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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7 (Read 7375 times)
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #25 - 10/01/17 at 09:09:48
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Or ends in 1/2 - 1/2 Smiley
  
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #24 - 09/30/17 at 23:36:21
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HgMan wrote on 09/29/17 at 23:35:07:
This is well worth exploring. My lone problem with 4...Nd7 is that Black needs to prepare for a series of fifth moves, all of which tend to take the game in wildly different directions. This isn't the end of the world, of course—and maybe I'm answering my own original question—but Black does put the ball back in White's court to dictate the course of subsequent play in a manner that isn't consistent with other lines of the Caro-Kann. When I played this in correspondence chess, my opponents were pretty evenly split between 5.Ng5, 5.Bc4, and 5.Nf3. If I could be sure they'd play 5.Ng5, then I'd happily delve into this more carefully.

Sorry. Back to 5...Ndf6 (which I never played: stuck to 5...Ngf6 and Khalifman's Karpov repertoire).


I played the Smyslov Caro-Kann over the board for some years, almost exclusively, and I had the same experience in that you encounter all three white replies almost evenly. Black has at least two reasonable options against each of the three "big" replies, but you cannot really force white to do anything special if he doesn't want to. After a while the three lines felt pretty much the same to me. I could vary a bit as black and my biggest problem was that equalizing often meant reaching an ending which I did not manage to win as white had no weaknesses. This was fine as long as my main objective was grinding out draws against stronger opponents. I will elaborate a little.
  • Against 5. Nf3, there is 5. ... Ndf6 (even though this is never played) and of course 5. ... Ngf6, and after 5. ... Ngf6 6. Ng3 there is 6. ... e6 as well as the immediate 6. ... c5. After. 6. ... e6 Black still has the choice between rather calm development and a quick ... c5 for several moves. White can often choose between c2-c3 and c2-c4, indeed dictating the course of events.
  • Against 5. Bc4, there is again 5. ... Ndf6 or 5. ... Ngf6, or even 5. ... Nb6 aiming for ... Nd5. After 5. ... Ndf6 6. Ng5 e6 7. Qe2 Nb6 both of white's choices are rather dull for black.
  • 5. Ng5 has already been discussed.


In all these cases the resulting positions resemble nothing else in the Caro-Kann (unlike the 4. ...Bf5 variation), but then again, they make up a type of position of their own. The endgames tend to be quite similar and there seems to be only a handful of critical positions.

What annoyed me most is that it takes quite long to equalize, often resulting in endgames where white still has no structural weaknesses. I had this especially against 5. Nf3 and 5. Bc4. White doesn't need to risk much if he doesn't want to. There's not much room for tactical oversights on white's side and after exchanging the last attacking piece there is still no hook in white's position. I guess for the real Smyslov/Karpov aficionado, this is where the game starts.
  
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #23 - 09/30/17 at 23:12:34
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HgMan wrote on 09/30/17 at 22:07:02:
Recommend good sources on 5...Ndf6 ? It seems to get short shrift in most books.


Usually with such moves I look up my Opening according to Anand volumes and try to improve for Black. In the Khalifman series ...Ndf6 is described as "the most important of the second rate moves" or something along those lines Smiley
  
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HgMan
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #22 - 09/30/17 at 22:07:02
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Recommend good sources on 5...Ndf6 ? It seems to get short shrift in most books.
  

"Luck favours the prepared mind."  --Louis Pasteur
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #21 - 09/29/17 at 23:35:07
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This is well worth exploring. My lone problem with 4...Nd7 is that Black needs to prepare for a series of fifth moves, all of which tend to take the game in wildly different directions. This isn't the end of the world, of course—and maybe I'm answering my own original question—but Black does put the ball back in White's court to dictate the course of subsequent play in a manner that isn't consistent with other lines of the Caro-Kann. When I played this in correspondence chess, my opponents were pretty evenly split between 5.Ng5, 5.Bc4, and 5.Nf3. If I could be sure they'd play 5.Ng5, then I'd happily delve into this more carefully.

