Richard Teichmann (1868-1925) was one of the best players of the early 20th century.
The German master was nicknamed “Richard V,” as that was often his tournament placing.
Karlsbad 1911 proved to be a different story: he rose to the occasion and achieved the greatest result of his chess career.
Teichmann won the 26-player round-robin by a full point over a string of current and future top players — Akiba Rubinstein, Carl Schlechter, Frank Marshall, Aron Nimzowitsch, Savielly Tartakower, Alexander Alekhine, and Rudolf Spielmann among them.
Here is a brevity against Theodor von Scheve, played at the Berlin Jubilee Tournament of 1907.
Black to play. How did Teichmann conclude the game in short order?
And had no idea what I was doing. I simply chose the opening because I saw it in MCO-13 and it had a lot less pages to “study” than most other defenses to 1.e4. By study, I meant “memorize,” because that’s what I thought opening learning was about in those days.
When I was around 1000, I switched to the French (1.e4 e6):
My play was passive and one-dimensional. I didn’t learn how to attack, instead sitting back and waiting to spring a counterattack. I played other dodgy openings like the St. George Defense (1.e4 a6) sometimes, scoring over 50% with it.
You can get away with this against the Under 1800 crowd, but I wouldn’t recommend it!
I dabbled with other openings over the years, too: the Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6):
The Scandinavian (1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6):
Even, for one or two tournaments,Alekhine’s Defense (1.e4 Nf6):
I deliberately avoided 1…e5 and the Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
Because they were “too complicated.”
Yes, there are many choices available to white after 1.e4 e5, but not a lot of different ideas. That is the key.
You want your pieces to become active and to not allow white to get (or maintain) a pawn duo on d4 and e4.
After the common sequence 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6:
Black’s control of d4 does not allow white to push the d2-pawn there without it being exchanged. If that exchange happens black will have decent control over the center.
The Canal Trap arises from the Italian Game (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4):
This has been extremely popular at high level for many years now. The consensus among top players seems to be that black’s strongest reply is 3…Bc5, entering the Giuoco Piano:
From there, White typically plays the modest pawn pushes c2-c3 and d2-d3 and develops quietly. This, the Giuoco Pianissimo, has become perhaps the mainline of the open games:
Instead, White can develop a knight to c3 and go for piece play. The Canal Variation comes about after 4.d3 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bg5:
Black has some different choices, and that can be a problem. After the sequence 6…h6 7.Bxf6 Qxf6 8.Nd5 Qd8 9.c3 (other moves will be analyzed in the notes below):
Black should play 9…a6 which preserves the dark-squared bishop from exchange from white’s d2-d4 or b2-b4 pawn advances. Instead, he loses after the normal-looking 9…Be6?
Can you see why? This is the Canal Trap.
Use the Canal Variation (and maybe the Canal Trap) to win games!
Sound, Solid, Infrequently (Well-)Played…
Three characteristics of an opening line to consider! By my count I am 3-0 in tournament play with the Canal (all against lower-rated players, so take that for what it’s worth). More important, my students score quite well with it, and always get good positions out of the opening. Since it’s a forgotten line, their scholastic opponents don’t know the subtleties of defending it.