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Caro-Kann (B15)
1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3

Number of games in database: 2976
Years covered: 1886 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 36.6%
   Black wins 31.2%
   Draws 32.2%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Kaido Kulaots  13 games
Milan Matulovic  12 games
Alexander Alekhine  11 games
Jiri Lechtynsky  44 games
Bela Khotenashvili  28 games
Pavel Blatny  27 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Reti vs Tartakower, 1910
Spielmann vs B Hoenlinger, 1929
Alekhine vs Tartakower, 1927
J Mieses vs Reshevsky, 1935
Schuster vs C Carls, 1914
NN vs Torre, 1928
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 page 1 of 120; games 1-25 of 2,976  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. B Lasker vs H Caro 0-1351886BerlinB15 Caro-Kann
2. E O Jones vs G Bellingham 1-0351898Craigside Amateur CongressB15 Caro-Kann
3. Pillsbury vs H Caro 1-0301898ViennaB15 Caro-Kann
4. Steinitz vs Von Popiel 1-048189811th DSB Kongress, CologneB15 Caro-Kann
5. Olland vs Von Gottschall  1-044190213th DSB Kongress (Hanover)B15 Caro-Kann
6. Lasker vs H Bruening ½-½271902Simul, 23bB15 Caro-Kann
7. Lasker vs H Fahrni  0-1471904Simul, 31bB15 Caro-Kann
8. Nimzowitsch vs Duras 1-055190414th DSB Congress - Hauptturnier AB15 Caro-Kann
9. Spielmann vs Nimzowitsch 1-01919051st Match Nimzowitsch - SpielmannB15 Caro-Kann
10. M Lewitt vs H Caro 1-0391905Berlin Championship MatchB15 Caro-Kann
11. M Lewitt vs H Caro 0-1241905Berlin Championship MatchB15 Caro-Kann
12. Alapin vs Maroczy 0-1551905OstendB15 Caro-Kann
13. H Wolf vs H Fahrni  1-037190615th DSB Kongress (Nuremberg)B15 Caro-Kann
14. Znosko-Borovsky vs W Cohn  1-0441907Ostend-BB15 Caro-Kann
15. P S Leonhardt vs Duras 0-1271908ViennaB15 Caro-Kann
16. J Mieses vs Duras ½-½411908PragueB15 Caro-Kann
17. Blackburne vs W H Grundy 1-0221909Simul, 30bB15 Caro-Kann
18. B Maliutin vs M Elyashiv 0-1261909All Russian AmateurB15 Caro-Kann
19. L Forgacs vs Duras 0-1261909St. PetersburgB15 Caro-Kann
20. L Forgacs vs O Bernstein 1-0531909St. PetersburgB15 Caro-Kann
21. K Rosenkrantz vs M Elyashiv  ½-½711909All Russian AmateurB15 Caro-Kann
22. Tartakower vs H Fahrni 1-0311909MunichB15 Caro-Kann
23. Spielmann vs Tartakower 1-0221909MunichB15 Caro-Kann
24. J Perlis vs Tartakower 0-1371909Trebitsch MemorialB15 Caro-Kann
25. Reti vs Tartakower 1-0111910ViennaB15 Caro-Kann
 page 1 of 120; games 1-25 of 2,976  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Aug-29-03  coloredpencilset: After 3...b5 I think white can cause troubles with 4.exd5 and black cannot immediatley recapture. If black continues with 4...b4 white can simply move the knight to e4, which eyes the nice post c5. I think that white is fine and will prove black to already be overextended.
Aug-30-03  tud: Caro-Kann without Karpov and Petrosian ?
Premium Chessgames Member You'll find Karpov games here Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation (B17) and Petrosian here Caro-Kann, Classical (B18)
Aug-31-03  tud: Thanks, those 2 are the greatest in Caro-Kann
Feb-13-04  fred lennox: " present-day tournament practice...the good old Caro-Kann is treated in a way that is nothing short of revolutionary." Kasparov

Tarkatower used the Caro-Kann as a main weapon possibly showed some of it's dynamic potentails. Bronstein did and Larson and Korchnoi more so. It was Miles and Speelman however where the counterattacking potential of the Caro-Kann comes to real view. It was thier example and influence that inspired the above quote.

Premium Chessgames Member
  nasmichael: It is nice to hear that the Caro-Kann is being used in this way. I recently played a game (just now getting back to reviewing my losses ^_^) that began as this one, then wandered off into new (for me) territory. The counterattacking potential is being used very well by my opponent, who controls black here. I must review Speelman's and Miles' games with this theme.
Dec-14-05  refutor: here's one from the "horrifying novelties that look terrible but aren't immediately losing so i'm gonna try it 100 times in blitz" department

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe5 f5?!

click for larger view

refute away ;)

Dec-14-05  Akavall: <refutor> 5. Ng5 looks quite strong with the the threats of Bc4 and Qh5(no h6 for black).

