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Weekly chess column

Oliver Traldi and Nithin Kavi shared first place in the Boylston’s Winter Open in early March, both with 3.5-.5 scores, upsetting their betters. Here is Traldi’s best game in that event, a win against expert Farzad Abdi. It is a Caro-Kann defense in which White gets the luxury of occupying e5 with a pawn. Abdi accordingly castles on the opposite side. Traldi sacrifices a piece by leaving it en prise, and after that the fun begins.  

 

Boylston Chess Club Winter Open, 2013

Oliver Traldi (1915) vs. Farzad Abdi (2164)

 

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1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 The Advanced Variation of the Caro-Kann, yet again. It seems to be not only fashionable on the international level but also on the club level 3. … Bf54. h4 “The Caveman Caro-Kann: Advance Variation with 4.h4” as some would call this line. Others simply refer to it as the “Tal Variation of the Advanced Caro-Kann.” The idea is just to try to embarrass Black’s white square bishop after Black plays an eventual e6. This approach first came to world view in the Tal-Botvinnik return match in 1961, where Tal badly misplayed the line, getting only .5 points out of three games as White. 4. … h6 The much more popular line is h5. 5. c4?! (Not so bad but 5 g4 is much more thematic. After 5. … Bd7 (5. … Bh7 runs into 6. e6 fxe 7. Bd3, where Black has a real hard time coordinating his pieces and safeguarding his king.) 6.Nd2 with the idea of Nb3 making Black’s c5 harder, seems to give White an edge) 5. … e6 6. Nf3 better is 6. Nc3. With the knight of f3, Black has an easier time with his bishop, 6. … Nd7 7. Nc3 dxc4 8. Bxc4 Nb6 9. Bd3 9. Bb3!? Ne7 10. Be3 Nbd5 11. Qd2 Qa5   12. O-O Nxc3 13. bxN Bg4 14. Nh2 Bh5 15. Rfb1 O-O-O? (Just asking for trouble. Much better was either b6 for Qc7 16. Rb3 Bg6 17. Rab1 b6 18. g3 Bxd3 19. Qxd3 Nd5 20. Bd2 Nc7 21. Qf3 Qxa2 After some maneuvers we come to the crucial moment in the game. With White’s next move, he sacrifices a piece that Black really should not take, but does. 22. Qxc6!!Diagram Seems to win by force. 22. … Qxd2? Really not appreciating White’s idea. Better chances for survival were given with either 22. … Be7 or 22. … g5, but still White has a large advantage 23. Ra1! The point. It is amazing how powerless Black is against the simple threat of Rxa7 and Ra8 mate.) 23. … Rd7 Another losing line is  23. … a5 24. Rxb6 Rd7 25. Rxa5 Kd8 26. Rb8+ Ke7 27. Qc5+ Rd6 28. QxR mate. Also, if 23. … Kb8, then just 24. Rxa7 KxR 25. Qxb6+ Ka8 26. Qb7 mate.  24. Rxb6 Qxc3 Desperation but there is really nothing else. At least Black will get a rook and bishop for the queen but his king is far too exposed. 25. Qxc3 axb6 26. Qc6 Kd8 27. Qxb6 Ke7 28. Ra7 Nd5 29. Qd6+; 1-0 It’s mate in one.

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