The Caro-Kann

Firstly restrain...

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5

Black counters in the centre, provoking an immediate crisis. White must defend or dodge.

The Caro Kann has a reputation of being a boring defence. It is quite deserved, I believe. Black aims for a solid position where White's space and activity can be held in check and in the end neutralised by exchanges. It is a system free from weaknesses and has been popular among top Grandmasters for many years.

It is not, however, your best choice if you want to play for a win, unless your technique is very good. This is the key structure in the Caro-Kann -- neither White nor Black has to agree to it, but it is seen in the vast majority of games in this defence.

--------
pp--pppp
--p-----
--------
---PN---
--------
PPP--PPP
--------

What can we say about this?

  • White has more space and easy development. White can hope to turn that to advantage.
  • Black will try and hold back White's pieces by careful development and exchanges
  • Black can develop the Bc8 happily (unlike the French) then move ...e6
  • The best way for Black to hit back in the centre is ...c5, which will lose a tempo (unlike the French)
[Event "endgame technique"]
[Site "endgame technique"]
[Date "1977.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Calvo"]
[Black "Anderssen (Copenhagen)"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B15"]
[PlyCount "148"]
[EventDate "1977.??.??"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ exf6 6. Bc4 Qe7+ 7. Qe2 Bg4
8. Qxe7+ Bxe7 9. Bd2 O-O 10. Ne2 Nd7 11. O-O Nb6 12. Bd3 Rfd8 {[#] By this
stage Andersson had used up 1 1/2 hours on his clock, obviously trying very
hard to find the most accurate moves, and already he is getting some pressure
down the Queen's file. Calvo, on the other hand, was playing quickly and
looking rather bored.} 13. Rfe1 Bf8 14. c3 c5 15. Be3 Nd5 16. Ng3 Rac8 17. Be4
Nxe3 $5 18. fxe3 b5 19. d5 $5 Bd7 20. Bc2 c4 21. e4 Re8 22. Rf1 Re5 23. Rad1
Bc5+ 24. Kh1 Kf8 25. h3 Rce8 26. b4 Bd6 27. Rf3 {[#] else ...f5 /\ ...Re3} h5
28. Rdf1 Ke7 29. Ne2 a5 30. a3 Ra8 31. Nd4 Kd8 32. Rg3 Bf8 33. Nf3 Re8 {[#]}
34. e5 $5 fxe5 35. Ng5 f6 36. Nh7 axb4 37. axb4 Ra2 $1 38. Bg6 h4 39. Bxe8 Kxe8
40. Rg6 Kf7 {[#]} 41. Nxf6 (41. Nxf8 Kxf8 42. Rg5 Kg8 43. Rh5 Rd2 $44) 41...
Kxg6 42. Nxd7 Bd6 43. Nc5 Rd2 44. Ne4 Rxd5 {[#]} 45. Kg1 Be7 46. Kf2 Kf5 47.
Ke3+ Ke6 48. Ke2 Rd3 49. Rf3 {[#] Black cannot exchange Rooks now because the
Knight is immovable.} Rd8 50. Rf1 Ra8 51. Rd1 Ra3 52. Rb1 Kf5 53. Ke3 Rb3 {[#]}
54. Rf1+ Ke6 55. Kf2 g6 56. Re1 Kf5 57. Re2 Ra3 58. g3 Ra1 59. Kf3 Rf1+ 60. Kg2
Rd1 61. g4+ Ke6 {[#] Black must have it in mind to dislodge the Knight by ...
Rf4 and ...Kd5. The White King may come to e3 but then Black also has threats
against the h-pawn and can drop the Bishop to f8 and then play up to h6 with
check, nudging the King on.} 62. Rd2 $2 {Sheer impatience, this looks like.
"No doubt White could have defended slightly more accurately during the last
few moves, but in a position like this he is bound to go wrong sooner or later,
regardless of whether it was drawn theoretically." -- WEBB} Rxd2+ 63. Nxd2 Kd5
64. Kf3 {[#]} Bxb4 65. cxb4 c3 66. Nb3 Kc4 67. Nc1 Kxb4 68. Ke2 Ka3 69. Kd1 Kb2
70. Nd3+ Kb1 71. Nb4 e4 72. Nc2 e3 73. Nd4 (73. Nxe3 b4 74. Nc2 b3 $19) 73...
b4 74. g5 Kb2 {[#] Zugzwang} 0-1

The attempt to find a dynamic Caro-Kann with 5...gxf6 created a bit of interest, but, as is often the case, White found some antidotes and that line is no longer tried as often.

