Chess openings – Caro-Kann Defence

Chess openings – Caro-Kann Defence


Welcome back to chessopenings.com. Today’s
video is all about the Caro- Kann opening which begins with the moves,
pawn to e4 and pawn to d6. With the signature move, pawn to c6, in the Caro-Kann,
Black is aiming to disturb White’s central situation with the move, d5, and
also set up a stronghold for himself in the center. In the Caro-Kann,
Black also tends to avoid a lot of weaknesses, and this gives him a solid
position which he can rely upon. Let’s take a look. After the moves, pawn to e4 and pawn to c6,
black quickly disturbs the central situation with the move, d5. This
happens after the almost universally played moves, pawn to d4 and pawn
to d5. It’s with this move that Black sets up a direct threat against
the e4 pawn in this position, and this forces White to clarify the central
situation. One of White’s options is simply to defend the pawn, e4,
and he can do this usually with the move, knight to c3. Knight d2 would also
be an option which tends to lead to the similar situation. Another option
for White in this situation is to capture on d5 and then play c4. This
is known as the Panov-Botvinnik attack. Today we’re going to look at what’s
called the advanced variation in which White simply advances the pawn forward
to e5. It’s this variation that allows White to deal with the threat
to e4 and also snatch some extra space in the meantime. In theory, this is
an excellent idea for White. However, unlike the French defense where Black
would have played an early pawn to e6 move, Black now profits from his
chance to develop the light square bishop outside of the pawn chain with
the move bishop f5 before playing this move, pawn to e6. Now we reach an incredibly interesting situation.
White has gained this far advanced e5 pawn, and this allows him
to keep Black’s development somewhat confused. For example, we’ll notice
the knight on g8 is lacking its most natural square on f6. To give some
more example on this, let’s look at the very popular moves, knight to
f3, pawn to e6, bishop to e2. Notice the ease with which White has developed
his king side pieces to logical squares. Also notice that Black does
not enjoy quite the same freedom. Since this pawn on e5 is taking away
squares on f6 and d6, perhaps the knight would like to go to f6
and the bishop would like to go to d6, but both pieces are lacking these squares.
In fact, both pieces would like to move to e7 in this position,
but of course the rules of chess simply do not permit this. Black must be very
clever about how to deploy the pieces in this position. As is so often
the case in these situations where White has a fixed pawn chain on d4 and
e5, Black’s main method of seeking counter-play is to achieve the c5
advance. He can do that right away. Another method which he can use is to
prepare this advance with knight d7 first. To really understand the pros and cons of
the Caro-Kann, we’re going to start by looking at the situation after Black
plays an immediate c5. This pawn break achieves a couple of important
aims. The very first thing it does is put pressure on White’s center, and
it also provides a useful square for the knight on c6. To understand
this position more clearly, let’s discuss what happens after the natural
move, pawn to c3. This move is not very popular, and we’ll see why by
making a comparison to the French defense because as it turns out, the exact
same pawn structure in the center could have also arisen from the French
defense. Let’s take a look at that after the moves, pawn to e4 and pawn
to e6, which is the French defense, pawn to d4, pawn to d5, e5, c5, c3,
and just these basic moves, knight c6 and knight of 3. There are two key
differences between this position. In the Caro-Kann, Black had managed
to bring his bishop out to the f5 square. This is more likely to be a
benefit rather than a downside. Even if the bishop is harassed and eventually
traded, that tends to be a better situation for Black than having the
bishop stuck on c8 as it is in this position. I also want to point out that in this position,
the poor placement of Black’s light square bishop impacts the other
pieces. For example, by making it somewhat more difficult to bring
this rook on a8 into the game since it would probably like this square on
c8. However, there is one very important downside in the Caro-Kann move order.
After the moves, pawn to e4, pawn to c6, d4, d5, e5, bishop f5, all
of these moves that we’ve seen before, knight f3, pawn to e6, bishop e2,
and now this move, pawn to c5. The downside here is that Black has taken
not one, but two tempi in order to bring the pawn to c5. With his very first
move in the opening, he did play the move, pawn to c6. And while this
did allow him to bring the bishop out, it also made him use an extra tempo bringing
the pawn to c5. If the position remains closed, this is unlikely
to be a major factor. This is why after the move, pawn to c3, Black has
no problems achieving a very comfortable position. He continues now, knight
to c6, now castles king side, and now Black needs to solve this problem
about bringing out the king side pieces. In order to do this, he first
plays C takes d4 and now knight e7. You’ll notice that at the moment there
is no longer a pawn hanging on c5, thanks to the capture on d4. Black’s idea here is simply to make use of
this available c8 square. In the French defense, we would not have the
c8 square so available for maneuvering since the bishop would be stuck
on that square. But in these positions, Black uses the c8 square as a pivot
point for his pieces. After the move, knight to c3, Black now simply plays