The strength of those is that there is a huge temptation to 'prove' it wrong, and can lead white to some over aggressive decisions.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eric Schiller: Kaprov was a great player of the positional Caro-Kann, Petrosian liked some funky lines, but I recommend the games of Eric Lobron for an aggressive approach that has greatly influenced my own play. You can find many aggressive Caro-Kann games on my page, for example

A Williams vs E Schiller, 1979
A Kosten vs E Schiller, 1981
J Kristiansen vs E Schiller, 1986
R Kichinsky vs E Schiller, 1994

Win, lose, or draw, the games can be very exciting. The Caro-Kann need not be a boring opening at all!

Apr-28-07  PositionalBomber: Is Von Henning Gambit (3... d:e4 4. Bc4) dangerous for black at all? In this game Short vs Bareev, 2000 black has a nice game.
Jun-26-07  get Reti: I'm starting to like the following variation: 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 g6! This has been played 265 times in the database. Refusing to give up the center while also providing an effective development for the bishop, preparing e5 after Nd7 amd Bg7. Often black's king's knight is developed to h6 and then e5, letting the bishop keep it's open diagonal, while the g6 pawn protects the knight. Is it any good?
Jun-26-07  ganstaman: <get Reti> From what I've heard somewhere, 3. Nd2 is played sometimes in order to discourage 3...g6 (because 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 g6 4. c3 and now ...Bg7 is blunted and less effective). And since 3. Nc3 prevents an immediate c3 pawn push, I must imagine that 3...g6 is decent following 3.Nc3.

Also, I believe this system has a name starting with the letter 'g' ..... little research.... Bukhuti Gurgenidze

Jun-27-07  who: <refutor> the refutation lies earlier. 4.Nxe5 isn't possible.
Sep-30-07  Bob726: What do you think about e4 c6 d4 b5?! An opponent played this against me and he got crushed so i don't think its that good
Oct-18-08  Amarande: <refutor> No immediate refutation seems apparent.

If 5 Ng5 e5 (with a view to Qa5+ and Qxe5) seems to be best. White then will have an advantage in time, combined with open d- and e-files which is dangerous for Black, but Black should hold with only a slight advantage for White (in particular, it is difficult for White to avoid a quick exchange of Queens which greatly blunts the chance of Nimzowitsch vs Alapin, 1914 style center steamrollers).

5 ... e6, 5 ... Nf6, and 5 ... g6 are all faulty, and lead to a massive White advantage:

* 5 ... e6? 6 Bc4 Qe7 7 Qe2 and Black cannot defend his pawn further;

* 5 ... Nf6? 6 Bc4 and again the e-pawn will have to be lost to prevent Nf7 or Bf7+;

* 5 ... g6 is more difficult to refute, but nonetheless is inadequate. 6 Bc4 Nh6 and now neither simple development (7 Qd3 Bg7 8 c3 e5 9 dxe5 Qxd3 10 Bxd3 Bxe5 etc. with an even looking position) nor retreating the active Knight to threaten Bxh6 and an exchange (7 N5f3 Nd7! 8 Ne5? Nxe5! 9 dxe5 Qxd1+ 10 Kxd1 Ng4, and White loses a pawn due to the threat of Nxf2+, with advantage to Black) would secure an advantage, but White can bring up the other Knight to reinforce the pressure on f7 leading to a massive advantage: 7 N1f3! and now neither the defense Nd7 that worked against 7 N5f3 will work (7 ... Nd7? 8 Ne6! Qb6 9 Nxf8 and Black loses a piece) nor can Black drive off the Bishop in time (7 ... b5 8 Bb3 a5 9 Ne5 a4 10 Ngf7! Qa5+ (If Nxf7 11 Bxf7 mate; if axb3 11 Nxd8 Kxd8 12 Bxh6 Bxh6 13 Nf7+ Ke8 14 Nxh6 and Black has only a minor piece for his Queen) 11 Bd2 Qb6 12 Nxh8 axb3 13 Bxh6 Bxh6 14 Nhf7 bxc2 15 Qxc2 with a clear exchange ahead and Black's position in chaos). After 7 ... Bg7 it is true that 8 Ne5 is no longer immediately fruitful, but White can simply play 8 O-O with lasting pressure on the e-file combined with Black being unable to castle, and Black's defense will be arduous at best.

