This question relates to the following possible continuation of the Short Variation of the Advance Caro-Kann:

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1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 c5 6.O-O Nc6 7.c3 Bg6 8.a3 cxd4 9.Nxd4

This arose in an opening video by an Indian GM, and he said 9.Nxd4 was a poor move because white's f4 and g4 push lose its venom. I was wondering if it simply drops a pawn.

Question: Is 9...Nxe5 recommended here?

Stockfish recommends it, but that's different to being practically playable by humans. Stockfish plays:

[fen ""]
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 c5 6.O-O Nc6 7.c3 Bg6 8.a3 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Nxe5 10.Bf4 Bd6 (10...Nc6 11.Qa4 Qd7 12.Bb5 Rc8 13.c4 Nf6 14.Nc3 a6) (10...Nd7 11.Nb5 e5 12.Qxd5 exf4 13.Qxb7 Rc8 14.Re1 Bc5 15. b4 Ne7 16.bxc5 Nxc5 17.Qxa7 O-O) 11.Bb5+ Kf8 12.Re1 Nc4 13.Bxd6 Nxd6

Some of these lines are sharp, and may not be easily playable by humans. Perhaps there's a reasonable alternative here.

  • 1
    If Stockfish recommends it, then chances are it's fine. Sep 28, 2019 at 23:33

2 Answers 2


I think when Stockfish is saying +1 for black you kind of have to go for it - yes white gets a flurry of initiative but you can't avoid mess in every game. It's hard for humans to play messy positions but it will be hard for your opponent too.


I kind of disagree with the previous answer, as computers often get confused with long-term complications coming from the opening.

In my view, the position is fine, but far from comfortable. However, when playing the Caro-Kann, Black has to accept that this type of positions will arise, and it should master how to defend them accordingly.

In short, analyse it deeper, get ready and go for it!

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