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

Number of games in database: 14075
Years covered: 1858 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 40.9%
   Black wins 28.6%
   Draws 30.5%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Alexey Shirov  101 games
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave  77 games
Andrei Volokitin  66 games
Aleksey Dreev  127 games
Anatoly Karpov  80 games
Valentina Gunina  76 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 563; games 1-25 of 14,075 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Cochrane vs Somacarana 0-1391858CalcuttaB12 Caro-Kann Defense
2. Zukertort vs C Lehmann 1-0331864PosenB12 Caro-Kann Defense
3. Gunsberg vs M Weiss 0-13018833rd DSB Congress, NurembergB12 Caro-Kann Defense
4. A Fritz vs M Weiss 0-14418833rd DSB Congress, NurembergB12 Caro-Kann Defense
5. J Mieses vs M Kann 0-1241885DSB-Congress 4th Free TournamentB12 Caro-Kann Defense
6. I Orchard vs A F Wurm  1-0511888Wurm - OrchardB12 Caro-Kann Defense
7. Lipschutz vs E Delmar 1-05118896th American Chess Congress, New YorkB12 Caro-Kann Defense
8. J Minckwitz vs J Bauer 0-15818896th DSB Congress, BreslauB12 Caro-Kann Defense
9. Gunsberg vs J Bauer ½-½4318896th DSB Congress, BreslauB12 Caro-Kann Defense
10. Albin vs G Marco  1-0181890Kolisch MemorialB12 Caro-Kann Defense
11. Harmonist vs Von Bardeleben  1-0431890BerlinB12 Caro-Kann Defense
12. E M Thorold vs J E Hall 1-03218906th BCA Congress (Amateurs)B12 Caro-Kann Defense
13. A C Vazquez vs Blackburne 1-0601891Blackburne - VazquezB12 Caro-Kann Defense
14. Maroczy vs F J Lee ½-½441899LondonB12 Caro-Kann Defense
15. Maroczy vs W Cohn 1-0511899LondonB12 Caro-Kann Defense
16. G Marco vs Von Popiel ½-½38190012th DSB Congress, MunichB12 Caro-Kann Defense
17. J F Barry vs F J Lee  ½-½5619016th Anglo-American Cable MatchB12 Caro-Kann Defense
18. J W te Kolste vs P S Leonhardt 0-136190331st DCA Congress, HilversumB12 Caro-Kann Defense
19. M Judd vs H F Lee  1-03819034th Western ChampionshipB12 Caro-Kann Defense
20. Schiffers vs S Izbinsky 0-13619033rd Russian National TournamentB12 Caro-Kann Defense
21. A Rabinovich vs S Izbinsky 0-13019033rd Russian National TournamentB12 Caro-Kann Defense
22. Schiffers vs V Yurevich  0-14519033rd Russian National TournamentB12 Caro-Kann Defense
23. A Neumann vs F J Lee  ½-½301905Barmen Meisterturnier BB12 Caro-Kann Defense
24. A H Pettersson vs F J Lee 0-1891905Barmen Meisterturnier BB12 Caro-Kann Defense
25. S Levitsky vs S Izbinsky  1-03419064th All Russian TournamentB12 Caro-Kann Defense
 page 1 of 563; games 1-25 of 14,075 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 7 OF 7 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-11-08  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 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  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 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??
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...

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:

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.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: The final post in the thread cited by <e4 resigns> says it all.
Sep-05-17  Arconax: <e4 resigns: The Yereslov Variation" as 3...c5 is given "!!!" by Yereslov, the inventor himself.>

Are you sure it wasn't Veresov?

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Here’s a new gambit: 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Be3 e6 5.Nd2 Nd7 6.Ngf3 Ne7 7.Be2 Qc7 8.0-0 f6 9.c3!?

Play it quick and you won’t have to credit AlphaZero.

Stockfish gallantly took the pawn 9....fxe5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 Qxe5 12.Re1 Qc7 13.Bh5+ Ng6 14.g4(!!?) and lost 60 eventful moves later.

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