26 votes
Accepted

Black's tools in the Caro-Kann Advanced Tal Variation

I play the white side of this position often, and have an incredible winrate because to be honest, it feels very hard for black to develop naturally. Here's an example of how things can go wrong: [FEN ...
  • 5,555
24 votes
Accepted

If 1. e4 c6 is considered as a sound defense for black, why is 1. c3 so rare?

"Reversed" Openings in general A black defense and its white mirror counterpart will often play out quite differently (compare the rather sharp Sicilian Defense and the rather quiet English Opening). ...
  • 5,819
22 votes
Accepted

What is black’s compensation in the main line of the Caro Kann?

At a basic level, what we want from an opening and a defense, is: we want to be fighting for the center squares (1), we're trying to develop our pieces and get good squares for them (2), and thirdly, ...
  • 11.9k
20 votes
Accepted

Why is 14..Qd8 the most popular move in this variation of the Caro Kann?

This is ctg format property, or bug, if you like. There were no games played with 14.Bf4 and as well there were no games played with 14...Qd8. The ctg tree just knows position after 14...Qd8. ...
  • 3,266
15 votes

Is the Caro-Kann principled? Why is there no refutation?

An opening move (really any move) can be good for one of two basic reasons. A. It accomplishes something you want to do. B. It prevents the opponent doing something they want to do. Because White ...
  • 7,538
14 votes

Why is the Advance Variation considered strong vs the Caro-Kann but not vs the Scandinavian?

Against a white d4-e5 pawn formation, Black wants to play c5 (see e.g. the French opening). In the Caro-Kann, that will cost two moves (c7-c6-c5), while in the Scandinavian, it's only one move since ...
  • 24.1k
13 votes

Why did Lichess annotate this as a blunder?

Its evaluation drops form +2.3 to +0.0, so it considers it a blunder. Of course this does not match what a human understands as "blunder", but computers are incapable of identifying that. ...
  • 13.2k
12 votes

Theoretically, why is 4. Bd3 NOT one of the best candidates in Caro-Kann?

The line usually quoted is 4.Bd3 Bxd3 5.Qxd3 Qa5+ 6. Bd2 Qa6! If White now exchanges Queens or allows the Queens to be exchanged he already has a poor endgame structure with a bad dark-square Bishop. ...
  • 7,538
11 votes

How can I punish the "bad" knight on c3?

I'm wondering if anyone has any general tips for how to make white feel this "bad knight" The fact that you manage to put "bad" and "bad knight" in scare quotes shows ...
  • 80.6k
10 votes

What is black’s compensation in the main line of the Caro Kann?

The main reasons it is OK for black is that he is still down only one tempo in piece development, but he has traded off his bad bishop for white's good bishop, and his position is still very solid so ...
  • 32.1k
10 votes

Why black is happy with slow development?

I do not know that I would say "happy", but in chess, there are pluses and minuses to every move we make, and on top of that, there are exceptions to many positional concepts. We see GMs move pieces ...
  • 32.1k
10 votes

Theoretically, why is 4. Bd3 NOT one of the best candidates in Caro-Kann?

But I have never seen 4. Bd3 played in titled games. The reason could be that Black gets a superior version of the French Defense. In the French, Black blocks the natural diagonal of the c8-bishop ...
  • 3,475
9 votes

In the Classical Variation of the Caro-Kann, what is the most positional, strategic, quiet, slow, closed, boring, dry and solid variation for Black?

You are the author of a series of questions of the type "What is the most boring way to play" and whereas I am fond of positional play as well, I must say that the way the question is formulated is ...
  • 247
9 votes

If 1. e4 c6 is considered as a sound defense for black, why is 1. c3 so rare?

1. c3 (and 1. d3 and 1. e3, which can lead to reversed Pircs, French defense or QGD) aren't bad in that they give White a worse position. So those moves might have some merit as a surprise weapon (if ...
  • 24.1k
9 votes

Caro-Kann advance variation w/ 3. c5 dxc5

OK, after reading your reply to my question above, I can more accurately answer. First, contrary to Fuxia's comment, the move you played, 4...Nc6, is actually more popular now at higher levels than ...
  • 32.1k
9 votes
Accepted

Theoretically, why is 4. Bd3 NOT one of the best candidates in Caro-Kann?

This is a great example for explaining the concept of the bad bishop. In the center, we see an example of a pawn chain. White has pawns on d4 and e5, and black c6, d5 and (soon) e6. These are pretty ...
  • 26.4k
9 votes

Developing the king before developing most of your pieces

Don't try this at home. ;-) First of all, a simple LiChess search gives this is B12 Caro-Kann Defense: Advance Variation, Tal Variation, i.e. it has even a name and is legit. Second, 8 games listed, ...
8 votes
Accepted

Books/Videos for the Caro-Kann

The Caro-Kann: Move by Move is a good resource for the Caro-Kann. The repertoire covered has winning chances but is very solid. (Just make sure your rating is at least 1500; below that, learning ...
  • 2,298
8 votes
Accepted

Knight constrained in advance Caro-Kann

Where the knights go depends on your pawn structure. One option is to do the following, at some point e7-e6 Nb8-d7 Ng8-e7 c6-c5 Ne7-c6 You get a French defence pawn structure with corresponding ...
  • 6,650
8 votes

Caro-Kann c5-c4 push

c4 is the usual beginner's mistake of releasing the tension unnecessarily. With the pawn on c5 you exert some pressure on d4 which can be increased with moves like Ne7-c6. When the pawn moves to c4 ...
  • 80.6k
8 votes

Caro-Kann advance variation w/ 3. c5 dxc5

This line, the Botvinnik-Carls Defense, is my pet opening as Black. :) The critical move after 4.dxc5 is e6! If White tries to hold the pawn with Be3, you answer that with Nd7. In many lines after ...
  • 1,290
8 votes
Accepted

Why did Lichess annotate this as a blunder?

The "blunder" annotation is derived from server-side analysis using a low engine depth, which is usually inaccurate.
  • 96
7 votes
Accepted

What's my next move against this Caro-Kann variant?

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 ...
7 votes

Resources on the caveman Caro-Kann

There is some analysis at the Kenilworthian blog. See http://www.kenilworthchessclub.org/games/java/2007/caro-adv-h4.htm http://www.kenilworthchessclub.org/games/java/2011/cavewoman.htm http://www....
  • 223
7 votes
Accepted

Artificially isolated pawn in the Caro-Kann

The shortest explanation I can think of: if you play 1.e4 and 2.e5, presumably you want that pawn there for a reason. If you then immediately trade it off, you've lost whatever you were trying to ...
  • 26.4k
7 votes

What does black achieve with 1.d4 c6?

You're right that players who choose 1...c6 must be fine with the Caro-Kann, which is one reason why it's not that popular. However, there are some people who are fine with the Caro-Kann, and so the ...
7 votes

Is it true that amateur players tend to choose the advance variation after 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5?

According to Lichess's database for games between ~1600 rated players in the Caro-kann does indeed show that 3. e5 is much more common than other moves. e5 in fact accounts for 46% of games played; ...
  • 616
7 votes
Accepted

Two Knights of the Caro-Kann: 2.Nc3 vs 2.Nf3

One thing I can think of is that after 2. Nc3 you still have a chance to transpose to main lines after 2 ... d5 3. d4, so it's a tad more flexible. I know it's a stretch, but if your opponent is (for ...
  • 1,306

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