Caro Kann advanced centre ideas

Aug 10, 2015, 5:25 AM |

As a Caro Kann player, obviously i face the advanced variation pretty often. In fact I think the most common responses are the exchange, BF5 mainline, NF6 which is either a slugfest if gxn or grind out if exn, nd7 which I gets some interesting tactics (especially if black goes wrong!), advanced nf3 + nc3, the unexciting bd3 and a bizarre variation 2. bc4. I have faced lots of others but those are the most common.


Anyhow advanced Caro Kann starts like this and I am not going into huge depth of theory but just want to pick out some key thematic ideas that you may come across as this is a blog and, well just look at the amount of theory there is for starters!

For the slightly uninitiated or somewhat lacking of study time, whatever opening you do play, dont be put of by theory as it is highly likely your opponents are in the same boat and if they do know more theory you can aim for a equal middlegame and then work your magic there!

Despite the huge number of variations on offer the Caro does have one central principle for black: solid counterplay, attack the centre and flexibility. Flexibility in terms of castling for starters (or not as the case maybe) and how to attack the centre.

With the Caro Advanced you should generally aim to hit the centre with C5 and/or F6. F6 sometimes scares the hebigibbees in novice players who like to hold a position, but dont be frighten as the core idea is to undermine the centre which will then tie pieces down to its defence. This leads to one of the fundamental principles of chess and that of controlling the centre.

So here is a typical position of the Short Variation. Going back to flexibility there are several ways forward for White: C3 or C4, BE3, NBD2 being a flavour of some. Black has to remain dynamic and flexible to what White does. White has not fully committed to a plan here and sometimes if say after C4 then DxC which leaves a nice out post for the knight on D4, leaving the pawn on C6 is probably best in the short term rather than coming out with C5. Also, Black could be better off hitting at the first opportunity with F6.

Backing up with F4 for white is actually not great and some ideas to look out for are pins with the castled king on G1 black queen on B6. If black has a knight on D7 hitting E5 and undermines with F6 white has some problems in defence of the centre. OK its not the end of the world, but its difficult. F4 in the Caro Kann advance is a move white should think about first. Sometimes Black can sure up with a modern type structure of pawns on G6 and H5 plonking usually the kings knight on F5 via H6 where it eyes up G4 as well. This is to goad white into moving the king pawns forward where they either get bogged down and black attacks with C5 and down the queenside, or opens up lots of holes which need to be covered. Personally option A is a very solid and easy way forward for black where much of the time the king remains uncastled.

In fact I had position just like this in a recent county game v Suffolk where my opponent played the advance and hit with g4 (bayonnet variation), at which point be4 is best forcing f3 and weakening the king side pawns. My king castled very deep into the game just to get my last rook out and was very safe behind the pawns. I attacked down the queenside with C5. Just be careful when countering on the queenside not to block your position up as well!

So a few key thoughts and I will keep posting some more as I progress!