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Caro-Kann Defense (B12)
1 e4 c6 2 d4

Number of games in database: 5901
Years covered: 1858 to 2014
Overall record:
   White wins 40.6%
   Black wins 28.0%
   Draws 31.4%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
PRACTITIONERS
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Alexey Shirov  72 games
Nigel Short  43 games
Peter Svidler  42 games
Anatoly Karpov  79 games
Alexey Dreev  76 games
Evgeny Bareev  52 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Kramnik vs Leko, 2004
Morozevich vs Bologan, 2004
Kasparov vs Karpov, 2001
Nimzowitsch vs Capablanca, 1927
H E Atkins vs Capablanca, 1922
Topalov vs Anand, 1999
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 page 1 of 237; games 1-25 of 5,901 
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Cochrane vs Somacarana 0-139 1858 CalcuttaB12 Caro-Kann Defense
2. Zukertort vs C Lehmann 1-033 1864 PosenB12 Caro-Kann Defense
3. Englisch vs Meitner  1-039 1882 ViennaB12 Caro-Kann Defense
4. Gunsberg vs Max Weiss 0-130 1883 NurembergB12 Caro-Kann Defense
5. A Fritz vs Max Weiss 0-144 1883 NurembergB12 Caro-Kann Defense
6. Mieses vs M Kann 0-117 1885 HamburgB12 Caro-Kann Defense
7. Burille vs N MacLeod 1-021 1889 USA-06.Congress New YorkB12 Caro-Kann Defense
8. Lipschutz vs E Delmar 1-051 1889 USA-06.Congress New YorkB12 Caro-Kann Defense
9. Gunsberg vs J Bauer  ½-½43 1889 BreslauB12 Caro-Kann Defense
10. J Minckwitz vs J Bauer 0-158 1889 BreslauB12 Caro-Kann Defense
11. Albin vs G Marco  1-018 1890 Kolisch MemorialB12 Caro-Kann Defense
12. Landau vs Lasker  0-141 1891 Berlin simB12 Caro-Kann Defense
13. Maroczy vs F J Lee ½-½44 1899 LondonB12 Caro-Kann Defense
14. Maroczy vs W Cohn  1-051 1899 LondonB12 Caro-Kann Defense
15. G Marco vs Von Popiel  ½-½38 1900 MunichB12 Caro-Kann Defense
16. J F Barry vs F J Lee  ½-½56 1901 6th Anglo-American Cable MatchB12 Caro-Kann Defense
17. J W te Kolste vs Leonhardt 0-136 1903 HilversumB12 Caro-Kann Defense
18. Schiffers vs S Izbinsky 0-136 1903 RUS-ch03B12 Caro-Kann Defense
19. A Rabinovich vs S Izbinsky 0-130 1903 RUS-ch03B12 Caro-Kann Defense
20. Schiffers vs Yurevich  0-145 1903 RUS-ch03B12 Caro-Kann Defense
21. A Neumann vs F J Lee  ½-½30 1905 Barmen Meisterturnier BB12 Caro-Kann Defense
22. A H Pettersson vs F J Lee  0-189 1905 Barmen Meisterturnier BB12 Caro-Kann Defense
23. S Levitsky vs S Izbinsky  1-034 1905 St PetersburgB12 Caro-Kann Defense
24. B Maliutin vs P A Evtifeev 0-138 1905 St PetersburgB12 Caro-Kann Defense
25. Olland vs H Wolf 1-049 1907 KarlsbadB12 Caro-Kann Defense
 page 1 of 237; games 1-25 of 5,901 
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 7 OF 7 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-10-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  ganstaman: I just played this game as white in 10-minute blitz online. I really like the 3. f3 lines.

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 dxe4 4. fxe4 e6 5. Nf3 f6 (<This has to be weak. It doesn't even really support an e5 push, which is all I could see it being used for.>) 6. Bc4 b5 7. Bb3 a5 8. a4 b4 9. O-O g6 10. Nbd2 Ne7 11. Nc4 (<I block my bishop, but my knight looks useful here. I'm seeing some sort of discovered attack in the future where the knight moves away to some great location.>) Bg7 12. Bf4 g5 (<I really think that castling to safety, especially when so underdeveloped and with bad pawn structure would be better>) 13. Bd6 Bf8 14. e5 Nf5


click for larger view

(<It's almost too easy from here. I think I'm completely winning with every move, even though there are some stronger alternatives available. It may be fun to work out some of the tactics yourself.>)

15. Nxg5 Nxd6 16. Qh5+ Kd7 17. Rxf6 Be7 18. Nxd6 Bxf6 19. Qf7+ Be7 20. Bxe6+ Kc7 21. Bxc8 Nd7 22. Ne6+ Kb6 23. Nxd8 Bxd8 24. Qxd7 Ra7 25. Nc4# 1-0

Jun-11-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: <ganstaman>, I have no doubt that Morphy and Anderssen would have played 15.Nxg5 themselves. Wherever they are, I'm sure they approve.

