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Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation (B16)
1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nf6 5 Nxf6+ gxf6

Number of games in database: 1526
Years covered: 1907 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 41.3%
   Black wins 27.9%
   Draws 30.7%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Milan Matulovic  8 games
Joseph G Gallagher  7 games
Nick de Firmian  6 games
Darko Anic  24 games
David Bronstein  23 games
Maxim Turov  22 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Chiburdanidze vs Short, 1983
Tal vs Bronstein, 1982
I A Horowitz vs Flohr, 1945
N Bakulin vs Bronstein, 1965
K Aseev vs Bronstein, 1982
I Bilek vs Bronstein, 1955
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 page 1 of 62; games 1-25 of 1,526  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. P S Leonhardt vs Nimzowitsch ½-½711907KarlsbadB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
2. Alekhine / Von Bardeleben vs Nimzowitsch / Bier ½-½301910Consultation gameB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
3. Koehnlein vs Nimzowitsch  ½-½30191017th DSB Congress, HamburgB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
4. P S Leonhardt vs Nimzowitsch 0-153191017th DSB Congress, HamburgB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
5. Yates vs Nimzowitsch 0-158191017th DSB Congress, HamburgB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
6. P S Leonhardt vs Nimzowitsch 1-0391911KarlsbadB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
7. P Johner vs Kostic 1-0381911KarlsbadB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
8. Z von Balla vs C Carls 0-151191218th DSB Congress, BreslauB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
9. Yates vs F E Hamond 1-0321913British ChampionshipB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
10. Lasker vs Nimzowitsch ½-½421914St. PetersburgB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
11. Bogoljubov vs Duras 0-146191419th DSB Congress, MannheimB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
12. Breyer vs C Carls  1-034191419th DSB Congress, MannheimB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
13. Janowski vs C Carls  ½-½51191419th DSB Congress, MannheimB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
14. Capablanca vs W Wimsatt ½-½511915Simul, 16bB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
15. G Cenni vs V Soldatenkov  ½-½331915MatchB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
16. Dimer vs C Carls  0-1251919LübeckB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
17. G A Thomas vs W Winter 1-0471919HastingsB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
18. H G Cole vs W Winter 1-0331919HastingsB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
19. Capablanca vs S Howell-Smith  1-0251919Simul, 39bB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
20. J Moller vs Nimzowitsch 1-0371920GothenburgB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
21. P Romanovsky vs Levenfish 1-0421920USSR ChampionshipB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
22. I Rabinovich vs N Pavlov-Pianov  1-0551920USSR ChampionshipB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
23. Yates vs R H Scott 1-0281920Hastings 1920/21B16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
24. W Schelfhout vs J Davidson  0-1251921Dutch ChampionshipB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
25. T Hess vs W Hilse  ½-½45192222nd DSB KongressB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
 page 1 of 62; games 1-25 of 1,526  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>
Feb-10-05  whiskeyrebel: There's a Caro-Kann book written by Neil McDonald (I believe it was published in 2002) that discusses the strategic goals for both sides of this line better than a few other CK books I own.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: < whiskeyrebel: There's a Caro-Kann book written by Neil McDonald ... > Good to know that. I just recently got his "Benko Gambit" simply because it was the best opening manual I ever run across.
Feb-10-05  dragon40: <whiskeyrebel> you are right, the name of the book is "Main Line Caro-Kann" and it is a really well written work! It explains all of the main variations very wll, plenty of games and reasons as to why the opening variations are played the way they are, and good moves/bad moves as well! It is one of the best books on the Caro out there now, in my oppinion!
Mar-15-05  Basqueknight: Ive recently taken up the Caro-Kann and after about of month of playing it i like this line best. Sure the early g3 causes black to rethink his plan but it doesnt make blacks opening bad its just more posistional than it was before. I think the people who say sure it works on people more if they dont know the plans but DUH!! so does any opening. I used to play the frech and on USCL I was surprised how many 1700s i could take down with it when i was only a 1300is player. But now my new love is this line in the caro-kann most likely because when i did play the french i played a burn gxf6 and i loved that too. either way i think that this line while not as popular as other lines in th caro-kann is respectable none the less and anyone who disagrees can look me up on uscl and ill show you a thing or two. My tag is BasqueKnight there too.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Here is a really nice example of this defense from the 1984 US championship (not in the database for some reason) where Seirawan just demolishes Peters (game 3, scroll down):

It inspired me to take up this variation, with disastrous results. Some of us just aren't meant to play with doubled pawns.