knight to c8, planning to bring that knight to b6 later on. And now
after bishop e3 he completes his king side development, bishop e7, rook c1,
castles king side, and Black is in excellent shape. He is getting ready to
play the moves, knight b6, rook c8, and perhaps maybe queen d7. Black has
no real problems here. Despite the fact that White has kept a slight space
advantage, White has not managed to create any real confusion for the
Black pieces. It’s for this reason that Black has very little to fear
in this position. By studying these details, we’ve come to understand
some of Black’s major aspirations in the Caro-Kann. However, White
can probably improve upon the plan associated with pawn to c3. Instead,
White should try to capitalize on the unique factors of the position including,
not only his extra tempo, but also the fact that he has not yet committed
to playing pawn to c3. I think it’s because of these factors that modern
masters have preferred to aim for breaks, not with pawn to c3, but with
pawn to c4 at a later time in these positions. The best example of this
kind of plan occurs after the very strong move, bishop to e3. The idea here
is to bait Black into taking on d4 by putting pressure on this c5 pawn.
In fact, Black quite often does take now. Pawn takes pawn on d4, and now after
knight takes d4 White is gaining an outpost for that knight, and he’s
also starting to harass that bishop that we were once taking pride in in
this position. In fact, in this position White is starting to develop
quite a scary looking development advantage. Black has, first of all, moved the pawn to
c6 and then to c5. Then he’s actually taken on d4 bringing a knight out
to the center for White. This position is not too bad for Black. However,
he does have to be very careful. For example, the simple move, bishop
to g6, actually turns out to be a mistake in this position. White plays
a preparatory castling king side. Now after the move, knight G to e7,
scrambling to finish development and perhaps supporting the move, knight B
to c6, White is ready to start trying to open up the game with a very strong
move, pawn to c4. Black tends to play knight b c6 and now it looks
like he’s starting an attack on e5, but in fact White has another excellent
move, knight to c3. It turns out it’s not White’s center but Black’s center
which is being laid under siege here. Black ends up just too far behind
in development. This position is very favorable for White. I want
to show just how dangerous White’s attack is after the move, knight takes
e5, which looks like it may pick up a pawn, but there are a variety of
moves here which allow White to accumulate an overwhelming advantage, thanks
to his extra development. I think the simplest move here is pawn takes
pawn in the center. You’ll find that every single capture in this position
is actually quite bad for Black. If he takes with a pawn, White would
play the move, f4. Now Black would have to spend a move with a knight and
White is getting ready to play f5. For example, let’s play knight c4 attacking
the bishop on e3. White would certainly take on c4 and now he would
play f5, and the bishop on g6 finds itself trapped. In fact, there’s no
way to avoid losing a piece in this position, and so there’s no way to take
the pawn on d5. The same situation would occur if Black would take
with the knight and then with the pawn. Once again, White would simply play
f4. It turns out that this bishop on g6 will be lost. Thirdly, Black
could now recapture with the queen, but after the simple check on a4 it
turns out that Black is way too far behind in development. If he just continues
with knight to c6, he always needs to count on simple moves like
any rook bringing itself to d1, or bishop to f3, or both moves combined. Black’s
going to find himself under tremendous pressure, which is in fact,
a lost position for Black. In this position, bishop g6 is probably just
a mistake. Players handling the Black places have largely preferred the
move, knight to e7. In this position taking on f5 is actually not that
grand of an idea. Since, despite gaining the bishop pair, White has
given Black serious time for the comfortable development of his pieces. He
has now already found an ideal post for the knight on f5, and he’s attacking
this bishop with tempo. There is just no good reason to take on f5.
Instead, White should choose between either the immediate c4, or he can
choose to build this up with the move, knight d2, followed by c4. We’ll quickly
take a look at this. For example, play often continues knight to c6.
And now an interesting move here, knight 2 to f3, holding onto the e5
pawn in this case. When White maintains this pawn, he still has this chance
of breaking with c2 to c4. All in all, these positions seem to offer
White a tiny, or slight, advantage. But Black’s position is rock solid.
With good knowledge of the positions which arise, Black can count on
a position without many weaknesses and as you’ve seen, there’s so
much back and forth going on here. For example, White could have played
c3 instead of knowing about this bishop e3 plan. There are so many subtle
points that you can catch right with here. There are excellent reasons
to still consider this as an excellent defense for Black. That’s all for today. The Caro-Kann is a very
solid opening for Black. Today we’ve looked at some of the key ideas
in the advanced variation. I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief tour and gotten
some insight into the key ideas and key struggles which characterize
the Caro-Kann opening. That’s it for today. I look forward to seeing you again.

