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peppe_l ♡ 55 ( +1 | -1 )
Caro-Kann Ok, I need your help people :)

Since 1.e4 is most common opening move and I am way too lazy to study endless opening variations from books etc, I have a proposal for ppl here - if you play 1.e4, tell me how you usually handle Caro-Kann? The point of this question is to start a discussion that might be helpful to me, and perhaps to ppl who have problem against 1...c6 (no, I am propably not good enough in chess to help anyone, but I know many others here are).

So, pls answer...let's exchange some thoughts and become better chess players!
jbmac ♡ 8 ( +1 | -1 )
if some one plays the caro-kan defence against me, i play the advance variation.
peppe_l ♡ 22 ( +1 | -1 )
Ok... Advance is very popular nowadays, if i play blitz in internet, i usually move the mouse over Bc8 after 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5, cause I know Advance will come :)))

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5

So, what is your approach from here?

More: Chess
philaretus ♡ 18 ( +1 | -1 )
My usual choice.... the Panov-Botvinnik Attack:

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4

This cuts across Black's plans and leads to an open game --- which is presumably what the player of 1.e4 wanted.
peppe_l ♡ 61 ( +1 | -1 )
Panov-Botvinnik attack 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4

...Is propably ideal for someone who prefers open positions & active piece play, but doesnt mind having weak IQP that occurs in most popular (?) lines of Panov. For example 4...Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nf3, and after 6...Bb4 and 6...Be7, followed by 7.cxd5 Nxd5 or 7.Bd3 dxc4 8.Bxc4. Of course black can also play 6...g6 or 6...Nc6 though. I personally find it strange that many players who really like to attack play lines such as 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2, usually leading to closed and more or less quiet positions. Of course, 4.Nc3 is more agressive, often leading to a quick pawn storm on kingside.
atrifix ♡ 49 ( +1 | -1 )
The main line runs with 3. Nc3 dxe4, which I used to play with mixed results, along with the Panov-Botvinnik Attack. However, in recent practice I've tried 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3, and had very good results with it. The formation is similar to a QGD Exchange in reverse, except that White has one tempo more, and this drastically alters the play. I find this can subtlely be very difficult for Black to play against unless he has devoted special study to it.
paulvalle ♡ 1 ( +1 | -1 )
Fantasy Variation 1.e4 e6
2.d4 d5
is my favorite...
brobishkin ♡ 109 ( +1 | -1 )
Caro-Kann... The Caro-Kann Defense is strategically simple... Black will advance the d-pawn to d5 on the second move, confronting the White pawn on e4... Unlike the French Defense, the Caro-Kann does not force Black's Bishop to sit idly ay c8, it has an open road to the kingside, and is usually developed there quite early in the game...

Even though players often castle on opposite wings, the Caro-Kann cannot be defeated by direct attacks... The Black position can usually absorb whatever White throws at it, and complex endgame play is typical in the end... The result of the game may depend on the relitive skill in endgame play... An understanding of the characteristics of certain openings is the key to choosing an opening variation...

You might want to wait until you advance in chess skills (Peppe) before you try this opening (as black) ... And you must also break this lazyness habit amatuer's often drag themselves into... If you want to accel at chess, it takes a lot of hard work... I'm am sorry but there is just no way around it... The study part is the most important part of all...

taoistlunatic ♡ 91 ( +1 | -1 )
Brobishkin... you might want to stop talking down to people as if you are some chess master. Peppe l is higher rated than you and I noticed in general you like to answer peoples inquiries with a condescending tone.
You answer to my opening repertoire question contained very little useful information and mostly just condescending notes about what NOT to do...

Just because you read some chess books does not make you the authority who can belittel other players with stuff like "You might want to wait until you advance in shess skills before you try this opening, and you must also break this laziness habit..." He just doesn't want to be a 'book' player, he's just asking abou thow to play against the caro-kann, since he's an 1.E4 player.

Don't wnat to offend you, but I thought I'd let you know how your posts come across..,

brobishkin ♡ 99 ( +1 | -1 )
Many thanks... Thank you Tao... My intent is not to talk down... I try to encourage chess play, but sometimes, I guess I take the game to far... But for the avid chess player is that a bad thing?... The statement at the end of Peppe's thread was "lets exchange thoughts and become better players...

My objective in my statements are to share the skills and knowledge I have learned from past teachers and studies... I really dont know of any professional chess players that have made it to some type of notoriety by osmosis and experience... When you play clubs and teach chess, there are certain questions you hear from certain level of players that put them in some sort of category... The question Peppe asked, made me think of him as a lower level player... People at his level usually know the answer to the question he stated is all... So sorry Peppe if I offeneded you...