[Event "URS-ch32"]
[Site "Kiev"]
[Date "1964.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Bakulin, Nikolac I"]
[Black "Bronstein, David I"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B16"]
[PlyCount "64"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ gxf6 6. Be3 Bf5 7. Qd2 e6 8.
Ne2 Nd7 9. Ng3 Bg6 10. Be2 Qc7 11. O-O h5 12. Rfd1 h4 13. Nf1 h3 14. g3 O-O-O
15. c4 c5 16. d5 e5 17. Rac1 f5 18. b4 Bd6 19. f3 f4 20. Bf2 Rde8 21. Kh1 Rhg8
22. Re1 e4 23. Bxc5 Nxc5 24. bxc5 Qxc5 25. Bd1 Bc7 26. gxf4 e3 27. Qe2 Bd3 28.
Qxd3 Rg1+ 29. Kxg1 e2+ 30. Ne3 Rxe3 31. Qf5+ Re6+ 32. Kh1 Qf2 0-1

It's hard to demonstrate a plus against the Caro-Kann, and, even with a plus, you might not win. So White players have tried very hard, and the theory in some of these lines is deep and subtle. White trying hard means that some of the lines have got quite sharp, and, if White really goes for it, winning chances for Black may reappear.

The main lines

The big main lines start with:

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4

There was a time when Black would often try the Gurgenidze line with 3...g6, trying to blockade on the light squares, when White might prefer to have a pawn and not a Knight on c3. So 3.Nd2 may be a finesse.

Anyhow, Black's turn...

4...Nf6

5.Nxf6 exf6

This was always thought of as a fairly duff line as White has a useful Queen's-side majority while Black's four King's-side pawns are messed up and not useful. There's a lot of chess to be played between 5...exf6 and 80.c8Q but White always has that idea up their sleeve.

More gloom for Black appeared when a more direct attacking plan was found to be successful.

[Event "planning: dynamic vs. classica"]
[Site "planning: dynamic vs. classic"]
[Date "1942.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "ragozin"]
[Black "boleslavsky, sverdlovsk (SUETIN)"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B15"]
[PlyCount "37"]
[EventDate "1942.??.??"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ exf6 6. Bc4 Bd6 7. Qe2+ Be7
8. Nf3 O-O 9. O-O {was well-known to players and theorists of the 19th century.
Lasker, for example, comments: "White's plan consists in realising his pawn
superiority on the Queen's side while remaining passive on the King's side.
Black, on the other had will attampt to force his opponent to advance one of
his pawns on the King's wing, in order to start play against White's King's
side with his pawns." Lasker has in mind moves for White such as c4 and d5 to
create a passed pawn, and for Black ...Bg4, ...Bd6, ...f5 and ...Qh5. In fact
play went} Bd6 10. Re1 Bg4 11. Qe4 Bh5 12. Nh4 Nd7 13. Qf5 {Steinitz and
Lasker would undoubtedly have criticised White's crude and 'unjustified'
attack. What's going on? Ragozin, a strong and experienced Soviet master, must
have been aware of Lasker's views, and of the theories of Steiniz, so why is
he playing on the 'wrong' side? He has made in fact a much more dynamic and
concrete assessment of the position which notes, not just the Q-side majority,
but also: the awkwardly placed bishops, missing Nf6, the compromised f-pawns
and White's development and control of space. Given time, Black could no doubt
disentangle his pieces. Ragozin gives him no time at all.} Nb6 14. Qxh5 Nxc4 {
[#]} 15. Bh6 Qd7 (15... gxh6 16. b3 Nb6 17. Nf5 Kh8 18. Qxh6 Rg8 19. Re8) 16.
b3 Nb6 17. Nf5 Kh8 18. Re4 Bxh2+ (18... Rg8 19. Bxg7+ Rxg7 20. Nxg7 Kxg7 21.
Rg4+ Kf8 22. Re1 {winning}) (18... g6 19. Bg7+ Kg8 20. Qxh7+ Kxh7 21. Rh4+ Kg8
22. Rh8#) 19. Kh1 {This is the real contribution of the 20th century to chess
theory, in which SOVIET players have been dominant. Players look beyond the
geometry of pawn formations and have moved to a more flexible and more dynamic
style of play. There are no new general principles, because modern players do
not believe in general principles. Players like BRONSTEIN and BOLESLAVSKY
turned established ideas on their heads in the 1950s, championing Black's
dynamic chances in the King's Indian and Sicilian.} 1-0

