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Is there a book, or an article, which examines the relationship between these two openings? The Caro-Kann exchange (non-Panov) is 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5, and the Queen's Gambit exchange is 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.cxd5 exd5.

The positions are identical except for who is on move. I know that the Caro-Kann exchange is not considered critical, and I know that the Queen's Gambit exchange (via that particular move order, i.e. without 3.Nc3 Nf6) is also not considered critical.

But does anybody know of a serious discussion of these two openings, which on the surface seem nearly identical?

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3 Answers 3

Soltis' Pawn Structure Chess is a good book which treats all the common pawn structures that arise from popular openings. Its focus truly is on the pawn structures themselves and typical plans associated with them, rather than on the particular opening move-orders by which they arise. And the structure described in your question is treated in section "C. The Orthodox Exchange Formation," located in the chapter devoted to the Queen's Gambit family of structures. Soltis writes:

Kmoch named [this formation] after the exchange systems (cxd5 / ... exd5) in the orthodox (read "normal") variation of the Q.G.D. It also occurs with colors reversed in the Caro-Kann (1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 exd5 cxd5 4 c3 and ... e6) and some rarer openings.

The Kmoch reference here is to the book Pawn Power in Chess, which also gives a short account of this structure, in the form of annotations to the game R.Byrne-Eliskases (1952). Kmoch has further discussion of this structure in his chapter on pawns and rooks; see pp. 100-103 of the Dover edition.

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OP, I just noticed your rating from your user profile. If I'd noticed that before answering, I might not have mentioned these sources, as their levels of treatment might not qualify as "serious discussion" in your eyes. Whether or not that's so, I will leave this answer for the benefit of others in any case. –  ETD Oct 18 '12 at 20:00

I think that this question really highlights the value of the initiative and the white pieces. In the Exchange QGD, the position is nearly equal according to theory, while in the Caro Kann, the position is nearly equal according to theory ...complicated.

I don't know of any books that compare the two simply because the Panov is still available. It can get incredibly crazy in so many lines when white takes on an IQP. On the other hand, black almost never willingly accepts an IQP in the QGD because he or she is down a full tempo (the Tarrasch is a different story).

My System does touch on some of the ideas of these positions (i.e. locked center with d4 and d5), but much of the theory (Carlsbad position, ideas in the minority attack lines, etc.) was developed more recently.

In terms of general ideas of the position (which would be a good starting point for trying to decide if the extra tempo makes a big difference), Kasparov's videos do a pretty good job of showing how the two sides fight with concrete ideas.

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Regarding "black almost never willingly accepts an IQP in the QGD" - isn't the Tarrasch (which you mention) exactly this? –  Christopher von Krogh Oct 29 '12 at 23:40
    
@ChristophervonKrogh the biggest difference between the Tarrasch and other "standard" QGD positions is that black doesn't commit the dark squared bishop. In the Tarrasch, the bishop stays on f8 as long as possible, while in the QGD, it moves to e7 or b4 quickly in order to allow black to castle. The Tarrasch has a specific tactical basis - my comment about black eschewing IQP's is more the general case - without a concrete line, black fares poorly due to the time disadvantage. –  Andrew Nov 8 '12 at 4:28

I heard a master talk about exactly this yesterday. The essential differences he highlighted were regarding minority attacks and using the open files. In the exchange Caro, black has a central majority and a strong minority attack on the a and b files. White tries to gain counterplay against the black in the form of a strong kingside attack. In the queens gambit exchange, it is then white who has the minority attack on the a and b files, and white hopes to win the black c pawn.

The master went much more into depth discussing certain bishop trades as well, but these were the main points I took from his lesson.

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