CHESS. BIZARRE VARIATIONS Bizarre variations

by Ignacio Marin


Modern chess theory has developed so extensively that in some cases we can find ourselves in outrageous situations following the books. Here some of my favorites:

- The OJ chase variation: 1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Ne4 3. d3 Nc5 4. d4 Ne6 5 d5 Nc5 6. b4 Na4 7 c4 b5 and spite of the fact that white gets an extra glove with 8. cb5, the situation is complicated now that the black knight has recovered his breath.

- Compared with the "slow chase" of the knight, it is always more exciting the fast chasing of a king. Two of the best: A) 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 f5 4. Nc3 Nd4 5 ef5 c6 6. Nd4 ed4 7. Qh5+ Ke7 8 0-0 d5 9 Re1 Kd6 10 Re8 Qf6 11. d3 Ne7 12 Bf4 Kc5! with (if nothing has changed lately) a slight black advantage (!!). B) 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 Bc5 5 Nf7 Bf2 6. Kf2 Ne4+ 7. Ke3 Qe7 8. c3 Nd4 8. Ke4 Qh4 10 Ke3 Qf4 11 Kd3 d5 12 Bd5 Bf5 13 Kc4 b5 14 Kc5 "with a slightly complicated position".

- A couple of crazy Najdorfs: A) 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3 d4 cd 4. Nd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6 Bg5 e6 7 f4 Nbd7 8 Qf3 Qc7 9 0-0-0 b5 10 Bd3 Bb7 11 Rhe1 Qb6 was played several times until the game Chiburdanidze - Dvorjis, Tallin 1980, that followed 12. Nd5 ed 13 Nc6!! and white wins. B) My favorite: 1. e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3. d4 cd 4 Nd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bg5 e6 7 f4 Qb6 8 Qd2 Qb2 9 Rb1 Qa3 10 e5 de 11 fe Nfd7 12 Ne4 h6! (black would like to play 12...Qa2, but after 13. Rb3 Qa1 14 Kf2 Qa4 white has 15 Ne6!, so he plays first 12...h6 and if 13 Bh4 Qa2 etc the queen in a4 will attack the h4 bishop. Pretty sophisticated!) 13 Bb5?!?!. Really crazy!!, but look at the cold answer: 13...ab! 14 Nb5 hg! 15 Na3 Ra3 and black is better (Platonov - Minev, Sochi 1968).

You will think that all this variations are just minor examples and that this kind of things donít happen in "real chess", at least in games between the best players. Well, three examples that this is not the case:

Timman - Short ( Game 9, Candidates final, San Lorenzo del Escorial, 1993)
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bc6 (boring?) dc6 5 0-0 Ne7 6 Ne5 Qd4 7. Qh5 g6 8 Qg5 Bg7 9 Nd3 f5 10 e5 c5 11 b3!? and black had the opportunity of taking the a1 rook during eight moves. The rook survived, however, until it was sacrificed again in the 22nd move. Despite this nice try, black won.

Karpov - Kasparov (Game 3, World Championship match, New York, 1990)
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5 Nf3 0-0 6 Be2 e5 7 Be3 Qe7 8 de5 de5 9 Nd5 Qd8??!! not only sacrificing the exchange after 10 Bc5 Ne4 11 Be7! Qd7 12 Bf8 Kf8 but also the queen for only a couple of pieces after 13. Qc2 Nc5 14 Rd1 Nc6! 15 0-0 Ne6 16 Nb6 ab6 17 Rd7 Bd7. Karpov had problems for getting a draw.

Finally, the most famous is probably the "refutation" of the Open Variation of the Spanish defense: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Ne4 6 d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 8 de5 Be6 9 Nbd2 Nc5 10 c3 d4 11 Ng5!!, first played by Karpov against Korchnoi (10th game World Championship match Baguio 1978) and lately borrowed by Kasparov in his match against Anand (especially in the 10th game, New York 1995). As you know, Anand suffered a small catastrophe after 11...dc3 12 Ne6 fe6 13 bc3 Qd3 14 Bc2! Qc3 15 Nb3!! offering the a1 rook!. Maybe the most bizarre, the better... Do you have other good examples??