Possibly best is 5 Nc3, with an eye to exploiting Black's weaknesses on the e-file; it will be difficult if not impossible for Black to enforce e5, so ... e6 will prove necessary. After this the position takes on a character similar to situations in the Rubinstein and Delayed Exchange French in which Black has made the similarly faulty choice to play an early ... f5. Black will have to conduct the defense with care in order to avoid being squashed in a way similar to Alekhine vs Von Feldt, 1916 and will even with best play be on a more or less permanent defensive.

Dec-23-08  patzer of patzers: Could anyone tell me anything about 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 e6? It doesn't seem to be played much and the Opening Explorer gives white a large winning percentage, but I just can't make much sense of it. How is it best refuted? I will also post this in the French Defense.
Dec-24-08  jamesmaskell: 3...e6 seens a bit committal, allowing White to force the Exchange variation of either the French or CK leaving Black a horrible choice in my opinion. I wouldnt play it. If you are looking for a CK 3...dxe4 is a Classical Caro Kann after 4. Nxd4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 etc. If its good enough for Botvinnik...

4. exd5 cxd5 transposes to an Exchange CK with Blacks QB hemmed in and a lack of space. 4...exd5 transposes to an Exchange French, and Black a tempo down since ..c5 is usually done with a single move, not two. Im a CK player not a French player and I certainly couldnt recommend it.

What do engines think about it? 3...e6 does seem very poor.

Jan-16-09  patzer of patzers: Thanks for the analysis, <jamesmaskell>. Is there anything wrong with 3...Nf6? It looks reasonable enough to me, though it doesn't really do too much...and the Opening Explorer doesn't really like it.
Feb-23-09  Amarande: <jamesmaskell> If 3 ... e6, 4 e5 leaves Black in a poor variation of the French. He will need to play ... c5 to contest the center, with the result that he has flat out wasted an entire tempo with ... c6.

<patzer of patzers> If 3 ... Nf6 then simply 4 e5, with advantage:

a) If 4 ... Ng8 5 Bg5. This frustrates the attempt to solve the King-side development issue by ... g6, ... Bg7, ... Nh6 etc., as if ... g6 then Qd2 prevents the Knight development. Black would then have to play ... e6 eventually too, and his black squares would be best not discussed at that point. Therefore, Black will have to move his Queen and then play ... e6, so again we get the aforementioned bad French Advance Pawn skeleton.

b) 5 ... Ne4 6 Nxe4 dxe4 7 Qe2! f5 8 exf6 e.p. and Black's Pawn position is hash (he must play ... Nxf6 to stop immediate loss of the e4 pawn, and so ends up with doubled isolated e-pawns, to begin with).

c) 5 ... Nfd7 6 e6! and no matter how Black plays, he ends up with weaknesses at e7, e6, e5 with no compensation, while White will open the e-file leaving him with full pressure on the weak points.

Feb-24-09  FHBradley: Tal-Campomanes, Leipzig 1960, is a nice example of the idea mentioned last by <Amarande>: Tal vs F Campomanes, 1960
Dec-21-09  WarmasterKron: One of my first games with the Milner-Barry and I'm already convinced that the Caro is busted:

[Site ""]
[Date "2009.12.21"]
[White "dkirby"]
[Black "veercingatorix"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1383"]
[BlackElo "1423"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. f3 exf3
5. Nxf3 Nf6 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O Be7 8. Bg5 h6
9. Bxf6 Bxf6 10. Ne5 O-O 11. Ne4 Be7 12. Qh5 f5
13. Rxf5 Rxf5 14. Qxf5 Qf8 15. Bxe6+ Bxe6 16. Qxe6+ Kh7 17. Rf1 Bf6 18. Rxf6 gxf6 19. Qf5+ Kg7 20. Qg6+ 1-0

click for larger view

I'm sure Black could have played it better, but I was very pleased with my attack.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <warmaster kron> Nice game! But about that refutation...

Short vs Bareev, 2000

Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: Short Bareev is interesting -- but basically Bareev declined the gambit. The accepted line has a pretty good win ratio for black as well.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <beenthere240: Short Bareev is interesting -- but basically Bareev declined the gambit. >

Count the pawns after eight moves.

Sep-09-10  Matthias Eichhoff: Two remarks concerning Gurgenidze variant (3...b5) which I found interesting for a while (with the Black pieces), but not anymore:

@coloredpencilset: I agree, 4.exd5 is by far the strongest move for White in this position, and after 4...b5 you might consider 5.Na4 as maybe the best move.

Secondly, after 4.e5 4...Bf5 seems to give Black a comfortable position.

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