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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Caro Kann (Read 39779 times)
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Re: Caro Kann
Reply #41 - 07/07/13 at 10:56:00
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Matemax wrote on 08/22/08 at 17:18:25:
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1. e4  c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. Nf3 Nd7 8. h5 Bh7 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 e6 11. Bf4 Qa5+ 12. Bd2 Bb4 13. c3 Be7 14. c4 Qc7 15. O-O-O Ngf6 16. Kb1 O-O

now there are many lines but I have not found any advantage (note that I am not saying this is the best line but it is curent theory as far as I know)

My analysis currently shows that the Bd2 line is superior to Bf4  

I think 13.Ne4 is worth investigating - what is your recommendation for Black against this move?


13.--Ngf6 14.Nd6+-Ke7 15.Nc4-Bxd2+ 16.Nfxd2 - Qc7 17.0-0-0 - Rhd8 18.Qa3-c5 19.Nb3-b6 20.dxc5-bxc5  or 16.--Qd5!? 17.Ne3-Qa5
  
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Re: Caro Kann
Reply #40 - 10/30/10 at 16:34:15
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Hello!

Recently I have not been very successful with my questions. Maybe because I only repeated myself, but I am afraid this time is not an exception. Undecided

So, what book will teach me how to play the Main-Line Caro-Kann? (as Black)
(or is it simply nor for me...?)

(I often feel uncomfortable with the pawn strucure, even when the opponent plays something obscure. I don't really feel the timing of ..c6-c5. Now the Advance Variation is O.K, the Panov Attack is O.K., the Exchange is O.K., other variations are O.K. for me, but not the Main-Line C-K, in which I don't really know what to move and when. I have repertoire books, but I still don't understand the WHYs. During games, I lack an aim.)

Without a mentor, these are not so easy questions to answer.
  

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Re: Caro Kann
Reply #39 - 01/09/10 at 13:55:10
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Thanks Hoember for resurrecting this topic and asking all the questions and thanks to TN for his usualy complete answer.

Not wishing to hijack the thread especially since Hoember says he does not play 3...Bf5 but 3...c5 in the C-K Advance but I do wish to ask C-K players (White side) amongst the ChessPubbers about their views of 3...Bf5 4 h4? After consulting Wells' book on the C-K and the game Short-Johannessen, my son and I were tempted to adopt that as the line against the 3...Bf5 Advance. Does anyone know what is the critical Black replies to this? I have also checked out ChessPub's annotations on this game. (Trivia: was this actually a line proposed by Sveshnikov?)

In addition, I also have a question on the Advance 3...c5 line. After 4 dxc5 e6 what do people think of the 5 a3 line? Wells give the Smirnov-Kharitonov, Moscow 2007 as the stem game.

On a personal note, my son and I had to spend 5 hours doing some prep work against an opponent who plays the C-K. We had previously never really prepared anything and after looking at various possible White replies decided on the C-K Advance. Then we had to look at 3...Bf5, 3...c5 et al.

Interestingly, this morning, my son's opponent decided not to play his usual C-K and opted for the Sicilian and my son played his usual reply. Sigh! At least we had decided on some lines against the C-K.

Another trivia on C-K 3...Bf5 4 h4. I was given the book, Australian Chess Brilliancies by Kevin Casey (self-published), a few days ago by GM Ian Rogers for some assistance I rendered but had no chance to look at it. Today I discovered that Game No 2 in the book is a brilliant game by Rogers as black in a C-K Advance 3...bf5 4 h4 where Rogers played h5. Talk about coincidence or serendipity ......
  

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Re: How to study the C-K?
Reply #38 - 12/25/09 at 21:15:48
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HoemberChess wrote on 12/24/09 at 15:05:54:
How do you study your Caro-Kann books?


My methods of studying vary, but most of the time I enter the opening variations into the computer (I used to include all explanations and game citations but don't have the time for these luxuries), then I play through the illustrative games on the board. In some books, many of the games are already annotated on Mega Database, which saves a lot of time when you are entering information into the computer.

With books, the key is not to memorize everything in the book but to understand everything in the book. Then when the opponent deviates, you will know what to do through your understanding of this opening.

Quote:
And how much?


I devote about 30% of my time to openings, and of this time, much of it is spent either reading books or expanding information in books with other sources and my own analysis. I tend to focus on the middlegame when studying, studying several game references and determining how White or Black could improve on their play, which helps in the strategic phases of the game.

