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23

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, we want to have a safe king (3). This is as modest a expectation as one can have for a good opening. Now roughly speaking, there are two types of defenses (say ...


0

solidity (c6+e6 pawn structure is hard to break down) h5 pawn can be weak in endgame. White can have king safety issues if black castles kingside and plays b5 (black has king safety issues too there :) )


10

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 he will catch up in development eventually. The downside is that white has more space. Black can eventually fight back with c5 after finishing his development, ...


6

Good job on the first tactic: indeed e5 is not really hanging in that line due to Na4. As for the d4 pawn, although even in the line you suggest (with the exchange of queens) white stands a tad better, the d4 pawn is in fact tactically defended! Considering that you do not mention any computer evaluations and have tried to tackle the problem on your own (...


3

Of course you must be ready to play the Caro-Kann if you answer 1. d4 with 1. ... c6. But that is a sound opening - so why not, if you already play it against 1. e4? You will probably be better prepared for the Caro-Kann than your opponent, who after all started with 1. d4. If I was a d4 player, I surely would play 2. c4, hoping to enter the Slav. In that ...


2

At low/medium level Convenience. At sub-master level, most people don't have a broad opening repertoire, they will always play one specific defense against 1. e4 and one against 1. d4. Most of them will also try to reduce the amount of theory to learn. Some will pick both the Caro-Kann and the Slav as these two defenses for some transpositional synergy. ...


6

I would add one little thing to Inertial Ignorance's answer: The reason it is so unpopular is probably that the Caro seems more passive than the Slav, and I say this as a long-time Caro player. E4 openings, being more open games, give white more chance to pressure black is what I mean. Still why let your opponent dictate what line you will play when you can ...


7

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 move gets played occasionally. In the case of 2.c4, there aren't many benefits I can see for Black. He has the option of playing a la King's Indian with ...Nf6, ....


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