One of the heroes of the Caro-Kann, Ulf Andersson, showed some better ideas for Black in this line:

[Event "defence: mending weaknesses"]
[Site "defence: mending weaknesses"]
[Date "1978.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "peters"]
[Black "Andersson, usa"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B15"]
[PlyCount "32"]
[EventDate "1978.??.??"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ exf6 6. Bc4 {[#] White's
Queen's-side majority is a big engame plus, so White was startled by...} Qe7+
7. Qe2 Be6 {Black will only enter an endgame on certain conditions!} 8. Bxe6 (
8. Bb3 {is the only testing continuation}) 8... Qxe6 9. Bf4 Na6 {[#] The
threat of ...Nb4 eventually prompts the exchange on e6} 10. O-O-O O-O-O 11.
Qxe6+ fxe6 12. h4 c5 13. Be3 cxd4 14. Bxd4 Bc5 15. Ne2 e5 16. Bxc5 Nxc5 {
[#] Black has no problems and even won.} 0-1

But like I say, your technique has to be good.

5.Nxf6 gxf6

Doubled pawns are known to be a disadvantage but they offer a half-open file and some extra central control. White can squelch much of Black's fun with 6.g3 and Bg2.

4...Nd7

Black wants to play ...Ngf6 without getting doubled pawns. Black has given up the centre, and is playing passively, so White can hope to get an initiative by playing with maximum speed and aggression.

When I was a boy, 'sensible' play beginning 5.Nf3 had been replaced with more pointed play with 5.Bc4.

These days it's all about 5.Ng5, daring Black to try and chase it away with ...h6.

Two famous games in this line:

[Event "Linares 06th"]
[Site "Linares"]
[Date "1988.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Nunn, John DM"]
[Black "Georgiev, Kiril"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B17"]
[WhiteElo "2615"]
[BlackElo "2595"]
[PlyCount "84"]
[EventDate "1988.02.??"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Ng5 h6 6. Ne6 Qa5+ 7. Bd2 Qb6 8.
Bd3 fxe6 9. Qh5+ Kd8 10. Ba5 {"...It was clear that something important had been overlooked."  Black declined to resign, hoping to avoid the game being published around the world.}
10...Ngf6 11. Bxb6+ axb6 12. Qe2 g5 13. Nf3 Bg7 14. O-O
Nd5 15. g3 b5 16. c3 Rf8 17. Rfe1 Kc7 18. Bc2 Bf6 19. Qe4 h5 20. Qg6 g4 21. Ng5
N7b6 22. Bb3 Nc4 23. Bxc4 bxc4 24. Qxh5 Kb8 25. Nxe6 Rg8 26. Qf7 Rh8 27. Qg6
Ra5 28. Qxg4 Nc7 29. Qf4 Bxe6 30. Rxe6 Bg5 31. Qe4 Nxe6 32. Qxe6 Rd5 33. b3
cxb3 34. axb3 Bf6 35. Kg2 Rdh5 36. h4 Rd8 37. Qg4 Rhd5 38. h5 e5 39. Re1 exd4
40. Qf4+ R8d6 41. c4 Bg5 42. Qg4 Rc5 1-0

[Event "New York man vs machine"]
[Site "New York"]
[Date "1997.05.11"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Comp Deep Blue"]
[Black "Kasparov, Garry"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B17"]
[BlackElo "2785"]
[PlyCount "37"]
[EventDate "1997.05.??"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Ng5 Ngf6 6. Bd3 e6 7. N1f3 h6 8.
Nxe6 Qe7 9. O-O fxe6 10. Bg6+ Kd8 11. Bf4 b5 12. a4 Bb7 13. Re1 Nd5 14. Bg3 Kc8
15. axb5 cxb5 16. Qd3 Bc6 17. Bf5 exf5 18. Rxe7 Bxe7 19. c4 1-0

