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Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4 (B11)
1 e4 c6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Nf3 Bg4

Number of games in database: 2613
Years covered: 1927 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 35.7%
   Black wins 29.0%
   Draws 35.2%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Miguel Munoz Pantoja  23 games
Shanglei Lu  21 games
Ian Nepomniachtchi  17 games
Aleksey Dreev  36 games
Valentina Gunina  21 games
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov  20 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Fischer vs S Kagan, 1968
Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1958
Noteboom vs S van Mindeno, 1927
Fischer vs Petrosian, 1959
Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1958
Fischer vs Keres, 1959
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 page 1 of 105; games 1-25 of 2,613  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Noteboom vs S van Mindeno 1-0211927HollandB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
2. L Roedl vs A Kramer 1-0121929Duisburg-BB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
3. Capablanca vs E S Bensinger 1-0411929Simul, 40bB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
4. Tartakower vs G Holtey 0-1401931ExhibitionB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
5. Nimzowitsch vs O Zimmermann 1-0411931Training Match vs ZimmermanB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
6. Spielmann vs Pirc  0-1601931Spielmann - Pirc MatchB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
7. J Mieses vs K Helling ½-½63193127th German Chess Federation CongressB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
8. Spielmann vs Flohr ½-½151931BledB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
9. Foltys vs K Opocensky 0-1371935LuhacoviceB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
10. Spielmann vs J Fride  0-1271935SimulB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
11. T Drezga vs S Vukovic  1-0121935Yugoslav ChampionshipB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
12. V Rauzer vs V Sozin  1-0361936Leningrad Master TournamentB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
13. Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs V Chekhover  1-0521937USSR ChampionshipB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
14. V Rauzer vs V Chekhover  1-0591937USSR ChampionshipB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
15. I Rabinovich vs A Ebralidze 1-0251937USSR ChampionshipB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
16. H Adam vs D Podhorzer  0-1571938Trebitsch Memorial 1937/38B11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
17. Lasker vs J T Alexander ½-½281939SimulB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
18. Kostic vs S Vukovic  ½-½371939Yugoslav ChampionshipB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
19. L Prins vs E Thorvaldsson  1-0371939Buenos Aires Olympiad qual-3B11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
20. A Khachaturov vs G Ravinsky  1-0201940Candidate to MasterB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
21. Kasparian vs A Konstantinopolsky  0-1411940URS-sfB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
22. V Chekhover vs A Khavin  ½-½471940URS-sfB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
23. E McCormick vs M L Hanauer  ½-½551940Ventnor CityB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
24. Boleslavsky vs P Dubinin 0-1441940USSR ChampionshipB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
25. Levenfish vs P Dubinin 1-0401940USSR ChampionshipB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
 page 1 of 105; games 1-25 of 2,613  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-15-04  Helloween: A game I recently came accross in this line is B Shipov vs Bagirov, 1966 . Black keeps his King safe and uncastled in the center and demolishes the White King's protection on the Queenside. This game shows exactly why castling long for White can be suicidal in this line.
Jul-15-04  rochade18: Though 3...Bg4 is good I'd always play 3...dxe4 to get a classical Caro-Kann (I like B15-B16) because white plays always 3.e5 or 3.exd5.
Jul-15-04  Helloween: Once again, 3...Bg4! is such a good move that not only did it gain its own ECO code, but also it caused Fischer to completely abandon this variation: see Fischer vs Keres, 1959, Fischer vs Petrosian, 1959, and Fischer vs Keres, 1959.

<rochade18> Notice also that after 1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3 dxe4?! 4.Nxe4 the "normal" move 4...Bf5? is not possible because of the Knight already posted on f3 as opposed to d2-d4 having been played in the classical main line: 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.Ne5 Bh7 8.Qh5 g6 9.Bc4! e6 10.Qe2± and one would be hard-pressed to find volunteers to play Black's position.

