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Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation (B17)
1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nd7

Number of games in database: 4580
Years covered: 1914 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 34.2%
   Black wins 22.7%
   Draws 43.1%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Sergei Tiviakov  25 games
Vlastimil Jansa  23 games
Boris Spassky  23 games
Anatoly Karpov  114 games
Jonathan Speelman  87 games
Eduard Meduna  78 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Anand vs Bologan, 2003
Deep Blue vs Kasparov, 1997
Fischer vs Petrosian, 1961
Tal vs Petrosian, 1973
Kamsky vs Karpov, 1993
N Evseev vs Flohr, 1949
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 page 1 of 184; games 1-25 of 4,580  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. I Rabinovich vs A Selezniev 1-0241914Triberg 1415B17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
2. A Smorodsky vs Nimzowitsch 1-0251914All-Russian MastersB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
3. Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs Levenfish  0-1391924Leningrad-chB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
4. Olland vs J Davidson 0-1351924NED-chB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
5. Lasker vs K Akkerman  1-0191924Simul, 31bB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
6. N Grigoriev vs B Blumenfeld 0-1221925Moscow-chB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
7. B Verlinsky vs Ilya Maizelis  0-1431925Moscow-chB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
8. G Cenni vs A Boehm  1-0451925BolognaB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
9. M Romi vs J Davidson  0-1501926SpaB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
10. Yates vs B Alimonda  1-0431926MeranoB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
11. W Von Holzhausen vs A Brinckmann  ½-½351927BremenB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
12. Levenfish vs G Ravinsky  1-0271928Ch LeningradB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
13. L Steiner vs B Koch  ½-½471928Berlin BSGB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
14. H Mueller vs L von Dory  1-0521928Trebitsch MemorialB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
15. A Becker vs L von Dory  1-0251928Trebitsch MemorialB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
16. D Marotti vs V Marin y Llovet  0-1271928The Hague OlympiadB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
17. G Nagy vs M Brody 1-0401928The Hague OlympiadB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
18. Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs P Romanovsky 1-0261929LeningradB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
19. S F Lebedev vs Shipovsky  1-0331929Ch Moscow (Minor - A)B17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
20. P Lebedev vs Valdaev 0-1251930Ch KostromaB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
21. G Katz vs B Koch  0-1311930Wilmersdorf CC JubileeB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
22. B Thelen vs J Koksal  1-0271930Kautsky mem7B17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
23. B Verlinsky vs B Blumenfeld  0-1341930National TournamentB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
24. Nimzowitsch vs E V Nielsen 1-0231930Copenhagen SimulB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
25. Z Vecsey vs E Richter 0-1421931Kautsky mem 8thB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
 page 1 of 184; games 1-25 of 4,580  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-16-07  Robin01: 1.e4, c6; 2.d4, d5; 3.Nc3, dxe4; 4.Nxe4, Nd7; now, what about the move 5.Qe2 here. Is this any good for white? Why is it good or bad? It looks solid to me. Anybody have any lines from any of their games using this line? Thanks.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: The king bishop is very strong on either d3 or c4. That is an obvious drawback to 5 Qe2.
Jan-16-07  Robin01: <plang>More than likely, black is going to capture the knight on e4 with his knight, so the queen is going to move off of e2, so the bishop can then develop. However, there is also a possible development of the bishop to g2 later.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WTHarvey: Here is a little collection of winning combinations in B17 Caro-Kann miniatures:
Jun-24-07  Kangaroo: Has anybody found at least one game where Steinitz played this variation?

Why is this then named after Steinitz?

Jun-24-07  GamerMan: It is called that because either Steinitz developed it, did a majour peice of writing on it, or played it a lot in his lifetime. And just because we don't have him playing it on record, does not mean he didn't, it just means we never got a copy of said game(s).
Sep-02-07  Cactus: Why is Karpov listed as having more Steinizt variation games than Caro-Kann games?
Sep-03-07  Karpova: He is listed as having played 255 Car Kanns:

so no contradiction to 114 Caro Kann games with the Petrosian-Smyslov (or Steinitz variation if you prefer it) variation

Dec-27-07  jamesmaskell: Its known as a number of different things. Karpov variation is the one my pgn viewer chooses to name it and its how I know it.
Feb-13-08  Open Defence: an interesting idea for White OTB is

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Ng5 Ngf6 6. Bd3 e6 7. N1f3 Bd6 8. Qe2 h6 9. Ne4 Nxe4 10. Qxe4 Nf6 11. Qe2 c5 12. dxc5 Be3

click for larger view

not as strong as the more conventional dxc5 but interesting and probably not well known at all

Apr-11-08  Alphastar: <1.e4, c6; 2.d4, d5; 3.Nc3, dxe4; 4.Nxe4, Nd7; now, what about the move 5.Qe2 here. Is this any good for white? Why is it good or bad? It looks solid to me. Anybody have any lines from any of their games using this line? Thanks.>

5. Qe2?! is a doubtful move because, as has been said, it blocks in the f1-bishop.

However, black needs to be alert, because the standard move 5. ..Ngf6?? .. well.. figure it out for yourself.

click for larger view

Instead, black should play 5. ..Ndf6! when he can exchange on e4 or white on f6, when he can simply follow up with Bf5 or Bg4. Black then has an easy game.