But I will stick the opinion of laziness being bad for chess players... I just don't see it happen much in the real chess world...

acne ♡ 16 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe_l, your rating is much higher than mine. i hope you can help me. i usually play 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3. Nc3, sometimes play 3.Nd2 or 3.exd5, i've played 3.e5 also, 3...Bf5 i'll 4.Nf3
jbmac ♡ 9 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe_1 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5

I will now play 4.c4

The most common reply to this move is 4...e6 then i will do 5.Nc3
peppe_l ♡ 644 ( +1 | -1 )
Brobishkin "So sorry Peppe if I offeneded you..."

No, I do not consider your post insulting nor offending at all. Yes, laziness is a bad habit, but you have to remember Im an amateur player and have no dreams of becoming anything else in the future. Therefore it is enough to know some basics to enjoy the game more, instead of doing something that feels more or less boring (studying opening variations till move 25!).

"When you play clubs and teach chess, there are certain questions you hear from certain level of players that put them in some sort of category... The question Peppe asked, made me think of him as a lower level player... People at his level usually know the answer to the question he stated is all... So sorry Peppe if I offeneded you..."

Well, to be honest I cant see where I asked a question putting me in any category, high or low. Discussing about certain opening and exchanging ideas is something all players can find beneficial, regardless of playing strength. Perhaps the impression you got was that I was asking questions like "can anyone show me some Caro-Kann? variations" etc. That wasnt the case - Just for curiosity, I want to know what variations people prefer nowadays, and at the same time, discuss about my favourite opening! :)))

BTW here is one of my Caro-Kann games, briefly analyzed by me (mainly concentrating on general themes etc instead of variations)

invincible (2027) - peppe_l (1927) [B17]
GameKnot 29.06.2002

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3

<Caro-Kann main line>

3...dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7

<Steinitz variation, also known as Smyslov-Petrosian variation and even Modern variation. Black accepts leaving Bc8 inside the pawn chain, but in return, his kingside doesnt get cramped after h5-h5, like in 4...Bf5 variation. Black gets extremely solid position and can play thematic central counter-break c5 very easily. On the other hand White has more active pieces and control of critical e5-square.>


<This and 5.Bc4 are most popular continuations. Also 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Nxf6+ Nxf6 7.Ne5 is good (Other moves such as 7.Bd3 and 7.Bc4 allow black to comfortably develop Bc8). Black can play at least 7...Be6 (followed by g6-Bg7 and a plan Ne4-Nd6-Ne4 c5), 7...Nd7, 7...Bf5>

5...Ngf6 6.Bd3 e6 7.N1f3 Bd6

<7...h6 is dangerous here because of 8.Nxe6! This blow must always be kept in mind. Bishop controls e5 here, even though Ne5 isnt a threat yet.>

8.Qe2 h6

<Correct time to get rid of Ng5. Now 9.Nxe6 fxe6 10.Qxe6+ Qe7 11.Bg6+ Kd8 gives nothing, after the forced queen exchange there is no attack and black simply has material advantage.>

9.Ne4 Nxe4 10.Qxe4

<After 10.Bxe4 there is no 10...0-0?? Qh7X, so black can simply castle short. After Nf6 (followed by Bd3), despite of powerful bishops d3&c1, his position is strong enough to hold against any direct attack, and quick c5 gives him counterplay.>

10...Nf6 11.Qe2

<11.Qh4 and black can play an astonishing move Karpov found years ago (used against Kamsky in Dortmund 1993)...Ke7! It is very rare one wants to place king in front of queen, losing castling rights and creating a pin, but here its justified! Black threatens g5-g4...for example if 12.Bd2? g5 13.Qh3? e5! Kamsky sacrificed a pawn by playing 12.Ne5!? but lost after a hard fight.>


<Adding control to e5 and freeing d8 for rook after Rd8 or 0-0-0!>


<This move usually hints 0-0-0. The point is if both players castle short, Blacks position withstands attacks very well, but if White castles long, the advance of kingside pawns, supported by rooks and powerful bishops, is very dangerous for Black.>


<Developing bishop to Bb7 and preparing 0-0-0. Here Bd7 is not good of course - after black has played 0-0-0, d-file is very important for him (this position reminds those born from 4...Bf5 variation BTW), and he doesnt want Bd7 to block it. Also, bishop is more active in b7 and helps to create a "fotress" for the king.>