[Event "Dortmund SuperGM 31st"]
[Site "Dortmund"]
[Date "2003.08.07"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Bologan, Viktor"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B17"]
[WhiteElo "2774"]
[BlackElo "2650"]
[Annotator "Lukacs,P"]
[PlyCount "71"]
[EventDate "2003.07.31"]
[EventType "tourn"]
[EventRounds "10"]
[EventCountry "GER"]
[EventCategory "18"]
[SourceTitle "CBM 097"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2003.11.11"]
[SourceVersion "1"]
[SourceVersionDate "2003.11.11"]
[SourceQuality "1"]

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 Qc7 11. O-O b6 12. Qg4 g5 13. Qh3 Rg8 14. Re1 Bf8
15. Qf5 Bg7 16. h4 Kf8 17. Qh3 Rh8 18. hxg5 hxg5 19. Qg4 c5 20. Bxg5 cxd4 21.
Rad1 Bb7 22. Rxe6 fxe6 23. Be7+ Kxe7 24. Qxg7+ Kd6 25. Nxd4 Qc5 26. Bf5 Qe5 27.
Nf3+ Qd5 28. Qg3+ Ke7 29. Rxd5 Bxd5 30. Qg5+ Kd6 31. Qf4+ Ke7 32. Be4 Rh5 33.
Nh4 Rg8 34. Ng6+ Kd8 35. Qf7 Re8 36. Bd3 1-0

4...Bf5

The big main line goes...

[Event "Dortmund SuperGM 31st"]
[Site "Dortmund"]
[Date "2003.08.07"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Bologan, Viktor"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B17"]
[WhiteElo "2774"]
[BlackElo "2650"]
[Annotator "Lukacs,P"]
[PlyCount "71"]

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 Qc7 11. O-O b6 12. Qg4 g5 13. Qh3 Rg8 14. Re1 Bf8
15. Qf5 Bg7 16. h4 Kf8 17. Qh3 Rh8 18. hxg5 hxg5 19. Qg4 c5 20. Bxg5 cxd4 21.
Rad1 Bb7 22. Rxe6 fxe6 23. Be7+ Kxe7 24. Qxg7+ Kd6 25. Nxd4 Qc5 26. Bf5 Qe5 27.
Nf3+ Qd5 28. Qg3+ Ke7 29. Rxd5 Bxd5 30. Qg5+ Kd6 31. Qf4+ Ke7 32. Be4 Rh5 33.
Nh4 Rg8 34. Ng6+ Kd8 35. Qf7 Re8 36. Bd3 1-0

and while White can play this for a win, Black still has hopes of holding.

White can try some fiddles to derail Black along the way, but they are not anything to terrify Black.

[Event "Wch Blitz 5th"]
[Site "Moscow"]
[Date "2010.11.18"]
[Round "34"]
[White "Radjabov, Teimour"]
[Black "Eljanov, Pavel"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B18"]
[WhiteElo "2744"]
[BlackElo "2742"]
[PlyCount "95"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. Nh3 e6 7. Nf4 Bd6 8. h4
Bxf4 9. Bxf4 h6 10. c3 Nf6 11. Be2 O-O 12. Qd2 Nd5 13. h5 Bh7 14. Bf3 Nxf4 15.
Qxf4 Nd7 16. O-O a5 17. Rad1 a4 18. c4 Nf6 19. Rd2 Qa5 20. Rfd1 Rfd8 21. Qe3
Rd7 22. Qc3 Qb6 23. Nf1 Rad8 24. Ne3 Qa7 25. d5 cxd5 26. cxd5 e5 27. Qxe5 Re8
28. Qf4 Be4 29. Rd4 Bxf3 30. Qxf3 a3 31. b4 Re5 32. d6 Rxh5 33. Nf5 Rg5 34.
Ne7+ Kh8 35. Rc4 Qb6 36. Rc8+ Kh7 37. Qd3+ g6 38. Rc4 Qb5 39. Qb3 Kg7 40. Rf4
Qe5 41. Rfd4 Rh5 42. Qg3 Qxg3 43. fxg3 Ne8 44. Nc8 Rb5 45. Re1 Nf6 46. Rc4 Kf8
47. Rc7 Rxb4 48. Re7 1-0

Other tries for White

The advance variation

3.e5

This has been an important line and one infused with some newer ideas. Structurally, Black wants to play ...Bf5, ...e6 and ...c5 to create some play; White can use the early commitment of Black's Bishop to harass it. Early pioneers would chase Bishop with pawns, while later enthusiasts found piece play would do as well. Nigel Short later played the line more simply, declaring his pieces more active.

