Lawrence Trent: Winning with the Fantasy Variation

by Priyadarshan Banjan
3/23/2015 – No fun against the Caro-Kann? Why not surprise your opponents with the Fantasy Variation 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3? Aggressive, creative, unexplored, difficult to deal with, but easy to learn. In 60 minutes Lawrence Trent shows you the basics of this interesting and exciting variation that is bound to lead to interesting games. Review...

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A review

Winning with the Fantasy Variation is an opening Fritztrainer from the ChessBase 60 minute series and introduces you to the Fantasy variation of the Caro-Kann. If you are hard-pressed for time or if you simply want something fresh IM Lawrence Trent offers help. In a 60-minute lecture he arms you with a fascinating weapon to use against the Caro-Kann.

Over the past few years, British IM Lawrence Trent has established himself as a noted chess commentator, and in this DVD he lives up to his reputation as an organized and eloquent presenter of his ideas. His basic aim is to arm you with a refreshingly entertaining variation against the Caro-Kann. Of course, in the main lines of the Caro-Kann White can also fight for an advantage, but against these players with Black will often come well prepared. Why not surprise them with the Fantasy variation?

After the introduction Trent discusses five sub-variations Black may play against the Fantasy Variation:

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3

Against each of these lines Trent shows ways to keep the position full of play. The idea is that most Caro-Kann players - especially those rated below 2000 – will have a tough time to deal with these aggressive lines. However, Trent’s recommendations are basically sound though they lead to positions that are full of dynamic possibilities. This variation will definitely lead to interesting games!

White to play

White to play

However, Trent does not always come to a clear evaluation of the lines he advocates. A slight drawback though understandable – after all, many of his suggestions are relatively untested. However, they are exciting and I look forward to try them in my games.

Eloquent and organised: Lawrence Trent

Trent also offers a separate ‘Reference Database’ which is especially helpful if you want to learn the typical patterns of Fantasy-positions effectively.

Now, how to handle this position?

Take, for example, the position after 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3 e6 4.Nc3 Bb4. Trent’s main line runs 5.Bd2 after which White gets an exciting attack on the kingside. However, Trent also mentions the line 5.a3 Bxc3 6.bxc3 dxe4 7.Qe2 leading to a position in which White sacrificed a pawn for the bishops and a lead in development.

I thought that this was a very interesting idea and had the urge to explore it further. In the reference database I found precisely what I was looking for.


This DVD helps you to confidently face the Caro-Kann – for a small price and in a short presentation. Heartily recommended – particularly for players rated below 2000.

Sample video

Lawrence Trent:
Winning with the Fantasy Variation


This DVD can be be downloaded directly from the Internet

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Priyadarshan Banjan is a 23-year-old club player from India. He works as an editor for ChessBase News and ChessBase India. He is a chess fanatic and an avid fan of Vishy Anand. He also maintains a blog on a variety of topics.


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