13.0-0-0 Bb7

<Naturally after c5 Bb7 is no longer shut out. Black can temprarily leave Bb7 to such position because its quite clear c5 can be played.>


<A good prophylactic move - White brings his king away from c-file, that might soon be opened after Black plays c5 (keeping the king on c1-h6 diagonal might cause some threats too). Also, king defends a2 and gives a bit more room for pieces to operate.>

14...0-0-0 15.c4

<White strenghtens his central control - pawns are usually strongest when standing in line, and this position is no exception. They control central squares (so far Black hasnt even advanced to the 4th rank!) and wait for the opportunity - for example d5 might be a threat later on. Black must react, otherwise he will be in cramped position soon.>


<This thematic central break forces White to give up his strong pawn duo c4-d4 sooner or later, after dxc5 or cxd4. Also, Bb7 now has a good diagonal.>


<Defending pawn in d4, but also giving indirect support to e5, an important square that hasnt been used yet.>


<Planning to double rooks on d-file, a powerful weapon after dxc5 or cxd4. The faster way Rd7-Rhd8 looked bad to me, because of 16...Rd7 17.Ne5! (the importance of e5 is finally evident) and if now Bxe5, dxe5 leaves black in cramped position. Pawn in e5 take squares from black pieces and make it harded for Black to form a passed pawn on side where he has majority.>

17.Rhe1 Re7

<So now, after Ne5 Black doesnt have to play Bxe5 (or pointless retreat Rd8-Rd7-Rd8). My plan was simple - if Ne5, cxd4! Removing the supporter of well-placed knight.>


<If now 18.Ne5? cxd4! Still. Im not sure was this move a bit too slow, although its hard to find a really effective plan. Another prophylactic move I thought White might have played was Bc2, preparing to counter the d7-d8 rook battery.>

18...Red7 19.Ka1

<Perhaps this is too slow too? Now black can combine doubled rooks, attack against d4, free bishop in b7 and slightly vulnerable position of Bd3 to carry trough a nice sequence...>

19...Bxf3 20.Qxf3 cxd4 21.Bxd4 Qb7 22.Qxb7+

<Refusing to exchange queens is hardly justified because for example after Qh3, Black queen seems to be the more active one.>

22...Kxb7 23.Bxf6

<Forced because of oncoming attack on d-file. Now after 23...gxf6 Black looks better to me, but after 24.Bc2 rook exchanges on d-file lead to a drawn opposite-coloured bishop endgame, and refusing to exchange both rooks means giving d-file away. So, keeping in mind my opponent was very strong and I was playing Black, this was very satisfying game.>


peppe_l ♡ 173 ( +1 | -1 )
Oh forgot to mention... DO NOT look at my comments as "truth" about the game...lm an amateur player (like my annotations propably tell you!) and may be wrong...Also, since my comments are quite short, there are many important things that are left out.

"i hope you can help me. i usually play 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3. Nc3, sometimes play 3.Nd2 or 3.exd5, i've played 3.e5 also, 3...Bf5 i'll 4.Nf3"

Well based on this information all I can say is...

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3

Is main line. Theoretically on of the most promising lines for White, very good for learning purposes because it represents Caro-Kann ideas so well, but does require some general and theoretical knowledge.


Prevents g6-Bg7 lines because it allows c3, leaving Bg7 to bite the granite. Usually leads to main line by transposition after 3...dxe4.

3.exd5 (cxd5)

Leads to...


Panov attack, look above...


Exchange variation, look above...

3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3

Advance variation, 4.Nf3 usually leads to relatively quiet positions that include lots of small subtleties. Perhaps something you want to avoid for now?

IMO its good to try many different lines (especially main lines, one learns almost nothing by avoiding them by using obscure sidelines etc), that not only helps you to learn openings, but also chess in general. I dont consider myself as a strong player, let alone chess coach, so I feel uncomfortable giving advices here...But, main line, Panov and exchange all sound like good choices to me. If you want to skip heavy opening theory for now, perhaps Exchange variation is the way to go? If you want to know Caro better (to beat it!), then main line etc...

Anyway, to get more specific replies, you need to ask specifically about certain variations...

Hope this helps,

acne ♡ 17 ( +1 | -1 )
thanks peppe_l for your reply. would you tell me more about moves after 3...Bf5? what's your suggested white move after that?
peppe_l ♡ 155 ( +1 | -1 )
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 Many options here, most likely best moves now are 4.Nf3 and 4.Nc3.