[Event "Bled"]
[Site "Bled"]
[Date "1961.09.29"]
[Round "17"]
[White "Tal, Mihail"]
[Black "Pachman, Ludek"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B12"]
[PlyCount "81"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. h4 h6 5. g4 Bd7 6. h5 c5 7. c3 e6 8. f4 Qb6 9.
Nf3 Nc6 10. Na3 cxd4 11. cxd4 O-O-O 12. Nc2 Kb8 13. Bd3 Nge7 14. Rb1 Na5 15.
Bd2 Rc8 16. b4 Nc4 17. b5 Nxd2 18. Nxd2 g6 19. Nb3 Bxb5 20. Nc5 Rxc5 21. dxc5
Qa5+ 22. Qd2 Qxd2+ 23. Kxd2 Bxd3 24. Kxd3 Nc6 25. hxg6 fxg6 26. Nd4 Nxd4 27.
Kxd4 Kc7 28. f5 gxf5 29. gxf5 Kc6 30. fxe6 Bxc5+ 31. Kd3 b6 32. Rbf1 h5 33. Rf7
a5 34. Rh4 Rh6 35. Rf6 Rh8 36. Rf5 Rg8 37. Rhxh5 Rg3+ 38. Ke2 d4 39. Rf3 Rg2+
40. Kd3 Rxa2 41. Rf7 1-0

[Event "Candidates sf1"]
[Site "Linares"]
[Date "1992.??.??"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Short, Nigel D"]
[Black "Karpov, Anatoly"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B12"]
[WhiteElo "2685"]
[BlackElo "2725"]
[PlyCount "151"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 c5 6. O-O Nc6 7. c3 cxd4 8. cxd4
Nge7 9. a3 Be4 10. Nbd2 Nf5 11. b4 Qb6 12. Bb2 Be7 13. Re1 Rd8 14. Bf1 a5 15.
Nxe4 dxe4 16. Rxe4 axb4 17. axb4 Bxb4 18. Rb1 Qa5 19. h4 O-O 20. Bd3 Rd7 21.
Rf4 g6 22. h5 Be7 23. hxg6 hxg6 24. Be4 Ng7 25. Rg4 Rfd8 26. Qc1 Nf5 27. Bc3
Qc7 28. Qb2 Nfxd4 29. Nxd4 Rxd4 30. Bxd4 Rxd4 31. Bf3 Rxg4 32. Bxg4 Nxe5 33.
Qxb7 Qc2 34. Bd1 Qd3 35. Bf3 Bf6 36. Qe4 Qc3 37. Be2 Kg7 38. g3 Qc5 39. Kg2 Nc6
40. Rb7 Nd4 41. Bd3 Qh5 42. Rd7 Nf5 43. Qxe6 Nh6 44. Bc4 Qe5 45. Qxe5 Bxe5 46.
Kf3 Kf8 47. Ke4 Bf6 48. Rd5 Be7 49. f4 Ng4 50. Ra5 Nh6 51. Kf3 f5 52. Ra7 Ng4
53. Be6 Nh6 54. Rc7 Ng4 55. Rb7 Nh6 56. Ke3 Ng4+ 57. Kd4 Nf6 58. Rb8+ Kg7 59.
Rb7 Kf8 60. Bd5 Nh5 61. Ke5 Bf6+ 62. Ke6 Bd4 63. Bf3 Nxg3 64. Rd7 Bc3 65. Rd3
Bb2 66. Rd2 Bc1 67. Rd1 Bxf4 68. Kf6 Bc7 69. Rd7 Ba5 70. Bc6 Nh5+ 71. Kxg6 Nf4+
72. Kxf5 Ne2 73. Bf3 Ke8 74. Rd5 Ng3+ 75. Ke6 Bc7 76. Rd7 1-0

The Exchange Variation

3.exd5 cxd5

Not a bad try, and one I have tried with success. White goes for a small edge in a quiet position, hoping to post their pieces actively and accurately. White can try to deny Black's Bc8 its best square with 4.Bd3; after 4...Nc6 5.c3 Qc7 Black returns the disfavour.

