Two Rook Sacs in the Caro Kann

By Michael Goeller

The other day, I played a series of unrated games with a strong player on Chess.com. In two of the games, my opponent played the Caro-Kann and in both I sacrificed a Rook in an interesting way. Both games are worth a look.

Two Knights Caro-Kann

kenilworthian (1909) - jerzyw (2039) [B11]

Live Chess/Chess.com 2011


1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 Bg4 4. h3 Bxf3 5. Qxf3 e6 6. d3 Nf6 7. Bd2 Be7 8. g4 h6?!

This move presents White with a hook for his kingside attack. Black should apparently break the tension in the center and then consider castling queenside. For example:

8... dxe4 9. dxe4 Nfd7 10. O-O-O h6 (10... Bg5 11. Qg3 e5 12. h4 Bxd2+ 13. Rxd2 Qc7 14. g5 Nb6 15. Nd1 N8d7 16. Qa3 Qd8 17. Ne3 Qe7 18. Rd6 g6 19. Bh3 h6 20. Rhd1 Rd8 21. h5! Qxg5 22. Qd3 O-O 23. Bxd7 1-0 Movsesian, S (2635)-Schlosser,P (2560)/Baden-Baden 1996 (61)) 11. h4!? (11. Kb1 O-O?! 12. h4!) 11... Bxh4 12. e5 Nxe5 13. Qe2 Nbd7 14. f4 Ng6 15. f5 Ngf8 16. Ne4 Be7 17. g5 Qc7 18. gxh6 gxh6 19. Bc3 e5! 20. Qh2 O-O-O 21. f6 Nxf6 22. Bh3+ (22. Rxd8+! Qxd8 23. Bh3+ Ne6 24. Qxe5) 22... Ne6 23. Bxe5 Qa5 24. Nxf6 Qxa2 25. Rd3 Bb4! 26. Rxd8+ Rxd8 27. c3 1/2-1/2 Planinec,A (2445) -Spiridonov,N (2440)/Polanica Zdroj 1979 -- Black can force a draw by perpetual check.

 

9. O-O-O  Nbd7 10. h4! Qb6










11. g5! hxg5 12. hxg5 Rxh1

 

 

 

13. gxf6!?

13. Qxh1 Ng4 14. Qh8+ Bf8 15. exd5 cxd5 16. Qh5 Nge5 looks less clear, but the computers think White has a strong attack after 17. f4 Ng6?! 18. f5

 

13... Rxf1

To be completely honest, I had overlooked this simple desperado when I played 13.gxf6. So now I went into a think, in which I contemplated just resigning to play another game. And then I noticed a very interesting idea.

 

14. fxg7!! Rxd1+ 15. Nxd1 O-O-O?!

The computer thinks best is 15... Ne5! 16. g8=Q+ Kd7 17. Qfxf7 Nxf7 18. Qxa8 but White still wins a pawn.

 

16. Qxf7 Bf6

16... dxe4 17. g8=Q (17. Qxe7!? Rg8 18. Bc3 Qd8 19. Qxe6 is more ambitious) 17... Rxg8 18. Qxg8+ Qd8 19. Qxd8+ Kxd8 20. dxe4

 

17. g8=Q Rxg8 18. Qxg8+ Kc7 19. Qxe6!

19. Bf4+?! e5

 

19... dxe4 20. Bf4+ Kd8

Necessary, but hardly better, was 20... Kc8 21. Qg8+ Qd8 22. Qxd8+ Kxd8 23. dxe4

 

21. Bd6!

Mating attacks on the back rank are in the air.

 

21... exd3?? 22. Qg8+ Nf8 23. Qxf8+ Kd7 24. Qxf6 dxc2 25. Kxc2 c5 26. Qe7+ Kc6 27. Bc7!? Qb5 28. Qd6#

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Advance Variation of the Caro-Kann: The Caveman

kenilworthian (1909) - jerzyw (2039) [B12]

Live Chess/Chess.com 2011


1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. h4 h5 5. Bg5

A line I like to call the Caveman Caro-Kann.

 

5... Qb6

Attacking the undefended b2 pawn. But can he really get away with taking it?

 

6. Bd3! Bxd3 7. Qxd3 Qxb2 8. e6! fxe6

8... Qxa1 9. Qb3 Qxd4 10. Qxb7 (10. Be3 Qe5 11. Qxb7 fxe6 (11... d4?? 12. Qc8#) 12. Nf3 Qd6 13. Qxa8) 10... fxe6 11. Be3 Qa4 12. Qxa8 Qa5+ 13. Nd2 Qd8 14. Ngf3 Nf6 15. O-O g6 16. Rb1 Nbd7 17. Qxc6 Bg7 18. Ng5 1-0 Perunovic,M (2580)-Lalith,B (2480)/ Dubai 2009.

 

9. Nf3 Qxa1 10. Qb3!

Shutting the door on Black's Queen, which has fallen like a wooly mammoth into the ditch.

 

10... b5

10... Nd7 11. O-O  O-O-O (11... e5 12. Nc3 Qxf1+ 13. Kxf1 e4 14. Ne5 Nxe5 15. Qxb7 1-0 Firman,N (2494) -Makarov,V (2172)/Alushta 2006) 12. Nbd2 Qxf1+ 13. Kxf1 and White's dark-square bind still makes life difficult for Black.

 

11. O-O Nf6

11... b4 12. Qxb4 Qxa2 13. Qb7

 

12. Nc3!? Qxf1+ 13. Kxf1 Nbd7 14. a4! a6 15. Qa3!

Threatening 16.axb5 followed by 17.Nxb5.

 

15... Rc8 16. axb5 axb5 17. Qa6 Rb8

17... Kd8 18. Bd2! clears the way for Ng5 while threatening an eventual Ba5+.

18. Qxc6

18. Bf4! may be a little bit more incisive.

18... Kf7 19. Bf4 Re8 20. Ng5+ Kg6 21. Qxe6 Rc8 22. Nxd5 Rxc2 23. Qf7+ Kf5

Or 23... Kh6 24. Nxe7 Bxe7 25. Ne6+ Kh7 26. Qxg7#

 

24. Ne3+ Kxf4 25. Nxc2?!

A little faster is 25. g3# of course.

 

25... e5 26. g3+ Kg4 27. Ne3#

1-0

[Michael Goeller]

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Copyright © 2011 by Michael Goeller