18 February 2012

Annotated Game #31: In which a Caro-Kann becomes a French

This game demonstrates how a vague familiarity with your chosen opening line can lead to long-term trouble.  I had by this point in my career adopted the 3...c5 variation against the Advance Caro-Kann, but had not put much effort into actually looking at it.  Black with 5...e6 makes a common error out of ignorance and ends up simply with a tempo-down French Defense.  This is amusing to look up in the database, because the position is easily found, but the computer thinks Black should get two moves in a row (if only!)

By move 11 White has a significantly superior position and correctly decides to start operations on the kingside.  However, he does not conduct his attack in the most rigorous manner and Black could have fought back and seized the initiative himself on move 16.  The position at this point is particularly worth studying, since it illustrates how one side can change the course of a game with bold thinking and active play.  I was psychologically on the defensive at that point and not looking for such moves; at the time, I also was more timid in my move selection.

Black nevertheless has a more or less reasonable game, albeit slightly worse and without much counterplay, as he simply tries to respond to White's threats.  A characteristic thinking process flaw (not focusing on the full range of your opponent's threats) derails Black on move 24, as he removes a key defensive piece from its square; this also reflects another thinking process flaw, not understanding what your pieces are doing in a position.  White immediately spots a way to make multiple threats that cannot all be dealt with and emerges up a piece.  Black decides to fight on tenaciously, but after good defensive play by White any counterchances on the kingside are nullified.


  1. Really liked this game, I just found your blog as I am getting back into chess and I found this really helpful. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for the comments! It's always good to have someone -else's- example of what not to do in the opening, heh.