[Event "Match/Team URS-World 20,5-19,5"]
[Site "Belgrade"]
[Date "1970.03.29"]
[Round "1.2"]
[White "Fischer, Robert James"]
[Black "Petrosian, Tigran V"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B13"]
[Annotator "Bulletin"]
[PlyCount "77"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. c3 Nf6 6. Bf4 Bg4 7. Qb3 Na5 (7...
Qd7 8. Nd2 e6 9. Ngf3 Bd6 10. Bxd6=) 8. Qa4+ Bd7 9. Qc2 e6 10. Nf3 Qb6 11. a4
Rc8 12. Nbd2 Nc6 13. Qb1 Nh5 14. Be3 h6 15. Ne5 Nf6 16. h3 Bd6 17. O-O Kf8 18.
f4 Be8 19. Bf2 Qc7 20. Bh4 Ng8 21. f5 Nxe5 22. dxe5 Bxe5 23. fxe6 Bf6 24. exf7
Bxf7 25. Nf3 Bxh4 26. Nxh4 Nf6 27. Ng6+ Bxg6 28. Bxg6 Ke7 29. Qf5 Kd8 30. Rae1
Qc5+ 31. Kh1 Rf8 32. Qe5 Rc7 33. b4 Qc6 34. c4 dxc4 35. Bf5 Rff7 36. Rd1+ Rfd7
37. Bxd7 Rxd7 38. Qb8+ Ke7 39. Rde1+ 1-0


The Panov-Botvinnik Attack

3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4

White throws the game into sharper and more open territory. When it arrived on the chess scene, it was a mighty terror, but Black players have calmed down since. I still often recommend this line for White; there is an excellent book on this variation by Aagaard.

[Event "Lessons from Bobby Fischer: en"]
[Site "Lessons from Bobby Fischer: e"]
[Date "1960.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Fischer, R."]
[Black "Euwe, M. (Leipzig ol)"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B13"]
[Annotator "RJF"]
[PlyCount "71"]
[EventDate "1960.??.??"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Nf3 Bg4 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8.
Qb3 Bxf3 9. gxf3 e6 10. Qxb7 Nxd4 11. Bb5+ Nxb5 12. Qc6+ Ke7 13. Qxb5 Nxc3 14.
bxc3 Qd7 {[#]} 15. Rb1 $1 {"...Horrible as White's Pawn structure may be,
Black can't exploit it because he'll be unable to develop his King's-side
normally. It's the little quirks like this that could make life difficult for
a chess machine."} Rd8 $2 (15... Qxb5 16. Rxb5 Kd6 17. Rb7 f6 18. Ke2 Kc6 19.
Rf7 a5 20. Be3 {+/-}) 16. Be3 Qxb5 17. Rxb5 Rd7 18. Ke2 f6 19. Rd1 $1 Rxd1 20.
Kxd1 {[#]} Kd7 21. Rb8 Kc6 22. Bxa7 g5 23. a4 Bg7 24. Rb6+ Kd5 25. Rb7 Bf8 26.
Rb8 Bg7 27. Rb5+ Kc6 28. Rb6+ Kd5 29. a5 f5 30. Bb8 {[#]} Rc8 31. a6 Rxc3 32.
Rb5+ Kc4 (32... Kc6 33. Ra5 Bd4 34. Be5 $2 (34. Ke2) 34... Rc4 $1 $10) 33. Rb7
Bd4 {[#]} 34. Rc7+ Kd3 35. Rxc3+ Kxc3 {[#]} 36. Be5 1-0




The Fantasy Variation

3.f3

White adopts an aggressive attitude, not accepting that the pawn on e4 need be moved nor that it be replaced by a piece. The move f3 is a little awkward but it leads to complex positions that may be to your liking.


