Play the Fantasy Variation against the Caro-Kann
It's a great honour to present the first opening course that the legendary GM Vassily Ivanchuk makes for Modern Chess - Play the Fantasy Variation against the Caro-Kann.
In an almost 4-hour discussion with GM Grigor Grigorov, Ivanchuk shares his understanding of this highly ambitious approach against the Caro-Kann. The idea of Ivanchuk is not to provide a full repertoire that is based on engine analysis. In his fantastic overview, he presents the historical developments as well as the must-know positional and tactical ideas in the Fantasy Variation. Besides, against all the important lines, Ivanchuk provides more than one good option. Many of his ideas are practically unexplored.
While watching this video course, you will discover the endless amount of possibilities that a chess genius would consider when working on his opening. The deep insights combined with the human touch of Ivanchuk will make you fill the spirit of the Fantasy Variation.
The course comes with an extensively annotated PGN file (including all the key ideas from the discussion). Additionally, you can test your understanding by trying to solve 10 interactive test positions. Like all the recent Modern Chess databases, this course comes with two important features - Memory Booster and Computer Practice.
Now, we shall make a brief introduction to the Fantasy Variation that arises after 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3
This move marks the beginning of the so-called Fantasy Variation. White is fighting for the centre. When you see the pawn structure at the moment, without any dynamics, it looks like White is stronger in the centre than Black. In general, if White manages to complete the development and consolidate, his strong influence in the centre will provide a variety of active options. On the other hand, Black will be constantly looking for dynamic counterplay.
What Ivanchuk likes most in the Fantasy Variation is the endless amount of possibilities. In all the lines, White has many alternatives and each one of them leads to a different type of position. Therefore, it's by far not easy for Black to prepare against this line.
The first 6 chapters of the database are dedicated to the position arising after 3...dxe4 4.fxe4 e5 5.Nf3
At this point, Ivanchuk examines three options - 5...exd4, 5...Be6 and 5...Bg4. In all the cases, he provides many ideas that allow White to fight for an advantage.
Another important direction that is dealt with in the course is 3...g6
This system is one of Black's most common choices. At this point, besides the most popular 4.Nc3, Ivanchuk discusses the very fresh 4.c3!? which is actually his main recommendation. It turns out, that Black has no simple way to solve his problems.
Ivanchuk also spends some time analyzing the aggressive 3...e5
A very interesting, although not objectively correct, gambit line. By making use of the diagonal a7-g1, Black wants to immediately start attacking the white king. As we are going to witness, however, Black's development is not sufficient for such an attack.
Ivanchuk dedicates a serious amount of time to the system with 3...Qb6.
This is one of Black's most principled ways of fighting against the Fantasy Variation. Black immediately puts pressure on d4 and b2. His main idea is to follow with ...dxe4 followed by ...e7-e5. White has a wide choice of moves and setup.
Ivanchuk discusses 5 possible ideas - 4.exd5, 4.a4, 4.a3, 4.c3, and 4.Nc3. Even though his main suggestion is 4.Nc3, he explains why the other options are playable as well.
The final part of the course is dedicated to 3...e6
Usually, this move is played by players who want to avoid theoretical discussions. In the arising closed positions, the understanding is far more important than the concrete theoretical knowledge.
In the chapter dedicated to 3...e6, Ivanchuk also explains why 3...Nd7 is inferior.