Black's third, fourth and fifth moves were horrible. If you're going to play 3...dxe4 (3...e6 is so much better), you must follow with 4.fxe4,e5. In fact, I'm curious: why do you not like 3...dxe4; 4.Be3,exf3; 5.Nxf3?

Jun-11-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  ganstaman: <An Englishman: Good Evening: <ganstaman>, I have no doubt that Morphy and Anderssen would have played 15.Nxg5 themselves. Wherever they are, I'm sure they approve.>

My computer, reaching 9 ply in under 5 seconds (before I get bored of waiting for more ply, if they're ever going to come) gives it as the best move at +1.79: 15. Nxg5 h5 16. Ne4 Rh6 17. Bxf8 Kxf8 18. Ncd6 Nxd6 19. exd6 Kg7 20. Qd3 f5 (I haven't looked this through, don't know how good it really is). I just like when it approves of sacrifices, because otherwise I feel like I got lucky to win. Plus, for me, it's setting up such positions that is difficult. Once they are there, finding the best moves is easy. I think it was Fischer who once said "Tactics flow from a superior position."

<Black's third, fourth and fifth moves were horrible. If you're going to play 3...dxe4 (3...e6 is so much better), you must follow with 4.fxe4,e5.>

I agree. Those moves definitely handed me a real advantage that I could work with. In addition, from moves 6-8 I was able to develop my LSB to a good, aggressive diagonal while black only opened up his queenside. All these opening mistakes add up.

<In fact, I'm curious: why do you not like 3...dxe4; 4.Be3,exf3; 5.Nxf3?>

What, and gambit a whole pawn?! :)

Actually, I don't play against the Caro very much (really, who does?) so I only got to play the 3. f3 variation once so far (it's an ongoing game at gameknot as part of our cg.com New Year's tourny). I faced 3...e6, so I wasn't as familiar with the 3...dxe4 lines. It wasn't until after I played 4. fxe4 that I noticed that 4...e4 would be annoying and likely equalizing.

For what it's worth, Zvjaginsev's 4. Be2 (V Zvjaginsev vs A Belozerov, 2006) may be pretty good, too. Then again, 1 game with an obvious blunder doesn't really say much. Well, I can't find games with 4. Be3, so I just don't know what to do!

Jun-11-08  Alphastar: yeah 3. ..dxe4 4. fxe4 e5 is pretty standard. After 5. Nf3, Be6 equalizes, Bg4 probably does so too.

3. ..g6 and 3. ..e5 also seem to guarantee black a full share of the chances.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that 3. ..e6 equalizes, because there is a chance that play transposes to a classical french (steinitz variation maybe). However the caro-kann player might not feel at home because he locks his c8-bishop in for the moment.

Jul-10-08  offtherook: Any tips on facing the Caro-Kann as white? I'm having a difficult time breaking through this defense.
Jul-11-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  pawn to QB4: My suggestion to any player is to find opening variations that tend to lead to the sort of positions you like. Personally, I'm a cheap tactician and don't care for closed positions, carefully constructed defensive formations and the winner is the player with the deeper understanding of chess. So I find most main line Caro Kann systems end in my superficial attacks getting nowhere and Black strikes back down the c & d files after 25 moves or so. If your difficulties are along these lines, success for me comes through a) the Panov Attack or b) the King's Indian Reversed (if it's good enough for a master of attack like Leonid Stein it'll do for me). These have tended to give me blow-for-blow middlegames where my abilities as a cheap tactician come to the fore. Plus, my opponent may well be playing the Caro Kann because s/he is a positional player relying on experience and deep understanding of chess, in which case the tactical positions we get into may not be to his/her liking. First step, then, is to decide what sort of player you are. Here, as Tony Kosten once noted, it's a good idea to ask your friends. Their answer might surprise you.
Jul-11-08  whiskeyrebel: Almost everybody I play the Caro Kann against in OTB classic games feels compelled to attack even when the position doesn't justify it. It's like walking through the bad part of town with a $100 bill taped to your forehead while flipping people off. I've tried to use this knowledge to my advantage and it has served me well.
Jul-11-08  offtherook: <pawn to Qb4> I've tried the Panov attack and it's not quite the type of tactical melee I had expected- of course, I often play King's Gambit, so I take "cheap tactician" a bit far sometimes. I've always played either Panov or accelerated Panov, but I keep facing the CK and not getting anywhere against it. I'm not necessarily looking even for an advantage, but just at least a complex,dynamic position with chances for both sides would be good. I'm trying out the Advance variation, and that looks somewhat interesting (especially the van der wiel attack).
Jul-11-08  Alphastar: <offtherook> if you're looking for a complex, dynamic position then the advance variation is definitely what you should be looking at. van der Wiel attack is extremely complex indeed but also lots of theory and not very hard to sidestep.