[Event "Mermaid Beach Club m"]
[Site "Bermuda"]
[Date "1999.01.29"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Adams, Michael"]
[Black "Seirawan, Yasser"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B12"]
[WhiteElo "2715"]
[BlackElo "2640"]
[PlyCount "55"]
[EventDate "1999.01.21"]
[EventType "match"]
[EventRounds "10"]
[EventCountry "BER"]
[SourceTitle "CBM 069"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1999.04.01"]
[SourceVersion "1"]
[SourceVersionDate "1999.04.01"]
[SourceQuality "1"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 g6 4. c3 Bg7 5. Be3 e5 6. dxe5 Bxe5 7. Nd2 Ne7 8. Qc2
O-O 9. O-O-O a5 10. h4 b5 11. h5 Nd7 12. hxg6 hxg6 13. Ne2 b4 14. Bd4 c5 15.
Bxe5 Nxe5 16. Nf4 a4 17. Kb1 Qa5 18. exd5 Bf5 19. Ne4 Rfb8 20. cxb4 Qxb4 21. d6
Bxe4 22. fxe4 N7c6 23. Nd5 Qb7 24. Qf2 c4 25. Rd2 f5 26. Nf6+ Kg7 27. Rh7+ Kxf6
28. Qh4+ 1-0


The Two Knights' Variation

2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3

There is a splendid trap in this line, which I watched Steve Webb fall into on the board next to me one day:

[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Enter New Game"]
[Black "?"]
[Result "*"]
[PlyCount "19"]

1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. Ne5 Bh7 8.
Qh5 g6 9. Qf3 Nf6 10. Qb3 1-0

Apart from that, it's considered an unimportant try for White, but may give you the sort of closed game you like.

[Event "Candidates Tournament"]
[Site "Bled/Zagreb/Belgrade"]
[Date "1959.10.18"]
[Round "22"]
[White "Fischer, Robert James"]
[Black "Keres, Paul"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B11"]

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 Bg4 4. h3 Bxf3 5. Qxf3 Nf6 6. d3 e6 7. g3 Bb4 8. Bd2
d4 9. Nb1 Qb6 10. b3 Nbd7 11. Bg2 a5 12. a3 Bxd2+ 13. Nxd2 Qc5 14. Qd1 h5 15.
Nf3 Qc3+ 16. Ke2 Qc5 17. Qd2 Ne5 18. b4 Nxf3 19. Bxf3 Qe5 20. Qf4 Nd7 21. Qxe5
Nxe5 22. bxa5 Kd7 23. Rhb1 Kc7 24. Rb4 Rxa5 25. Bg2 g5 26. f4 gxf4 27. gxf4 Ng6
28. Kf3 Rg8 29. Bf1 e5 30. fxe5 Nxe5+ 31. Ke2 c5 32. Rb3 b6 33. Rab1 Rg6 34. h4
Ra6 35. Bh3 Rg3 36. Bf1 Rg4 37. Bh3 Rxh4 38. Rh1 Ra8 39. Rbb1 Rg8 40. Rbf1 Rg3
41. Bf5 Rg2+ 42. Kd1 Rhh2 43. Rxh2 Rxh2 44. Rg1 c4 45. dxc4 Nxc4 46. Rg7 Kd6
47. Rxf7 Ne3+ 48. Kc1 Rxc2+ 49. Kb1 Rh2 50. Rd7+ Ke5 51. Re7+ Kf4 52. Rd7 Nd1
53. Kc1 Nc3 54. Bh7 h4 55. Rf7+ Ke3 0-1

The Goldberg Variation

2.Nc3 d5 3.Qf3

An early favourite of Short, it has some points in its favour, but has never been a popular try.

[Event "Christmas Congress 1979/80-55 Premier"]
[Site "Hastings"]
[Date "1979.12.29"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Short, Nigel D"]
[Black "Zilber, Israel"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B11"]
[WhiteElo "2260"]
[BlackElo "2410"]
[PlyCount "97"]

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Qf3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ exf6 6. Bc4 Bd6 7. Ne2 O-O
8. d4 Nd7 9. O-O Nb6 10. Bb3 a5 11. c4 a4 12. Bc2 Bc7 13. Bd2 Be6 14. b3 Qd7
15. Bc3 Rfe8 16. Ng3 axb3 17. axb3 Rxa1 18. Rxa1 Bxg3 19. hxg3 Nc8 20. Qd3 f5
21. g4 Ne7 22. Bb4 g6 23. Bc3 f6 24. g5 fxg5 25. d5 Nxd5 26. cxd5 Qxd5 27. Qe3
f4 28. Qb6 c5 29. Re1 Qc6 30. Qxc6 bxc6 31. Bf6 g4 32. Bg5 f3 33. gxf3 gxf3 34.
Re3 Bf7 35. Rxe8+ Bxe8 36. Be7 Bf7 37. Bxc5 Bd5 38. Kh2 Kg7 39. Kg3 Kf6 40.
Bd4+ Kg5 41. b4 h5 42. Be3+ Kf6 43. Kh4 Bf7 44. Bd4+ Ke7 45. Be4 Be8 46. Bxf3
Kd6 47. Kg5 Ke6 48. Be4 Kd6 49. f4 1-0

The King's Indian Attack

2.d3

Another resort for lazy White players: you can plonk your pieces on the same squares in each game.

