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Secrets of Opening Surprises vol. 14 ch.11 by Alexander Finkel touts an interesting Advance var. system aqgainst the Caro Kann that seems to have become quite trendy recently.1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nd2 e6 5.g4 (see first diagram) Finkel then examines the game Vysochin/Bruchmann, Ohrid 2009 which continued 5...Bg6 6.Ne2 c5 7.h4 h6! 8.Nf4 Bh7 9.dc5 at this point Bruchmann mistakenly played 9...Bc5? which gives white a great game that he went on to win.Finkel gives 9...Nc6!? as an improvement stating the position is unclear.However "Houdini 2 Pro Aquarium" gives 9...Qc7! and not only does white have nothing but black has a pleasant initiative.(see diagram 2)
When I played in otb tournaments actively the Caro-Kann was my favorite drawing weapon. I actually won many a game because White would press too hard, frustrated by the impenetrable underground bunker that the Caro-Kann is.
The anti-Sicilians are another example of how White players frustrated by Black's audacity with a move like 1...c5, have tried for nearly 100 years to refute it.
The immediate Qc7 is probably best, but there's certainly nothing wrong with Bxc5 and does not deserve a question mark. Black's queen will go to c7 sooner or later, so I really don't see Bxc5 as giving white a 'great game'.
Edit: In fact, Bruchmann would have had the much better game had he played 11...Nd7 instead of Nc6. This would have kept the c-file open for his queen, which could have made a battery with the b6 Bishop. The knight on h5 would be eventually kicked, and white has nothing to show for it. Example:
I tried this out a few time in tournament play, but was plying g4 a move earlier (before Nd2) because I'd seen a game with it like that. Is it more common to wait and play g4 on the 5th move?
I also looked at this line with my cpu (Rybka at the time) and it was giving me evals of equal. Maybe it's better to play g4 with the knight still on b1?
In answer to Firebrandx; you have done your homework very well and I am honored to hear your constructive criticism which is 100% correct.Since 9...Qc7 has to my knowledge never been played before it might be called the "Houdini variation".In answer to wafflemaster my research indicates that the Short system 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 still has teeth with many yet to be explored possibilities, but I predict over the next 10 years its the 2 Knights var. 1.e4 c6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Nc3 that will g
In the above 2 diagrams, the first one is the Short system, very popular in the 80's but still with teeth.The one below is the "Two Knights" var.which I predict is going to create some serious problems for black over the next decade due to past faulty analysis and new improved rehabilitated main lines.
How abt posting a game with the two knights caro kann??
Fischer played it frequently when he was young.Study his early games.But all the main lines I predict are going to go through some drastic revisions weeding out incorrect analysis and rehabilitating old ideas.In other words old wine in new bottles.There is an excellent book you might want to get entitled: "Starting Out the Caro Kann" by GM Joe Gallagher.But with fact that Vishy Anand told Chessvibes.com on June 10, 2011 that his favorite engine is "Houdini" a revolution in opening theory will surely take the next strongest OTB tournaments by storm.Good luck.
I play the two knights system often in bullet games since black tends to get tempted into this line
Caro-Kann twists the game when I face it. It never goes my way. NEVER.
if i were to face the two knights i think i might play sth like this. Hoping to transpose back to the Bf5 main line
Two knights is tempting to play because you can get the exact same pawn structures from the French as well.
Shankland recently wrapped up a video series on the Caro-Kann, and his repertoire almost exactly matches the suggestions made in Lars Schandorff's book on the Caro-Kann. Neither one of them thinks the two knights variation gives white much of anything. The trick is to be prepared for it and NOT be tempted into overextending. You make white come to you. Here's one example from the book:
I should point out also that white's perfomance in the 5...e6 two knights on ICCF (where deep computer analysis is the norm on each move) is a flat 50%. The only win white managed was from 7.Qf4 (computer choice), which came from a mistake black made in the endgame. The other game played in the line resulted in a draw from two 2400+ opponents.
Now the Short variation on the otherhand, both Shankland and Schandorff feel it is absolutely white's maximum possible best try against the CK. The depth of the strategy involved lends itself perfectly to CC testing. White's performance percentage on ICCF in the Short variation? An impressive 61%. Any ICCF veteran will tell you they will take those odds over the 50% two knights variation any day of the week.
The wrong move in post #10 is 5...d4 ? It basically gives White a king's indian position, colors reversed, with two more tempi (black will eventually play ...c6-c5 when he has played c7-c6, and White has the first move). As the KID hasn't been refuted yet, it can't be wise to give two more moves...
I've played 5...Nf6 as a rare changeup to e6 in blitz a few times. I never play 4...Bh5 though as I think it's far too risky.
A good game worth studying is Short/Karpov, Monaco 1993.Here are the opening moves: 1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.h3 Bf3 5.Qf3 e6 6.d4! white must fight for the center.6...Nf6 7.Bd3 de4 8.Ne4 Ne4 9.Qe4 Nd7 10.c3 Nf6 11.Qe2 Bd6 12.0-0 Bc7 13.Re1 0-0 14.at this point Short played the passive 14.Bd2 which allowed Karpov to soon equalise with ...e5.If Short had instead played 14.a4, or 14.g3 or 14.Be3 he would have enjoyed a pleasant initiative.I will show the diagram after 14.a4!?
That's not quite a 'pleasant initiative' white has there. Black is ultra-solid with no weaknesses. Really the only thing white has going is the bishop pair, but the position is such that they are not an active factor.
'Initiative' generally means you're directing the replies from your opponent such that he doesn't have time to make his own plans. It doesn't apply here because black can either address or completely ignore moves like a4, g3, or Be3. The position is in fact quite equal, regardless of engines giving white +0.20 or whatever insignificant value they give this position.
FYI, GM Shankland assigns black as being 'perfectly fine' after 10.c3 Nf6.