There is no way to punish the advance variation. It is one of the main answers to the caro cann and perhaps one of the best.

An interesting way to fight the advance is to play 3. ... c5. If white responds correct it is probably slightly worse than 3. ... Bf5 but it is playable (people like svidler and kramnik employed it). But more often than not (even at 2200 level) white plays too passive leading to variations of the french advance without the locked in bisshop giving black a slightly better game.


3.Nc3 allows black to transpose to the Modern Defense with 3...g6. Players at the 1500-1600 level are aware of transpositions, but not well versed on the openings that their opponent can choose to transpose to. In other words, they know how to play the White side of the Advance Variation of the Caro-Kann, but know little or almost nothing about how to play the White side of the Modern Defense Opening.

moonnie wrote:

There is no way to punish the advance variation. It is one of the main answers to the caro cann and perhaps one of the best.

An interesting way to fight the advance is to play 3. ... c5. If white responds correct it is probably slightly worse than 3. ... Bf5 but it is playable (people like svidler and kramnik employed it). But more often than not (even at 2200 level) white plays too passive leading to variations of the french advance without the locked in bisshop giving black a slightly better game.

Yeah, 3...c5 made me really dislike the caro advance.  Now I either go for the classical or panov.


What is the correct white response to 3...c5?


The official response is the counter inituative 4. dxc5 followed by Bb5. Personally I think 4. c4 is stronger though


I believe 3. ...c5 is the standard "book" move in the Caro-Kann Advance variation. 




This is some of the common lines if u play c5. u can also try 3.Bf5 which is considered more solid.


I play the caro -kann as black about 20% of the time and play 3...Bf5 if I get the 3e5 advance.  It is usually a bit slow at first, but black's object is to eventually wiggle his kingside knight up to the same f5 square and he stands well.

Suggest you look over several master games.


From a Principled point of view 3. Nc3 would be the best move out of the 5 book move options Tarrasch gives me on move three.

If we would look to some Chess Principles.

- Generally, to take is a Mistake ( Igor Smirnov explains to you on YouTube ).

- You should try not to release the Tension, you should keep the Tension. And the best thing you can do is to Intensify the Tension ( 3. Nc3 keeps the Tension by Defending the Pawn, and Increases the Tension by attacking the Pawn of the Opponent. ). Igor Smirnov Explains on YouTube.

- The best Role Pieces can have is an Offensive one, and at the same Time a Defensive one.

- Black is already down in Developement and White is ahead. Also, Black cannot develope his Knight to its Natural Square and ( temporarily ) Blocks the Bishop if it goes to d7. an advantage in Developement is less important in closed Positions than in open ones.

 Two Pawns next to each other are the Strongest ones. Keep it like that as long as Possible.

- Keep your Pawns Flexible as long as possible.

- Releasing the Tension reduces your Options [ Since white is '' winning '' and black is '' losing '', black wants a draw and White wants Posibilities for a Win, as such, it is Paradoxal to release the Tension and give Black more Drawing chances.

- Keep your opponent Guessing ( thus not showing your cards and advance the pawn to soon ). This increases the chance for your opponent to make an innacuracy/mistake/blunder.

We can go on. Ofcourse, there can be also something positive said for the Advance, but really, from a Principled Point of view, and from a Shuffle Chess and Chess 960 Mindset [ no opening knowledge ], 3. Nc3 is the best move.

One more Principle for if Black takes the pawn on e4.

According to the semi-open files, White attacks kingside whereas black attacks queen-side.Castling usually goes at kingside. the king-side attacker always has a general advantage in the rough perspective of '' queenside player has to defend and attack. kingside player can only focus on attack. queenside player has more chance to make mistakes, and his/her threats are less severe than that of the kingsideplayer. ''

I have a schuffle chess model-game against 
Rybka posted on this Chess-Site showing that the kingside attacker has an advantage.

You may also say in favor of the queenside player that the King can be used as a Defending Piece. nuff said. 


@finalunpurez: There are in my opinion several mistakes in your analysis.

