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1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Qe2 d4 4. Nd1

I find this variation very interesting and would like to know whether it has a name, is in some books, or maybe just annotated games. It is played mostly by Russian players: Aleksei Pridorozhni, Vadim Zvjaginsev, Semen Dvoirys are listed with the most games and very convincing scores.

  • 1
    I can't find the line in any of my Caro-Kann books, nor in ECO. The closest I could find was a line in ECO that continued 3. Qf3. Maybe someone else can find something.
    – Herb
    Aug 14, 2020 at 2:11
  • It seems that the variation aims to reroute knights to the kingside.
    – user24344
    Aug 16, 2020 at 22:24
  • You could just look at the games in which they are played.
    – user24344
    Aug 31, 2020 at 1:49
  • I have looked at all games from the players I mentioned. Mostly Black does not know what he is doing and White gets a great position, +2 out of the opening. Many logical testing moves are never played. There are maybe 2 or 3 people who know how to fight the system and one of them is Moskalenko.
    – B.Swan
    Aug 31, 2020 at 1:54
  • this is a thing. works well in blitz too. learned this in 2012 from this video and calls it a Croatian variation just an unofficial name
    – cmgchess
    Jun 4, 2023 at 15:01

2 Answers 2


I have several Caro-Kann books and none mention this line.

In general, http://www.kenilworthchessclub.org/, and https://www.chessgames.com/ are good opening resources.

When you're analyzing rarely played lines it's best to just use a database and an engine. That's all I really use anymore anyway. Occasionally, I'll look at book if I don't understand a particular move but mostly it's database and engine.

White is getting crushed in this line. After 4. Nd1, e5, black is at least equal. I don't know why you'd want to play it. Something like the 2 knights or the KIA would lead to similar positions but are better openings.

  • What database shows that White is getting crushed? Every I've seen so far shows very good score for White, and experienced players always get an advantage out of the opening (+1.5 to +2)
    – B.Swan
    Sep 6, 2020 at 10:10
  • @B. Swan- It scores fairly well in databases but you can clearly see by looking at the position that black is dominating the center and although white has moved a couple of pieces the pieces are misplaced so white's development is not good. Stockfish agrees and has it -.3 at depth 32. White can probably get a reasonable position with d3, f4, g3 maybe c3 at some point but i just don't like giving up a big center like that as white and like I said you can reach similar positions without giving up so much in the center.
    – Savage47
    Sep 6, 2020 at 10:54

The Chess Tempo website has an opening explorer database. It has a number of follow ons at from numerous master level+ games, with win and draw percentages for each variation. According to its data, 4... e3 looks better for Black than d4. EDIT clearly that should be e6 as noted by B Swan ]

Fun fact: Tartakover used to play Nf3 instead of Qe2.

  • 1
    Do you mean 4...e6 or 4...dxe4? Because 4...dxe4 scores worse than 4...d4 for Black, while 4...e6 looks like it scores well for Black, until you look one move further, when 5. g3 scores 66% for White (admitted, 9 games only, but it's still good for White). And Nf3 is the main line and is totally different from this variation
    – B.Swan
    Sep 6, 2020 at 0:14
  • oopsies. that darn useless algebraic system did it to me again. clearly I meant e6 which is p-k3 in sane notation. Sep 6, 2020 at 19:17

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