Quote:
And when should one refresh his memories about the variations?


Since you aren't a very active player, if you have some flexibility and versatility in your repertoire, then memorising the variations during pre-game preparation should be sufficient. If you have a narrow repertoire, then knowing the variations extremely well is crucial, otherwise you will be outprepared in many games. If you have the time to revise these lines at home, I suggest putting this time into other phases of the game.

Quote:
( Before games, I am very often worried about forgetting the lines I have played through once. And indeed, I forget them easily, while I'd like to remember every game and variations I played through... )


Don't worry. At your level, it is rare for the game to be decided in the opening phase. It may help if, when playing through games, you ask the question 'Why?' throughout so that you understand the purpose and ideas behind each move played. By drawing your own conclusions on a game, you are more likely to remember it.

Quote:
How to keep your level of "being booked-up"?


This is an easy question - study the theory and check new games in B10-B19 each week with TWIC. However, you don't need to be 'booked-up', especially in the Caro-Kann where below 2400, the opening can be played successfully without much knowledge of opening theory, provided one has a good understanding of the strategies and plans. Instead of spending your time learning the theory in more detail (I assume you already know all the lines quite well for Black), put that time into the transition from opening to middlegame and the middlegame by studying grandmaster games (both contemporary and historical).

Quote:
What are some critical White tries against the Caro-Kann at this level?[b]


Like I said, the game is unlikely to be decided in the opening, but as in every opening, there are a minority of lines where you just have to know the theory to get a good position. The most dangerous line at your level is probably the Advance Variation because White can meet 3...Bf5 in whatever way suits his style, whereas Black has to be willing to play a wide range of positions. I think 3...c5 is a good solution for cutting down on a lot of theory, but you still require a well-prepared response to 4.c4 and 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.c4.

Quote:
*3 Exchange variations //Incredible, how popular it is amongst 2100-players. But in the games, Whites achieved nothing serious.


Against this line, if you haven't already, I suggest taking a look at 5...Qc7!? with the idea of ...e5, which takes a lot of the sting out of White's position. It helps to remember that the pawn structure is the same as the Carlsbad but with colours reversed, which obviously changes the plans and strategies quite drastically.

Quote:
*3 Panov Attacks (I prefer 5..e6 6.Nf3 Bb4)
           - 2 guys closed the queenside with the early 6.c5, but I played according to the Karpov-Podgaets book, 6..Be7 7.Nf3 0-0, and they very soon lost their way and got worse positions.
           - 1 tried to play the mainline, but being an 1700-player, soon started to mix up things.


Well done! When studying this line, keep in mind that transpositions to the Rubinstein Nimzo can occur, so you may need to study theory from a different ECO code, depending on your chosen variation.

Quote:
*2 Two Knights Variations //They played according to theory only up to move 4 and 10, respectively...
*1 Advance (I play 3..c5) //White was an 1700-player, so that's all about it..
*1 Fantasy (3..e6 4.Be3 Qb6 5.Nd2 Qxb2)


In the Two Knights, Black's best option is 3...Bg4 4.h3 Bf3 5.Qf3, when you should know how to meet the 6.d4 gambit if you play 5...e6 and White's early g4 ideas if you play 5...Nf6.

Quote:
They were all U2200-players and without the shade of serious theoretical knowledge.
So, I have not met any critical try yet, which may make me lazy, similarly to many players around me. Sad


That's a major advantage of the Caro-Kann: Many players either don't understand what they are doing, or memorize 15 moves of theory (especially in the 3.Nc3 de4 4.Ne4 main line) and have no idea what to do once they are out of book. Even at 2200-2400 level, some players don't entirely understand how to play White's position once the game leaves their 'book' knowledge.

Quote:
[b]What are the sharpest tries against the 3..c5 Advance Variation? I already have quite a few hours in it (Houska-book), so I don't want to give it up easily in favor of the more expected 3..Bf5 (as in the Bologan-repertoire).


4.c4 and 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.c4. You might want to avoid the latter with 4...Bg4 since that 5.c4 line looks slightly better for White at the moment (I once tried the endgame with 5...cd4 6.Nd4 dc4!? but was slightly worse out of the opening). 4.dc5 Nc6 (I'm guessing you already know the ins and outs of 4...e6 as it was covered in detail by Houska) 5.Bb5 e6 6.Be3 Nge7 7.Nf3 Bd7 8.Bc6 Bc6!? is a line well worth investigating if a recent innovation causes Black serious troubles in the 4...e6 variation.

