The Caro-Kann's advance variation
Sam Shankland, 23Dragons, Wikipedia,

The Caro-Kann's advance variation

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Hi everyone, I'm finally starting the Caro-Kann Saga, and will commence this series with the line considered the best by GMs nowadays: the advance variation.


The Caro-Kann defense was named after the two players who analysed it in 1886: Horatio Caro and Marcus Kann. It was first used by Marcus against Jacques Mieses at the 4th German Chess Congress during May 1885 in Hambourg.

The advance variation has been considered inferior for a few years when Nimzowitsch was strategically destroyed by Capablanca during a game they played in New York, 1927 (click here to see the game). It was repopularised thanks to some new agressive theoretical lines by GMs such as Alexei Shirov, Nigel Short and Mikhail Tal.

Main Ideas:

The Caro, like the French or the Sicilian, gives a semi-open position. The particularity of this opening is that it is more solid and less dynamic. The thing I love most in the Caro-Kann is you can get a solid position like in the French, but the light squared bishop isn't trapped by the pawns 

The idea of the advance variation (for white), is to take control of central space. In fact, black will be a little cramped and will have, as I said before, a similar position to that of the French defense, but with an active light square bishop.


Without further ado, let me show you the Caro-Kann's advance variation:

The position starts this way: 

Their are many variation after this line, I'll cover a few of them but take more attention on the main ones:

Those are the most aggressive lines

The Tal variation (h4):

The Vander Diel Attack (Nc3):
Here are other less aggresive lines, where instead of going for checkmate, White will try to prevent the c5 pawn break and take space on the king side, those will be more strategical:
In this position, white is crushing black: White is going to take space on the king side and black won't have any counter play on the queen side, in fact, black is quite passive. So this is what white should strive to obtain and black strive to stop. Lets see how to do all of this:
A very important thing to remember is in the advance variation, their are two main ways for black to have counter play: f6 and c5. If you forget to play one of these to moves and you are still a beginner (>1400-1500), you should get crushed if your opponent knows what to do.
An other important thing is: most of the time, white will try to stop you from playing c5, but if he does that, then f6 becomes an even better move, so you can't rely on just one of them and must absolutely remember both.
Those are a few strategical ways for white to play on how black should respond.
Too finish off, I'll summarise the things you have to remember like in my previous blog:
  • After you reach the main position, Bf5 is the best move
  • You have two main ways to get counter-play, the f6 and c5 pawn breaks
  • The Caro-Kann is a solid opening but it is also a little less dynamic

Also, I'd like to give a shout out to my friend @23Dragons, he was the one who taught me the basic stuff on the Caro, you can check out his blog

If you don't want to play the Caro and you think it is only an annoying opening, you can check out @Chessdemon2019 's blog on how to counter the Caro-Kann.

I really hope you enjoyed this blog, if you did, please leave a nice comment below and consider following me (I accept all friend requests).

If ever you didn't like it, could you please leave a comment to tell me what to improve?

IMPORTANT!!! I may have forgotten some lines, if so pls point them out in the comments, if I missed to much, I'll create a second part to this blog.

Anyways  thanks a lot for your time!