Aug-01-05  Giancarlo: The variation in itself is very risky for Black. Personally I think that this particular line is in contradiction to the direct principles of Caro-Kann play, which is to maintain a favourable end-game pawn structure.

What it also does is make it impossible or dangerous(!) for KS castling. Again, a Caro-Kann principle for Black's side.

I think it is no surprise there are not a whole lot of games on it. I'm sure if it was sound, we would have seen Karpov play it more than a few ;-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: 6.c3 is the killer move for white. I have a feeling that the best reply might be 6...h5.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: offramp, it might be more accurate to say that *at this time* 6.c3 is the most challenging move for Black. You know how theory keeps changing.

Botvinnik's original interpretation of the CK-BL was an odd one, but effective for him: ...Bf5, ...Bg7 and 0-0. Maybe this would work vs. 6.c3?

My remedy was always 6...Bf5; 7.Nf3 (or g3),Qd5!?, which was good for sterile equality, but offered almost no winning chances. I've noticed that 6...Nd7 has excellent results, but I've looked at some of the games and I doubt that the Knight move was the reason.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Actually I think that when I have faced 6.c3 - and it has not been often - I have played 6...Qc7. I think this is a good move because it stops white putting his bishop on f4. I think c7 is definitely the best square for the Q.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: offramp, 6...Qc7 has some good points to it, most notably postponing the first move of the Bc8 until you have a better idea of where it belongs. I'm a little concerned about what you have in mind after 7.g3. A premature ...e5, even when it gains a tempo, give White targets at f5, f6. Although 7...Be6!?; 8.Bf4,Qd7; 9.Bg2,Bd5 is an amusing thought.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I might play more as in H Spangenberg vs K Spraggett, 1996 although black lost.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Here is a game with a funny ending:

[Event "Let's play chess"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2005.09.09"]
[White "keypusher"]
[Black "wolfking"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1621"]
[BlackElo "1507"]
[TimeControl "1/259200"]
[Mode "ICS"]
[Termination "normal"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ gxf6 6. Ne2 Bf5 7. Ng3 Bg6 8. h4 h5 9. Be2 Nd7 10. c3 (Having aimed at the pawn, white is now afraid to take it.) Qa5 11. Bf4 O-O-O (Presumably black should play ...e5 here.) 12. b4 Qa3?! (I was hoping for 12...Qd5? 13 c4! Qe6 14 Qa4; 12...Qb6 is best I think.) 13. O-O Qxc3?? 14. Rc1 Qxb4 (14...Qa3 15 Qb3!) 15. Rxc6+ (By the book!) bxc6 16. Ba6+ Qb7 17. Qa4 Nb8 18. Bxb7+ Kxb7 (So it's over, right? Well...) 19. Rc1 e5 (19...Rc8 20 d5) 20. dxe5 fxe5 21. Bxe5 Bd6 22. Bxh8 Rxh8 23. Ne4 Bc7 24. Nc5+ Ka8 25. Na6 Rc8 26. Nxb8 Bxb8 27. Rxc6 Re8 (Why won't this guy resign?) 28. g3?? (28 Rc1) Re1+ 29. Kg2 Be4+ 30. f3 Re2+ 31. Kf1 Bd3! 32. Qa3 Rd2+?? (Accompanied by a draw offer. If he'd played 32...Re3+ I would have had to accept, since 33 Kg1 Re1+ 34 Kh2 Re2+ 35 Kh3?? Bf5+ 36 g4 Rh2#!) 33. Ke1 Re2+ 34. Kd1 Re3 35. Kd2 Rxf3 36. Rc3 1-0

It's never too late to screw up!

Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <keypusher> Nice game! I liked how you pounded on that weak Ph5, tying up his pieces on defense even without winning it outright. I wonder if 19. Bxb8 might have shortened the game, since his Queenside is so full of holes. Cute trick with the missed perpetual.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <I wonder if 19. Bxb8 might have shortened the game, since his Queenside is so full of holes.> That's probably right, but you would have to be pretty virulently anti-clerical to trade such a beautiful (and serviceable!) bishop for a knight sitting on its home square.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <keypusher> Trade down when you're ahead, right?! 19. Bxb8 Rxb8 20. Rc1 Rc8 21. d5! looks promising = 21 ... cd?? 22. Qd7+, or 21 ... c5 22. Qd7+ Rc7/Kb8 23. Qb5+ wins the Pc5. At least your Rook joins the fun. =)
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Believe me, if I had known how the rest of the game would go I would have played 19 Bxb8 in a heartbeat!
Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: The trick is to WANT to play g2-g3.
Feb-22-06  Holden: I just came up against 4...Nf6 in the Caro-Kann for the first time. It looked bad to me when I saw it, but there are quite a handfull of games in this database with 4...Nf6, not to mention two ECO's.

Here's the game; any comments/improvements to white or black's opening play after 4...Nf6 are certainly welcome.

[Event ""]
[Site ""]
[Date "2006.2.22"]
[Round ""]
[White "Holden"]
[Black "NN"]
[TimeControl "5 3"]
[Result "1-0"]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Nxf6+ exf6 6.Bc4 Be6 7.Qe2 Qd7 8.Be3 Be7 9.O-O-O O-O 10.Nf3 Re8 11.Kb1 Bxc4 12.Qxc4 Na6 13.d5 cxd5 14.Rxd5 Qc6 15.Qxc6 bxc6 16.Ra5 Nb4 17.a3 Nd5 18.Rxa7 Rxa7 19.Bxa7 Nf4 20.g3 Ne6 21.Re1 c5 22.Nd2 Kf8 23.Nc4 and white eventually won in the endgame after a QS pawn storm.

Aug-01-06  Mislav: After the simul Kramnik played on Internet Chess Club (he won all 12 games), he was chatting a bit in channel 3 and was asked by a member:

YaacovN(3): Mr. Kramnik,what do u think of caro kann nf6 gxf variation?

His answer was:

Kramnik(GM)*(3): say yaacovn, its a underestimated variation, i think its playable for black

Well, if he says it's playable I guess it is. :)

May-25-08  Alphastar: ..Bf5 is a good try after 6. c3. The point is that after nearly any other move by white on move 6, when black replies 6. ..Bf5, white's best plan is Bd3 to eliminate that bishop and then play c4 and d5. When white has played 6. c3 however he has lost a tempo if he is going to try that plan.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Unfortunately, <Alphastar>, White doesn't play Bd3 nowadays, he plays 7.Nf3 and (usually) 8.g3. In CG database of games from 2000-2008 with 7.Nf3 with or without 8.g3, White has won 15, lost 1, and drawn only a few.

6.c3 doesn't look like much of anything, but it has proven effective.

May-25-08  Alphastar: Perhaps Botvinnik's idea of playing Bg7 and O-O is not so strange at all.

In any case, castling queenside seems to be more in accordance with the whole opening for black, but white usually achieves his attack first.

May-25-08  Open Defence: <1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ gxf6 6. c3 Bf5 7. Nf3 Nd7>

now actually 8.Bf4 might be a better try for White,

8.g3 Qa5 is very interesting for Black and seems to be a path to equality

8.Bf4 seems to deprive Black of c7 for the Queen


click for larger view

Opening Explorer

two games Karpov vs Miles, 1983 one where Karpov as White lost playing 9.b4 (havent looked at the game yet so I do not know if it was anything to do with the opening)

Karpov vs Miles, 1984 and this time Karpov won playing 9.Bd3 (again the end result may have nothing to do with the variation) but 9.Bd3 seems to be better

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Opening of the Day

Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.♘c3 dxe4 4.♘xe4 ♘f6 5. ♘xf6+ gxf6

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Troller: I've played this line on and off since 1990. I like to put my Q on c7 very early (normally after ..Bf5, ruling out the direct Bf4 by White), but maybe that's because I'm afraid to try something new...

Critical line is when White plays Nf3, Be2, 0-0, c4 etc, but amateur players often instinctively go for 0-0-0 due to Black's open g-file. I have also come across an interesting setup with Nf1-e2-g3 (when Black will typically play Bf5-g6) followed by h2-h4. Bd3 is a common answer to ..Bf5, I normally reply ..Bg6, there is a Radulov-Larsen game one should know in this line if I remember correctly...

In any case, the line is relatively solid, but offers long-term imbalances as well; too bad most top GMs today regard it as too risky for Black.

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