[Event "Oberliga Bayern 9899"]
[Site "Bayern"]
[Date "1999.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Dobosz, Henryk"]
[Black "Wach, Markus"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B10"]
[WhiteElo "2395"]
[BlackElo "2385"]
[PlyCount "85"]

1. e4 c6 2. d3 d5 3. Nd2 g6 4. Ngf3 Bg7 5. g3 e5 6. Bg2 Ne7 7. O-O O-O 8. Re1
Qc7 9. Qe2 d4 10. c3 c5 11. a4 Nbc6 12. Nc4 Be6 13. Bd2 h6 14. cxd4 cxd4 15. b4
Bxc4 16. dxc4 a5 17. b5 Nb8 18. Bh3 b6 19. Rac1 Nc8 20. c5 bxc5 21. Qc4 Nb6 22.
Qxc5 Qxc5 23. Rxc5 Nxa4 24. Rc7 Rd8 25. Ra1 Nc3 26. Bxc3 dxc3 27. Rxc3 Nd7 28.
Rc6 a4 29. b6 Nb8 30. Rc7 Na6 31. Rxa4 Bf8 32. Ra7 Rxa7 33. bxa7 Nc7 34. Nxe5
Bc5 35. Nd7 Be7 36. e5 Na8 37. Ra6 Kg7 38. Rc6 h5 39. e6 fxe6 40. Bxe6 h4 41.
Kg2 hxg3 42. hxg3 Bb4 43. Nb6 1-0


Or, if you're a genius, you can suddenly change gear with effect.
[Event "Candidates Tournament"]
[Site "Bled/Zagreb/Belgrade"]
[Date "1959.09.18"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Tal, Mihail"]
[Black "Smyslov, Vassily"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B10"]
[PlyCount "51"]

1. e4 c6 2. d3 d5 3. Nd2 e5 4. Ngf3 Nd7 5. d4 dxe4 6. Nxe4 exd4 7. Qxd4 Ngf6 8.
Bg5 Be7 9. O-O-O O-O 10. Nd6 Qa5 11. Bc4 b5 12. Bd2 Qa6 13. Nf5 Bd8 14. Qh4
bxc4 15. Qg5 Nh5 16. Nh6+ Kh8 17. Qxh5 Qxa2 18. Bc3 Nf6 19. Qxf7 Qa1+ 20. Kd2
Rxf7 21. Nxf7+ Kg8 22. Rxa1 Kxf7 23. Ne5+ Ke6 24. Nxc6 Ne4+ 25. Ke3 Bb6+ 26.
Bd4 1-0

The Two Pawns' Variation

2.c4

White is just being awkward... This move order may be a fair way to reach lines of the Panov without offering Black the chance to play the best setup against the IQP (H/T: John Emms).

[Event "USA-chT Amateur East"]
[Site "Parsippany"]
[Date "2013.02.17"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Lee, Michael"]
[Black "McHugh, Edward F"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D41"]
[WhiteElo "2393"]
[BlackElo "2189"]
[PlyCount "61"]

1. c4 c6 2. e4 d5 3. cxd5 cxd5 4. exd5 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nxd5 6. Nf3 e6 7. Bc4 Nc6 8.
O-O Be7 9. d4 O-O 10. Re1 Bf6 11. Ne4 Nce7 12. a3 b6 13. Qd3 Bb7 14. Nfg5 h6
15. Nh7 Nf5 16. Nxf8 Kxf8 17. Be3 Rc8 18. Rac1 Ndxe3 19. fxe3 Rxc4 20. Rxc4 Qd5
21. Qc2 Qxe4 22. Rc8+ Bd8 23. Qxe4 Bxe4 24. Rxd8+ Ke7 25. Rc8 Kd7 26. Rec1 Nxe3
27. R8c7+ Kd6 28. Rxf7 Nf5 29. Rxa7 Nxd4 30. Kf2 g6 31. Ra6 1-0

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