I'm a beginner with openings and Steinitz principles, and I'm in the interesting position where I can develop an artificial intelligence which is better than me in chess.

After the e4 c6, I have played the following variant against my machine, where I tried to refuse the Caro-Kann game to see if I can manage outside the commonly known combinations:

[Title "Caro-Kann refutation"]
[StartPly "36"]
[FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1. e4 c6
2. c3 d5
3. Qc2 Be6
4. d4 Nbd7
5. h3 f6
6. Bd3 dxe4
7. Bxe4 g6
8. Bf4 g5
9. Bg3 Qa5
10. Nge2 h5
11. Bg6+ Kd8
12. Nbd2 h4
13. Nb3 Qb6
14. Bh2 Qb5
15. Bd3 Qa4
16. Kd2 Bd5
17. Rhg1 Rh5
18. Be4 Rh8

At this point I'm stuck and still haven't managed to gain a real advantage and every idea I get seems to lead to a draw.

Were my moves relevant or is my defense fragile? Can I still overthrow black at this point?

  • Also I'd be happy to know any dumb mistake I may have done if you see one of course! Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 12:41
  • Black sure is shuffling a lot of pieces around. Is that the AI?
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 15:26
  • @TonyEnnis Yes indeed. It's a basic understanding of the next 4 moves, if I remember well. Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 15:41
  • 1
    I'm not seeing any break-out moves here. It looks like a slow game for a while. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 15:43
  • 2
    No. Opting to not castle is rarely the right choice. I'd guess (sans research) that more than 99% of all master games feature at least one side castling.
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 15:48

1 Answer 1


There are in fact quite a few mistakes on both sides, but I can't correct the AI, so this is for White:

  • 3.Qc2 is already bad - it is does not contribute to the fight for the center (and this is a fast one, no time for slow moves). After pawns exchange on e4 black plays Nf6 with tempo and gains the "first move advantage".

  • 6.h3 is slow in that it doesn't develop anything and doesn't stop any threat (Black's white bishop already chose a square which is not g4).

  • 10.Nf3 is better than Ne2 - controls more critical square and looks over Black's weakened kingside.

  • 13.Nb3 is a straight up blunder. 13...Bxb3 with threat on the queen forces 14.Qxb3 with time for Black's 14...hxg3 - up a piece.

  • 15.Nc5 is winning. There are many variations here but after knights are exchanged you threaten 0-0-0 with check and some very strong tactics.

  • 16.Kd2 is weak - centralizing the king while still in the midgame is risky and serves little purpose. Better is 0-0 at least.

  • 17.Rhg1 while not a mistake seems uncalled for. The h rook seems better placed at e1 aiming at the half-open file and close to Black's king (with no castle rights). I think that Bxg2 for Black will be too slow as white has chances of trapping Black's Queen with moves like c4, Nc3 and a3 etc.

  • You have a better position, don't exchange pieces with 18.Be4. Something like c4 forces his bishop away, then follow with something along the lines of Rooks to e1 and d1, N to c3 (not necessarily in this order) and remember that if Black moves Q to a6 you have c5 with discovery of the bishop on the queen.

  • 1
    Hello thanks for the analysis! Only one comment: with 17. Rhe1 you recommend the sacrifice of the pawn in g2 and let the black try the promotion (majority of well-advanced pawns on the king's side)? Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 20:55
  • 1
    @PierreArlaud I don't reccomend 17.Rh1 right away, I just say the rook belongs on e1, so moving it to g1 and then to e1 is a waste of a move. I would go 17. c4 and if Bxg2 then Nc3 and go straight for the queen with a3 and c5. Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 22:33
  • @user1903551 okay now that's interesting, what's the point of putting in danger a bischop which is going to go to g2 anyway? Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 12:00
  • 1
    @PierreArlaud To trap the queen just as I explained in the comment above. Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 14:08

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