4.Nf3 leads to more quiet play, usually after 5.Be2 and now 5...c5 or 5...Nd7. Very good for positional players, but defitenitely not recommended for players who prefer agressive play. For example, 6.0-0 Ne7 7.Nh4 and now Bg6 or Qb6. Here trying a quick attack is defitenitely a mistake, but play on queenside is possible since counter-break c5 is less powerful here than in variation explained below (actually Black must be careful of not playing c5 in wrong time, as he might end up clearly worse after dxc5). Overall, this variation is about small positional nuances, and requires good positional understanding and planning skills.

4.Nc3 prepares a different plan - Nge2, followed by pawn storm on kingside. Downside of this move is that here pawn in d4 has less support than in previous variation. For example, 4...e6 5.g4 Bg6 6.Nge2 c5! (immediately attacking pd4...f6 later is also thematic in this line, like in French defense) 7.h4 and now h6 or h5. Very often f4-f5 follows soon. Here White must succeed on kingside, he must push his attack trough or (more realistically!) force changes that favour him. If Black manages to block the kingside, or prevent White from achieving anything important there, he will be a lot better. Generally, a variation for more agressive players, but still requires a good understanding of when to attack and when to defend.

There are many other 4th moves, like 4.h4 for example, but most of them are less promising than 4.Nf3 and 4.Nc3.
brobishkin ♡ 38 ( +1 | -1 )
Peppe... Very nice notation and suggestion for the forth move... I am at a lose though... For being so familiar with the opening characteristics (of the Caro-Kann), why did you ask for the help that started this thread?... It seems quite evident that you have studied deep into the opening... So much for being lazy...

An excellent analysis on the opening... Keep up the dreat work...

peppe_l ♡ 95 ( +1 | -1 )
brobishkin Thanks! Im very happy to hear that a strong player like you liked my annotations! I must admit I havent studied any opening deeply...I only know some general principles of chess strategy, but luckily in correspondence games one has enough time to think about those subtleties seen in game I annotated above. Perhaps having days for one move makes me look better player than I really am? In otb (and blitz...) I usually have plans that fail when I leave my queen en prise :))) That propably reveals that I havent studied tactics!

Helping means there are sooo many moves in Caro-Kann Im not familiar with, and not knowing them (even some theoretically dubious ones) might lose games for me in the future. Also, from practical point of view its useful to know what variations are popular at the moment.
v_glorioso12 ♡ 8 ( +1 | -1 )
i used to play 1.e4 c6; 2.c6 b4?!
but now i play either Panov-Botvinnik or Advanced, it depends on how i am feeling...
acne ♡ 7 ( +1 | -1 )
thanks peppe_l for the analyses. i'd pick Nc3 and practise games on that.
refutor ♡ 16 ( +1 | -1 )
3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.h5 Bh7 8.Nf3 Nd7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 Qc7

what's your opinion on this line? i've played it for years, and once you've played it a couple of times it's not very risky for black at all
peppe_l ♡ 96 ( +1 | -1 )
Line That is the main line of 4...Bf5 variation. Its propably Whites most promising try, pawn in h5 cramps Blacks kingside and makes it harder for Black to form a passed pawn in endgame, whereas White has better pawn majority on queenside. Also, important square e5 is Whites - if Black removes knoght from e5, after dxe5 his kingside cramp becomes even worse. Most often black castles long and goes for freeing break c5 or even b5, and to gain counterplay on d-file by doubling rooks. If Black chooses to castle short, then his king might be in danger if White castles long.

Not risky for Black? Well, perhaps you dont have chance for a swift mating attack, but after all, this might be the most solid opening of all :) This line propably gives you the best chances to play for an opening advantage, and therefore we can say other lines are less risky for Black!
paulvalle ♡ 5 ( +1 | -1 )
Peppe_l what is your oppinion on the Fantasy Variation (1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3)
peppe_l ♡ 194 ( +1 | -1 )
Fantasy variation To be honest I know very little theory, and naturally main lines etc I know are from variations that I consider the most challenging to play against. In other words, if you play Fantasy variation, you propably know it much better than I do. I have rarely met 3.f3 but I have tried two lines:

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3

3...dxe4 4.fxe4 e5

Now for example...

5.Nf3 exd4 6.Qxd4 Qxd4 7.Nxd4 Nf6

And to me it looks like there is no real compensation for the weakness of IP, and therefore Black looks better (6.Nxd4 Qh4+)...I recall someone playing 6.Bc4, and in that (blitz) game I played 6...Qa5+ etc. Dont know if this is theory. IMO (just an opinion because I really dont know this line well) it seems Black (at least!) equalizes easily, unless White wants to sac a pawn and go for BDG type of positions. I know BDG is bad and therefore transposing to it can hardly be considered an achievement, but Im not 100% sure can White get a better version of it via Fantasy variation?