Myself, I'd play 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. h4!? h5 (4. ..h6 5. g4 Bh7? 6. e6!) 5. c4. A very aggressive approach and most 'normal' caro-kann players don't know how to deal with it.

Sep-14-08  blacksburg: <It's like walking through the bad part of town with a $100 bill taped to your forehead while flipping people off.>

and that works out to your advantage? really?

note to self - avoid donnybrook with whiskeyrebel.

Mar-06-09  timhortons: The debruyker variation of these is these is not used very well by top masters.

id been using debruyker as black at playchess.com bullet, i played thousand of games on it, against a fellow 1400 i had 50% score on it.Everytime i handle a black piece i used it over and over again.

Mar-06-09  chessman95: <Alphastar> I've been trying the 4.h4!? line out in my CK games recently. It seems that you're right about 'normal' CK players not knowing how to play this line, because I've gotten three players so far to fall into the trap e6??, which loses the bishop after g4, h5, and f3. Even when my opponents have played the "correct" h5, I've gotten good aggresive play on the kingside which fits my style of attack perfectly. I like this line much more than normal moves like Nf3, which are just too boring and slow for me.
Mar-06-09  ozmikey: The Fantasy Variation is a bit underestimated, IMHO. The point is that in the 3...fxe4 4. fxe4 e5 line, Black is doing OK but there are a fair few traps to be avoided (not to mention the fact that Black has allowed White a nice half-open f-file for a future attack), while the 3...e6 line will probably transpose to a French, which Black probably doesn't want if he's playing the Caro.
Mar-06-09  chessman95: <ozmikey> I don't think that line is very good for white. After 3...cxe4 4.fxe4 e5, white's best move to keep the advantage is 5.Nf3, but then black can force the exchange of queens with 5...exd4!. If 6.Qxd4 then 6...Qxd4, and if 6.Nxd4? then 6...Qh4+ 7.g3 Qxe4+ 8.Qe2 and 8...Qxe2 and black has the advantage. Even after the correct 6.Qxd4 white will have trouble gaining any good advantage without a queen, and the most likely result will be a draw.
Mar-06-09  blacksburg: <chessman95> 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3 dxe4 4.fxe4 e5 5.Nf3 exd4 6.Bc4! is a main idea of the fantasy variation.
Mar-06-09  chessman95: I don't see a lot of compensation for the pawn in that line. Look's to me like white has gained absolutely nothing for the gambit.
Mar-07-09  blacksburg: Opening Explorer

in the database, white wins 63% of his games after 6.Bc4. sounds like compensation to me.

Mar-07-09  chessman95: Hmm...maybe you're right. That's only out of 27 games though. Could you find any larger samples of that line?
Mar-07-09  blacksburg: no, it's not a very common line. as far as i know, 6.Bc4 is considered to <practically> refute the whole line with 3...dxe4, 4...e5, 5...exd4. that's why 3...e6 is so much more popular. or at least this was the case when i used to play the caro-kann.

Opening Explorer

Sep-25-09  whiskeyrebel: I just read a New In Chess article from a few years ago about the following line against the fantasy variation: 1.e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 g6 Anybody out there play it against players in the 1800-2200 range? If white plays 4. Nc3 and then 5. Be3 I will be responding with the aggressive 4....Bg7 5. ......Qb6 line.
Apr-23-12  ozziecobblepot: Is this seriously the ECO code which includes the Advance variation??
Apr-23-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <whiskeyrebel> would be the one to answer, but he's been AWOL for a while.

Does <suenteus po 147> play C-C opening? Can't keep track of things anymore, getting old...

Apr-23-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: Why did I think that Kann is spelled with a 'C'?? I must be getting old...
Jul-29-12  e4 resigns: http://www.chess.com/forum/view/che...

Anyone tried this variation?
It appears to be invented after World Champs played it! "The Yereslov Variation" as 3...c5 is given "!!!" by Yereslov, the inventor himself.

Mar-26-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: The final post in the thread cited by <e4 resigns> says it all.
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