This coming Tuesday I am preliminarily paired against a Class A player. This post is about my preparation against a player 300 points higher than my own.
First I had to figure out what to open with. I am supposed to have white against him. In preparation, I did a sleuthing and found out that he plays the Caro-Kann as Black against 1.e4. This will be interesting since I play the C-K as black I know what throws me off. I thought of preparing either a Panov-Botvinik or an advanced Caro-Kann as described in the book : Caro Kann in Black and White . I Like the Everyman’s Starting out… series
and referenced the Caro-Kann for the mainline: 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxd4 Bf5
I know he plays this if allowed.
Second, I wanted to find a good place to throw him out of the book. I searched on this and decided to play 5.Nc5 with a fiery queenside attack. There is only vague references in the 2 books I have already mentioned.
Third , I needed to evaluate if this variation was sound. How to do this without spending more money? DATABASE search… I actually had downloaded a HUGE pgn file on the mainline C-K to build my Bookup repertoire. I discovered it had several master/GM games with the signature move I was looking for. I didn’t feel it necessary to search and download anymore from the online games databases. Instead, over the weekend, I played through each of the games in my database and annotated a few of the games ( two were with Fisher playing white).
The last step in my preparation against a formidable opponent, I discovered that several key positional schemas were common. One involves an Isolated Queen Pawn formation as white. A second strategy was discovering how to make use of a queenside attack on the Black’s weakness of b7 early in the game. Another common theme is a massive king-side pawn advance to blockade the Bishop which involves a thematic pawn sacrifice on f5 to lock him in. I am spending the rest of my time practicing with the computer against these types of positional dynamics to gain more experience.
My hope is to take him out of the comfort zone of the typical C-K game of chase the bishop. I’ll let you all know how I do on Tuesday.