  

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Re: Caro Kann
Reply #37 - 12/25/09 at 19:48:57
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Mortal Games wrote on 12/24/09 at 23:22:53:
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>>That's why, although the French might be theoretically a second rate defence (e.g. according to Sveshnikov, who thinks that 1...c5 is best and 1...e5 second best) and currently not popular at the highest level, it is a very practical choice.

I'm not sure that I would base my claim that the French is second rate theoretically on Sveshnikov, as his opening views often contradict much of GM praxis.  Another point that needs to be taken into account is the wide variety of stylistic choices for Black in the French.  He/She can play in an attacking style, positional style, a mix of both.  So, I think it's possible to form a repertoire in the French that is highly respected at GM level and would not be thought of as second rate by anyone.   

Scott


Sveshnikov views not only contradict GM praxis, but sometimes we see diferent Sveshnikov opinions or opinions atributed to him. In Krasenkov old book "Open Spanish" he said that even a great supporter of 1...c5 like Sveshnikov was forced to admit that 1...e5 is the best move!
I agree with the point of view about the French because it is a rich opening that computers do not understand well and elite players like to play safe in their conservative style (Garry´s words) but young players like Nakamura, Akobian or Morozevitch are not afraid and Korchnoi played for several generations with good results. Another point is the modern dynamic way of playing and this concept was not mentioned neither by Steinitz or Nimzovitch and chess is moving like life and who knows what will be the openings played in the future?   


re Sveshnikov's theory of the openings, my memory (and my library) tells me that in fact Sveshnikov has been extremely consistent in his statements, for a good many years now.

In English, the best expression of his theory is possibly in Kasparov's book "Revolution in the 70s", pp.385-392. In German, there was a major article in Schach 2004/1.

Of course, since he is a practical player, Sveshnikov himself does not always play the lines that he has concluded are the theoretically strongest - I think that it is in this sense only that he can be accused of inconsistency!  Smiley


  
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Re: Caro Kann
Reply #36 - 12/25/09 at 17:50:53
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I don´t know if it was an old question or not, because it is simple impossible to read every topic in all sections all the time between tournaments and chess life and I usually do not look at dates of topics but only to interesting topics and I only noticed because you bring it back to life yesterday! By the way, I remember this question about Mr. Stressnikov claiming 1...c5 or 1...e5 beeing much more older than this topic too and usually without sources to this claiming, that´s why I reacted to this more than a year old question. Let´s continue this old topic with your interesting questions on the Caro-Kann!  Smiley
  

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Re: Caro Kann
Reply #35 - 12/25/09 at 16:14:32
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@Mortal_Games:
This topic was very old--I "brought it back to life" yesterday, after 12 months of silence--and then you came to react to a more than a year old question.
  

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Re: Caro Kann
Reply #34 - 12/24/09 at 23:22:53
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Quote:
>>That's why, although the French might be theoretically a second rate defence (e.g. according to Sveshnikov, who thinks that 1...c5 is best and 1...e5 second best) and currently not popular at the highest level, it is a very practical choice.

I'm not sure that I would base my claim that the French is second rate theoretically on Sveshnikov, as his opening views often contradict much of GM praxis.  Another point that needs to be taken into account is the wide variety of stylistic choices for Black in the French.  He/She can play in an attacking style, positional style, a mix of both.  So, I think it's possible to form a repertoire in the French that is highly respected at GM level and would not be thought of as second rate by anyone.   

Scott


Sveshnikov views not only contradict GM praxis, but sometimes we see diferent Sveshnikov opinions or opinions atributed to him. In Krasenkov old book "Open Spanish" he said that even a great supporter of 1...c5 like Sveshnikov was forced to admit that 1...e5 is the best move!
I agree with the point of view about the French because it is a rich opening that computers do not understand well and elite players like to play safe in their conservative style (Garry´s words) but young players like Nakamura, Akobian or Morozevitch are not afraid and Korchnoi played for several generations with good results. Another point is the modern dynamic way of playing and this concept was not mentioned neither by Steinitz or Nimzovitch and chess is moving like life and who knows what will be the openings played in the future?
  