Jul-15-04  refutor: <helloween> technically, i believe that 2.Nc3 (without 3.d4 obviously) is B11 ;) i play the 3. ...dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bg4 line. it avoids a transposition into a lame exchange line like 3. ...Bg4 4.exd5 cxd5 5.d4 and (in my 4. ...Bg4 line) the knight is misplaced on e4. 4. ...Bg4 is less common and i think just as good as 3. ...Bg4
Jul-16-04  rochade18: <Helloween> Good to know! I didn't know this "refutation" of 4...Bf5 but I always play 4...Nf6 anyway which is ok I believe. I said classical Caro-Kann but but I meant the B15-B16-lines (For example 1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3 dxc4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Nxf6 gxf6 leading to aggressive play like in the Bronstein-Larsen [B16])
Jul-16-04  checkpat: Does anybody knows why 4..Nf6
is always met by the exchange?
5 Ng3 seems strong too...
Jul-17-04  Helloween: <checkpat>4...Nf6 is almost always met by 5.Nxf6 instead of 5.Ng3 because most players consider creating a breach in Black's pawn fabrication worth more than preserving forces. Alas, some players also do not wish to worry about Black playing the manouever h7-h5-h4, kicking off the Knight at g3 and gaining space.
Jul-19-04  checkpat: Helloween: h5 looks double edged;
where will Black castle afterwards?
Jul-19-04  rochade18: Black often castles long in the Caro-Kann (at least in the Bronstein-Larsen) or not at all.
Jan-02-05  azaris: The opening of the day seemed to be one of Fischer's theoretical responses to the Caro-Kann, but oddly out of the 11 serious games he played using this system he only scored a lowly +2=6-3! The most of his other Caro-Kann games weren't mainline either. Why did he not play the book lines? Was he afraid of Soviets springing novelties against him in their pet opening at the time?
Sep-22-05  Gazman5: In a very similar way he didnt like facing the french either and often went for a Kings indian attack setup with 2.d3. Clearly fischer had developed a highly detailed understanding of a very small opening repertoire, and felt at home playing in this way, even if it meant conceding equality to black in openings like the French and Caro-Kann, as he no doubt felt his greater skill would then win the day in the late middle and endgame.
Sep-22-05  Resignation Trap: <Gazman5> Fischer played this line early in his career, but without any particular success. This was a favorite variation of Isaac Boleslavsky . It is not well-known, but Fischer read many of Boleslavsky's opening articles, and even modeled his play on his as well.

Here is a glaring example.
Take a look at this game, particularly after 14...Bf8: Boleslavsky vs Kholmov, 1956 .

Now compare it to Fischer vs Kholmov, 1965 after 18...fxe6.

Same opening, same move, same opponent, <almost> the same position...different result :{

Dec-23-05  alicefujimori: Ar...Opening of the day. A Fischer favourite in his young days.
Apr-15-07  gambitfan: OPOD Su 15/04/2007
Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: Nobody seems to play Tal's 4..Bxf3 5.gxf3!? any more. Day-Fuster Toronto Closed, 1972 went 5..e6 6. d4 g6 [6..Nd7 7.Bf4 Bb4 8.h4 Ngf6 is Tal-Botvinnik, 1960 World Match where Tal was dissatified with his 9.e5 which eventually drew.] 7. Be3 Bh6 8.Bxh6 Nxh6 9.h4 Ng8 10.h5 Qf6 11.Qd2 Qxf3 12.hxg6 fxg6 13.Rh3 Qf7 14.exd5 exd5 15.Re3+ Kd8 16.Bh3 Ne7 17.Na4 Nf5 18.Bxf5 gxf5 19.O-O-O f4 20.Re2 Na6 21.c4 dxc4 22.Nc5 Nc7 23.Nxb7+ Kd7 24.Qc3 Rae8 25.Qh3+ Ne6 26.d5 cxd5 27.Nc5+ Kd6 28.Nxe6 Rxe6 1-0
Apr-16-07  DMBFan23: In the C-K (my main defense against 1. e4) the light squared bishop is often bad due to pawns on c6 and e6 (and possibly d5 in many variations). I usually find my knights can become better than the opponent's bishops in the semi-open positions that typically arise from the C-K, but maybe that's because as a bad player, I play mostly bad players ;)

in the C-K I am much more hesitant to trade off my dark squared bishop which is often better than my opponent's

Oct-04-08  JohnBoy: I am curious as to whether anyone has a clear bust of 4.ed5 cd5 5.Ne5 Bxd1 6.Bb5+ Nc6 7.Nxc6 Qc7 (or b6) 8.Ne5+ Kd8 9.Nxf7+ Kc8 10.Kxd1

I've never seen this played, but find it an interesting speculative sac. Black's king is exposed, black has no development, but white has no direction to the pieces already in play.

Oct-04-08  Super Chess Man: I say the bust is just to play 1 b3 like the best of 'em !
Oct-04-08  Alphastar: <JohnBoy> In my opinion black should just return the material and reach a slightly better endgame with 6. ..Nd7! 7. N/Bxd7(+) Qxd7 8. xd7 Kxd7 9. Kxd1 e6. Black has all the winning chances with an extra center pawn besides which his king is better placed on d7 than white's on d1.

