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I just lost a tournament game today. I played the Caro-Kann as Black and my opponent just traded everything down until it was basically a drawn endgame, but I blundered and lost. What kind of strategy do you use against someone who likes to trade everything off and hope for at least a draw?
if you are trading and losing, you are making/allowing bad trades. Learn to play better positionally. If you lost because of a blunder, then that is your issue.
You didn't even make an attempt to answer the question.
In that situation I just try and slow things down and look for tactics.
He did answer your question- fairly thoroughly.
If you are the player who does not like trading pieces at every opportunity, then the Caro-Kann is not for you. (At least, that's how all my opponents seem to play it.)
I hate this, too - but use that strategy against stronger players. (Works, too, as a class A player I've gotten several OTB draws and wins against expert and master lately!) You can look for variations that don't trade as much. If you are the stronger player, strive to keep your queen and some pieces and don't worry so much about the rest. As i_r_noob said, play positionally. Look over some Petrosian games, etc. Focus on closing up the position in your opening study, such as the advanced french, closed sicilian. When you are presented with a situation where trades will happen, as was noted, look carefully at the tactics and at the resulting positions to see if there are advantages to trading. Make these tiny advantages add up...!
Beat him in the endgame :)
PS - Bardu is right. After trades the game will become more about technique. (And as you found, about not making huge blunders.) I, of course, never made big errors OTB. HA! I wish...
Generally, in most CK variations, trading favors black. Black typically has a superior pawn structure, and trading off the major pieces gives Black the better end game. Unless Black blunders, he will at least draw. In many variations, White has an IQP position, but has the open file as compensation. If White fails to get a strong attack going and simply trades pieces, White will end up in an inferior endgame and probably lose the isolated pawn.
BTW, if you want to play CK seriously and successfully, you have to understand pawn structures and positional chess. You also need to have a solid understanding of pawn endgames and rook+pawn endgames.
To know which trades favor you, you need to know strategy. As more trades happen you have to know endgames. Basically don't allow unfavorable trades. For specific advice you'd need to post the game.
I like to play positionally and often enough the positional feature I find myself working on is a small space advantage. When you have a space advantage you want to keep as many pieces as possible on the board (so that your opponent's pieces hamper each other in their more confined space) while your opponent will seek to trade off pieces. In these sorts of position what you want is to limit your opponent's ability to break the position up by advancing pawns (so that you control the time when the position gets opened up) and you want your minor pieces in front of the major pieces blocking off open files and located where either your opponent cannot get at them at all or else it costs him something (material or a permanent pawn weakness) to remove them.
Because I like to play positionally I am likely to find myself in this sort of situation because I have played the opening with this in mind. But that is rather comittal and you may like a more open, tactical game. So, ideally, you need to play the opening in as flexible a way as you can, affording yourself the opportunity for open, combinational play but keeping half an eye on the strategic aspects of the game - primarily the pawn structure.
Try playing a few games as black in a hyper modern style, that is holding your central pawns back, allowing your opponent to ocupy the centre with his pawns and then treating his centre as a target to undermine. If you face the English have a go at the Hedgehog. That is a very difficult defence but it's major feature is a period of play where the two sides are not in contact with each other but manoevre for advantage with all their pieces and all but one of their pawns still on the board. Maybe you could find a match where the games begin with the Hedgehog set up already in place.
Anyway, you have identified one of the thematic issues which run through chess games - when to trade off a pair of pieces and when not to. So you are already one step along the path to positional understanding of the game. :)
(and play less blitz)
But you didn't lose coz of trading pieces but blunder. You ask the wrong question. You already know how to play it, yet blunder. You have a high rating in 3% bracket. You know only 3% of members can give you good answers. I think you hope for an NM or IM for your answer.
Wha? advice from mr. ben? gudluk yu'll need it eh?
Even Anand asks mr bean for advice. Perhaps it's not about chess position.
Naturally you should only be allowing trades that benefits you and avoiding trades that are bad for you and if you play properly and your opponent just trys to make any exchange he can you should be able to reach a better endgame so just let your opponents defeat themselves
if you find out that you are reaching dead drawn symmetrical pawn structure endgames a little too often, it might be time to change openings. :D doesn't seem like it should be the case too often in the caro though.
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