This game is a perfect example why it pays off to know a few traps out of the opening. Even if it’s unlikely for it to occur when it does it will win you the game on the spot such as the one I’ll show today. It’s the classic trap in the QGA where Black defends the gambit with the b and c pawns.
Essentially what happens is White plays a4 attempting to break up the pawn formation via 1.axb5, however, Black looking to keep a solid formation and extra pawn will play c6 as in the position above. You get the line 1.axb6 cxb6 2.Qf3!
At this point the Queen is bearing down on the a8 Rook. There isn’t many option on how to defend. At the minimum Black must lose a minor piece but in the game which I will link they lost much more than that.
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One of the most important things to be aware of when playing is the motifs present in certain openings. In the Caro Kann the c file will becomes semi open for Black once the capture on d5 is recaptured with c6. Very often play will follow with some idea of getting the Rook to c8 followed by the Queen or other Rook once a lift is made. The reason this is important to understand is the because of the pressure it puts on White and the c2 pawn, which many times isn’t defended or only defended once. By being able to decide where to shift the fight early gives Black a chance to control the game and limit White’s options for aggression of their own.
In the position above there are a few things to note: The c pawn is only defended once, the White a4 Knight is under attack, the Bishop on f3 can be captured with check and there is a xray attack on the b2 pawn. White is in a bad way here. It’s White to move and they must be very careful.
The only move is to retreat the Knight to c3 where it had just come from to attack the Queen. Black is threatening to 1…Nxf3+ 2. Qxf3 Qxa4 and once the Queen moves from d3 the c2 pawn will be undefended. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence, many of my Caro games are won because of the pressure I have along the c file and White’s inability to defend.
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My last blitz blog post was back in June, it’s not that I haven’t been playing but I’ve been spending less time playing online and more time over the board. With all the tournaments being OTB my ability to transfer my online skills to the board in blitz hasn’t been easy. Going from the top down 2D perspective where it’s easy to see the entire board to a 3D tilted perspective is difficult to get used to and perform the same on. I did a few things to make the online board a little harder like removing the highlights for the previous move, taking away any indications of possible squares and even transferring longer games to the board while playing online. The last one I really hoped would help and while it does to some extent it also break concentration having to look at the screen and then board every move. Lichess has a feature where it will announce the moves when they are played so I may try to switch over to that, one less interruption might help.
I wanted to jump back into some blitz however so I played a little 3 minute the other night to good results, here are two of the games. A lot of the study I could tell was paying off, going from the board to the screen is way easier. I went into a Caro where I was able to equalize around the 4th move, White went for an early double attack on c7 with the Bishop and Knight but missed Qa5+ attacking the Knight. It was retreat and give me initiative or lose a piece.
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The next game is also a Caro but in this one I traded the dark squared Bishop instead of the light in the opening. The main problems for White arose when I was able to get a Knight to e4 and squeeze the position.
The double attack on c3 also comes with an attack on the Queen, you have to lose one or the other. White saved the Queen but after the capture of c3 with the Rook the c2 pawn was very weak, stacking on the c file with Queen and Rook allowed me to trade down into a winning position. This game was slower than the previous one since White still had some defensive resources and their King wasn’t as exposed as the first game.
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