Why do most beginners play this line against the Caro-Kann? 1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. d4 and 5. Nc3?

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1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. d4 AnyMove 5. Nc3
  • hmm, are you sure that people play this? Sep 19, 2015 at 18:23
  • 1
    perhaps not always 5. Nc3 but from my experience a lot of weak players play this line: 2. Nf3 and 3. exd5 Sep 19, 2015 at 18:30

2 Answers 2


It's not the best way to play against the Caro-Kann, but it's good enough for beginners. It follows basic opening principles: develop your pieces, fight for the center, knights before bishops, though it does violate the rule about moving a piece (or pawn?) more than once. It's true that the Knight on c3 blocks the natural c4 advance, but beginners can't be expected to know that (see below).

If you're seeing this a lot from opponents, don't worry. It will go away (but not completely) as your rating improves and you start playing stronger players. Beginners are commonly told not to study openings, which they interpret to mean don't even learn the first 3 or 4 moves.

  • I agree with you, but I did say as far as beginners are concerned. Remember, they are told not to study openings, so they wouldn't know that the c-pawn shouldn't be blocked in in the exchange Caro-Kann. Sep 22, 2015 at 19:15
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    @overtheboard The move is playable, and it's not horrible by any means. White will not be significantly worse after playing it(I'm not sure that white is even slightly worse after it). For a beginner, this is good enough, and the move follows the most basic opening principles. Stronger players may want to get more out of the opening, and will thus avoid this line, as it blocks the c-pawn.
    – Scounged
    Sep 22, 2015 at 22:48
  • @overboard maybe you'll like the edited version better. Sep 23, 2015 at 12:18
  • Why are beginners not supposed to study openings ? (I'm a beginner too.)
    – Saikat
    Aug 8, 2016 at 15:42
  • @user230452 At the beginner level, games are generally decided by tactical blunders. Knowing the first 10 moves of your favorite opening doesn't really help if you leave your queen hanging and your opponent takes it or if you let your opponent checkmate you because you didn't see it. So it's a better use of time for beginners to learn how to make safe moves and study tactics. Aug 9, 2016 at 14:56

In my experience playing chess exd5, beginners play exd5 because they usually think that taking d5 will help them. But that's my opinion.

  • 1
    Could you explain a bit more why beginners think d5 will help them? Thanks,
    – lodebari
    Sep 22, 2015 at 5:54

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