100 thoughts on “Chess openings – Caro-Kann Defence

  1. When most people explain a defense on youtube, they only show the strong points. U don't do that, and I think it's nice. Very good presentation of the Caro-kahn. I'm a beginner in chess and i'm looking for building a repertoire of openings. Do u have an opening that u like the most?

  2. My three favorite things in your videos:
    1: You are clear, precise, thorough, and logically straightforward, in that you explain all of your moves.
    2: I love when you get excited and you slam the pieces down.
    3: I don't think it happens so much in this particular video, but my favorite action of yours is when you move, like, eight moves worth of pieces back in perfect order, straightening them out and everything.

  3. These are simply the best chess videos on Youtube. He speaks clearly and distinctly and in a nice, even rhythm. He explains everything very thoughtfully. So many chess videos on Youtube are ruined by muffled sound, mumblers who say "um" or cough every other second and unclear explanations. Great job. I hope his channel grows.

  4. Dereque, I've read many good things about the caro-kann. You expose all the flaws in this opening. A testament to your skill, and a sign I've got work to do. Great video!! Question…Which variation of the caro-kann would you consider the strongest for black and why?

  5. Much gratitude Dereque. I was just about to give up playing the Caro Kann Advance as White and switch to the Breyer; however owing to your brilliant instructional video regarding ideas for White, I can now fully adhere to my beloved Advance Short Variation.

  6. Why don't you call it caro kann advanced, that way you can call future vids by their proper name. I would like to see the classical lines explained by you

  7. Thank You! Salamat! ありがとう! Merci! Gracias!
    THANKYOU VERY MUCH FOR THIS VIDEO!!!! Finally I understand this opening. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

  8. Ofenly, beginners like me commit positional mistakes playing against Caro-Kann. Black punishes these mistakes easily, since it is a defense that shows its danger slowly and quietly. Thanks!

  9. The Caro-Kann can be a very good defense for black, but if black messes up at almost any point, then the game can turn into a massacre of white slaughtering the black side.

  10. Why can't black put a pawn to H6? That would possibly free up the knight and bishop at once if it's taken, doesn't it?