Apr-11-08  Alphastar: This variation of the Caro-Kann is drawish because white can simplify the position if he wants to. If white is more ambitious there is certainly space for a complicated struggle with counter-chances for black, but this will be entirely up to the player with the white pieces.
Jun-04-08  cuendillar: What about 5.Qf3? It's admittedly unconventional, but I've been doing some analysis on it and it seems ok. Below is an internet corr. game where I tried it out. The move order is different, but that's just transpositions. What's your thoughts, I'd be grateful for input.

cuendillar (2153) - ironpony (1978)
Online (1), 08.04.2008

1.Nc3 d5 2.e4 c6 3.Qf3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.d4 Ndf6 6.c3 Bg4 7.Qg3 A novelty of mine 7...Nxe4 8.Qxg4 Ngf6 9.Qh3

The point - black has weak light squares on the kingside

click for larger view

9...e6 10.Nf3 Qd5 11.Bd3 Nc5 12.Bc2 Ncd7 13.0-0 Bd6 14.Ng5 the pressure on e6,f7 and h7 is hard to cope with 14...Nf8 15.Re1 Bc7 16.f4 h6 17.f5 Qd6 18.g3 Qd7 19.fxe6 fxe6 20.Nxe6 Nxe6 21.Rxe6+

Black can resign

click for larger view

Kd8 22.Bf5 Qd5 23.Bg5 Bb6 24.Rae1 Bxd4+ 25.cxd4 Qxd4+ 26.Be3 Qb4 27.Rd1+ Kc7 28.g4 b6 29.Rxf6 Rac8 30.Rf7+ Kb8 31.Qg3+ Ka8 32.Rdd7 Qa5 33.Rc7 Rb8 34.Be4 Rb7 35.Bxc6 1-0

Jun-05-08  RookFile: Qf3 has been tried in big league chess, with reasonable results for white. Here, Petrosian was playing defense against your idea, and responded with 5... Ndf6, ...Nxe4, and ....Nf6, and had no problem getting an early draw.

Lutikov vs Petrosian, 1960

Aug-05-08  ravel5184: It's funny how 6. Qe2 gets such a high winning percentage because everybody who played against it fell for the basic 7. Nd6# trap.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: How many openings are even named after Steinitz?
Jun-12-11  Calar: Quite a lot, actually. There are Steinitz Variations in tons of openings, like French, Scotch, Vienna, Three Knights, Ruy Lopez...
Oct-02-11  abaddon620: Can anyone tell me, Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation or Caro-kann, classical, which one is better?
Oct-02-11  Psihadal: <abaddon620> Neither of them is conclusively better than the other. Study them, choose which one you like better and which one suits you better and play that variation, or play both.

As for the name of this variation, I don't understand why it's called the Steinitz variation. Personally, I call this the modern variation or the Karpov variation, since he was the biggest practitioner of it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Opening of the Day

Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.♘c3 dxe4 4.♘xe4 ♘d7

click for larger view

Feb-02-12  karnak64: <Psihadal>: yeah, I've wondered about the name for this variation as well.

I've also seen this one named after Nimzovich (whose name I've seen spelled more ways than I can count).

Apr-21-12  abaddon620: <Psihadal>, thanks for your opinion...
Feb-03-13  DanielBryant: Today, I had a bit of a brain freeze in a tournament after 5.Bc4 Ngf6, playing the totally unsound 6.Bxf7+. The funny thing is I played most of the game simply down a piece and somehow managed to win.
Sep-25-16  brimarern: I can see how people like Karpov and Petrosian can play this, but this variation looks like the equivalent of waving a red cape in front of a bull. I'm still amazed at how Kasparov used this variation in the final game of his match against Deep Blue ( Deep Blue vs Kasparov, 1997 ) -and got trucked over like he was a beginner.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gezafan: This variation is called the Steinitz variation on this site yet it shows no games where he played it.

In this database the first prominent player who played 4...Nd7 was Salo Flohr. I propose it be called the Flohr variation.

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