It has been said that chess players are good at two things, Chess and Excuses.  It has also been said that Chess is where all excuses fail! In order to win you must dare to fail!
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How to study the C-K?
Reply #33 - 12/24/09 at 15:05:54
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I have been studying the Caro-Kann, mostly from books.
My results with this defence are relatively good--I have defended it about a dozen times since I started to study it (1 year ago) and I didn't lost a game.
I study a few books (the Houska-repertoire, Panov Attack by Karpov & Podgaets, the Bologan-repertoire CBFT, Wells' GM Secrets).

Getting lost among the variations is one big problem for me. (Like with most opening books.)
I often wonder that with at most fourty games a year (black and white altogether) what is the point in studying (memorizing) too much about the openings. Besides, the amount of theory most of my OTB-opponents (80% of them is U2200) know is close to nothing, which means that I don't get the chance to play what I have learned. You can imagine that there is not much use knowing about novelties. Sad (Because in practice I simply don't get the chance to play against the best lines. The vast majority of my fellow-players don't "waste" time on theory. I remember seeing a "2150+"-player (40 years old but with only 20-25 OTB games a year), playing White, diving into deep thoughts before playing a main-line 6th move against me in the Sicilian Paulsen two years ago...)

How do you study your Caro-Kann books?
And how much?
And when should one refresh his memories about the variations?
( Before games, I am very often worried about forgetting the lines I have played through once. And indeed, I forget them easily, while I'd like to remember every game and variations I played through... )
How to keep your level of "being booked-up"?

Another question.
What are some critical White tries against the Caro-Kann at this level?[b]
Given that I have had a chance to play it only a few times, I have met only:
*3 Exchange variations //Incredible, how popular it is amongst 2100-players. But in the games, Whites achieved nothing serious.
*3 Panov Attacks (I prefer 5..e6 6.Nf3 Bb4)
           - 2 guys closed the queenside with the early 6.c5, but I played according to the Karpov-Podgaets book, 6..Be7 7.Nf3 0-0, and they very soon lost their way and got worse positions.
           - 1 tried to play the mainline, but being an 1700-player, soon started to mix up things.
*2 Two Knights Variations //They played according to theory only up to move 4 and 10, respectively...
*1 Advance (I play 3..c5) //White was an 1700-player, so that's all about it..
*1 Fantasy (3..e6 4.Be3 Qb6 5.Nd2 Qxb2)

They were all U2200-players and without the shade of serious theoretical knowledge.
So, I have not met any critical try yet, which may make me lazy, similarly to many players around me. Sad

[b]What are the sharpest tries against the 3..c5 Advance Variation?
I already have quite a few hours in it (Houska-book), so I don't want to give it up easily in favor of the more expected 3..Bf5 (as in the Bologan-repertoire).

  

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Re: Caro Kann
Reply #32 - 12/30/08 at 22:51:24
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I have also looked a bit into the caro cann, but it is exactly this classical line that bothers me for black, in the ... 0-0 line can't white just throw in g4? I let my rybkba engine calculate for 2 minutes and it shows 0.00 for his favourite choice for black nxg4, although black is up one pawn, so white has got much compensation, and I don't see a queenside pawn attack for black going anywhere, it's either sac sac mate or draw for white I guess, or you have to play the ... 0-0-0 line which is much safer, but I know this structure from my scandinavian days and don't like it too much either for black, although I guess that the line with 0-0-0 is the ultimate way to equality, but too passive.

TGO wrote on 08/21/08 at 14:39:18:
I am a regular caro kann player and have explored this opening's theory quite well. But always frow the black side, lately when I was playing in the engine room at playchess and done analysis with Rybka 3 I have been trying to prove some kind of advantage for white in the main lines but there just does not seem to be any!

the main Bf4 capablanca line seems to be completly drawn or even slightly better for black (which I like from a caro kann player's perspective, but would like to find some advantage if there is any to be found)

initial analysis looked like the main line has no advantage for white :

1. e4  c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. Nf3 Nd7 8. h5 Bh7 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 e6 11. Bf4 Qa5+ 12. Bd2 Bb4 13. c3 Be7 14. c4 Qc7 15. O-O-O Ngf6 16. Kb1 O-O

now there are many lines but I have not found any advantage (note that I am not saying this is the best line but it is curent theory as far as I know)

My analysis currently shows that the Bd2 line is superior to Bf4  

my question is could it be that theory is wrong in these lines? And what is the best hope for an advantage? (my results seem to show that white can't hope for any advantage and that Bd2 is best (e5 can also be played but I don't like those positions so I trying to find something here)


  
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Re: Caro Kann
Reply #31 - 10/09/08 at 12:58:07
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I prefer a different move 7 option...

