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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7 (Read 5914 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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Keano
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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.
  

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HgMan
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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).
  

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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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Quote:
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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Quote:
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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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #10 - 09/29/17 at 21:13:49
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I've just been looking at ...Nc8 lines of the Caro-Kann Advance, and that got me to thinking about 5...Ndf6 in the Smyslov: rapidly making way for the bishop. Though it seems to have received less attention of late, nothing in the databases seems to point to any particular problem for Black. I note that Burmakin has played it a few times, though White has tended to avoid the "critical" lines...
  

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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #9 - 09/29/17 at 19:21:50
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Is the 5 Ng5 Ndf6 line under a cloud too these days? (I should add: I got interested in the Caro-Kann as a result of the really inspiring Bronstein-Larsen thread!)
  
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #8 - 09/08/17 at 05:04:09
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Hmm, I only see one recent Grandelius game, and the Yi game from 2017 that I see is a draw; nothing obviously jumps out at me, but I can look more deeply later, thanks.
  
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #7 - 09/08/17 at 03:40:57
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ErictheRed wrote on 09/07/17 at 21:06:29:
I could be remembering incorrectly, but I believe that the new 1...c6 book by Lakdawala and Kiewra recommend 4...Nd7, so that might be a place to look.



TN wrote on 09/07/17 at 13:07:08:
I'm not sure how you feel about 4...Bf5, but I found some pretty serious improvements over Vidit's recommendations in his latest DVD...


Would you care to elaborate at all?  Improvements for White after snatching the pawn on h4?  I don't have the DVD, but I've seen the gist of his recommendation.


Check out two of Grandelius's recent games in the 7...e6 8.h5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 Nf6 11.Bd2 Be7 12.0-0-0 variation. I recall Wei Yi having a nice win lately in this line too. I've concluded Black's best move is to transpose back to 7...Nd7 with 12...Nbd7, but then you may as well play 7...Nd7 to begin with.
  

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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #6 - 09/08/17 at 00:46:00
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hmmm. interesting. but remain to be convinced.
  
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #5 - 09/07/17 at 23:35:58
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TN wrote on 09/07/17 at 13:07:08:
I'm not sure how you feel about 4...Bf5, but I found some pretty serious improvements over Vidit's recommendations in his latest DVD, and would recommend Black opts for 7...Nd7 8.h5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 e6, intending 11.Bd2 Ngf6 12.0-0-0 Be7 13.Kb1 Qb6.


Good post TN - good advice!
I'd second that.
I played that Vidit stuff a bit online for a while. Taking that pawn really asks for it. Yes, stay with the solid stuff. White really appears to be nowhere in the 'old' main line, which is probably why everyone is 'taking the Short cut', as it were, with e5, Nf3, Be2 etc.

The DVDs are very good by the way, even noting that the main main line given there may possibly not be the way to go for those of us who cannot defend (and escape?!) like Houdini. Vidit is now 2700+, hardcore, and still rising and a DVD with some serious analysis by someone that strength is not to be sniffed at.
  
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #4 - 09/07/17 at 22:01:50
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Lakdawala's older MBM book went 4...Nd7. The new one goes 4...Bf5.
  
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #3 - 09/07/17 at 21:06:29
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I could be remembering incorrectly, but I believe that the new 1...c6 book by Lakdawala and Kiewra recommend 4...Nd7, so that might be a place to look.



TN wrote on 09/07/17 at 13:07:08:
I'm not sure how you feel about 4...Bf5, but I found some pretty serious improvements over Vidit's recommendations in his latest DVD...


Would you care to elaborate at all?  Improvements for White after snatching the pawn on h4?  I don't have the DVD, but I've seen the gist of his recommendation.
  
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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #2 - 09/07/17 at 13:07:08
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Pretty much everything h4rl3k1n said matches my own analytical conclusions. I would probably suggest 4...Nd7 5.Ng5 Ngf6 6.Bd3 g6 for practical play, but this gets very dangerous for Black if White is booked up with the h4-h5 approach. Fortunately, in online blitz no one seems to be ready for 4...Nd7 because it hasn't been played at a high level for a while, and I get a lot of 5.Nf3/5.Bc4.

I'm not sure how you feel about 4...Bf5, but I found some pretty serious improvements over Vidit's recommendations in his latest DVD, and would recommend Black opts for 7...Nd7 8.h5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 e6, intending 11.Bd2 Ngf6 12.0-0-0 Be7 13.Kb1 Qb6.
  

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Re: Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
Reply #1 - 09/07/17 at 09:07:24
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It seems to be out of fashion because black does far better in the Capablanca variation. Negi's book pretty much closed the case; all the important games had already been played until about 2013.
The critical continuation is the following line:


leading to two critical positions:

* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
*

In this position the assessment seems to be a slight advantage for white without any serious counterplay for black. Black did not win a single game in this variation in the last two years or so. I will not go into further detail; Negi's analysis seems convincing.

The other position is this one:
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
*

Here in the critical line white delays castling with Ne5 and Bd2 and usually even f4, waiting for black to show his cards. White will castle the other way and hack open the black king. This is pretty much what Negi recommends for white. White has a huge plus score with almost no losses.
I spent some IDeA time on a move order against this for black, delaying ... Qc7 by ... b6 und ...Bb7 first and gaining the option to play ... Bc7 if white sticks to his scheme. White still gets his usual slight edge I suspect, but it seems to me that black is holding his own here. I also found some other interesting practical ideas for black against this move order, so at least I am not scared to play this OTB with black.

Probably absolutely not because of this but rather for practical reasons, white players still use to opt for the old main line defined by castling long first and not necessarily playing Ne5. White still scores above 60% there, which is not bad at all for an easy-to-play second best line. It is, however, the way people played before Negi's book and nothing black players used to worry about. As far as I know there is no brand new theory on this; this is just a very classical position which has been played a lot.

So the variation starting with 10. ... Nf6 is the way I would go for black if you want to play the Karpov variation.
  
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Smyslov/Karpov Variation: 4...Nd7
09/03/17 at 14:06:21
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Inasmuch as there have been new repertoire books on the Caro Kann, the recommendations have leaned toward the Classical Variation (4...Bf5) with some new ideas. Is this just a shift in fashion? Or is Karpov's old favourite--4...Nd7--under a cloud? What is the critical line that Black has to reckon with in the Smyslov or Karpov variation?
  

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