ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
With the Olympics over in London it's time to return our focus to the world of chess, and this month an update on the Caro-Kann.

Download PGN of August '12 1 e4 ... games

>> Previous Update >>

Caro-Kann unusual lines [B10]

Our first game answers a query from a subscriber, Michael, who points out that the line 1.e4 c6 2.c4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.cxd5 Nf6 5.Bb5+ Nbd7 has not been covered on the site before:

I cover the options for both sides in Ponomariov - Gelfand.

Caro-Kann Advance - Short variation [B12]

The next two games features high-level encounters in a critical variation of the advance. After 5.Be2 c5 6.Be3 Black opts for 6...Qb6 and grabbing the pawn on b2. In both games a critical position is reached after 16...Bb6:

In Caruana - Postny White tries 17.Bd1 which causes Postny some practical problems, although White may not have an objective edge.

Then in the later game Karjakin - Fridman White opts for 17.Nd6 Ba5 18.Bf3 which seems to pose real problems for Black. I have to say that Black players have to be very well prepared if they want to try this pawn grab and it may not suit a more attacking player.

Naiditsch - Leko features another interesting line, 5.Be2 Ne7 6.0-0 c5 7.c4!? which leads to complex play. An important position is reached after 11...d3:

And Naiditsch introduces the novelty 12.b4 which results in him keeping an extra pawn. The game is very high quality and well worth a look!

In the recent Shirov - Laznicka match all 3 of Shirov's White games featured the Advanced Caro: 5.Be2 c5 6.Be3 cxd4 7.Nxd4 Ne7. Having failed to win in his first two attempts with 8.Nd2 (covered in the notes) Shirov switches to the less usual 8.0-0 and gets a good position:

This looks to be a reasonable line if White is after a slight edge so I've tried to suggest an alternative way for Black to play in the notes.

Caro-Kann Panov Attack - 5...Nc6 [B14]

Our next game features the solid line 6.Bg5 e6 7.Nf3 Be7 8.c5 which can often lead to slow manoeuvring but in Dubov - Jakovenko White sacrifices a piece early on and the following position is reached with White to play:

It's a difficult position to assess but Black certainly has to be careful here. Unfortunately for White players looking for a hack Black isn't compelled to go for this line and I've outlined the options for both sides in the notes.

Classical Variation Smyslov System 4...Nd7 [B17]

Now turning our attention to the Classical and we investigate the line 5.Bc4 Ngf6 6.Ng5 e6 7.Qe2 which is quite an aggressive setup from White. We reach a mainline position after 11.Ne5:

And now in Andreikin - Sjugirov Black chose to castle immediately but, after some inaccurate play, soon came under a big attack on the Kingside.

Classical 4...Bf5 Mainline [B19]

Finally we return to a real mainline Classical Caro-Kann and again we find Karjakin in fine form. He tries out the tricky 13.Kb1 which has a growing reputation as a dangerous idea. 17.Be3 may seem quiet but as you will see in Karjakin - Gustafsson it's far from easy for Black to deal with:

White wants to keep the Queens on the board, and is counting on his attack to breakthrough on the Kingside before Black gets going on the Queenside.

See you next month, Tom.

>> Previous Update >>

Please post you queries on the 1 e4 ... Forum, or subscribers can email me at