<Super Chess Man> With all due respect, 1. b3 does not pursue the initiative white has with the first move and hence he cannot claim any advantage with objectively best play by black.

Nov-18-08  norcist: "whilst researching this variation on the Internet, I happened to come across a chess forum where players discussed their opinions on openings. It became obvious that when talking about the Two Knights Variation many people did not understand the reasoning behind this bishop move."

lol I think Jovanka Houska was talking about us guys...

Nov-26-08  The Chess Express: <Alphastar> What respect is <Super Chess Man> due?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Opening of the Day:

Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...♗g4
1.e4 c6 2.♘c3 d5 3.♘f3 ♗g4

click for larger view

Mar-12-12  jackpawn: I don't claim to have studied this variation as much as you guys, but I can't believe it's as bad as you're making it out to be. Fischer played it as late as 1968. I would trust the judgement of the 1968 Fischer more than anyone on this board.

I could also point out that Smyslov, as World Champion, also played the variation. Anyone want to question his postional judgement too?

Jan-16-13  JustWoodshifting: High level engine match game:

[Event "Engine Match Games, 540'+30"]
[Site "North America"]
[Date "2013.01.14"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Deep Rybka 4.1 x64"]
[Black "Houdini 3 Pro x64"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B11"]
[WhiteElo "3305"]
[BlackElo "3378"]
[Annotator ""]
[PlyCount "142"]
[EventDate "2013.01.14"]

{Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q8200 @ 2.33GHzW=23.0 ply; 110kN/s; Hiarcs13Pro.

1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 Bg4 4.
Be2 dxe4 5. Nxe4 Nd7 6. O-O Ngf6 ♗oth last book move 7. Nxf6+ Nxf6 8. h3 (♘e5) Bf5 9. Nh4 Be6 (g6) 10. c4 (d4) g6 11. Nf3 (d4) Bg7 12. d4 Qc7 13. Bd3 (♗e3) O-O 14. Qc2 (♖e1) c5 15. Re1 (♗e3) cxd4 16. Nxd4 Bd7 17. Nf3 Rac8 (♘h5) 18. Bd2 (♗g5) Be6 19. Rac1 Rfd8 20. Bc3 Nh5 21. Bf1 Rd7 (b6) 22. b4 (♗e5) a6 (♖cd8) 23. a3 (♘e5) Rcd8 24. c5 Qf4 (♗h6) 25. Bxg7 Kxg7 (♘xg7) 26. c6 bxc6 27. Qc3+ Qf6 28. Ne5 Rd6 29. g3 Bd5 (h6) 30. Bxa6 c5 31. Bf1 (♗e2) cxb4 32. axb4 Kf8 33. b5 Ng7 34. Ra1 Kg8 35. Rec1 Ne6 (♘f5) 36. h4 (♘c4) Bb7 (♗e4) 37. Ra7 Be4 38. Nc6 Nd4 39. Nxd4 Rxd4 40. Qe3 e5 41. Rcc7 Bd5 42. Qg5 (♖d7) Kg7 43. Qxf6+ Kxf6 44. Ra6+ Kg7 45. Ra1 Rb8 (♔f6) 46. Rc2 (♖b1) e4 47. Rb2 Rb6 (♔f6) 48. Ra6 (♖c2) Rxa6 (♖b8) 49. bxa6 Rd1 50. Rc2 (♔g2) Ra1 51. Rc3 (♔g2) Kf6 (♗e6) 52. Rc7 (♖c2) Ke6 53. Rc8 (♖c2) h6 (♔d7) 54. h5 (♔g2) Kd7 55. Rc3 g5 (gxh5) 56. Rc2 (♔g2) f5 57. Rc5 Kd6 58. Rc8 Bf7 (f4) 59. Rf8 (♖b8) Bxh5 60. a7 Rxa7 61. Rf6+ (♖h8) Ke5 62. Rxh6 Bd1 (♗f3) 63. Bg2 (♖c6) Ra1 64. Kh2 g4 65. Rh5 Ra2 (♖a5) 66. Kg1 Be2 (♖a5) 67. Rg5 (♖h8) Ra5 (♖a8) 68. Kh2 Bf3 69. Rg8 Ra2 70. Re8+ (♔g1) Kd4 (♔d5) 71. Kg1 Ra1+ 0-1

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: <jackpawn: I don't claim to have studied this variation as much as you guys, but I can't believe it's as bad as you're making it out to be.>

Although Fischer did not have success with it the line has scored well for White over the years.

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