  11. Thank you so much for uploading this video! I had a great time learning the complexity and intricacy's this opening can quickly become. Thanks again!!

  12. Hi. I'm a novice chess player. I can't really follow this material by now, but I have one probably basic doubt: on 2:38, he says: "Both pieces would like to move to E7, in this position, but of course the rules of chess simply don't permit this." Why not?

  13. Your videos are perfect. Your project is awesome. Thanks a lot. If you can explain the Caro Kann with this deep in 12 minutes, I cannot imaging how would be a day long lesson with you. Good work.

  14. Great lecture! I've been playing the Caro Kann a lot lately and I've been coming up against the very dilemmas that you've addressed in your fine post. Yours are right up there with the best (meaning Mato) chess videos on You Tube, and that, IMHO, is high praise indeed! Your evident passion and love of the game shine through. Thank you!

  15. I am usually developing the queenside night to d7 in similiar positions just to be able to bring the kingside night to c6 putting heaving preasure on e5 and not having to play Nc8.

  16. As black's bishop on f5 is protected by the knight on e2, it is blocking the way of dark square bishop undeveloped on f8, how should black develop its dark square bishop in this situation, should it consider feinchettoing the bishop?

  17. squares must have numbers and letters so it can understand more clearly than nothing.GM clear voice was good and slowly explained everything.thanks

  18. Thanks I started using this defense and you improved my knowledge quite a bit, I tend to get pretty nice positions out of this opening

  19. Wow this is the first video of yours I've watched. You provide wonderful, approachable analysis, a welcome change in a landscape of stodgy and unmotivated videos. Can't wait to see more of your videos. Thanks!

  20. What can I do if my opponent attacks my light square bishop after F5 with G4 which would be defended by white's queen?

  21. he just stress on the cons of caro kann. I think there is more variation that should be exposed by him.

  22. i wonder why dereques not a GM yet , looking at the way he discusses stuff he should be there….

  23. Best chess videos on YouTube. Probably the net. I learn so much from this channel. Im on chess.com user name tr2m2yn if anyone loves to play.

  24. At 7:42, what if black doesn't capture on d4? After 6.Be3, 6… Qb6 seems like a strong move, supporting the pawn on c5 and attacking the now undefended pawn on b2, which seems like it forces white to spend a tempo on a defensive move like Qc1 or b3

  25. You have THE BEST videos of all. I like that you get straight to the point and explain things in a way that allows me to get an understanding of the ideas behind the openings instead of just memorizing moves. Thanks and please keep up the GOOD WORK.

  26. You are awesome Kelley, your videos are just fantastic to learn from, I often come to find openings from you. I wish you do more videos of most popular sidelines of main openings.

  27. Dereque, Thank you for your clear speaking, complete analysis, and best chess videos I've seen. I very much ENJOY your channel (I subbed).

  28. I hope this channel comes back to life. I just find it very useful for the types of openings. Very nice chess video, thanks

  29. hi @Dereque Kelley Congratulations for your amazing videos and chess oppenings explanations, i would be so happy if you describe the Caro-Kann Classical variation in thesame way that you explain all of them!

    Thank you so much .

  30. Hi kelly is there something like how to proceed in middle game with a particular opening…
    I love ur vedios

  31. Earned a new subscriber… I love this channel I can study my openings well which are the most important part about the game.

  32. @ Dereque Kelly what opening books/author do you recommend in studying openings for teens. Im currently 1400-1500 and maybe its time to know about an opening at least 1 for white and 2 fo black against e4 and d4 im also open for any suggestions, I have atleast 2 hrs free time on weekdays and 5hrs at weekends. Thanks

  33. This is by FAR the greatest channel for learning and understanding openings without any doubt. Its not too fast but still short and easy to understand. Very, VERY helpful. I consider this to be my most helpful chess opening playlist. Thank you

  34. Why can't black move it's pieces to E7, what does the rule say? I'm a total beginner so that's why I'm asking the rule.

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