1) In the variation with 4. dxc5 after Nc6 white is probably better of playing Bb5 instead of Nf3 since Nf3 will run into Bg4 (getting the bischop out the chain and renewing the pressure on d4). Therefor i would consider the move 5. ... e6 as a a doubtful move.

2) In your main variation you let black play 4. .. e6 this is a serious blunder as the resulting position is the french with a tempo less for black.I would suggest a move like Nc6

The whole idea of the 3. .. c5 variation is to get into the french advance with where blacks white squared bishop is outside his pawn chain. The fact that this is at the cost of a tempo does not matter to much since the position is closed.


@Defence4Giz: while ofcourse nothing is wrong with the Nc3 move your argumentation is wrong.

  1. There is no way white can keep the tension (or keep your pawns flexible) in the center as taking on e4 with d5 is by far the strongest reply from black and also in in line with the rules of chess strategy that state that in the opening black should try to trade the pawn on e4 by the pawn in d5.
  2. White has a small lead in development after Nc3 but this lead cannot be maintained because after 3 ... dxe4 4. Nxe4 black has several ways to attack whites knight that will then have to move for a 3th time thus basicly negating his development lead 

Also from a principle point of view a lot of positive things can be said about the advance variation. Though Tarrash was a brilliant chess player and teacher his teaching are put to the question by those of for example Nimzowitch. The theory of pawn chains is a very important part of this theory and by advancing his pawn white intends to build a long pawn chain from b2 to e5. This pawn chain gives all kinds of positional and tactical motives.Next to the pawn chain white also has the space advantage another important strategic device

In other words your argumentation on Nc3 is wrong. There is nothing wrong with the move but there is with your explanation why. People who play Nc3 generally are players who like open center positions.

There is nothing wrong with advancing the e4 pawn. Both from a theoretical point of view (currently the advance is seen as whites best chance for an opening advantage) as from a principled way (pawn chain theory, space advantage etc)


I just find it funny that they play the Advance against you.  In my neck of the woods (Southeastern United States, and I'm about 2050 USCF Rating), anybody rated below 1900 seems to always play the stupid Exchange Variation, figuring after 4.Bd3 that it plays like an Exchange QGD with the colors reversed and they get an extra move, so Bf4 is easier to get in than ...Bf5 is in the QGD.

Of course, I only play the Caro-Kann on occasion these days.  My best results come from 1...e5 and 1...g6.


abiogenesis23 wrote:

I've noticed something about players around my level(15/1600) and how they respond to the caro-kann.  I lived and died by the Sicilian against 1. e4 for virtually my entire chess playing "career", but have gotten interested in learning the caro-kann recently.  However, every time I play this opening, literally EVERY time, players around my level respond with 3. e5 instead of 3. Nc3.  Is there a reason for this?  It's frustrating playing the advance variation EVERY game, when I'd like to learn the other lines as well.

 Is there a way to punish the advance variation?

 As you progress in your chess adventure you will come to see the Caro-Kann as a drawing weapon. The best punishment for a strong White player is having to accept a draw from a weaker opponent. In his quest to win a tournament a strong player considers his games as White to be his best opportunities to score a full point, especially against weaker opponents.

In addition, as Black, you are saying, "...Not only are you supposedly a stronger player than I am, but you have the White pieces., you have the initiative, and yet you failed to prove White's birthright.


@Transpo as you progress your chess advantures you will see Caro Kann is not a drawing weapon. Opposed to an opening like the Sicilian where black directly from the start tries to create imbalance the Caro Kann tries to first create equality and then win in the endgame. 

In general the fight is between the white space advantage and blacks generaly superior pawn position. This means that exchanging pieces is generally in favor for black (this is why Caro Kann got his reputation for drawing) but once black fends of whites attack he actually has very good chances to win. 

People who use Caro Kann as a drawing weapon tend to lose with it as remaining passive and let white gets the favored position of his pieces is a quite sure way to lose


The Caro-Kann offers less in the way of direct counter-chances than other semi-open defenses, and involves less risk as a consequence, but it is not some "drawing" opening.  Black develops freely with no weaknesses, so White must be very accurate to keep any sort of advantage in the opening.  An inaccuracy or two can put Black in the driver's seat very quickly.