The rapidly-growing collection of high-quality chess books from Thinkers Publishing (thinkerspublishing.com) includes very new works by International Grandmasters Alexey Dreev, Romain Edouard, Ivan Salgado Lopez, Daniel Fernandez and others, writing about diverse topics such as middlegame play, calculation training, gambit openings, and the combative yet solid and trustworthy Caro-Kann Defence.
When I’m playing Black against 1 e4, I often choose the Caro-Kann, 1…c6, with my most recent effort being the following quick game (see below) against Shredder this month on the useful shredderchess.com site. Though I won this particular encounter, I learned afterwards from Daniel Fernandez’s super-thorough book that a more accurate move than my 6…e6 against Shredder may be 6…Nb6!, to quickly activate Black’s light-squared bishop with …Bg4 or …Bf5. Despite being only 23 this year, Fernandez writes with great understanding while also managing to keep the text flowing in a lucid, easy-to-follow style. In short, his book is a pleasure to read, and I will aim to revisit it often in order to maximise my learning from it.
Right now, I offer you my following effort…
White: Shredder; Black: P.A.Motwani; Caro-Kann Defence
1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nd7 5 Nf3 Ngf6 6 Nc3 e6 (see the earlier comment about Daniel Fernandez’s recommendation of 6…Nb6!) 7 Bd3 (Fernandez suggests 7 g3) 7…Bd6 8 0-0 Qc7 (keeping options of castling kingside or queenside) 9 Re1 b6 10 Bg5 Bb7 11 Qd2 h6 12 Bxf6 (12 Bh4, intending Bg3, is a steady alternative) 12…gxf6!? (aiming for an interesting, more complex position than 12…Nxf6 would give) 13 Ne4 Bf4 14 Qc3 0-0-0 15 g3 f5! 16 Ned2 Bd6 (I wanted to retain the long-range bishop pair, but White should have now responded with 17 Nc4) 17 a4?! a5 18 Qb3 c5! (even though this leaves a sensitive spot at b5, Black must play energetically to open up the long diagonal for the bishop at b7) 19 Bb5 cxd4 20 Nxd4 Nc5 21 Qc4
21…f4 (suddenly Black’s kingside attack is extremely dangerous; practically winning already!) 22 g4 Rdg8 23 f3 h5 24 h3 hxg4 25 hxg4 Qd8 (one of many unstoppable ways of bringing totally decisive attacking forces against White’s frail, kingside defences) 26 Nc6 Qh4 27 Kf1 Rxg4 28 Qd4 (28 fxg4 Qxg4 is also hopeless for White) 28…Qh3+ (another route is 28…Bxc6, intending 29 Qxd6 Bxb5+ 30 axb5 Rg1+!) 29 Ke2 Bxc6 30 Qxd6 (or 30 Bxc6 Rg2+ 31 Kd1 Rd8!) 30…Bxb5+ 31 axb5 Rg2+ 32 Kd1 Rxd2+! 0:1 I took the liberty of “pulling the plug” there, since either 33 Qxd2 or 33 Kxd2 would be answered by 33…Rd8, pinning and winning White’s queen.
To conclude this article, don’t hesitate to check out superb books from Thinkers Publishing if you and/or your friends are fascinated by the ‘Royal Game’ of chess.