Sorry. Back to 5...Ndf6 (which I never played: stuck to 5...Ngf6 and Khalifman's Karpov repertoire).
  

"Luck favours the prepared mind."  --Louis Pasteur
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Michael Ayton
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #20 - 09/29/17 at 22:33:50
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Kamsky was probably more focused on keeping pieces on and complicating.

I guess the fact that Black has two decent moves here is, as usual in such cases, a sign of health ...
  
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #19 - 09/29/17 at 22:28:38
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Michael Ayton wrote on 09/29/17 at 22:23:11:
Wild Kamsky game! I hadn't thought about 11 ...Nf5 and was going to play 11 ...Ng4 there -- is that so daft?


11...Ng4 looks like a good move to me. Black is very solid.

Kamsky was probably more focused on keeping pieces on and complicating.
  
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Michael Ayton
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #18 - 09/29/17 at 22:23:11
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The ...g6 line is more provocative but ok also I think the h6 Knight can go to f5-d6, Black plays ...a5 etc. all depending on what White does.

Is White theoretically better? Maybe yes. But is that enough - definitely not. Kamsky beat extremely solid White GM Godena with the ...g6 line for example.

Wild Kamsky game! I hadn't thought about 11 ...Nf5 and was going to play 11 ...Ng4 there -- is that so daft?
  
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #17 - 09/29/17 at 22:10:24
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Fair enough
  
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #16 - 09/29/17 at 22:07:14
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mn wrote on 09/29/17 at 21:52:06:
I disagree - it's not a refutation certainly, but White has easy paths to comfortable += IMO.

6...Bg4 7 h3 Bxf3 8 Nxf3 e6 9 g3 (or 9 Bd3, but stopping ...Ne7-g6-f4 makes sense) and 6...g6 7 Ne5 Nh6 8 Bc4 Nd5 9 Ngf3 Bg7 10 0-0 0-0 11 Re1 reminds me of an Alekhine where's Black's Knight is on an...original...square.



We are not in disagreement I think, when I said nothing special I meant White had a nominal edge but not enough:

The ...Bg4 x f3 positions Karpov defended time and again against Kasparov.

The ...g6 line is more provocative but ok also I think the h6 Knight can go to f5-d6, Black plays ...a5 etc. all depending on what White does.

IsWhite theoretically better? Maybe yes. But is that enough - definitely not. Kamsky beat extremely solid White GM Godena with the ...g6 line for example.

As with the Bronstein-Larsen, its kind of time and a place stuff.
  
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #15 - 09/29/17 at 21:52:06
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I disagree - it's not a refutation certainly, but White has easy paths to comfortable += IMO.

6...Bg4 7 h3 Bxf3 8 Nxf3 e6 9 g3 (or 9 Bd3, but stopping ...Ne7-g6-f4 makes sense) and 6...g6 7 Ne5 Nh6 8 Bc4 Nd5 9 Ngf3 Bg7 10 0-0 0-0 11 Re1 reminds me of an Alekhine where's Black's Knight is on an...original...square.
  
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #14 - 09/29/17 at 21:42:59
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mn wrote on 09/29/17 at 21:36:50:
6 N1f3 and Ne5 if possible looks critical


Allows 6...Bg4 although 6...g6 is also playable since ...Nh6 is always available.

None of these lines are anything much for White.
  
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #13 - 09/29/17 at 21:36:50
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6 N1f3 and Ne5 if possible looks critical
  
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #12 - 09/29/17 at 21:33:53
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Interesting -- thanks. I'd thought it looked in decent shape as well, as perhaps one might expect -- after all Karpov wasn't exactly known for playing junk ...
  
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #11 - 09/29/17 at 21:33:23
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Funny enough. I was also looking at that ...Ndf6 line a few weeks back. It seems very solid, maybe White h
as an edge but difficult to prove.

I was looking at this line:

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Ng5 Ndf6 6. Bc4 Nd5 7. N1f3 g6 8.O-O Bg7 9. Re1 Ngf6 (9...h6 has done well in some top level games also)

and the game goes on, Black is solid and can look to his chances later
  
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