best counter to caro kann?

switched to e4 after playing d4 exclusively for a long time. haven't faced caro yet, but since gothamchess and alex banzea promotes it so much, I think I should be prepared. Im thinking about playing two knights defense. Is there any other opening that I should look into?

Against the Caro, I love playing the Panov Attack: 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3



It is a difficult question.
Fischer struggled against the Caro-Kann. He played the Two Knights 2 Nc3 3 Nf3, the Panov-Botvinnik 3 exd5, 4 c4, the Classical 3 Nc3, the King's Indian Attack 2 d3 and finally settled on the Exchange Variation 3 exd5 without 4 c4.
Nowadays the Advance Variation 3 e5 is most fashionable, though also the Fantasy Variation 3 f3 is respectable.


There is no such thing as 'best' in normal openings. It depends on your playing style and what your normal opponent prefers to play.

2 knights defence are fine. After 1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 (or 2.Nf3 d5 3.Nc3) 2...d5 3.Nf3 you will have to study the two main moves: 3...dxe4 and 3...Bg4. Then you are ready to play.

Later on you may take some time to also study 3...Nf6, 3...d4, 3...e6, 3...g6 etc. according to what your opponent plays.


I like the exchange variation personally. But yes, it is a difficult question.


Probably fantasy variation

Advance, Fantasy and Panov are all good options.

The Schweinhoffner Gambit.


Lately, I prefer to play the Tal Variation of the Caro-Kann Advance:

The reasons I like it are that it throws the "development" of the light square bishop into question, forcing black to move it a second time after 4. ..h5 (black has to play this move immediately), and while there's not much king safety for either side, the tempo gain (the C-K already being a slow defense) combined with the space advantage tends to be decisive.

Of course, when I play the Caro-Kann myself (which I use as a secondary option, being mainly a French Defense player these days), I never play 3. ..Bf5. After studying Petrosian's use of the C-K (he never played Bf5, either), it seems best to either handle the C-K as a delayed French Defense, or else to wait for white to play Nf3 and then pin that knight with Bg4.


im bad vs Caro Kan...

I play in a way recommended by Wesley So... It's meant to throw people off... It works alot of times but... after this position

Black has like 8 different playable moves... I've faced them all in rapid or longer (30+20)

If he plays the main line (Nd7) I'm probably getting an edge... But statistically every time I faced either of these sidelines - I lost... so it's like a very bad opening for me stats wise happy.png

I'm not in to changing openings because I don't believe it's the most urgent thing for my improvement... But I fiddle with the 2 Knights instead of 2.d4 2.Nf3 3. Nc3... Sometimes it goes OK... Mostly not...

Caro - tough.


The Caro is tough to "counter" directly since it's very solid. Someone seems to have already mentioned the Tal Variation (4. h4), so I will vouch for the similar Bayonet Attack (4. g4).

The psychological effect of these two variations aside, you are trying to possibly trap the Light Squared Bishop, or create a huge vulnerability if black plays fxg6. The danger of this attack is recognised even by the engine - whereas g4 in most positions immediately inflicts a disadvantage, the eval is about even in this variation. However, this does endanger your own king safety as well, so I wouldn't recommend it for beginners - be prepared of what you are getting into www