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 Nc6 5. Bb5 e6 6. Be3 Nge7 7. c3 Bd7 8. Bxc6 (otherwise Nxe5) Nxc6 9. f4 g5 (see greet Arkell 2000)


TGO wrote on 08/21/08 at 16:02:02:
my other question is about this line:

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5!?

I have always used 3...c5  in my over the board games but this is the line that has been giving me trouble lately:

4. dxc5 Nc6 5. Bb5 e6 6. Be3 Nge7 7. c3! Nf5 8. Bd4! Bd7 9. Bxc6! Bxc6 10. Nf3 Be7 11. 0-0  and now I am not really sure what to do (b6, 0-0, Qc7 are the options) It looks like I am just headed for a pawn down ending that I am likely to lose!

any suggestions where to improve on my line? (and which of the 3 moves to play if this is really the best line)



ps: as far as I know the line 3...c5 has not been refuted but am I wrong?

Regards, TGO  Smiley



  
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Re: Caro Kann
Reply #30 - 09/12/08 at 08:49:30
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winawer77 wrote on 09/09/08 at 10:16:35:
Advance 3...c5
I am convinced that after 4.dxc5 the move Houska's 4...e6 is correct. As a French player, I would be more than happy to play these lines. Again, Houska's coverage is excellent. Having said this, I think that 3...Bf5 is critical and would ideally want to play this move instead of 3...c5

I dislike this line for black and I play the French as well. In particular you will get regularly squashed by a white player who specialises in attacking lines against the French (ie with Qg4 or those where white captures away with his e5 and d4 pawns). He'll just need to play according to his standard plan and has way more room for errors or ultra agression than against his normal lines in the French.
  

If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.
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Re: Caro Kann
Reply #29 - 09/10/08 at 15:41:00
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@winawer77

As a caro player i just can say that Houska did a great job !!

For me the weakest chapter in this book is the Panov coverage.Here you do better to consult the Karpov/Podgaets book.

Against the advanced variation I still have more trust in the 3..Bf5 variations, but here I think it's just a matter of taste, both variations are playable Smiley.
  
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Re: Caro Kann
Reply #28 - 09/10/08 at 10:01:46
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I think the real problem in the Advance with c5 is 4.c4!
  

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Re: Caro Kann
Reply #27 - 09/09/08 at 10:16:35
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For the past 10 years I have been a die-hard French player. During this time I have tried almost every major variation going. However, I've always been attracted to the Caro-Kann, it is more solid and Black gets freer piece development. After all, being able to develop the c8 bishop would be a dream come true, having had it blocked in for so long! Smiley

So, I've decided that I'm going to make the effort to learn the Caro-Kann as a second defence to 1.e4

I'm using Houska's book as a starting point, here are my thoughts on her variations.

Main line ...Bf5
Excellent two chapters, very well covered. I am also coming to the conclusion that 11.Bd2 is stronger than 11.Bf4. Houska's reasoning that 11.Bf4 provokes the c-pawn forward, thus giving Black something to latch on to is correct. However, I also like the line (Houska doesn't cover this) where Black plays ...Nf6 without ...Nd7, allowing White to play Ne5, forcing the bishop to h7 - why is noone playing this anymore?!?!  Undecided

Advance 3...c5
I am convinced that after 4.dxc5 the move Houska's 4...e6 is correct. As a French player, I would be more than happy to play these lines. Again, Houska's coverage is excellent. Having said this, I think that 3...Bf5 is critical and would ideally want to play this move instead of 3...c5

Panov with ...Nc6 and ...Nb6
In my opinion this is the weak point of Houska's repertoire. Some of the lines are way too provocative. To play these one must have nerves of steel and the tactical ability of Rybka. In many lines Black goes pawn grabbing, giving White open diagonals for both rooks and the bishop pair. I get the feeling Black is always one move away from being bust in many of these variations. Having said that, they are enterprising lines, definitely critical and good for playing for a win, albeit with considerable risk.

The remaining chapters (Fantasy, Exchange, Two Knights, KIA, 2.c4) are all concise and excellent.
  
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