tired Tim: ... and the pun?
Oct-07-12  rilkefan: <Tired Tim>: It refers to Nixon's "Tanned, rested, and ready", which in turn refers to his earlier debate loss to Kennedy due to the camera's poor treatment of his pallor.
Oct-07-12  rilkefan: Stockfish thinks basically any move 17 was equal for black except the one he chose - Nd7, Ne7, Rd8, Bb7, Ba6 are all fine. The knight isn't doing anything critical on e5 and the above moves retain more influence on the center or allow active regrouping.
Oct-07-12  Abdel Irada: <rilkefan>: As always without benefit of engine, I agree that this is where Black began to go astray. I see no reason to cede the bishop pair here, and if pressuring the knight off e5 is his object, it might be more efficiently attained by means of ...♗a6, ...♘b6 and ♘bd7. As the game progresses, we see that the loss of dark-square control ultimately costs Black dearly.
Oct-07-12  JohnBoy: <FSR: (lifetime losses as Black in Caro-Kann: zero)> - Congrats, But i conjecture that you haven't played guys who can pry black open like a bear on a VW bug qua food locker at Yosemite.
Oct-07-12  Abdel Irada: Hmm. I *would* be a bit afraid to meet a guy who can pry open a bear.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <JohnBoy> I've only played the Caro-Kann a handful of times, albeit against some pretty strong players like Albert Chow, Marvin Dandridge, and Scott Zingheim. No doubt I'd have lost some games if I'd played it more. But I do consider it solid, solid as a rock.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: The line 4....Nd7 is for wimps-if you're gonna play the Caro, 4....Nf6 and 5....gxf6 is the way to go!

That said, in the early 1980s I played 4....Nd7 several times.

Oct-07-12  JohnBoy: <FSR> - I was just teasing. <I do consider it solid, solid as a rock.> Me too. My defense of choice once I hit about 2100. I won some nice CKs and usually felt very content with black - but that was ages ago and I've long since chucked my game books. <perf>'s <4....Nd7 is for wimps> kills me - I loved the Steinitz. I guess I'm a wimp! And Ron Frasco (~2300) and Rob Salgado (~2400) did indeed rip me open without mercy. (Note: I remember my losses far more clearly than almost all of my wins. No doubt a personality trait.)

<Abdel> - You would have a lot of respect for bears if your VW bug was ever pried open by one craving a can of tuna.

Oct-07-12  Abdel Irada: <JohnBoy>: I have great respect for bears. My remark was occasioned by the ambiguity of your sentence, which left it unclear whether the bear was prying things open or being pried.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <JohnBoy> One of those times I played 4....Nd7, I tried the line that Black essayed in the following game (Larsen vs K Rogoff, 1978), but grabbed the b-pawn, unlike Rogoff. Got wasted anyway, if memory serves.
Oct-07-12  The Last Straw: Simply 36...e5? and 37...Re8?! destroyed black's game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I was a 4...Nd7 man myself. I haven't the foggiest idea why calls it the "Steinitz Variation." Steinitz wouldn't have been caught dead playing the Caro-Kann.

I did play 4...Nf6 5.Nxf6+ gxf6 against Dandridge, but had no idea what I was doing. He maneuvered his other knight to g7 with check and I ended up putting my king on c7! Somehow I drew anyway.

My MO has often seemed to be to sleep through the opening and early middlegame, get a lost game, and then wake up and start fighting for my life. See, e.g., F Rhine vs G S DeFotis, 1988; F Rhine vs S Nagle, 1997. No wonder I like Lasker.

Oct-08-12  Abdel Irada: <FSR: I was a 4...Nd7 man myself. I haven't the foggiest idea why calls it the "Steinitz Variation.">

Whatever the reason, <> isn't alone. I believe the variation really is generally known as the Steinitz, having seen it referred to by that name elsewhere.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Abdel Irada> I haven't. Maybe the other sources are copying's usage. "Steinitz Variation" is inane.'s database shows 4...Nd7 first being played in 1913, 13 years after Steinitz' death, by Nimzowitsch. Steinitz never played the Caro-Kann as Black, considering it bizarre.'s database shows only one game where he played it as White. That game featured 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 e5?!, which incongruously calls the "Main Line."

I've seen 4...Nd7 called the "Smyslov Variation" and "Karpov Variation." Both are reasonable, since both often played it. So have lots of other noted players, such as Flohr and Petrosian.'s database shows Smyslov playing it 23 times,, and Karpov 113(!) times, Note that sometimes also calls the line the "Karpov Variation," including in the caption to the present game.

"Steinitz Variation" is nonsense and should be retired.

Oct-08-12  Abdel Irada: Although I may be in error, I thought the Karpov Variation (more properly, subvariation) was the line with ...♘d7 followed by ...♘df6.

Meanwhile, according to Wikipedia, referring to the line in its most general form (characterized by ...♘d7 with whatever follow-up): <At one time named after the first world champion Wilhelm Steinitz, nowadays the variation is variously referred to as the Smyslov Variation after the seventh world champion Vasily Smyslov who played a number of notable games with it, the Karpov Variation, after the twelfth World Champion Anatoly Karpov, in whose repertoire it appeared quite often, or, most commonly, the Modern Variation.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Abdel Irada> While I've done plenty of editing on Wikipedia chess articles under the name <Hushpuckena>, the 4....Nd7/Ndf6 subvariation of the Caro-Kann isn't an area I ever delved into that I remember, and I've never considered myself sufficiently knowledgeable to write on it.

Maybe it was someone called <Krakatoa>......

Oct-08-12  JohnBoy: <FSR, Abdel, perf> - I call 4...Nd7 the Steinitz because that's what I learned it as in about 1980. An old habit never questioned. I hold no attachment to the name and am quite willing to name it after Smyslov or Karpov.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The queen and bishop will mate!
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <If 4...Nd7 in the Caro-Kann is to be the <Steinitz Variation>, I think 1.d4 should be called <Fischer's Opening>, 1.c4 the <Morphy Attack>, and 1.Nf3 <Spassky's Opening>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <FSR> Though I've panned 4....Nd7, I'd sooner return to that than to 4....Bf5, which I played a few times in my very early Caro career during 1978.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Here's an early lesson from Karpov on playing against 4....Nd7 (Karpov vs Hort, 1978), featuring a crushing attack when his top-class opponent errs early on.
Oct-08-12  Abdel Irada: <FSR>: I would be most interested in the history of the naming of this variation. If, as you say (and I have no reason to doubt it), Steinitz never played it, we might as well rename the French Defense and call it the Bacrot.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <FSR: .....My MO has often seemed to be to sleep through the opening and early middlegame, get a lost game, and then wake up and start fighting for my life.....No wonder I like Lasker.>

Been known to do the same, and that may well explain my fondness for Lasker's fighting qualities as well.

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