The Caro Kann occurs after the moves 1.e4 c6 (see the diagram on the right) and is one of the most solid Black replies to 1.e4. The opening has seen steady growth in popularity in recent years.
It has been a favorite of World Champions like Capablanca, Botvinnik, Petrosian, Karpov and Anand, but also modern Super-GMs such as Adams, and Leko.
While it is true that the Caro Kann is a solid opening, that isn’t to say that it is an opening weapon simply used to make a draw. In fact, it carries some hidden bite.
On many occasions, for example, Black outplays White in a slightly better endgame or parries an overambitious attack from White and counters with a winning strike.
But what’s the current state of the Caro Kann?
In the year 2014, the Indian GM Parimarjan Negi (the fourth youngest grandmaster in history) published the highly influential opening book “1.e4 vs. The French, Caro-Kann and Philidor” for the publishing house Quality Chess in which he suggested to play the Classical Variation (1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3) against the Caro Kann to get an advantage.
Many players were inspired by the lines GM Negi gave and for some years White got some very decent results in the Classical Variation. So, is Black still fine in this line?
Caro Kann: Theoretical Developments in the Classical Variation (iChess.club)
In this iChess Club exclusive video, GM Alexander Lenderman, a renowned expert on the Caro Kann, dives deep into the latest theoretical developments of the Classical Variation in the Caro Kann.
Non-premium members can only watch the first 3 minutes of the video, premium members have full access to the 30-minute video.
The position of interest occurs after the moves 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 (see the diagram on the right).
This position has been debated thousands of times between players of all levels – from the world’s best Super-GMs to countless club players.
If you want to play the Caro Kann with Black, you can’t avoid analyzing this variation which occurs most frequently in practice.
In conclusion, GM Alex Lenderman states that White players who want to get an advantage against the Caro Kann these days should stick to the Advanced Variation or the Exchange Variation.
If Black knows what to do against White’s most critical sidelines and mainlines, he should comfortably equalize. Nonetheless, GM Lenderman also emphasizes that Black has to study all these lines carefully.
Let’s take a look at some of the lines GM Alexander Lenderman covers in the video:
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