Another line I have tried is 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3 e6, then Bb4 etc, and Blacks position is solid, and despite of slight lack of activity Black must stand very well here.

If you want to help me out please post some analysis of Fantasy variation, your favourite lines, possibilities Black has etc...I really dont know much about it.

If someone plays this against me in a game that counts, Im happy - I avoid main lines, where it is most difficult to achieve a good pos, and have many good options to choose from. So, if my opponent thinks "heheheh Im not allowing him to play main lines"...In blitz my opinion might be different though, but luckily I defitenitely dont care much about speed chess!

BTW, Im very happy that there has been so much discussion in this thread, and hopefully it will continue, but when reading my responses, pls keep in mind I am not an expert of any opening. So, never-never mix up my opinions and truth :)))

jbmac ♡ 8 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe_1 when you are white against the caro-kann what variation do you play?
peppe_l ♡ 3 ( +1 | -1 )
None! Because I dont play 1.e4 :)))
kahju ♡ 17 ( +1 | -1 )
mumbling kingside fianchetto is a 'safe' way for black to counter fantasy, as recent Bareev games have shown, Bf5 mainline goes often to 0-0 slugfest these days
jbmac ♡ 12 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe_1 i shall rephrase the question now, what WOULD you play against the caro-kann as white if you played 1.e4

peppe_l ♡ 6 ( +1 | -1 )
Kahju I WILL ask you to teach that stuff to me in near future :)
peppe_l ♡ 11 ( +1 | -1 )
Jbmac Propably main line (1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 / Nd2). Its interesting, promising, and suits my style better than Panov for example.
refutor ♡ 8 ( +1 | -1 )
3.Nc3 but isn't black making all the choices with 3.Nc3...i always prefer to be the one making the choices ;)
keiserpaul ♡ 37 ( +1 | -1 )
Fantasy Variation In my opinion, your white's sixth move Qxd4 is not the best. Black has made his b3-f7 diagonal vulnerable by playing e5 instead of the normal CK move e6. I should play a gambit and occupate this diagonal with 6.Bc4, planning an attack on f7 with 0-0 and Ng5
The game could develop als follows : 6.Bc4 Be6 7.Bxe6 fxe6 8.0-0 Bc5 9.Ng5 d3+ 10.Kh1 Nf6 11.Nxe6 Qe7 12.Rxf6 Qxf6 13.Nc7+ Ke7 14.cxd3 and White is better
acne ♡ 18 ( +1 | -1 )
1. e4 c6
2. d4 d5
3. Nc3 dxe4
4. Nxe4 Bf5
5. Ng3 Bg6
6. Nf3 Nd7
7. h4 h6
8. h5 Bh7
9. Bd3 Bxd3
10. Qxd3

why do black move the bishop three times for a trade of white bishop? what's the strategy behind black's sequence of moves?
madcow ♡ 16 ( +1 | -1 )
Caro kann I don't like very much carokann because if the player plays :
1 e4 c6
2 d4 d5
3 e5 I think black is closed
I prefer play scandinave

1 e4 d5

excuse my english I am french
peppe_l ♡ 145 ( +1 | -1 )
Keiserpaul Thanks for your reply, I thought that myself too because 6.Qxd4 seems to lead a position where Black looks better. Based on your analysis it seems White does get a favourable version of BDG in this line. That is why I will propably continue to play e6 if I care about the result of the game, since Bc4 line after e5 clearly leads to dangerous position for Black, especially in practical game.

* but isn't black making all the choices with 3.Nc3...i always prefer to be the one making the choices ;) *


IMO one can neve make all the choices! The problem of main line for black is that even though he can choose his line (4...Nd7/Bf5/Nf6!? etc) his opponent can choose continuations that more or less make his next moves forced, so you are making the choices afterall :)


Black simply develops the bishop outside of pawn chain. It is White who wants to exchange bishops here, because despite of both light-square bishops being good, Black bishop owns better diagonal otherwise. So, White forces Black to lose tempos to push his pawn to h5 and force the exchange only after that has happened.


Luckily many Caro players seem to like playing against the advance variation! The question I have always been wondering is why people who choose 1.e4 (presumably wanting to go for open games) choose 3.e5, leading to a closed game!